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.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day 3 and the ride home

I might have slept for an hour or two, there was a lot of engine revving going on and in the early hours a cold fog rolled over the campsite. Not only was I trying to balance on my mattress but I was freezing cold, hardly conducive to a good night's sleep!
When I stuck my head out of the tent flap after eventually giving up on the chance of any more sleep it was in that cold, grey pre-sunrise stillness, some people were already up and about and packing their stuff away, people were blearily stumbling around clutching steaming styrofoam cups of coffee and I decided that that was what I needed.
I made my way down to rally road and joined the queue outside one of the vendor's tents, and clutching a warm cup of coffee I chatted with a few friends, our breath visible in the cold morning air as we discussed the rally and the upcoming ride home.
The Lions club were running a breakfast stall and after a very tasty bacon and egg roll and a second cup of coffee I was good to go. Back at the tent Frank was up and about and we chatted as I packed my stuff, he was not in any hurry as he was going to visit friends in Capetown, I had a lunch date with my lady and I was looking forward to the ride!The first part of the ride is through some spectacular countryside over Silvermine and the "Ou Kaapse weg" (Old Cape road) and the traffic is not as heavy on a Sunday morning so I was able to enjoy it. It is pretty much all over though as you ride down into the suburbs and then through Capetown and out onto the West coast road.I stopped over to visit my buddy Dave who was injured nearly two years ago in a motorbike accident on our inaugural Polar Bear run, he is still battling with his leg and has some more operations scheduled, he's a tough old biker and it was good to find him in good spirits. We chatted over a cup of coffee and then I was back out on the home straight.
The ride home was great, the weather was perfect and we had a very pleasant lunch at Driftwoods restaurant in Langebaan. After that I was pretty well shattered and really looking forward to my bed, it had been another great rally weekend with a great bunch of people. I will keep rallying as long as I can but I will get another mattress before the next one!
Stay safe friends and stay on two wheels, it's the best way to go!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Slangkop rally 2010 - day two

Four things came together and contributed to me waking up early on Saturday morning, a mere three and a half to four hours after I had slipped into unconsciouness; the sun was shining through the thin material of my tent, there was a continous noise of people talking, laughing and revving their motorbikes, my mouth tasted like a homeless person had slept in it and left his blanket behind and my bladder was full.
Damn, nothing for it but to roll off the rugby ball and head for the ablution block, toothbrush and toilet roll in hand. At least the weather was good, sun shining and no wind and a hell of a lot more people around too. No sign of Frank or Dick, I didn't expect to see Frank for most of the day. As is usual with him Friday is a huge party and then Saturday doesn't exist, I only expected to see Frank later that night.
After some brief cold water ablutions I joined the throng of people looking for early morning coffee and then went in search of food, something greasy was needed and I found it in a nearby stall; battered Snoek roe and chips! Snoek is the ubiquitous Cape delicacy; thyrsites atun and at this time of the year has long roe sacks which make a delicious snack fried in batter, that's it on the right of the picture.

Feeling much better I headed back towards my tent, they were announcing that the mass ride was to start at 10h00 and I felt like doing that, as I walked along I heard someone call me "Hey grootman (bigman) come have a dop with us!" A dop is a drink and my heart sank as I walked over to the bunch of Coloured okes who were camped nearby, they are friends from many rallies and we had had a great time the previous night;

A glass of Jack Daniels and water was pressed into my hand and I must confess that it went down very well, sort of like a nice tasting mouthwash and we chatted for a while but I extricated myself before they could refill the glass!
The mass ride was very enjoyable, not too many people and the road marshalls blocked all of the intersections so that we could ride on through. It was a fast ride down through the pass to Fishhoek and through Simon's town and back - wonderful stuff and such a picturesque area.

I ended up going for a ride on my own and had another seafood meal at a lovely place in Kalkbay and then returned to the campsite in the afternoon.

Rally road was bustling and the stalls were doing good business, it's a great place to stroll and meet friends. I wandered slowly along towards the main tent, stopping to chat every now and then.In the main tent the serious competitions were under way; which guy had the biggest stomach (luckily I don't qualify.....yet!) and the Miss cleavage, briefly interesting and all leading up to the main event, the lucky prize draw.Frank surfaced just before the main draw, Dick and Janet were also there and not one of us won anything! The entertainment was great and we all enjoyed the evening, we were all a bit quieter than the previous night though and it was just after 11h00 that we headed off to our tents, I was hoping for a bit of sleep before the ride home the next day - it was not to be!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Slangkop Rally 2010 - day one

Friday dawned clear and calm and although a "moderate" south easterly wind was forcast for the day, the rest of the weekend was apparently going to be sunny and warm with little or no wind on Saturday and Sunday. I was eagerly anticipating getting out on the road and after organising and delegating my work I managed to get away by 10h30. I had done most of my packing the previous night so it didn't take me long to get my rally gear on, sitting astride my bike I thumbed the starter and as the big red machine rumbled into life I could feel my shoulders relaxing. I kicked the lever down into first and surged out looking for adventure and whatever the weekend might bring, Damn I love the rallies!
I met up with Frank and Des at the Engen one-stop and we headed south together, once again roaring down the R27 towards Capetown and our first stop at the Bush bar just outside of Melkbos, there Frank was able to have his first smoke and I was able to have my first beer. Soon we were joined by Danny so it was another beer and then Des had to buy one and what the hell, my bike seems to corner better after a few beers anyway!
The ride through town was uneventful and within half an hour we were cruising into Hout Bay and the start of the famous Chapman's Peak drive.
After paying the toll fee of R18 (This toll gate is not as easy to blitz as I have done with the N1 as they have a check point halfway up where they check your slips!) we pulled off for a break and a photo.
The scenery is fantastic and although it is a lovely road surface with some wonderful corners, it is too busy for any really fast riding so we just normally cruise and enjoy the view. At the viewpoint at the top a friendly tourist offered to take a picture of the two of us, she probably took another with her own camera because damn we were looking cool! Anyway from there it was a short ride down into Kommetjie and the rally site, but unfortunately as we rode down the other side of the mountain the wind was definitely much stronger.
We set our camp up in a relatively sheltered area but even so my tent was flapping around quite a bit, reminiscent of another Slangkop rally where my tent blew over and flattened Frank's in the early hours of the morning. Never mind that, leaving the bikes covered and the tents organised we went off in search of our friends and a cold beer. John "Lobster" chats with Dick who looks a bit worse for wear! Earlier in the week Dick had phoned me to ask "What size mattress have you got?" and I said to him "Bugger off Dick, you're not sleeping with me!" but he did, he borrowed a sleeping bag and went off to my tent!
It didn't take long before we were involved with both old friends and cold beer, we made some new friends as well and pretty soon the party started.
The band "Free falling" was excellent! I have not seen them at any of the rallies I have been to but they soon had the crowd boogying to all of the old classic rock numbers.
It was one hell of a party but unfortunately the bar closed at about 02h00 and the band stopped playing shortly thereafter inspite of our applause and attempts at bribery, I still had my flask of "Rally juice" so I was alright but I don't remember what time it was when I headed for my tent, but it was somewhere around 04h00. I do remember that I tripped over Dick as I stumbled in, I had forgotten that he was there. It was still noisy as I drifted off into an uncomfortable sleep but it had been a great day.
I made a mental note to get a new mattress before the next rally, this one makes it feel like I am trying to balance on top of a rugby ball.

Thursday, April 22, 2010


I haven't had a chance to update my blog lately, I have been so busy at work and there just doesn't seem to have been any time to sit down and get on with it. Also as you can see my cat gets in the way!
Here's a photo of my good friend Dick with his new bike, if you remember he came up here to Saldanha on a big HD Electraglide and he was considering the BMW K1300GT, well he settled on the 2010 R1200RT and what a fantastic bike it is! I'm jealous but the choice is between the new bike or the trip to Sturgis next year and I have made my decision. So if the dust cloud from the volcano in Iceland moves over the US of A by August next year I will definitely be buying a new RT! Dick is also considering coming on the Sturgis trip next year so watch out! Especially if there is Karaoke - nuff sed.
These next two pictures came to my email and I love them so I had to share; Oil - do not attempt to check level while riding.
and this one is the future wife, pretty much a perfect woman!
Janet's going to read this and will probably have something to say about that!
My next blog post which I will do over the weekend will cover the recent Slangkop rally which I attended with Frank and which was a total jol and a piss-up of note.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Samples to Capetown

The mussel farm has been shut down since Wednesday last week due to excessively high levels of PSP toxins, (Paraletic shellfish poisoning) this happens just about every year and we now have to get three consecutive clear sample results before we can re-open.
We keep busy doing re-roping work; taking young ropes out of the water and running them over the grid tables to separate the very small settled mussels and then re-binding the larger sized mussels back onto the ropes and hanging them back in the water. This gives us a very good quality rope after another few months. Also we have a lot of oyster sorting to carry out so there is no shortage of work, only income!
As with last year I get the opportunity to rush the samples down to Capetown, I choose to go on the bike rather than in the company vehicle because (a); it's more fun and (b); it's far quicker once I hit the town traffic. The trip that normally takes two and a half hours in the pick-up only takes one and a half on the bike and of course any excuse to do something different during the week is a bonus.
I set off just after 0700 but unfortunately there was a very heavy fog and by the time I got to the intersection with the main road, the R27, the visibility was down to about 50 metres! Crossing onto the main road was like playing Russian roulette because there is an amazingly high number of fools who drive with either no lights or with only park lights even in the worst conditions. By the time I got to the Engen One-stop I had been doing 60kmh in an almost complete white-out and I decided that it was just too dangerous, there was no way I could ride all the way to Capetown like that, I pulled in and sat in the Wimpey restaurant and after a couple of cups of coffee the sun had started to do its work. By the time I was halfway to town the fog had cleared and the rest of the trip became a pleasure, even the traffic was not a problem and I had the sample at the lab by 0920, plenty of time to get the test done.
On the way home I stopped in at the Viper lounge and had a toasted sandwich and another cup of coffee and then it was back on the road for the ride back to Saldanha, by then the weather was perfect, the fog had completely cleared and I enjoyed a relaxed cruise. A very nice change to the normal routine.
I was able to give my new front tyre a run in as well, the last one, a Michelin gave me just over 17,000kms which I think is very good but by the time I changed it it was pretty worn and was actually affecting the handling. I replaced it with a Bridgestone Battlax BT021 so I will see what this one gives me, it certainly makes the bike feel better!
Tomorrow I will be packing the bike for the rally on Friday, Frank and I will hopefully leave by 1100 and it is only about two and a half hours to the site so we should have camp set up by mid afternoon, the weather forcast is favourable so it should be a good one!
Of course I will tell you all about it.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Chicken potjie

Quite often I have told you about my lamb potjies that I have been cooking and I read through them and realised that I have written up far too many, I decided that I would not do any more posts about lamb potjies. This one is different though, this is a chicken potjie! Janet had to work on Saturday so I decided that I would do the dinner - a chicken potjie, so if you don't mind I will tell you all about it, and how well it turned out. There is a space at the end of each post for comments, please let me know whether I should stop writing about my food, do you enjoy the food posts or not?

I start by preparing and setting out all of my ingredients; from the left the chopped up chicken breasts and my chicken stock, top centre is a bowl containing chopped onions, green peppers, celery and crushed garlic, next to that a bowl of peas and corn, below that a bowl of chopped spring onions, a bowl of chopped chillies, and centre some halved button mushrooms. There is also a packet of white onion soup powder, Aromat and salt and pepper.

First heat the pot up (seriously) and in a couple of tablespoons of cooking oil brown the chicken chunks. When they are nicely browned remove them and set aside. In the remaining oil cook the onions, peppers, celery and garlic until they have sweated through.
In the meantime toss the chicken pieces in the soup powder, a good shake of Aromat and a good sprinkle of mixed herbs and then put them back into the pot and stir around well. At this point I add the container of chicken stock.
Every Tuesday evening I deliver mussels and oysters to restaurants in Langebaan, twenty minutes from Saldanha, and I wait until 1630 to collect Janet from work, we then drive through to Langebaan and after I have done my deliveries we sit on the restaurant veranda and enjoy a bottle of wine together. Before leaving home I prepare a whole chicken in an earthenware pot to cook slowly until we get back, every time I use different herbs and spices with olive oil and there is always about a cup full of gravy/liquid in the pot which I pour into a small container and freeze, gradually we accumulate quite a few of these little containers - this is my chicken stock, each one is different and I never know what they will be like but they are always delicious.
At this point I also add a glass of Robertson Wineries Sauvignon Blanc, chuck your potatoes in, give it all a good stir, put the lid on, turn the heat down and let it simmer for half an hour.
After approximately half an hour taste your gravy and add salt and pepper as required, stir in the chopped chillies, spring onions and mushrooms and the peas and corn and let it all simmer until the potatoes feel soft.
Janet was well pleased with the result and I think I scored some points, another successful potjie.
On a different note it now looks like I will be able to go to the "Slangkop" rally in Kommetjie this coming weekend, there was some doubt because of a meeting on the same weekend but this has been postponed, so I look forward to my fourth visit to the rally with my buddy Frank, I will tell you all about it.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sardines and Yellowtail

We decided to end off the Easter weekend with a lunch at Don and Connie's "Beira Mar" restaurant, definitely one of my favourites, if not the favourite. There was a bit of a wind blowing but it wasn't too bad so I suggested we go through on the bike but Janet said she would go through on her own and meet me there.

I thought I was fast, Janet was already on her second beer when I got there! Here is the entrance road to the restaurant, I just love this - if you didn't know there was a reastaurant down there you would drive right past.

Beira Mar has got to be one of the most picturesque restaurant settings on the West Coast, it is right on the beach in Saint Helena Bay.
I was feeling hungry so I went with the Portuguese sardines as a starter, they were absolutley delicious served on a bed of stir fried peppers and onions, Janet opted for the escargot (snails) in a cheesy garlic sauce.
Just look at the size of my portion for a starter! Excellent value at R35 and real Potuguese sardines, we had a glass of wine and then a bit of a gap while we chatted with Don and Connie and I was eagerly awaiting my main course.
Even I was amazed at the size of the fish that arrived at the table, I had ordered the whole baby Yellowtail with chips and the bloody thing was enormous! I had trouble with it and had to take the leftovers home in a "doggy-bag" which will go on one of my sandwiches for work.
We had a lovely afternoon and as Janet took off and headed south towards Saldanha I promised Don and Connie that we would be back again soon.
Give Don a call on 0832560847 and take a trip out there, it is well worth it, tell him I sent you and you may get a glass of wine on the house, you will certainly get a great meal.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Digeus Registry Cleaner

I know this doesn't have anything to do with braais, beers or bikes but I thought that when you come across something good you have to pass it on;
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Saturday, April 3, 2010

Harley Davidson in the group

My friend Dick phoned me earlier in the week to say they would like to visit us on Friday because he had something he wanted to show me, a bike he was thinking of buying and they wanted to have lunch at the "Seafood Shack" in Velddrif and then a beer at the Phoenix bar. He had read about both places on my blog and was keen to visit them. We arranged to meet at the Engen One-stop on the R27.
I was very surprised to see that they had ridden up from Capetown on a huge Harley Davidson Electra Glide! Certainly a very impressive looking machine and a nice colour too.
Janet particularly liked the large and very comfortable "couch" and the sound system was absolutely incredible, while riding next to them we could hear the music quite clearly.
I had previously booked for our lunch and when I warned Leon that there would be three motorcycles parked outside his restaurant he said; "There goes the neighbourhood!" Actually I was pleased to hear that he had recently had a visit from a bunch of bikers who had also read my previous blogpost.
The fresh Hake and battered calamari rings was an excellent meal washed down with a pleasant Chenin Blanc, the company was good and we spent a very enjoyable couple of hours chatting and just generally having a good time.

Klaas was still there and Janet cosyed up to him to try and get his box of wine away from him but he was having none of it.

After lunch we rode across the little town to Des' shop on the banks of the Berg river. The sign above the door says "Opening hours nine till fed-up." Des sells a lot of interesting stuff, craft items and second hand collectibles, his little shop is a treasure trove of eclectic items. His wife Marina has an art studio next door, well worth a visit.
Ever hospitable, Des offered us a beer and some wine for the ladies while we browsed.
The manequin next to Janet is holding out a bunch of "Bokkoms", dried and salted mullet or "haarders" which are a very popular part of West Coast snack. Quite salty and dry they are an acquired taste, I like them and have eaten them regularly. In the short time that we were there several people stopped to buy a bunch.
We spent about an hour visiting with Des and Marina and then it was time to mount up and head for the Phoenix bar on the way home.
The Phoenix is a nice bar, well appointed and comfortable and is a regular haunt of ours. The owner, Danny who some say resembles the actor Daniel Day-Lewis, is a biker himself so the bar is popular with the local bikers as well as those passing through.
Being mindful of the fact that we had already had a couple of drinks and that we still had to ride home, we only had one drink there. Frank, Dick and Janet all stayed over at our house for the night so the party continued there. A great start to the weekend.
Dick and Janet are now going to have a look at the BMWK1300GT, I'll bet I know which bike they will buy - watch this space.