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.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Offal potjie for lunch

Really good weather now, Saturday we went for a local cruise out to Club Mykonos to have a look at what's happening at the festival, which has been on the go for the whole week. It was a bit of a disappointment though, looked like it was winding down. We sat on the Marina deck and enjoyed a bitterly cold Castle draught but there wasn't much going on.
Here's me eagerly awaiting the arrival of my draught beer. There was a muso warming up on the stage behind me and probably the place would fill up a bit for lunch but we decided to move on because the food has been rather disappointing there of late.
Janet suggested "Offal potjie" at "Vlakvarkgat" out on the R27 - perfect! Just what I felt like. You will have read of this strangely named place in past posts, it's difficult for me to try and explain what it means, the closest I can get is "Shallow pig hole", some of my friends might correct me, I speak Afrikaans pretty well but I'm not fluent.
It's a very nice casual place, good pub food and it is popular with the biking fraternity, biker friendly they host a rally every year. The site is huge with three pubs, a big swimming pool and plenty of grass and shade for camping, we go there fairly often and I have had the offal pot before and really enjoyed it.
Served in a three-legged pot, steaming hot with sweet pumpkin and Samp, for those who are unfamiliar with this meal let me explain; proper offal consists of a mixture of the gut of a lamb or sheep with other offcuts like the stomach, intestines and often the feet. Liver and kidneys are also considered offal but they are not usually included in this pot but are eaten separately. This was all in a delicious lightly curried gravy. It may sound disgusting to many but it is a very popular food here in South Africa, especially amongst the black people.
Samp is white corn often mixed with "Sugar beans", tender and tasty, altogether a very satisfying meal.
Janet had the same meal, she enjoyed it so much that there wasn't anything left for me! Less than R250 with a bottle of ice cold Sauvignon Blanc and the gratuity, I consider that a bargain, we'll be back.
A pleasant ride home in the warm early afternoon sun rounded off an altogether very enjoyable day out. We are fortunate here on the cape west coast, there are plenty of really good, mostly reasonably priced eateries within a forty kilometer radius so we eat out a lot, in fact it's one of our favourite pastimes, see you there.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Good run for a bad breakfast

Sunday morning dawned bright and calm with the promise of a lovely day, we met at the Engen One Stop as usual for our monthly breakfast run and chatted over coffee while we waited for others to arrive. Janet had other things to do and had elected to stay home, I was loose on the land and itching to ride. Just the quick 20km from home to the garage had been enjoyable and there was more to come.
 I don't often feature in my own blog, here chatting with Frank - picture by Gerrie Pieterse.
By 09h30 there were only ten of us on seven bikes and that looked like that was all there was going to be so we saddled up and hit the road. The R27 to Capetown has unfortunately got the speed restriction in the form of the gantries every 20km so we kept our speed down to around 130kmh and just had a steady cruise in our usual staggered formation. It was pleasant nonetheless and I tootled along happily.
What we did notice was literally hundreds of bikers heading up our way, many large groups passed by including several large groups of Harley riders, what were we missing? Later I was to discover that there was a Harley festival on at Club Mykonos, though by the number of other makes we saw it was not restricted to Harley.
We had planned to have breakfast at the bush pub near Melkbos but had heard that it was closed for renovations, Div decided to check this out and if it was closed we would carry on to the Viper Lounge.
 It is still closed but we were informed that it would re-open in two to three weeks, anyway after an hour on the road some people need to smoke and this provided an ideal opportunity. By now we were feeling the heat, it was going to be a scorcher.
Proceeding onwards we turned right at the Melkbos traffic lights and followed the coastal road down to Marine Drive and through to Table View, immediately I felt the drop in temperature along the coast, welcome relief!
I haven't been to the Viper Lounge for many months so it was good to be there again, the place was quiet obviously because the Capetown bikers were all heading up to Langebaan so we had no trouble getting a seat, it was 10h56 so they did not refuse us our much needed beers!
We all placed our breakfast orders and settled down, there's always eye-candy at the Viper Lounge; here in the form of a huge Victory cruiser with a rather attractive blue and white colour scheme.
We waited and we waited, the place still wasn't busy so why the long wait? We were informed that they had run out of sausages (??) so Div went over the road to the 7/11 and bought a packet which he gave to them.
 (Picture by Gerrie Pieterse) It was well after midday by the time the food started arriving and I was so happy to get mine that I made a smiley face!
I was a bit premature though, it was cold! Also most of the people had by then eaten most of their food and their toast hadn't arrived, pretty much a disaster, I hate to think what it would have been like if it had been busy! Anyway we still had a good time together but I think we'll choose a different venue for breakfast next time.
The general consensus was to stop at "Vlakvarkgat" on the way home for an ABF so off we went, we got pretty much separated by the heavy traffic on Marine Drive on the way out and I found myself alone on the R27 and travelling way too fast, perhaps I'll find out if those bloody gantries are active or just an "eye-blinder"?
I stopped in a lay-bye for a leak and also to allow some time to pass before going through the next gantry and saw 35 degrees on my dash, on leaving the pub a little later though it was up to 37,5 and still there was no wind, a portent of things to come? We're barely out of Spring so how's Summer going to be?
It was a good day out with good people and we have had good breakfast at the Viper Lounge in the past, maybe this was an off day so we'll give them another chance later on.
The Meeulanders will be handing over the proceeds of the tin run held last week pretty soon so I'll let you know how much was collected, in the meantime stay safe and keep the shiny side up!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Lovely lunch at the Oystercatcher restaurant in Langebaan

It was a fantastic day for riding today so we decided to get out and cruise through to Langebaan for some lunch at the Oystercatcher restaurant. We used to go there but for various reasons haven't been back for more than a year, time to give it another go.
I was pleased to discover that Charles, who used to be Chef at Driftwoods is now the owner of the restaurant and the Deli, I parked the big red machine where I could keep an eye on it,
the bikers reading this will know what I am talking about, who needs a sea view when there's a motorbike to look at? We sat and perused the menu while we chatted with Charles. Lots of good looking seafood on offer, I chose a starter of "tubes and tentacles" and Janet opted for a prawn cocktail. Both were absolutely delicious;
the calamari had a perfect texture, neither too soft nor too hard, the tentacles were slightly crispy and definitely not oily as can be the case and the tartare sauce tasted home made, maybe it wasn't but it was certainly very delicately flavoured, creamy with thinly sliced vegetables instead of overly large chunks.
Janet's prawn cocktail was perfect, I know because she let me taste it! Lovely fresh prawns and plenty of them, she declared it to be the best prawn cocktail she's ever had!
That was fresh Yellowtail, and a generous portion, lovely stuff!
Janet's deep fried Hake was also fresh and according to her, delicious but she couldn't finish it, perhaps next time she will have two starters instead of a main, or just skip the starter. I was so full I couldn't finish her meal either but I cleaned my own plate!
The prices are reasonable, we had a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and an extra glass of house dry white wine for me, two starters and two mains and with a gratuity for the attentive waitress - I refuse to call her a "waitron" - the bill came to R410, to me that's excellent value at R200 each.
The menu is quite varied, from breakfast through quite a variety of seafood with combos and platters to steaks and burgers, well done Charles, we'll definitely be back and I have no hesitation in recommending the place.
Next time you guys and girls ride out to Langebaan check out the Oystercatcher on the left hand side as you ride in, give it a go, you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Meeulanders 2014 tin run

The Meeulanders motorcycle club members were at it again yesterday, back on another charity run as bikers all over the world are wont to do. This time they occupied space outside four of the larger grocery stores; the Spar in Saint Helena Bay, the Pick and Pay in Vredenburg, the Checkers at the West Coast Mall and the Pick and Pay at the Laguna Mall in Langebaan.
Bikers giving up their time to collect food for needy people. I have posed this question before; how many other types of clubs or groups do this? Is it only bikers? I think so.
I had the best job; riding around to the different locations to take photographs! It was a sunny day but rather cold and windy with the last few chilly tendrils of Winter mixed in with the refreshingly clean Spring fragrances.
 Div., the Club President, Caro and Gerrie had set up at the Saint Helena Bay Spar by the time I got there and were waiting for the business to pick up, I stayed with them for a little while and then headed back to Vredenburg to the Pick and Pay,
There I saw Frank, Charmain, Craig and Monica with Alex and his good lady, they had also just set up and were awaiting donations. The management had allowed them to park the motorbikes close by which is a good way to attract attention.
From there I rode the short distance to the West Coast Mall,
 where things were already on the go and two trolleys were already carrying a fair amount of tinned food. From there I had a nice blast through to Langebaan and the Laguna Mall, by then it was around 11h00 and the place was buzzing.
the "Powers-that-be" had allowed the guys to park their motorbikes inside the passageway and this was real attention grabber, as you can see the two trolleys were well loaded and Soy had already taken one full bag out to the vehicle!
the mall was busy and the customers were in a generous mood, apparently some just donated cash which the members then used to buy tins to put in the trolleys.
Well done guys and girls, you Rock! Last year the club managed to collect an amazing 2,200kgs of food which was shortly thereafter handed over to the Round Table Association for distribution, from what I saw they were well on their way to a similar amount, ya gotta love bikers!
Part two of this story will be the tally-up and the hand over and I'll tell you all about it.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Meeulanders breakfast run to Tulbagh

The weather Gods promised us a perfect biking day; clear sunny skies with very little wind and they weren't wrong, the massive wind generators outside of Hopefield were all standing dead still in the fog patches as we rode through, but I'm jumping the gun a bit here.
We arrived at the Engen One-Stop just before 08h30 and there were already quite a few bikers there, I refuelled while Janet went in to buy a famous Wimpy coffee and a hot chocolate.
 Behind my 2006 RT when I parked was one of the R1150's, the model before mine, it looked to be in very nice condition.
It was being ridden by one of the guys who was thinking of buying it, he was test riding it first.
While we stood around chatting and drinking our beverages the other riders arrived, eventually thirteen bikes with twenty people roared out of the garage parking area and headed off towards Malmesbury.
We rode through several isolated fog patches where the temperature dipped down into the low teens, especially in the river crossings. It was a lovely calm day and it wasn't long before the sun started warming us, I was using my heated grips as I hadn't used my full gloves so my fingers lost feeling every now and then and even though I don't feel the cold like mere mortals do, I needed a bit of help.
Div maintained a steady pace in front, pulling us along at around 140kmh until we neared the sweeping bends approaching the N7, then the front guys opened up and I had to increase my speed to 170kmh just to try and keep up. We had previously agreed to gather at the service station in Malmesbury for a smoke break and a leg stretch so everyone knew where we were going.
From there it was a very pleasant ride through the wine farming area, down past Riebeek and through to Hermon, we hung a left onto the R44 for the 17km stretch through to the "Nuwekloof Pass". This is normally a very busy road with lots of heavy vehicles making a big loop to avoid the toll tunnel near Paarl but thankfully on a Sunday it is much quieter. We were able to maintain a fast pace, sweeping past the few vehicles that were plodding along.
Through the Pass and then the left towards the quaint little town of Tulbagh, the scene of a rather violent earthquake many years ago, I briefly hoped that there wasn't another one due as we lined our machines up outside the "Kuierbossie restaurant" in the main road.
They had organised tables and benches for us on the sunny verandah and we were all soon happily relaxed with our drinks, here Mike and Barbara are chatting with Heinie and Gerda.
Floors enjoying his rum and coke while we waited for our food.
Actually it turned out to be quite a long wait, more like a lunch than a breakfast but the staff and the owner were very pleasant and attentive. I'm sure it's difficult catering for a large group and trying to make sure that everything is ready at the same time. No problem it was good sitting out in the sun enjoying the banter and the beer. I was very hungry by the time the food arrived but it was worth the wait,
I had Waterblommetjie Bredie with rice and pumpkin fritters, the meat was Springbok and there was plenty of it too, a delicious meal which I really enjoyed especially since I haven't had Waterblommetjie since the days when we were involved in the Seafood braai restaurant business about 1000 years ago.
Everyone seemed happy with their meals and it didn't matter that it was lunchtime, the camaraderie was especially enjoyable and the time sped by, soon it was time to head back. People made their own plans for the return journey, some going back the way we had come, some of us opting to go back via Mooreesburg and stop for a beer at the wooden deck
We were on our own all the way through to Mooreesburg, just cruising along through the now nicely warm afternoon sun enjoying the solitude and the smooth purring of the big red machine. Between Riebeek and Mooreesburg I felt Janet sleeping on the back as her helmet occasionally tapped into the back of mine.
The wooden deck restaurant was closed! How can they close on a Sunday? There's lots of passing bikers looking for a drink, we pressed on, cruising at a steady 80 to 90kmh along the short bumpy and potholed stretch to the R45, here five of the guys caught up and passed us heading for the Hopefield hotel for a beer. Disappointingly that was also closed, dilapidated and dreary it looked like it had been closed for a long time.
Now the guys were getting agitated and they set off at speed, I had trouble keeping up and we made seriously good time, low flying towards Vredenberg where we eventually found the bikes parked outside "Juffroshoogte".
 Soon most of the group came in, we stayed long enough for an Absolute Bloody Final and then called it a day, we said our goodbyes and headed home. It had been a great day out on the bike, most enjoyably spent with a great bunch of people and I'm glad we have joined the club.
Like bikers everywhere the Meeulanders are community minded, coming up on 27th September is the annual tin run where members stand outside the local supermarkets in Vredenburg, Saldanha and Langebaan to collect food products for needy people, and also on the cards is a dog food collection for someone they met recently who is struggling to maintain an animal shelter nearby. Good people, bikers.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Polar Bear run, 6th annual run in sunny weather, one heck of a jol

After a bit of confusion as to whether the Polar Bear run was going to take place or fade into obscurity after five years, Greg jumped in to save the day and the run. It was late because some of us were not available at the end of July and it was a bit short notice for some of the guys but what a pleasure having a warm and sunny biker outing! I'm so tired of the rain now and last year's run was a wet one.
It was even a relaxed meeting time; 10h00 at the Langebaan Engen garage, I arrived a bit early to refuel and get some coffee, Greg and Frank were already there and Shawn arrived shortly thereafter.
We waited until way after 10h00 and still the others hadn't arrived, I suggested to Greg that maybe they were waiting at the other Engen garage, the one in Velddrif?
So he phoned and sure enough that's where they were, "Ok take the river road and we'll meet you outside Hopefield." and off we went.
 In the end it was after 11h00 by the time the others arrived because Fungis had had problems with a deflating front tyre so he and Graeme had turned back, they would meet us later at the hotel. We were eventually seven guys on seven bikes and we roared up the hill out of Hopefield, I took point and kept the speed at 130 to 140kmh so as to keep the group together, this was to prove frustrating to Shawn on more than one occasion. Eventually he and I broke away on two occasions to do some speeding.
Fantastic riding weather, there was a little bit of wind near and around Malmesbury, but not enough to ruin the ride. It was just so good to be out on the bike and the comments from the other guys at the stops made it plain that they felt the same way.
The first stop was in Malmesbury to let the group re-gather, some needed fuel and some needed to smoke, in fact just as we got back on the road two of the group missed a turning, Frank and Gideon took the longer route to Wellington but at least we had all agreed on a stop at the Gecko Lounge for beer so they knew where we were going.
The run through to Wellington was great, we were in wine country and the road wound and undulated its way through the verdant green winelands, it was proving very difficult to keep the speed down and Shawn flashed past me, obviously the cold beers were calling out to him.
Five of us pulled into the Gecko Lounge parking area but the other two were not far behind because we were still busy with the first bitterly cold beer when they arrived.
 Here Frank and Gideon enjoy their first drink while we exchanged stories about the ride thus far, from there it was only about 20kms to the turn off to Gouda and we agreed that we would pull over and wait at the turn off, this gave Shawn and I the opportunity to do some fast riding and he and I wound it on, flashing past the slower traffic on the long, almost straight stretch from Wellington to the Gouda turnoff, we both really enjoyed that and in fact we didn't have to wait long at all for the others to join us, obviously they all wanted to ride!
Hands up those of you in the western cape who have been to the Gouda Hotel before? I didn't even know there was a hotel in that dusty little dorp but Greg suggested we check to see if there's anywhere for a dop in Gouda, we still had plenty of time so why not? What a pleasant surprise!
There's a very festive and brightly decorated pub there, the people were friendly and the beers were ice cold, in fact there was batchelor party on the go when we got there! Two drinks, or was it three? Who's counting? We saddled up and headed down the final stretch towards Porterville but first there was the traditional cheese and wine stop to take care of, and it was a pity that Graeme wasn't with us because it had developed from the very first Polar Bear Run when we stopped in a laybye for a leg stretch on the way to Sutherland when he pulled a bottle of wine and some cheese from his pannier and shared it with all of his brothers.
 It was an extremely pleasant stop on the side of the road, I put my bike on its centre stand and used it as a serving table and we gathered around for some banter in the sun with wine, cheese and biscuits, really people, what could be more pleasant than that?
We spent nearly an hour there just enjoying the company and the repast, none of us had had anything to eat until then, so it went down well. From there it was forty kms to Porterville and what a fast forty that was! Everyone seemed to have the need for speed!
We lined the bikes up outside the Porterville Hotel and went inside, apparently we would have to wait about an hour to check in and to take the bikes through to the rear parking area as the owner was not yet there, what to do in the meantime? Head for the bar!
Frank wasted no time and got chatting to some ladies and then they left, quite quickly, better luck next time buddy!
The party got going, by then everyone had arrived including Des, Fungis and Graeme and all of the dirt bike riders who had taken their own off road route and arrived looking dusty and dishevelled but happy, we were fourteen or fifteen revellers by then and the bar was starting to cash in.
The hotel staff provided us with an exceptional buffet supper of roast lamb, potatoes, vegetables, fritters with a delicious mussel starter and desserts - well done guys we needed that. After dinner the party raged on.
Frank's number was drawn as the "lucky" number for one of the Polar Bears, the ice challenge!
Ten minutes like this! He won a meal for two at a restaurant but better luck was to come! A lovely young lady who was visiting for the evening took pity on poor Frank and offered to warm his feet up for him!
How lovely, the only problem was that by then Frank had no feeling in his feet!
 What a lovely young lady she was, a breath of fresh air, so much so that before she left Des awarded her one of the prizes. How nice it is to have people like her brighten up a party, well done young lady, we all loved you.
The party raged on, most of the guys faded out by midnight or 01h00 but not us, Oh no, we partied on. We were informed that the bar would close at 02h00 but in fact it didn't and we were given the opportunity to buy more drinks up until 02h30 so we did!
Frank danced with the lovely young barmaid.
 Frank danced with Shawn, no gender discrimination at our parties!
This photo was taken by the barmaid just before she closed the bar, last men standing, we stocked up and moved outside. Some people smoked a bit of weed and we suffered abuse from those trying to sleep but we ignored them. It was 05h00 when we eventually called it a night, what a party it had been.
This is the sight I woke up to when Des banged on our door at 09h00! "Come on get up, Greg's doing the Polar Bear ride!" I struggled out of bed to face the day.
 Greg's number came up for the ride, he was lucky it was a warm morning because you have to ride up the main street in jocks and boots and by then there was quite an audience, well done Greg!
After a really good buffet breakfast I headed for home, I was feeling rough, lots to drink and maybe just a little bit of the weed?!
Thankfully two years ago I had suggested that we find places close to home for the party so that the Sunday ride would be short, too many times we had ridden up to six hundred kms home on the Sunday and it wasn't so good!
I rode down to the N7 at Pikketburg, sped along the N7 to Mooreesburg and then home along the R45, after a very pleasant ride I was home by 11h30. Another great Polar Bear run with a great bunch of guys, what more could you ask for? By Tuesday I would be feeling alright.