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.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Meeulanders MCC annual Dart Run

I've just had a really nice jol with the Meeulanders Motorcycle Club, it was the occasion of their annual "Dart Run" which is very similar to a poker run except that you throw a dart instead of drawing a card. I must just clarify that skill at darts does not count here, you'll see why, I am hopeless at darts and even I stood a chance of winning......I didn't though.
We met at a dance hall/pub in Vredenburg called "Wingerd" where the first dart was thrown and boerewors rolls were served to line the stomach, a good idea because there was bound to be some drinking.
While the first darts were being thrown others were busy with the boerewors outside on the fire.
Alex and Steve waiting for there chance to throw a dart and to eat a roll, they didn't wait to get a drink!
Div the President kept everything under tight control and at 13h30 we saddled up, thirteen motorbikes and two cars and headed down to the Beach Club in Saldanha for the second dart.
This time the board was hung from a pole and we all had to throw left-handed, here Frank has his go.
A little bit of wrist action from Willie.
Stephen looks like he knows what he's doing but he's a "lefty" so he had to use his right hand.
Time only for one drink and we're on the way again, this time back up to Laaiplek to "Die Visvlekhuis", it was a lovely warm and calm day, no wind, a lovely day for riding. We thundered along in a staggered formation to the harbour at the mouth of the Berg river.
 The third dart was an awkward throw with some people having to try a good few times, Frank's first dart missed the board and flew into the road, luckily no one was driving past!
 You can see now why I said that anyone had a chance although I was pretty much out of the running, by this stage I had only amassed a score of 24.
From there we rode out along the coastal road towards Eland's Bay, unfortunately this road is being ruined by heavy vehicles and has some serious potholes so we took it easy. We stopped at a factory site about halfway between Velddrif and Eland's Bay for the fourth dart, one of the cars had been carrying a cooler box full of ice cold beers for this very occasion. Another indication of the first class organisation!
 Frank and I discuss tactics over a cold one.
We suggested that for this round Div should hold the board but he very wisely decided against it!
Carmen lines up her throw while Div keeps score, only a short while spent there, time only for one drink and we're on the road again. A short ride through to Eland's Bay, a relatively slow cruise and soon we were lining up outside the hotel.
 The bar was crowded with visitors and locals and they only had one barlady! It was a bit hectic trying to get a drink, the reason was the Currie Cup final game between Western Province and the Sharks, we settled down a bit once we got our first rounds in,
Steve got it right, when he got the lady's attention he ordered two double whiskys, one for now and the other for now-now.
 Once the (disappointing for most) rugby was over the crowd thinned out and we pretty much had the place to ourselves. Bonfires were lit outside and it was time for the final dart.
 As the evening progressed the prizes were dished out and the dinner was prepared, here Willie takes care of the meat while Gerrie and Div look on hungrily, actually the food was bloody good; Karoo lamb chops, boerewors and salads, it went down very well.
After that things got a little hazy, gradually people went off to bed until there were only five die-hards left;
Me, Alex, Frank, Gerrie and Mercier, by then the lights had gone out, the fire had gone out and the bar had closed long ago. It wasn't long until we had finished the extra booze we had bought at closing time!

Alex and Mercier, a really nice biker couple who were both riding their own ZX14's

I faded at around 02h00, it had been a great party and it was time for a couple of hours sleep.
I was awake at 06h00, I got up and dressed and went in search of some coffee but there was no sign of anyone around so I thought I might as well get going, only 100kms home and I could get decent coffee there, I didn't feel like hanging around for breakfast.
No biker jol is complete without a picture of Frank sleeping! He just crashes, this picture is blurred probably because either he or I was still pissed!
 I rolled out of the parking area at exactly 07h00 into a heavy fog, it was cold but really enjoyable, I had to take it easy anyway because of the bad road so I settled down to a cruise.
 I was in fog all the way to Velddrif, sometimes extremely heavy but halfway between there and Vredenburg it lifted revealing a sunny sky, and that last part of the ride I opened up, flying along through the chilly early morning - just me and my shadow.
Thanks to Div and the members of the Meeulanders for taking me along, I had a blast with a great bunch of people.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Toy cottage stayover for the Wine on the river festival

This post has nothing at all to do with bikes! We did braai steak and boerewors on Friday night and we did drink a good few beers, along with a fair amount of wine. The occasion was the "Wine on the river festival" between Robertson and Bonnievale at a place called "Goudmyn" (Gold mine), a beautiful spot right on the banks of the Breede river. The reason we were in our bakkie and not on the bike was because this is when I stock up my red wine collection.........and I bought a table.
We met our friends Janet and Linda at the Dros in Robertson for a beer and a light meal and then drove through to our accommodation at "Toy Cottages" just the other side of Bonnievale.
Regular readers will remember that I wrote about this place before, it's a lovely, well appointed chalet with two en-suite bedrooms, air conditioned with a big veranda right along the front overlooking the river. Not cheap but well worth the money and we were glad to be back, our two friends were very impressed.
We enjoyed a very peaceful evening and we were on the road just after 09h00 the next morning for the 20km drive to the festival site which is right next to the Van Louveren estate.
We have often visited the "Wacky wine festival" which takes place in the Robertson Valley every year in June, this involves driving between all of the myriad estates that take part in the festival and by the end of the day driving can be a bit "tricky"!
At the Wine on the river festival all of the estates are represented in the one area, this I preferred  because it's much safer to drink and walk! Also there were a great many food stalls selling anything from oysters to hamburgers with delicious and tempting aromas wafting over the gradually swelling crowd of wine lovers.
There was a really nice boat running slowly up and down the river giving rides for a very reasonable R20 per person.
There were areas to sit and eat comprising of chairs and barrels or of straw bales where one could enjoy a meal and a bottle of wine and listen to the music.
Large tents were set up to accommodate the wine stalls and let me tell you there were a great many of the local wine estates offering their produce for tasting, we waded in happily!
Our friend Janet and I shared a plate of fresh oysters washed down with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc in the warm early morning sun, serendipity - the other two ladies do not eat oysters, their bad luck!
By the time we had been at the festival for two and a half hours we were "festivalled-out", it had been great, we bought our wine on the way out of the grounds and I made arrangements to collect a table that I really wanted the next day, time to head to Van Louveren Estate for lunch at The Bistro.
Back in January when we last visited the area we had lunch at Christina's Bistro and Janet had eaten the best pizza in the world, she was determined to have it again and as I don't eat that crap I was going to have the Sirloin steak which I had really enjoyed.
Luckily the pizza did not disappoint, apparently it was delicious with a thin crust and Janet managed to eat most of it, my sirloin steak was just as good as I remembered it;
After a lengthy, relaxed meal finished off with "Marula Dom Pedros" and for me a fantastic "Marula creme brule' with a lovely hard top which cracked under my spoon, we eventually made our way back to our chalet on the river.
We relaxed on the veranda and watched the sun go down, sipped wine and ate a simple meal that evening of goodies that we had bought at the festival; cheeses, home made bread rolls, olives and different flavoured salamis, an incredibly satisfying evening listening to the bird sounds over the river.
I'm thinking that I'm going to book the place for next year and the "ladies" suggested that we should get a bunch of friends to take the other two chalets as well so that we can have a really festive party before, during and after the "Wine on the river festival" - what say you friends?

Monday, October 14, 2013

R.I.P. Llewelyn Aylward

I write this with great sorrow, I have known this young man since he was a child. He was a wonderful young man, courteous and friendly with a ready smile and he was a biker to the core. Obviously he took his love of motorcycles from his Father Joe and was always seen at dayjols having fun and competing in the biker games, particularly the slow races at which he excelled.
He was a credit to his parents and in this day and age when all too often young people are lazy and indolent he lived life to the full, working with his hands and getting involved in the biker lifestyle working at the Vredenburg Yamaha agent.
I saw him on Friday when I dropped in to the bike shop, we shook hands and chatted, shared a joke. I learnt the next day that that evening he had been involved in an accident, apparently someone in a bakkie turned across in front of him and he had no chance.
It's difficult to understand why this should happen to someone so vibrant, so young and full of potential, he leaves behind a great many friends of all ages.
Sincere condolences, thoughts and prayers for strength go out to his parents Joe and Eleanor and to his girlfriend Stacy-lee.
May his dear soul rest in peace.