Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Camping with a Motorcycle Part 1

Ready to go!

My husband and I love touring our beautiful country, South Africa on our motorbike. We travel from one town to the other, overnighting at B&B’s along the way. We also love camping. Last year we decided to make our bike touring more affordable, we would camp wherever we stopped. Although I’d learnt to take a lot less luggage since we started biking seven years ago, now I had to to take even less.

Our bike has three hard cases which fit on the back and sides. It also has a tank bag, which as the name suggests, fits on the fuel tank. My husband always says that two and a half of the hard cases are mine while the remaining half is his. (This is not true; I pack very lightly. I don’t even take my hairdryer or high heels!)The tank bag is for our wet weather gear - Drizabone jackets from Australia, without which we would not go biking - hiking boots and flat shoes. It also contains tools and a general repair kit for the motorbike.

Camping in Golden Gate Highlands National Park

When we go camping, we leave the “top box” at home. This is the hard case that fits behind my back. That space is used to carry the tent, sleeping bags, gaper pads with tent poles inside them and the tool kit. The tank bag still houses our wet weather gear, hiking boots and comfortable shoes. The camping lights and stove and basic utensils are secured inside the wet weather gear.

As you can imagine, when we arrive at a camp site and begin to set up our teeny tents (we also use them when we hike up the mountains so they have to be teeny because we carry them) we are the centre of attention. I must admit, we do look quite incongruous with our small set-up alongside campers with a caravan and side tent, a double cab pick up, a trailer...

My husband looking towards Mushroom Rock in the Park
I took this photo from the top of Brandwag (Sentinel) Butress. Below, the road to Kwa Zulu Natal, runs through the rest camp in the Park. You hike up the contour path of the mountain and access the top of the butress with the help of the chain visible in the photo. You have to hold on and know where to place your feet; one slip and you could end up tumbling down the mountain onto the road a few hundred metres below
Breaking up camp and loading the bike

We have great fun riding and camping like this although it can be a bit challenging when the weather is inclement. We cannot hide in our tent so we often end up sitting out a storm in the central cooking hut which most campsites have.

We’ve also made a lot of friends. One evening we were struggling to cook our food in very windy conditions. Our small gas cooker would not boil water to cook our rice and vegetable mix. Our neighbours saw this and eventually sent their children across with a dish of hot stew and rice and dessert! (My husband was thrilled to have meat- I ate his dessert along with mine)

Of course, the upside of this type of travel, is that we pay a third of the price for accommodation and the fun is priceless!

To be continued...

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  1. It was fun to hear about your camping and biking stories. The landscapes were so beautiful like I expected them to be.

  2. Jo, looks like a lot of fun. I don't know if I could do without my hair dryer though. ;o)

  3. What can I say except WOW! I have never been camping, but have done heaps of bush walking. I love walking in and with Nature.

  4. We don't have quite the scenery here but we do have the motorbikes for the TT. Love the sense of freedom and tales.

  5. Hi Jo, it looks like a great way to travel and see the country close up.It is roughing it a bit but you seem to have fun and enjoy it.

  6. It must be so nice to do that kind of thing with one's husband. But I have to confess I am not a camper! I just enjoy the idea looking at other's photos and hearing their tales.

  7. Oh what an amazing way to travel! I would love to be able to do that, although I've never been a great outdoor adventurer. I love the idea of being able to get along with what you can carry with you. I thought I was doing well when I managed to go down from two to one suitcases when flying to visit my family in Canada.
    Lovely photos and scenery!

  8. Thanks chrome3d:;) good to see you again. I love your Cloudbusting blog. Your photography is amazing.

    Hi Jackleen;) it is a lot of fun. Re the hairdryer: I sport a short, spiky "do" so only need to run my fingers through my hair and viola! It's the high heels I miss - but I have to leave them behind. Thanks for popping in.

    Hi Greyscale Territory;) Yes, we are blessed in the beautiful world of ours. So much to see in the wild. Thanks for popping in and your kind comment.

    Hi Babooska;) ARE YOU ON THE ISLE OF MAN??? I believe it is a very beautiful island. My husband is there at this very moment watching the TT. He is riding the circuit on a Superbike on Thursday which is a non-race day. He has done this before in 2005. Crazy man. I asked him to get someone to take photos of him this time because last time in all the excitement he forgot! I'll probably blog about it.

    Hi Peggy;) good to see you again. I've been trying to add myself as a follower to your blog and am unable to. Any suggestions? What am I doing wrong? Thanks for popping in and for your comment.

    Hi Canarybird;) welcome to my blog and thanks for your comment. Yes, I've always packed too much when I had the space and in the last seven years realised that I don't need half the stuff I stuff into my case! Even now I find I come back with a t-shirt or two and a cardigan that I never wore. I'm popping over to your blog to see where you are...

  9. Hi Eleanor;) good to see you again. Yes, you're either a camper or you're not. Thanks for popping in. ((((Hugs))) from a chilly Free State

  10. Thanks for stopping by my blog, Jo. You are very adventurous! When I led summer bicycle tours, we carried everything in our saddlebags, no tents, though. When camping, we just slept on the ground outdoors. One does learn to pack lightly!

  11. Wow Pat, Summer bicycle tours and sleeping in the open on the ground. Now THAT's adventurous! Thanks for your comment

  12. That is a very economical way to travel, though I would have to have my hair dryer.

  13. Hi Karen;) when you were a helmet for most of the day, a blow-dried hairstyle flies out of the window or off the bike -ha! Thanks for popping in.

  14. Looks like an entirely different bike when unpacked. What a great way to travel. I see folks pulling a very tiny trailer that makes into a bed. The countryside is very appealing. Hope to see some of this when I'm there.

  15. I wonder what you would do with a hair dryear and high heels when camping? I smile at the sort of things we think we can't go without.
    Lovely places for camping and beautiful views, and with a bike you can probably get into places a car cannot go.

  16. Hi Jo so much fun here. Nice post.

  17. Hi Gaelyn;) thanks for popping and your comment. Yes, you can relate well to the outdoor life. Our country and the scenery is stunning (er, do I sound biased? lol) You will enjoy it here, I know it.

    Arija;) those words could come from my husband ha-ha! As I've mentioned before: my hair is spiky and very short, so I don't need that one item!Thanks for visiting. (((Hugs)))


Thank you for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I appreciate your feedback. Jo