bmw grand chellenge

The GS Tenting Challenge

The last time that I slept in a tent was when I was in the army. No wait, there was a time when we pitched a borrowed tent on the slopes of Otto’s Bluff during my hang gliding days for the Natal Champs and endured a cow demolishing it before we had a chance to enjoy our hangover from the party the night before. When you’re 24 years old, you’re invincible! I’ve always laughed off the idea of camping since this incident, because Elize was with me at the time. She maintained that after the cow had stuck its head inside the tent that if I ever invited her to go camping again, it would have to be the Holiday Inns at the very least! To sleep in a tent when there was perfectly good alternative accommodation available – (something with a proper bed) has been for the rest of our married life – out! Until now.

The GS Eco was upon us, and when I filled out the entry form, in an instant of madness selected “own tent”. I didn’t even own a tent or sleeping bag or mattress or most of the other camping paraphenalia that is needed to make your life comfortable. The words “comfort” and “camping” are like “military intellegence”. After acquiring a perfectly good two-man tent (I read all the stuff about biking tents) and getting a (very expensive) light weight sleeping bag and a “self inflating” mattress, I reckoned I was set for the Eco. Then you start talking to “others in the know”. “Your tent is too small” they told me. “You need a three man tent” (Which turned out to be good advice) “You need a blow-up mattress” (Great advice again) “your sleeping bag is not adequate, you need a minus 10 degrees” (And I thought that a sleeping bag was just a sleeping bag) So off I went to Outdoor Warehouse once again taking all my camping purchases back for the suggested upgrade. The salesman was only too happy to take back my unopened still-with-tags-on camping goods in exchange for the “upmarket stuff” that I was told I needed, not to mention the extra R1500 that the upgrade entailed.

So I packed all my stuff out in the lounge and set up the tent. I wasn’t going to be that oke who couldn’t pitch his tent at the Eco – I had to be sure that I came across as a seasoned off-road biker with camping skills. My effort in setting up my new camping stuff inside the house caused great mirth amongst my family as Elize sent photos to all in sundry and to one of my friend fromĀ via her phone with the appropriate captions – “indoor outback adventurer” and other such snide remarks which just made me more determined to camp at the Eco.

With my camp gear all packed into a single bag, my clobber packed into my panniers two days before, everything was set for a fantstic weekend of riding. I knew this already of course, because I had already been to Clocolan when we checked out the routes. We left Rider Motorrad at 9:00am being sent on our way by all the staff who had made up special hampers for all of us to take along. Just another plus when dealing with a fantastic bunch of people at the dealership.