Danielle Murdoch

Its Downhill To Port Shepstone

| Blog South Africa

We dragged ourselves out of the bed early and loaded the motorcycle onto our host’s trailer. I wished Mike good luck at the mechanic as I slunk back to seek warmth from our bed, hoping to catch a few more hours of sleep. But they didn’t come. I felt too guilty. While Mike was out there in the cold stressing, hoping the mechanic would drop everything and attend to his bike, I lay in bed all wrapped up.

It wasn’t long before I felt too guilty. I got out of bed, showered and began to pack up all our gear. I knew we had to check out today no matter what. If Mike’s bike didn’t get fixed, we would load everything onto my bike and shift locations, while the other person walked. If Mike’s bike did get fixed, then we just load up and carry on towards the coast – Port Shepstone or Durban. I would not know what is happening until Mike shows up. With my bike loaded with my gear and Mike’s on the ground next to mine, I took another coffee and sat down to read my book and wait.

By mid morning I gathered that we would be staying in this town at least another night. It was a surprise to see Mike ride back on his bike! They had put the battery on the charger as soon as Mike arrived and then started to check everything with a working multimeter. After going over every part of the bike, they couldn’t find the problem. By that point, the battery was charged enough to get us another day of riding, another day for us to think about the problem.

We loaded Mike’s bike up and thanked our hosts for all the help and generosity. We leaped onto the bike and rode towards the ocean. Destination Port Shepstone. It was a comforting thought, that we would be heading downhill all the way! We didn’t want to stop and start Mike’s bike too often and drain the battery. Lunch was as trashy as you’re going to get. Us eating pies while sitting on the concrete steps outside the service station shop. We called ahead to reserve a shack in a popular backpackers. We didn’t want to leave anything up to chance, just in case the bike had to hitch a ride once again. Luckily for us, we made it.

The following day, I pushed Mike’s bike down the road to get it started. Then I leaped onto the back of his bike to go and look for a Suzuki dealer. Eventually we found one. I always hate pulling into a pristine show room with our dirty well used motorcycles. I get a feeling we don’t polish our chrome enough. And/or the sales staff give us odd looks as if to say, don’t touch because it looks like you can not afford a new bike (which is partly true of course!) or don’t you dare mess up our bikes! I feel more comfortable in the back with the mechanics getting my hands dirty.  The mechanic took a look at Mike’s bike. When we went to test the regulator he found the plug was clogged with oily dirt and the pins had been bent out of shape. Now we were embarrassed we hadn’t spotted the simple problem. It shows you, everyone can overlook things.

After our recent history, we were a bit gun shy about hitting the road straight away. We decided to do some exploring around the Port Shepstone first. A local attraction is the Oribi Gorge Nature Reserve. You won’t see any Lions here but maybe a glimpse of an Antelope or two. The main attraction for this reserve was the gorge itself. It also had surrounding hiking trails and thrill seeking activities. The narrow 24 kilometer long ravine twists and turns, and double backs on itself. For me the highlight was the large overhanging rocks that made you feel as if you were hanging in mid air. There was also a swing bridge. Hiking around New Zealand you get accustomed to swing bridges. As I bounded over the swing bridge, Mike cautiously gripped the edges and tentatively walked out onto it. We headed back into town (after I managed to get Mike off the swing bridge). He was now comfortable with how his bike was running so we decided to head off the next day following the coastline towards Cape Town.