The weather forecast for Sunday was seriously hot and they weren't wrong! We met up with Fungis and Graeme at the Engen one-stop at 10h45 and already the temperature was reading just over 20 degrees celsius. We were booked to have lunch in the little town of Aurora but being typical bikers we had decided to take the long way; up the R45 towards Malmesbury, take the turnoff halfway and go through Mooreesburg to the N7 then up to Piketburg and down on the Velddrif Road to the Aurora turnoff.
It was a beautiful, calm day as we left the Engen garage, my bike seemed to be behaving beautifully as we flipped into the left hand sweep on the link road to the R45, flick over to a right hand sweep and accelerate out after Fungis and Graeme, I was bringing up the rear so that I could take photographs with my fairing mounted action camera.
On the straight-away I leaned forward to turn the camera on, something I should have done before we left so that I could have checked that it was working! Whilst on the R45 a huge group of Harley riders, must have been 50 or 60 bikes thundered past on their way towards the R27, the direction from which we had come, for an instant the road was full of bikes and I was clicking away. I noticed that they were riding in a mass and not a disciplined staggered formation which we always use, I also noticed that not a single one of them raised a hand in greeting!
The ride was enjoyable, fungis was leading and he set up a moderate pace at around 140kmh and within about three quarters of an hour we rolled into the town of Mooreesburg, by then the temperature was up to 27 degrees, this called for a refreshment stop at "Die Oude Stoep",
Graeme also enjoyed a cold beer, we sat chatting for a while, long enough to finish just the one beer and then saddled up.
The N7 is actually a very pleasant road, wide and well maintained with some lovely sweeping bends and although the ever present 18 wheelers kept the cagers in line, they didn't hold us up for very long. I particularly enjoy leap-frogging a line of impatient cagers and then accelerating past the diesel belching behemoths to gain the wide open road ahead, sheer bliss!
We took the bypass link before the town of Piketberg and joined the Velddrif road, there are only three or four nice sweeping bends at the start of that road and the rest is 80 km's of bumpy narrow tar. It was at this point, while we were cruising along that my action-cam suddenly flew off the fairing and disappeared behind us! I threw out all the anchors and did a "U" turn, Janet climbed off and managed to recover all the bits, luckily including the memory card but I'm afraid that the camera is history!
I chucked all the bits into the topcase and we continued along the road, meeting up with an obviously worried Fungis along the way. We have not been to Aurora before and it was good to ride along the road leading to the town, 20km's of lovely smooth tar where we could increase our speed to our preferred 140kmh, moments later pulling up into the shade outside the restaurant, "La Aurora".
Man it was hot but luckily the beers were cold!
The "Three Must-get-beers" inside the very interesting old building.
Graeme looks decidedly worried as Fungis prepares to climb onto the horse saddle bar stool and in fact it almost threw him off!
Fungis had booked the restaurant and had also booked our Eisbeins so we didn't have long to wait before they were served,
done just the way I like them, not smoked or in brine, but crispy roasted and delicious served with the chef's own sauerkraut and mash, what a meal!
After the feast I went and took a few photos of the dorp, mainly because my brother Dan and Alison used to own a plot here before they went over to New Zealand, across from the church. Typical of all small towns in South Africa, the church is usually the most ornate and ostentatious building in the town or village, and usually visible from a couple of miles away;
Aurora is no exception!
We stopped briefly in the now 43 degree heat for this photo looking back onto the town and I had two questions; why was this town here? and what would you do if you lived here? The answers to both I cannot imagine and neither of our friends could offer any. We couldn't stop for long because the heat was oppressive - "Let's get moving!" was the general consensus so that is what we did.
Back to the Velddrif road and the remaining 60 kms to the town where we said our goodbyes to Fungis and Graeme, nice guys, we'll ride together soon again. Janet and I flashed through to Saldanha, towards the ever cooling air blowing over the Saldanha Bay, welcome relief from the heat we settled into plastic chairs outside the Beach Sailing Club,
we had both been hallucinating over cold drinks, Janet's was a Rock Shandy and mine was a single whisky in a tall glass with lots of ice and water, those first two drinks went down singing hymns! So much so that we ordered another two.
Later that day I was to discover that there were no photos on the Memory card from the other camera, either the batteries were flat or I had made a mistake and not switched the camera on, I prefer to believe that it was the former, be that as it may it had been another great day on the motorbike with like-minded people, my best! I'm looking forward to the next one.