The big day arrived! Exactly two years since I have attended any rallies and I was seriously looking forward to this one, especially the ride - as we all know it's not about the destination, it's the journey.
I was up good and early, I had packed the bike the previous day, all that was needed was to throw my toothbrush into a bag and get going. We had agreed to meet at 07h00 at the Engen One Stop and it now seemed that we were to be five people on four motorbikes, great stuff.
From the left, Mark, Frank (talking) Mark's wife Charmaine and Hannes, whom Frank calls "Harness". We stood around talking for a while, drinking Wimpy's famous coffee and planning the ride and soon it was time to go. As we headed out onto the R45 there was quite a bit of fog but there was no wind and it was a comfortably moderate 17 degrees, perfect riding weather.
We settled into a steady speed, 140 to 150kmh, not in too much of a hurry and I soon relaxed into the bike, I let my shoulders drop and settled my hands lightly on the grips, the balls of my feet on the pegs once I was in top gear and felt my senses awakening, the wind and road noise a welcome background to my wandering thoughts; Nirvana.
All too soon the first smoke break, after only about one hour we stopped in Riebeek outside the petrol station. In front of Frank (who was talking then) you can see Hannes' very nice BMW R1100S which attracted a lot of attention.
On the road again and an interesting riding area from Riebeek to Worcester, we were able to wind it up a bit but unfortunately the traffic can be a bit problematic with many 18 wheelers clogging the biking roads avoiding the toll tunnel near Paarl, quite a lot of repairs going on as well. Inevitably we became separated so we pulled off onto the side of the N1 just outside of Worcester to gather - and to have another smoke break!
By then we were feeling hungry, it was 09h30, time for something to eat so we decided to fuel up in Robertson some 50kms further and have a Wimpy breakfast. That stretch from Worcester to Robertson is one of my favourite rides and with the weather getting warmer but still lovely and calm we blasted down that wide, smooth road happily acknowledging with a raised hand or flashing hazards, the cages that pulled aside so as not to impede our enjoyment.
We had a good breakfast and feeling much refreshed we resumed our journey, the next stop was to be at the iconic "Ronnie's Sex Shop" on the R62. It's only about 100kms but it is a lovely 100kms; through Ashton and Montagu and then the lovely 62km stretch through to Barrydale, it's a smooth, wide and fast road with a pass and a couple of winding areas thrown in for good measure. By then I was feeling really settled in, the big red machine was purring along and feeling as good as I was, by the time we pulled into the crowded parking area in front of Ronnie's I was ready for a cold beer even if it was seriously over-priced at R20 per tin! It went down so well that I had another.
The rest of the ride went well, a fantastic blast down through "Garcia's Pass" to Riversdale where we stopped for another smoke break. A short ride to Albertinia for refuel (and a smoke break!) and the last 50kms to Mosselbay was a drag with a seriously congested road but eventually we arrived.
Booking in procedures taken care of and the first person I saw was my old friend Des Pistorius from Durban;
He is very well known in South African biking circles and attends rallies all over the country, I last saw him in the Western Cape when he went through on a scooter towing a trailer whilst on an epic trip around the country, an old school biker!
It was easy to find the Meeulanders campsite and what a pleasure it was to find that I didn't have to erect my tent! That is one of the big hassles which must be done as soon as you arrive, if not you sleep on the ground because after a major party and in the early hours of the morning one is not capable of erecting a tent! It turned out that Anton's tent was not going to be used so it was available for me - Yes please!
Div and the other members of the club had arrived the day before and had established a very comfortable camp overlooking the beach with all of the tents surrounding two large gazebo's which were to prove very handy the next day.
We settled in, poured a drink and greeted the friends who were already there, Frank's tent had also been set up for him. I wandered around a bit to see what was going on but returned to the camp for a chat around the fire.
It was a lovely calm and warm evening, the conversation and the alcohol were stimulating but although some of the people were going to braai, I went off in search of sustenance from the myriad food stalls down on Rally Road;
At a Cape Malay foodstall I ate some delicious "Samoosas" while I watched the chef prepare a delicious looking "Bunny-chow", I was tempted but decided to press on;
The "Shwarmas" were also tempting but I eventually settled on some "Avfal Potjie" (Offal Pot) which was rather good. By then the crowd was flowing down towards the main tent and the Meeulanders had finished their braai and had also congregated there, it was crowded;
but that was mainly because the wet tee shirt competition was on the go, I made my way as far forward as I could without seeming too eager!
I don't know what the "horny" guy was doing on the stage! Eventually a winner was chosen and to end off she displayed her assets and for some obscure reason that was the only photograph that was blurred! Some things just ain't fair!
To be continued.......
To be continued.......