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.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Day 11 - Joubertina to Robertson

When we had been planning the trip this was to have been the last day, we had thought we would be home sometime on Thursday but we still had a long way to go, we would just have to see what happened. That is one the really enjoyable aspects of this kind of trip, it just doesn't matter when you get home, we just had to be back at work on Monday. We left the guest house just after 0800 and as we pulled out of the driveway and turned towards Oudtshoorn it was a beautiful, clear and calm day and there didn't seem to be any traffic. I accelerated up through the gears and soon we were at our cruising speed, just the two of us on a fantastic motorbike revelling in the freedom of the open road. Damn I wish I could do this all the time!
Have you ever tried to read "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" by Robert M.Pirsig? It is an incredibly difficult book to read, maybe because he is intelligent! I have had that book in my meditation bookcase for more than a year and every now and then I read a bit of it and try to cut through his dissertation on "Quality" and how important it is, and every tenth page you get to read about where he and his son are travelling and then you have to read about "Phaedrus" and it takes you a while to realise who that was, for quite a while I found myself thinking about that book and maybe I was getting an inkling about where he was and what was going on and then I'd shake my head and get back into the present, but that is what it is like out on the open road; your thoughts wander and wonder and you are able to examine thoughts and find out what things mean. Man that's deep!
Because the road is quite bumpy in places and also narrow we took it easy, we weren't in any hurry so we just enjoyed the ride and when you start having those kind of thoughts it's amazing how quickly 180kms goes past. As I concentrated on negotiating the twists and turns and the occasional passes I could feel that breakfast feeling coming on, we were heading for a City so I was looking forward to finding a Wimpy - there's nothing like a Wimpy breakfast when you are travelling.
We weren't disappointed either, we eventually found a Wimpy in the centre of the town and what was most pleasing was where I was able to park my baby! Check it out!Any biker will tell you that the thing you like most about a restaurant or bar is being able to keep an eye on your bike so I was really happy with that arrangement. We had a really good breakfast and a bit of a break and were soon ready to carry on.
Oudtshoorn to Calitzdorp is 50kms of good fast riding, pretty much straight and boring so whenever we have travelled that road we sit at 150-160kmh and at that speed it doesn't take long before you are cruising through that little town.
After Calitzdorp however, is the amazing and beautiful "Huisrivier Pass" and it's one of those many passes where you have a dilemma; do you go fast to enjoy the curves or do you go slowly to enjoy the wonderful scenery? We compromised and stopped for a photo.
Can you imagine riding that wonderful road? It was so good and the big red machine was performing so well, never a hint of any trouble with plenty of power at my right hand.
After the next town; Ladismith we decided that we would stop for a beer (or two) at the "Country Pumpkin" in Barrydale, one of our favourite biker friendly destinations, it was only 75kms but for some reason we were both getting sore saddle muscles quite early! What the hell was going on? It must have been the four and a half day break!
The road is beautiful, it curves and undulates through wonderful scenery and you dont have time to settle into a routine, as you negotiate a bend or top a rise you see the road lying invitingly ahead for a few kilometres before it disappears around another series of bends or some more inviting hills.
All the time you are busy; your right hand is working the throttle with two fingers on the brake lever, you left is working the clutch as you dive into corners, looking for the apex and watching the disappearing point while your feet shift the gears and hover over the brake pedal, MAN this type of travelling does not compare to sitting bored and bleary-eyed in a car, does it?
Eventually we flashed past "Ronnie's Sex Shop" and I was thinking; "Cool, it's not far to Barrydale now." but it seemed to take ages! The road seemed to curve and undulate through bloody boring scenery and as we negotiated a bend or topped a rise I could see more of the bloody road lying ahead for a few kilometres before it disappeared around another series of bloody bends or some more bloody hills!
I was looking forward to some beer and I don't remember Barrydale being so far from Ronnie's Sex Shop! Eventually as we cruised down in to the village we were both feeling pretty bum-sore and it was with quite some relief that we stood next to the table at the Country Pumpkin and drank a bitterly cold Castle.
After an hour we got back on the bike feeling much better and accelerated out along the wonderful 62km stretch to Montagu, that is one of the most enjoyable roads and I have always thoroughly enjoyed it. I believe that the traffic authorities have vowed never to do any speed traps along there and so far I haven't been caught doing my usual 170+kmh.
After six or seven days on the bike I feel incredibly "united", "at one with" or "part of" my motorbike and we dive into corners and accelerate up mountain passes with aplomb. I feel more comfortable in left hand corners for some reason and really revel in uphill left handers, but we enjoy them all.
It was all to soon that we were cruising into Montagu and through that pretty little town, 28kms later and we were riding into Robertson. We dismounted at the old railway station and had a beer at "Soprano's" to discuss our options; although it was only 1400 we could;
a) press on to Saldanha, about 250kms
b) ride through to Worcester and look for accommodation, about 50kms
c) stay in Robertson and carry on tomorrow
After two cold beers (because by then it was incredibly hot) we decided on option c., I really didn't want our last home stretch to be a pain in the arse so we booked into the Grand Hotel and had a wonderful evening, Janet did really well on the slot machines and we had a delicious meal and a comfortable night.

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