Welcome!

Welcome to my blog, these are the ramblings and musings of an (upper) middle aged biker and if you enjoy braais, (barbeques) beers and motorbikes then hopefully you will enjoy what Janet and I do; we do lots of braais, we drink lots of beer and we tour South Africa on our motorbike, which at the moment is a BMW R1200RT. Join us, read about what we do and please leave us your comments.



Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Addo Elephant National Park

This story doesn't have motorbikes in it, I wouldn't like to ride through the national park on a bike! We did however drink lots of beers and had several braais and I wanted to share my photos with you. We joined my sister and brother in law on Monday last week for three days at the park and what an enjoyable time we had.
There are several types of accommodation, we were in the Rest camp in a very comfortable four sleeper chalet which included a bathroom, well equipped kitchen and most importantly an outside braai area.
There are nineteen national parks in South Africa and Addo is third in size after Kruger and the Kgalagadi trans border park. Originally founded in 1931 it was subsequently expanded to include the Woody Cape Marine nature reserve so if you're lucky you could get to see the "Big 7"; Elephant, Lion, Buffalo, Rhino, Leopard, Whale and Great White Shark.
It is 38km from the N2 gate to the rest camp so as soon as you enter you are on a game drive and there are hundreds of Elephant, we saw plenty. You have two options in the park, to drive your own vehicle around or to go on different routes on guided game drives. We opted to do our own every day.

 As the name implies there are plenty of Elephant to see all over the park, including many delightful babies;
We got ourselves settled into our accommodation and had our first braai that evening. The camp area is fenced off from the main park so there shouldn't be any animals although of course that wont keep the monkeys out! One Vervet monkey got into our cabin and made rather a mess of the kitchen.
This little Bushbuck arrived silently on dainty feet right outside our cottage, foraged a bit and just as silently left.


It is extremely pleasant sitting around the braai in the evening listening to the sounds of the bush, we heard Jackals howling and on the first evening the distant roar of a lion.
 


The park is home to hundreds of Kudu, they are so plentiful that it became a case of "Ho-hum another Kudu." but they are beautiful animals. We saw red Hartebees and a few Buffalo, which poor creature seems to be the meal of choice for the Lion.
There are a few Rhino but we didn't get to see any, their presence is not advertised for obvious reasons.
 


There are plenty of Zebra and you have to be constantly on the lookout for the flightless dung beetle on the roads so that you don't run over them!
Our best sighting however was purely fortuitous, it was on the Thursday as we were leaving the park, I was driving towards the gate and as I passed the entrance to the "Vukani Loop" which I wasn't going to take, I saw the herd of Zebra up on the road. As I hadn't taken any photos of them I turned in and got some, then as we had time to spare I decided to carry on around the loop. What an amazingly lucky decision that turned out to be!
We came across this big old male Lion who had just taken down a young Buffalo right next to the road, I have seen plenty of wildlife in my time but this was the best thing that I had ever seen and not many people get to see the lion in this park.
He dragged the carcass towards a thorn bush thicket right next to us, stopping every now and then to regain his breath, we sat enthralled at the power of this beautiful creature.
Eventually he got the carcass into the shelter of the thorn bushes where he could defend it against the other predators, Jackals had already gathered and were following him. They would probably be followed later by Hyena.


It had been a most enjoyable three days in the park and we will certainly go back, if my family come out from UK next year we will take them. If you get the chance go and visit, you wont regret it.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Tin Run, hand over to the local Round Table

I wrote earlier about the fantastic effort put in by members of the Meeulanders Motorcycle Club at out annual tin run, where we cajole and persuade members of the public to donate non perishable food items from the local supermarkets.
By the time we had loaded it all together we estimated a very commendable 1,4 to 1,5 tons of foodstuffs.
Sunday 10th September saw members of the club gather, together with members of the local chapter of the Round Table Association for the official handover at Juffroshoogte which was then followed by breakfast.










Linicia and Sooi were there, recently returned from overseas, Greg a good friend from Velddrif joined the occasion.
Great to see Daan and Bev there, our Nomadic members having just returned from an 8,000 odd kilometer motorbike trip up north, I look forward to hearing some details of their journey.
Kathy and Sampie


Henrico and Hein









The happy mob of Meeulanders with a sample of the food items and the Round Table President.
Very well done to all concerned, you've heard me say this before; I'm proud to be associated with such a fine bunch of people, my family.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

September Breakfast run

After a brilliant day on the bike the day before, last Sunday dawned clear and calm, if a little cold. As we rode through chilly patches of early morning fog my temperature readout showed 10 Celsius, we were dressed for it though so quite comfortable. We were an hour earlier than usual as we had decided that "kickstands up" should be at 08h00 as the destination; the Du Toit's kloof restaurant was over 200km away.
We enjoyed a hot beverage on the veranda at Juffoshoogte while we waited for others to arrive. By 08h00 only Hein and Gerda and Metjie and Adrie had arrived, perhaps too long a trip for the others? We knew that Louis and Johlene would be meeting us at the restaurant because they had attended the Eagle rally in Worcester nearby, so okay the smallest breakfast run since January, no problem we would enjoy it and I was certainly looking forward to the ride.
An hour's cruise to Malmesbury along the all too familiar R45 and the temperature was up slightly; 12,5 Celsius but it was calm and sunny with the promise of another lovely spring day in the western cape.
No smokers in this small group so our stop in Malmesbury, where I needed fuel, was for the traditional "tea break". We warmed ourselves for a little while in the sun and then pressed on to Paarl and the N1, through the Du Toit's Kloof tunnel to the Trout farm just after.
The ride was wonderful, it had been quite a long while since I had been that way and one easily forgets how beautiful the mountainous countryside is.
The last time I had been through the toll road and tunnel I had decided that it was totally wrong for bikes to be charged the same as cars for the privilege so I had decided not to pay and had blasted through, briefly I wondered had they recorded my license plate? Were they waiting for me? No, this time I paid and all was fine although I still feel the same way, but Janet was with me so I behaved.


We found a spot on the sunny veranda, Louis and Johlene were already there, and the beer although ridiculously expensive at R22 a bottle was nice and cold.
We sat and chatted, there were quite a lot of bikers there who had also been at the rally so it was a festive place presided over by a troop of baboons who were on the lookout for food to steal.


Breakfast was good, a tasty sausage and a sweetcorn fritter made it a bit different but a little expensive at R75, there were other options though, and the scenery was fantastic.


We spent a very pleasant couple of hours there and then saddled up for the ride home, it was quite a long ride and our break was in Moorreesburg by which time I was really feeling the saddle muscles clenching. The temperature on the way home had risen to 31 Celsius and our total trip had been just over 400km, another really great day out on the bike, thank you guys.
 

Monday, September 4, 2017

Another hectic weekend on the bike - getting too old for this?

Last Saturday, following a request from the organisers of the agricultural show in the little hamlet of Aurora for bikers to make a procession and a bit of a "showing" for which we would receive free entry, a mass of local riders from almost all of the local clubs as well as non affiliated riders met at "Die Wielhuis" pub in Velddrif for the ride.










By the time it was "kickstands up" an amazing 42 bikes lined up and cruised out of Velddrif for the approximately 50km ride, we kept the speed down to 120kmh and rode in a well disciplined staggered formation.
Picture by Thomas Ashbury at a Stop/Go.












These pictures by Gerrie Pieterse show us arriving in Aurora, click on them to view full size. We were let in through the gate and given an area in front of the main grandstand to park and it certainly made an impressive spectacle which attracted a lot of attention, especially from the older men who gathered to admire the bikes, many perhaps thinking that it might just be the right time to get one?


The show was pretty crowded, live music and cold beer, Janet and I wandered around a bit and then went in search of some lunch. I had spotted "Offal pot" on the menu and figured that out there in the country it would be good so we ordered some.
Unfortunately it was disappointingly bland, too clean for our taste, Oh well the search continues. We moved outside and sat with our friends for a final beer before leaving.
Not sure about this one but perhaps Hein and Willie were singing along to the live music?                  
It had been a fun afternoon but soon it was time for us to leave, tomorrow there would be another ride, the monthly breakfast run. We had a very enjoyable cruise home with a brief stop for an A.B.F at the Phoenix bar in Vredenburg, what a great bunch of people bikers are!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Polar Bear Run 2017

The ninth annual running of the Polar Bear took place this past weekend in glorious calm weather, of the seven runs that I have taken part in I think it only rained once, perhaps the name needs to be changed!
Anyway we gathered at the Engen garage in Velddrif just after 09h00 and I think there were twenty five participants this year.











The run divides into two groups with approximately half the guys on dual purpose bikes and scramblers who ride dirt roads to Porterville and the rest of us on road bikes, we rode out at about 10h00 heading north up the coast to make a long approximately 380km loop.
By the time we reached the turn off to Liepoldville and Lambert's Bay the temperature was reading 15,5 celsius (60f), slightly warmer than when we started and extremely pleasant for riding. Here we stopped to regroup and (for those that needed) to have a smoke break.
From there we decided to pull into the rather dingy little hotel in the village of Graafwater for a beer break, the hotel is rather run down but the bar was busy and the beers were ice cold, no problem for bikers then.
Sometime later the "Stoff moffies" had arrived in Moorreesburg and had a refreshment stop at "Die Oude Stoep", we were to meet up with them a little later in the afternoon in Gouda.
Our next stop was to be the Golf Club in Cirusdal so it was to be about 30km to the N7 and then roughly 60km to the golf club and what a fabulous ride that was! On the long downhill left handed sweep to the N7 I noticed how low the water level in the Clanwilliam dam was, a stark reminder of our current water crisis, luckily there was still plenty of beer!
It has been quite a while since I have ridden the N7 there, the last time it was a maze of roadworks and stop/go sections but now it is glorious, a wide, smooth sweeping blacktop that undulates through the verdant fruit farms. We sped along through this bikers paradise, the cars and trucks were irrelevant on that wide playground and as we parked in the golf club grounds our conversation was all about what a great time we had just had.
Another beer, another chat and moving on, this time heading for the Royal Hotel in Riebeek West but first the rest of the N7 and the fabulous Piketberg Pass to ride. We set out at speed and for quite a while it was only me and Louis, he was close behind me in those lovely sweeping turns, I am not as fast as him and I think I held him back a little but it was wonderful riding and by the time we reached the bottom of the pass I was slowing slightly to let the adrenaline settle.
Stop to gather at the turnoff
At the colourful Gouda Hotel pub



















From Riebeek West it is approximately 30 to 35kms to the little village of Gouda and we headed for the colourful pub at the hotel but whilst there we heard the the "Stoff Moffies" were also in the town at another pub just around the corner so we went off to join them.

The place we found turned out to be an absolutely amazing little spares dealership cum workshop crammed with old bikes and parts and where the owner operated a small pub whenever anybody turned up! There was good music playing and plenty of eye candy for bikers,
 

Needless to say we spent rather longer there than we intended to, it's only 40km to Porterville, some left and some stayed longer. We set up our cheese and wine stop in the usual layby and chatted for a while,

Guys stopped for a bit of cheese and biscuits and a styro cup of wine and moved on, I flagged a passing biker thinking it was one of ours he turned and came back and I realised he wasn't from our group but he joined us for a glass of wine and ended up joining our party at the Porterville Hotel and continuing his journey the next day, such is the camaraderie of the biking fraternity.
  

The party started off slowly but gathered momentum as the evening progressed, there was a good band playing lively music, it got quite weird at one stage too!
  


By the time the food came I was really hungry, the hotel supplied us with top quality steaks, creamy mushroom sauce and salads with home made bread and it went down a treat. The party went on into the night but the group got smaller and smaller, I faded somewhere between 00h30 and 01h00 and I heard Frank and Bardo coming into the room at 03h15, it had been a good one.
I was up and about at 07h00 looking for coffee and breakfast, a few of the others were up, the coffee went down singing hymns and the breakfast was great. I was homeward bound by shortly after 08h00 reveling in the crisp clear morning air blowing the cobwebs out of my brain,
The rising sun was laying long shadows across the road and lighting up the bright yellow fields of canola as I blasted man alone down towards Piketburg and the roughly hour and a half journey home, what an enjoyable time out on the bike. Thanks Greg my friend for organising the run and making sure that I would be on it, I had a blast. Click on these pictures to see them full size and to see other photos from the run have a look at the facebook page "Polar Bear Motorcycle run".