Sunday dawned clear and calm, no wind, one of those wonderful days that we often get on the west coast during winter and I was itching to get out on the road. For a long time now, as you will probably have noticed, all I have been able to write about is riding to the pub for a couple of beers, this time I felt like a decent long ride and a lunch somewhere in South Africa.
We started the day in our usual manner; in the spa bath with a bottle of bubbly, and here I mean a bottle of sparkling wine not a bottle of bubble bath! We use JC LeRoux Sparkling sauvignon blanc, nothing fancy but one we really enjoy and it is here that Janet and I sort out a lot of things and it was then that we decided to ride to Wellington for lunch, we had been to "Bella Roma" once before and the food had been great so we decided to give it another go - the crumbed pork chops had been excellent!
We eventually got going at around eleven, I felt so good settling into the ride as we rode out of Saldanha and I could feel that Janet was comfortable behind me, she is an excellent pillion rider and normally sits on her own without touching me. The only times that I feel her is when we dip suddenly into a sharp turn and her knees close in against me temporarily, or when I brake she leans in against my back and if I start going too fast she taps my back and shouts "hey, slow down!" Other than that I feel her when she falls asleep because her helmet presses against mine.
Come to think about it I feel her most of the bloody time!
The road through to Malmesbury is about 90 kilos from the R27 and it is a bit of a boring road but it is generally in excellent condition, it seems as though the traffic cops also find it boring because I have never seen a speed trap along that road and so we usually blast along there, soon we had settled into our usual 150kmh and I really enjoyed sweeping past the cars and trucks, most of whom made way for us. It was such a pleasure to be out in the open air and it wasn't long before we were cruising into Malmesbury.
I pulled into a garage to fill the tank and we had a bit of a leg stretch and a chat;
"Lovely ride hey?"
"Ok let's go."
Back on the bike and out on the road towards Paarl, I decided to take the slightly longer route past Riebeek Kasteel and Hermon and as we topped the pass on the Kasteelberg we gazed down into the Riebeek valley which was then shrouded in a dense white fog. I silently greeted my old buddy Paul whose ashes are scattered there. We dived into the long sweeping left hander down into the valley and waved a greeting to three bikers heading past in the opposite direction, brothers with a common love of biking. Shit I was in my element!
The road to Hermon has been resurfaced and is now a fast ride, a real pleasure and soon we reached the intersection with the R44, I swung a right and we cruised the last 26kms into Wellington. A quick stop at the "Duke of Wellington", a biker friendly pub where a painted sign on the wall warns pool players that they will forfeit R10 of their deposit if there are any footprints on the wall!
The last time we walked in there a biker came up to me and shook my hand saying; "I remember you, we sat and got pissed together at the Spider Rally!"
"Yeah sure, howsit?" I replied, because I was there and it could have been true.
We had a bit of a chat and then headed hungry for the restaurant.
After a really good lunch it was time to head back, this time I took the more direct route back to Malmesbury along the R45 because it was quite a long way and I was expecting Janet to have her usual kip, but as we blasted along through the lovely warm, calm afternoon I could feel that she was still awake! "She must also be enjoying the ride." I thought as I opened the throttle just that little bit more.
After a really fast, thoroughly enjoyable 300km round trip we arrived back in Vredenburg and went to; you guessed it, the "Blue Diamond" for a couple of beers. Frank pulled in on his brand new burgundy coloured FJR1300 which he is busy running in.
I don't envy him that chore, it's 1000kms at no more than 4000rpm which only just equates to 120kmh, I had to do it as well and Janet was often nudging me to slow back down as the needle went past the 120 mark, actually it was a good thing that Jan was with me because my bike got properly run in.
Frank is trying to complete his run in before our "Polar Bear" run to Sutherland on the 8th August, I'm really looking forward to that one and I'll tell you all about it later.