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.

Monday, February 15, 2010

2010 Freedom Road Rally - day one

Friday was frustrating, I arranged to get finished early on the mussel farm so that we could get out on the road but things just seemed to take ages and by the time I got home it was already after 10h00. I had done almost all of my packing the night before so the big red machine was pretty much loaded and ready to go, all I had to do was throw in my toiletries, get into my riding gear and get going. By the time I got out on the road I was sweating, I had arranged to meet Frank between 10h45 and 11h00 and I had to do some high speed riding to get there on time but I managed it and pulled into the meeting place pretty much on time.
Frank was just finishing his cigarette as I pulled in, we shook hands and discussed the route and our speed, I was by then starting to relax. I hadn't got off the bike, just choosing to sit there and try to get into the day and the upcoming ride, I was still pretty uptight and I slowly zipped up my jacket - which up until then I had left open because I was so damned hot, "Let's GO!" I urged Frank and we swung out onto the tar and accelerated up along the R45, another bike rally and another adventure awaited us.
Over 400kms to ride, I let my shoulders relax and dropped my arms a bit as I flicked up through the gears and settled into a steady 140 to 150kmh cruise - "ALRIGHT!" I shouted into my helmet, "This is going to be good." I concentrated on relaxing for a while which sounds like a bit of a contradiction, but any biker will tell you that it's no good going into a high speed corner feeling tense. I moved my feet back a bit so that the balls of my feet were on the pegs and focussed on counter steering through the corners and man did it feel good!
We ate up the kilometres, the roads were busy and we maintained our speed although I lost sight of Frank in my rear view mirrors from time to time. I was thoroughly enjoying myself duelling with the cars and trucks on the narrow roads and it was a very enjoyable two hours later that we pulled into Worcester and stopped at the Dros restaurant for our first cold beer of the day. We stood around drinking the beer and congratulating ourselves on our superlative riding skills, by then I was feeling absolutely great.
I suggested that we press on to Robertson, stop for another beer there and then carry on through to Stilbaai and Frank agreed that this sounded good. Mount up, settle in and get riding - Man by then I was in my element!
The big red machine was performing flawlessly, smooth and powerful and doing whatever I wanted - and what I wanted was speed! That is one of my favourite roads and we set out to enjoy it, we did some high speed riding and unfortunately came up on the scene of a very serious accident involving an SUV and an 18 wheeler about halfway along. We were able to bypass the incredibly long queue of cars and trucks and squeeze through the small gap amongst the Police vehicles and ambulances and in somewhat sombre mood we continued through to Robertson.
Robertson/Ashton and then one of my favourite roads; the 46km stretch to Swellendam on the N2 Highway which we did at speed. We joined the N2 highway and immediately there were hundreds of bikes all headed for the same place, what a pleasure it was overtaking our brothers or being overtaken and waving a greeting - "See you there Bro."
Just after 5pm we pulled into the rally site and found our friends who had long ago set up and were enjoying a drink and a chat.
Willie, Johan and Div were quite relaxed and didn't help us set up our tents other than to offer the odd bit of advice and encouragement. Frank and I have lots of rally experience and the first thing we do is set up our tents and inflate our mattresses before we start to party! It wasn't long before we joined in.
Once we were set up it was time to start the party and we headed into the site to see who was around, our old friend the rally chef Dalton was there and his tent/restaurant is always a good place so we settled in there.
You will all be aware by now that this is my favourite "Celebrity Chef" and his food is great. We spent the whole evening partying there and interacting with the people who stopped in for a meal.
Good friends and good food with a couple of dops (drinks), what could be better? Dalton likes it when we party at his place because it creates a vibe that others enjoy and he joins us whenever he gets a gap. Suffice it to say that this went on for quite a long time and I'm not actually sure what time I got to my tent.What I can tell you is that in amongst all of the partying we did a lot of good eating. I stumbled off to my tent sometime after midnight looking forward to a good night's sleep. It had been a great day and I was looking forward to Saturday, Man I was tired but I was feeling great!

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