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.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Summer ride, part one - the journey

I had lucked out on a week off work for the first week in January and suggested to Frank that we do a ride with an overnight somewhere, he readily agreed and I then started planning. In the meantime Frank told Danny about the ride and he and Kat decided to join us.
So it was that just before ten on Wednesday (Danny and Kat were late!) we roared out of the Engen One-stop car park and headed inland, into the blazing heat!We took the R45 through Hopefield and Malmesbury and turned off to go through Wellington, it was getting incredibly hot by then and I knew that I would have to stop for the obligatory smoke break so I started looking for a shady spot at the bottom of the Bain's Kloof Pass.
While they had a smoke I had a cold beer out of the cooler bag in my topcase, by then we were measuring temperatures in the high 30s and as we ride with ATGATT we were really feeling it! The Bain's Kloof Pass is an incredibly picturesque area with majestic mountain views and a narrow road that winds itself up to the top with a dizzying drop on the one side shielded by boulders.
I have often thought that these boulders would probably stop a car from going over the edge, they would probably stop a bike from going over the edge too, but they wouldn't stop the rider!
It is not a very fast pass for us though, I take it a bit easy so I let Danny go on ahead on his GSXR and I just enjoyed the scenery.
By now Kat was on the back of Frank's bike, she was tired of being perched on the pillion of the GSXR, and she took all of these road pictures. Dan and I pulled into the parking area of the "Calabash Bush Pub" at the bottom of the pass, Frank who had dropped back a bit just roared past and I said to Danny; "Looks like Frank's buggered off with your wife!" he just looked and said "Don't worry he'll soon bring her back!" Sure enough, he did.
A couple of real HOT guys! By the time we pulled off the road my thermometer was registering 45 degrees (that's 113f) and certainly the hottest I have ever seen there. I had a water bottle in the topcase which I had frozen the previous night so I kept taking in cold water whenever we stopped, but by then it was time for another cold beer!
Danny, Frank and me enjoying a break and a cold beverage, next it was up through the beautiful Mitchell's Pass to Ceres for a lunch at the local Spur.
Danny and me pulling into Ceres in the baking heat, the restaurant's air conditioner wasn't working properly and it was struggling to cope, we had a light lunch and after a bit of a relax we got on the way again.
We still had about 210kms to do that afternoon to get to our destination and the heat was taking its toll, we were riding at a good pace through some of the Western Cape's most beautiful scenery but by the time we were climbing up the Piekenierskloof Pass I found that my attention was starting to wander, I was losing concentration!
We pulled into a roadside cafe at the top of the pass to cool off and I quickly absorbed two ice cold Cokes,
We sat in the shade for a while and poured cold water over our heads and drank sugar cooldrinks to build our energy levels back up. Only about 100kms to go but it was seeming like a long way!
Here we are turning off the N7 with only 30kms to go to the West Coast Hacienda, this is a lovely road with a seemingly endless uphill left-hand sweep that I enjoyed at speed and soon we were pulling into the parking area. It was just close to 6pm, it had been a ride of 384kms but it really seemed a hell of a lot longer and I was pretty tired.
There's lots of these horrible looking things around that area; they are harmless crickets but just look at the size of them compared to Danny's bike keys!
We got ourselves settled, I even had a swim which was refreshing even though the water was luke-warm and then it was time to hit the pub! In my next post I'll cover the evenings festivities, the sleepless night and the short ride home.


Raftnn said...

Man, I thought it was hot here at the moemnt, but you got it much worse, love the write up and pics, not keen on crickest though! It that sort of heat you will need to be drinking at least a litre of water an hour, otherwise you mind starts to wander.

Rhonda said...

Your busy pouring cold water over self to cool off and I'm freezing my arse off here in the Northern tundra of Montana, it was a whole 6 degrees farhenehit today.

the rider said...

Hi Raftnn, thanks for the visit and the comment. We are in the middle of our summer now but it doesn't usually get that hot we normally only see mid to high 20's with occasional extremes.

Rhonda, yes I've been reading about the extremely cold weather you've been getting, we don't get that cold either, can ride pretty much all year round.

Baron's Life said...

Wonderful read here...you're right about the boulders not stopping a rider going over the top..the end would be similar to that which happened to the driver in a: it's a mad mad mad world...where he just kicked the bucket...so better be safe than sorry...that cold beer and cold water stuff looked good... Have you ever had chocolate coated roaches or crickets? They are a delicacy second only to Portuguese grilled sardines and garlic buttered prawns. I look forward to reading about the night festivities and all the illicit activities that no doubt took place. Cheers

the rider said...

Hey Baron I have just been trying to picture one of those things dipped in chocolate! That's enough to put me off my food - and that's saying a lot believe me!