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, November 1, 2010

Return to Pakhuis Pass

Saturday started off well, the weather was good and we hadn't really planned anything. We were up pretty early and it was while we were enjoying our bottle of JC Le Roux Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc in the spa bath that the day's events began to take shape.
This where we do our planning and our thinking on a Saturday and Sunday morning, as well as on any public holidays that might happen along and it's amazing how intelligent we become!
This is after the more serious topic of which glass is half full and which one is half empty, Janet works on the principal of "You pour, I choose." So I have to be particularly careful how I share the wine out!
It was during this discussion period that we agreed to go to Marius' place; the West Coast Hacienda and I leapt out of the bath (when the bottle was finished) to find out if he had accommodation for us. "I've got a nice room for you," he assured me "I'll see you later." and so it was that scarcely an hour and a half later, about the time it takes for Janet to blow dry her hair and pack a couple of pairs of shoes, we were on the big red machine and heading out for another adventure.
We stopped at a cafe in the little seaside village of Dwaarskersbos (Cross-candle-bush?!) for a toasted saarmie and a cup of coffee and then had a very pleasant and relaxed cruise through to Eland's Bay, through Liepoldtville and eventually to the Hacienda just outside of Graafwater, only 137kms arriving at just about midday.
We had a cold beer at the bar, then unpacked our luggage so that we had empty panniers for the exploration of the pass, I wanted to be able to take off my jacket as it was already very warm. The West Coast Hacienda is a very pleasant oasis in the summer, well appointed chalets with plenty of braais, a swimming pool and a nice bar with a pool table. A good place to relax, but we wanted to get our exploration done first, we would relax later.
We had a very comfortable room, a big bed with an en suite bathroom and a well appointed kitchenette. We unpacked our stuff and headed out back onto the road for the 30km ride into Clanwilliam and then up to the Pakhuis Pass.
We had been through this area with Dick and Janet a few weeks ago but we hadn't done much exploring and I had been dying to get back and park the bike and just walk amongst the rocks.
So that is what we did and it was incredible, those rock formations are unbelievable! It is a quiet and majestic area
with patches of colour in amongst the rugged rocks which have been sculpted into fantastic shapes by the wind and the weather over the years.
I climbed up off the road to get a better view and in places the rocks look like the ones you can buy in a garden centre, those made out of fibreglass and painted to look real, the place is magical!
We wandered around for about an hour and then got back on the bike to ride to the shady laybye where I had opened the oysters for Dick, Janet and Rick and the last visit. Interestingly there was no sign of the oyster shells which I had left decorating the rock.
We relaxed with a cold glass of Robertson Sauvignon Blanc and enjoyed the solitude, every now and then a car would go past but we were pretty much alone up there.
Just the three of us on a quiet mountain pass on a warm day with some chilled wine, it doesn't get a hell of a lot better than this!
The area is ruggedly beautiful, it was while we were parked in this spot that we saw two big baboons, the first we had seen in the area but they were walking away from us and didn't seem interested so we were not worried about them.
We made sure that we had had our fill of the Pakhuis Pass and then headed back down through Clanwilliam and back to the Hacienda, Janet wanted her afternoon kip and I wanted a couple of games of pool with my friend Johan, after that it was the very disappointing Currie Cup rugby final - a very full and enjoyable day though.That lovely calm and warm evening we had a braai outside our chalet and what a lovely relaxed evening that was, every now and then I wandered over to the bar for another couple of drinks for us. Before leaving home I had prepared some meillies in tinfoil which was our starter, then our main course was lamb chops and venison wors with potato and onion, a lovely meal out in the bush.
After dinner we relaxed next to the fire for about an hour, it had been a really lovely day out on the motorbike and by then I was feeling really laid back.........my bed was going to be good!
The next morning we had a really good breakfast and then got ready for the ride home, I had discovered, much to my dismay the previous day, that my back tyre was in a really bad way. A couple of other bikers had pointed it out to me as well and I had genuinely not been aware of it, for some reason I had missed it! As we were getting ready to leave we met a brother biker "Jasper" who was on his way home to Velddrif, he said that there was no way he was going to let us ride alone and stand next to the road, he would ride with us.
In spite of my protestations that we would be okay, I was going to take it easy all the way home he insisted that he would ride with us and sure enough he stuck with us at 80kmh all the way to Velddrif! As we pulled into the town he passed us and signalled us to follow him to his house where he gave us a much welcomed beer, it had been a tense ride although my fuel consumption had never been better!
That is what the brotherhood of biking is all about, I had never met Jasper before but he was prepared to shadow us home at a boring speed to make sure that we were alright and I would have done the same for him - many thanks my brother. This is what my tyre looked like when we got home, it's always like this; flat in the middle with plenty of unused tread on the sides because we have to ride for at least an hour in any direction before we even get to any decent corners! Oh well it's all good whatever you do, and at least I can say that I get my money's worth out of my tyres!
Our over night stay at the West Coast Hacienda cost us less than R500! Marius gives bikers a special accommodation deal and the breakfast is great, the booze is cheap and the rooms are clean and comfortable - give him a call on 0725379991 - it's a great place for exploring the area. We'll be back!


Geoff James said...

Gorgeous photos and what a wonderful spot to spend quality time Andrew!

As a matter of interest, I only tried sparkling sauvignon blanc for the first time at our son's wedding earlier in the year and really enjoyed it. Oh, and BTW, Jennie always applies the "you break and I choose" rule to and bar of good chocolate which we might share!

Anonymous said...

Wow that tyre looks sick !! I have done about 9400kms on a Continental Road Attack - nice tyre fantastic grip but not so good on the mileage - will change before 10000kms - front still fine so am using same tyre again - Pakhuispas is beautiful - must go there again sometime - doing the UlyssesWC Ostrich run next weekend 1500kms in 3 days CT-Oudtshoorn, then Oudts - Jeffaries Bay-Oudtshoorn,final day Oudts to CT have some 30 people going gonna be fun cao Dick