Sunday morning and the sound of muted voices woke me from a fitful sleep at around 06h00, my mattress and sleeping bag combination is not the most comfortable place so it hadn't been a good night but I had managed some sleep. I stuck my head out of the tent and saw that the sky was grey and cloudy but there was no rain and it was calm, it looked like a good day for riding.
People were already busy striking camp and loading bikes and bakkies, time to get up and at 'em.
In the cool grey light of pre-dawn I wandered down to the coffee tent for a hot cuppa, greeting people on the way, all around me tents were being packed and gear stowed and some early-birds were already riding out.
Back at camp I was surprised to see that Frank was already surfacing, that is unusual for him, normally his is the only tent left in a campsite at around 10h00!
Off to the coffee tent, what a terrible sight in the early morning! As I didn't have to pack up a tent my bike was packed and loaded early and I stayed around to help Mike and Barbara pack Anton's tent and gear but soon I was itching to get on the road,
Everyone I ride with knows that after a rally I like to get going on my own, I love the homeward ride because I stop when and where I want to and I ride fast, also if possible I like to meet my lady for lunch. I went around saying goodbye to everyone, Hannes was also pretty much ready to go,
It had been an enjoyable rally and it was exactly 07h00 as I rode out of the gate and pointed the big red machine in the direction of home some 570kms away. My first stop was 50kms along in Albertinia where I refueled and then I settled in for the ride planning my breakfast stop in Barrydale. The sky was still overcast but it wasn't cold and there was no wind, it looked like it was going to be perfect riding weather.
I stuck to around 140 to 150kmh on the N2 and at that time of the day there was very little traffic, it wasn't long before I was riding through the town of Riversdale looking for the road out to "Garcia's Pass", we have ridden that lovely road many times before and it was particularly beautiful in the early morning,
I pretty much had the road to myself and revelled in the excellent winding and undulating surface, the mist and cloud shrouded mountains and the chill morning air, it was biking at its best and I was in biker heaven.
I had to stay vigilant for baboons foraging in the verges or collecting insects off the road but generally they scampered out of my way well in time,
approaching the R62 I noticed unusually dark almost emerald green grass along both sides of the road for several kilometres, it looked almost as if it had been planted by someone, not sure what that is but it was striking.
After about 225 kilometers of very enjoyable riding I arrived in Barrydale and had a refreshing stop and a very good breakfast, I sat for about three quarters of an hour relieving sore saddle muscles and then got back on the road with some 345kms to go, excellent riding ahead
as I have already mentioned the R62 is one of my favourite rides and again it didn't disappoint, I maintained a steady 160kmh and the big red machine ate up the kilometres.
Running down into Montagu, the home of the famous hot springs resort I still had plenty of fantastic riding ahead of me through Ashton and Robertson and then the wonderful 50km stretch to Worcester. From there it was road works to Wolseley where I stopped again for a refuel and a leg and bum stretch.
After Wolseley the road has been resurfaced and widened to allow some fast and enjoyable riding past Tulbagh, through the "Nuwekloof Pass", past Hemon and a rapid run to the twin villages of Reebiek Kasteel and Reebiek West, both of which are popular breakfast run venues.
Home is just an hour away from there and I was doing well, I cruised through the two villages giving an occasional wave to the bikers in the myriad breakfast venues and then I was accelerating out the other side and heading for home.
I arrived outside my garage at exactly 13h00, six hours to do a 570km ride including two fuel stops and a breakfast, what a blast! I said before that I wouldn't do another "Buff", I find them too crowded and impersonal. I much prefer the smaller rallies but I probably will go again if all my mates are going, we'll see.
I wanted to go to this rally because it was exactly thirty years after my first Buff in Port Elizabeth in 1983, something of a personal milestone and also my faith in the big red machine was restored, she performed flawlessly.
I'm not sure when the next rally will be but there will be plenty more riding, stay safe out there!