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 21, 2008

Day 2 - Carnarvon to Kimberley

We had a comfortable night and decided to skip the hotel breakfast in favour of getting an early start and breakfast a bit later, which is what we normally do on our tours. It was 144kms to Victoria West and that looked like a good place to find a meal.
I was so into the bike that morning as we headed out of the town and onto the open road, I immediately wound it up to way over the legal limit but who cares? The 120kmh limit out in countryside like that is ridiculous and applies to cars only. Again it was fascinating countryside to ride through but unfortunately the wind was blowing strong from the side which tends to make things a bit uncomfortable for us and also Janet was having a hard time with her back pack, a fact that I was not aware of at that stage.
A massive storm built up across virtually the whole country that day resulting in gale force winds through the western cape which caused major damage on the mussel farm, drenching rains in the eastern cape which brought rivers down in flood and a tornado built up in the Freestate where we were heading in a state of blissful ignorance.

We arrived in Victoria West and found a little roadside cafe where we were able to have an adequate though unremarkable breakfast and from there we joined the N12 heading north towards Kimberley. The road is a lot busier with plenty of 18 wheelers en route to Johannesburg but it is a good road and we were easily able to maintain 140-150kmh, it is 104km to Britstown and we decided to stop there for a beer. Once we joined the N12 the strong wind was from behind and it actually became quite pleasant speeding along in the mid morning sunlight, it wasn't long before we were looking for the hotel in eager anticipation of the first beer of the day. The next stretch was 123kms to Hopetown and by then it was getting hot, I could feel Janet shifting around behind me a lot and this is a sign that she is uncomfortable for some reason. We maintained our good cruising speed and at Hopetown we pulled off and looked for a place to take a break, but what a misnomer "Hopetown" is! What a dump! Eventually I found a coffe shop and had a pretty good Cappucino, we relaxed and then Janet told me that the pack was not working, that it was uncomfortable and was hurting her back because instead of perching on top of the top case it was sliding off whenever the wind blew. This was bad news because I had thought that we had found the solution to our shortage of luggage space.

It was really hot when we mounted up to carry on and I took the pack, at first I tried it on my back but there was not enough space between us so I put it in front of me with my arms through the slings, it fitted there but it was not ideal because my helmet rested on top of it, I couldn't look down very easily, and Janet had to keep repositioning the straps on my shoulders, this was not good!

Soon were speeding off towards Kimberley but with about 100kms to go I could see a massive storm system ahead and slightly to our left, it was a huge dark blue mass and I was pretty sure we were going to get wet.

I increased our speed hoping to get to Kimberley before the storm crossed our path. By the time we were about 40kms out this massive awe inspiring system was some 5kms to the west of us, the most frightening thing was that the centre of it was neon-electric silver with lightening flashes and the last thing I wanted was to be caught in the middle of that! I should have stopped to take some photos but that was the last thing on my mind as I increased our speed to 180kmh and like "storm chasers" we blasted through the darkening countryside. Thankfully the road started edging gradually to the east and we started leaving it behind but as we got to the sign that said "Kimberley 2km" we ran into rain.

The dayglo orange is not really Janet's colour! We rode into Kimberley with fat raindrops and a bit of hail and managed to find a nice B&B right across the road from the big hole area, we were going to be there for two nights so we could offload and relax. I went to a nearby bottle store and bought two bottles of wine and a bottle of Johhny Walker black label as part of the celebrations.


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