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.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Four days on the road

We got back today from a really good road trip, we only did about 1,000kms in the four days but it was a very enjoyable ride and we renewed an old friendship.It was a rather cold, foggy morning as we set out on the road, we had to leave early because I was taking the big red machine to the BMW dealership in Capetown for its 50,000km service and the earlier I could get there, the earlier they would be finished. It was an epic battle with Capetown's rush hour traffic but I quite enjoy that so we had no trouble lane-splitting and we got the bike in on time.
Rather conveniently the BMW dealership is at the famous Victoria and Alfred Waterfront so we spent the morning there, we went to see the fantastic movie "Avatar" which we both enjoyed tremendously and for lunch I tucked into a delicious pan of prawns.Mid afternoon saw us on the road, we took the N2 as far as Somerset West, through the Strand and then onto the wonderfully picturesque Clarence drive which hugs the coast all the way to Betty's Bay. Perhaps because it was Monday that fantastic road was not very busy and we were able to enjoy it.
We arrived in Hermanus at about 16h00 and got settled into our accommodation, the place was very ordinary except for the fact that the stairway was so steep and narrow that I decided not to even try to carry the suitcases up!
This picture was taken from the landing next to the bedroom, looking down the stairs - can you imagine trying to carry a couple of suicases up those stairs?! We left the cases downstairs and ferried our clothes, toiletries and whisky up, much safer that way.Then we went to meet our old friends John and Tina, lovely people that we hadn't seen for at least 37 years, maybe even a bit longer! We sat together at their favourite spot on the shore and chatted over a couple of drinks and soon it was like we hadn't even been apart, it was wonderful and we will be seeing more of each other. How valuable is friendship like that?
Later that evening they took us to one of the most fantastic restaurants that I have ever been to; the Quayside Cabin in the harbour - Man I have to go back there!
The kitchen is in a container and I think the whole place seats only about 40 people, it is busy almost every night so you have to get there early or try to book a table. It is a seafood restaurant only so if you want meat don't go there, it is in the harbour with a beautiful view of the bay and the mountains over Hermanus and the food is amazing! The whole atmosphere, the place and the setting is just right, you just know the food will be great.
John and I had a starter of "Whitebait" which is the deep fried anchovy, I haven't had it for ages only because it is so hard to get and it was delicious. My main course was a fabulously fresh fillet of Kob (Argyrosomus hololepidotus) an underrated but very flavourful fish, especially when fresh. It was a truly memorable evening, the highlight of our trip.
Tuesday morning we woke up to the sound of rain! "Don't worry," I said to Janet with more confidence than I felt, "it won't rain for long, you'll see, after breakfast it will be over." Hah!!! We had a good breakfast at the "Mug and Bean" and when we walked out it was still raining, we pulled our rain suits on and got going - do we care? Actually we got caught in pretty hard rain and the visibility was extremely poor at times so we rode about 75kms and sought refuge at the Caledon Hotel and Casino, this turned out to be rather expensive refuge because Janet couldn't find her Mojo, she was convinced that the machines were out to get her! Normally Janet does quite well with the slot machines and has often paid for the evening from her winnings, not this time! I will have to take her to the local Mykonos Casino so that she can get her Mojo back.
After a good breakfast the next morning we mounted up and rode back down the R316 towards Napier, only because it is such a wonderful piece of road and I hadn't been able to enjoy it the previous day, we turned onto the R326 and enjoyed the 26km stretch to the N2. It was an overcast morning but according to the forcast there would be no rain, the bike was performing beautifully after the service, smooth and powerful - a sensation that is hard to describe but easy to enjoy.
We joined the N2 highway and surged along the easy 70kms to the town of Swellendam where we stopped for petrol and beer. Whilst enjoying the beer the landlord remarked on something that I had heard about from someone else but had not seen; a fresh water spring in the Tradouw's Pass where someone had long ago cemented a pipe and the water trickled out next to the road, clear, cold and fresh. I determined to find it, I had a bottle of whisky so off we went.
The Pass is tricky, tight hairpin bends and a narrow road that requires concentration. I had a rough idea where the spring was but it still took me two tries before I found it, we had to turn back for another slow search but it was worth it!
Johnny Walker Red and fresh, clear mountain spring water! Come on, how cool is that? As I have said before; "Life is too short for cheap whisky." and if you can mix it like that then what could be better?
Don't worry it was a very watered down whisky! We sat there for a while and just enjoyed the quiet, peaceful mountain pass - it was a magical time.
Soon it was time to get going, we could easily have stayed there for another dop but that wouldn't have been a good idea and anyway we wanted to check in at the "Karoo Saloon" on the R62.Cape bikers know this place, it is a biker pub on the famous R62. We pulled in and had a beer but there was no one there so after a brief stop we were on the way again.
From there we rode all the way through Montagu, then we took the R318 to the N1 highway and I must admit that by the time we stopped at the intersection with the N1 I was seriously saddle sore, Janet assured me that she was as well as she laboriously climbed off the bike. We walked it out for a bit, "Which way do you want to go?" I asked her, "55kms to Worcester or 83kms to Ceres?"
She opted for Ceres which was what I had had in mind too, so we mounted up, I kicked up the side stand and we powered out onto the N1 heading north - Man I was in my element! It was just over half an hour that we cruised into Ceres and booked into the Ceres Inn for a comfortable night. That had been just over 400kms, not a lot for us but we hadn't ridden any major distance for quite a while so I think we were not quite "bike-fit".
The last day was an easy ride home, I was quite sorry to end the trip. I took it easy because it was only a two hour ride although I did get a "finger-wag" from a traffic cop who was stopping traffic going the other way - Who me, speeding? No way Man!
We still have three days leave, back to work on Monday - maybe there will be time for another ride before then?

No comments: