It was Friday afternoon, about 15h00 by the time we had got our luggage packed and loaded, we had both been able to get off work early and I left the choice of transport up to Janet; the bike or the bakkie? There's more space to carry the things you buy with the bakkie but happily Janet chose the big red machine, I was hoping like hell she would but I was prepared to drive there if that was what she wanted. I really don't like going anywhere in the bakkie, why drive when you can ride?
It was fairly chilly as we headed out on the R45, around 17celsius and the sky was clear but with a little bit of cloud hanging over our destination. According to the weather service it would clear, Janet didn't even ask, she doesn't trust me or the weather service!
The R45 is boringly straight but fast and it wasn't long before we were slowing down for the left turn to Mooreesburg. There were three eighteen wheelers lined up on the side of the road, the drivers standing chatting as I blipped down through the gears and swung a stylishly low left turn. One raised his hand in greeting as I accelerated up again, I knew what he was thinking; "Man that Beemer sounds sweet!" because my bike does sound great with the new zorst pipe.
I blipped the throttle for their enjoyment (and mine) but then had to slow down because that's a terribly narrow and bumpy stretch of road, we continued at a more sedate pace and it was very pleasant just cruising along through the late afternoon sunlight, there was no wind and very little traffic which made it even more agreeable.
Alongside the fence a tractor was pulling a plough, churning up the ground and as we passed the earthy, evocative smell briefly filled our helmets
In Mooreesburg we stopped at "Die Oude Stoep", a pleasant bar and eatery with a wooden deck right next to the pavement, for a beer which turned into two.
While we were sitting there chatting two different SAP vans made several slow passes, watching bikers? One of the policemen nodded to Janet each time they went past.
After a very pleasant break we got back out on the road, a short 40kms to our destination for the weekend; the picturesque little town of Riebeek Kasteel and our friend Amanda's house. It was a lovely ride, there was just one heavy grey cloud backed up against the mountain which gave us just a few little spots of rain, nothing to worry about, it would be gone by morning. A great start to our weekend at the annual olive festival.
Saturday morning our friends all arrived and we spent most of the rest of the day exploring the festival, it was crowded but very well organised although this year there didn't seem to be any places where you could just sit down and have a drink!
We bought some delicious olives, bread, various supplies and then drove through to "Allesverloren" wine estate where there was a serious vibe going on, after a couple of bottles of wine, (bear in mind there were now eight of us!) we moved through to "Ed's Diner at The Barn" where there was a very good party going on.
There was a duo playing classic Rock favourites, much more to our liking so we settled down at a table to relax.
We spent about an hour and a half or so soaking up the vibe and then the band packed up! Time to move on, back to the house for a braai, lots of laughs and good times with good friends.
Everyone was up fairly early the next morning, not too many hangovers in evidence. Janet and I made breakfast for everyone, I made a fry-up with the leftovers from the previous evening's braai and Janet fried eggs.
After that it was pretty much time to go, the weather was beautiful and I was looking forward to the ride, first though it was time for the "Ladies by the Elderly people sign" photograph.
In 2010 it was just Janet in front of the sign, last year it was Janet, Caroline and Amanda and this year there were five of them with Janet and Pat - how many will it be next year?
We took our leave of our friends with promises to get together again as soon as possible, and of the lovely Riebeek Valley which is a very popular breakfast run venue for bikers, every Sunday the restaurants are busy with lots of gleaming chrome and metal machines lined up outside.
After 32kms to the N7 I turned south to Malmesbury instead of north to Mooreesburg, I wanted the slightly longer ride and the N7 is a good fast ride. 32kms to the R45, going that way adds about 80kms to the ride, but hey isn't that what it's all about?
We arrived back in Saldanha Bay just after 13h00 after a really enjoyable cruise, I was taking it fairly easy, and went to the Beach Club for a cold one. What a day! What a weekend! The bike performed flawlessly even though it needs a new battery.