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.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

First Book Club meeting for the new year

It's hot here in South Africa at the moment, middle of summer and January/ February are usually the worst especially if you head inland away from the coast. On a previous ride near Tulbagh I have seen 45 Celsius, that's way too hot for me so for the time being we stay close to the sea.

I put a message out on the Whatsapp group that it was time for a Book Club meet and that we should gather at the Phoenix. There followed a bit of banter from some of our lady members, my own wife pretty much started it;
"Igi" is Janet's nickname

Antoinette asks "I thought the book club is a guy thing?" to which her husband Willie replied "You are right!!!!"
Adrie claims Discrimination!

I hasten to add that there are no rules for book club but what I did say initially was that anyone taking part in the club is not allowed to say things like;
~ "You're not having another book are you? You've had three already."
~ "Hurry up and finish your book, I want to go home."
~ "You're talking rubbish."
Anyway it turned out to be just banter, our ladies know that the guys need to get away for a couple of hours and talk kak with their mates.

 Anton couldn't make this one, Murray was on his third run and received his club badge. From the Phoenix bar we rode through to Velddrif and to the shady beer garden at the Laaiplek Hotel, a very pleasant spot right on the banks of the Berg river.
I posted this photo on my "Braais, beers and bikes" facebook site with the comment; "There's no discrimination, a Yamaha with three BMs" to which my brother Gerrie added his comment; "Yip, the Yamaha doesn't mind!" - he's a Yamaha man. (if you're on facebook consider having a look at my page why dontcha?)
From there a short hop to "Die Visflekhuis"
"Tots" and Drunken Duncan were there.

"Another book?"
We sat outside where it was cooler

"Tots" is a regular reader of my blog and asked me "Are you on one of your Book Club runs?"  It's becoming well known now.
Our next, and last stop for the day was at "Die Vishuis" restaurant on Velddrif's well known "Bokkomlaan",  an area on the banks of the river visited by tourists. It was quiet that afternoon but we sat on the restaurant veranda with our last book.
 The view of the river is lovely and there are charters available to cruise up and down either further inland or towards the river mouth and nearby Port Owen.

The restaurant is under new management and the menu looks interesting, worth a visit later. We sat and chatted and the next time I looked at my watch it was 17h30, time flies when you're having fun.
I thoroughly enjoyed the ride home in the early evening, it was still warm and calm and my bike was running beautifully after a service by Suzuki Vredenburg, it's great being a biker. Now I want to ride some more.
Stay safe out there people.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

First official breakfast run for 2019

This past Sunday was the first Sunday in January 2019 and therefor scheduled as a breakfast run day. I posted the details on the whatsapp group but didn't expect many people to be able to attend because many were still on holiday or still had visitors etc., but I did get a few takers so the ride was on.
As has become usual we gathered at Juffoushoogte, this time Janet and I made it just before time, got delayed for some reason and I was extremely gratified to see that there were already eight bikes parked outside and then Daan and Bev arrived just after us, ten bikes - lovely.
What was also particularly good to see was that there were five "visitors" riding with ten of  us, this was going to be a good one after all.

We set out onto the R27 and headed south just after 09h00, we were keeping the run "coastal" due to the heat so we were going to the small seaside town of Yzerfontein which is approximately half way to Capetown. I settled into a relaxed, grin-inducing cruise around 120 to 130kmh as one of our visitors was on a smaller bike and hasn't been on many breakfast runs. Janet also loves cruising at a sedate pace, says she can enjoy the scenery better. 
Just before the West Coast National Park there is a nice long layby and I led the group into it for our traditional "tea break". 

When I told our guests we had stopped for a tea break some of them were quite confused, "Who has the tea?"
David, who hadn't been on our breakfast runs before looked quite perplexed until he saw Janet pouring, then he caught on.
Etienne moves in
Janet pouring the tea

Johan, one of our visitors, made sure there was no waste.
On the left, Flip a new rider looking for a club

From there a short ride down to "Die Stal", a restaurant and biker friendly pub on the outskirts of the town, we parked up and went into the shaded garden area.

Guys were being a bit cautious with drinking, we had passed a breathalyzer roadblock on the R27 on the way down and plans were being made as to how to by-pass it on the way back, it looked like if we all turned into the service station we would be alright because they were set up just after the entrance.
Don't know if that would work but we also discussed hitting it in a big group, all stick together.

There were already quite a few other bikers at the place when we arrived and a large group of Megaforce riders came in just after us.
 Megaforce, a great bunch of hard riders who seem to have attracted quite a lot of new young members. Going from strength to strength.
A pretty smile from an attractive woman

The buffet breakfast wasn't that great, the best was the "miellie pap", I'll try menu items next time. From there a few of us rode through to "Oliphantskop" in Langebaan for a drink with the Megaforce guys. Thankfully the roadblock had either packed up or moved somewhere else, we didn't see it on the way home either.
It had been a very nice morning out, it's just so good to get out on the bike for whatever reason. I'll have to call another Book Club meeting soon. Stay safe out there and let's all have some good riding this year.
(Remember to click on the pics to see them full size.)

Monday, January 7, 2019

Quiet Christmas and New Year with the Browns

Man I remember 2018 like it was just last week!
Happy New year everyone, may 2019 be an especially good year for us all - and may I say especially for those of us living here in South Africa, the elections are in May and may sanity prevail.
It has been a busy time and it has been a hot time! We had a heatwave over the Christmas period so Janet and I decided to stay home and just park off on our back veranda, which is one of our favourite places anyway.
We started the day off with a bottle of bubbly in our spa bath at around 07h30 which was really very pleasant, that is another of our favourite places.
 Christmas lunch was a simple affair just for the two of us, I did a whole chicken on our gas rotisserie, of which I ate half (the chicken, not the rotisserie!) and Janet did her famous potato salad with beetroot and tomato, sometimes the simple meals are by far the best.
Boxing day again, just the two of us and again a meal in the gas braai; a lovely roast pork with vegetables;

The sweet potatoes went in early with the pork and then about halfway through the ordinary potatoes and the butternut squash went in, this all took quite a while so I started early.
The meal was exceptional; roasted vegetables with the pork, rice and gravy and just look at that crackling! We ate left over pork for the rest of the week. Saturday we would be traveling through to Tulbagh to meet up with good friends Alan and Gill who were coming from Mossel Bay to spend New Year and a couple of days with us.

My old buddy Alan Brown was coming over from Qatar where he works, for a couple of weeks and had phoned me saying that they would like to do a bike trip from Mossel Bay where they live when in South Africa, could I find some accommodation about halfway for one night because they were not "bike fit" and would like a stopover and perhaps we could meet them on the way.
Halfway between them and us is around Robertson/Bonnievale so I got online and began searching but accommodation for that period (30th December) and only for one night was just not available. I told Alan this and he said he would also look, coming back the next day he said jubilantly; "I found a place, all booked." When I asked where he replied "Tulbagh!"  When I pointed out that the place was only about an hour and a quarter from us and that they could have ridden through he just laughed.
We decided to make a break of it so I managed to extend our room for two nights and in spite of the heat we rode through on Saturday, stopping off for a lovely lunch in Riebeek Kasteel with our friends Peter and Amanda at the Pleasant Pheasant on the "Allesverloren" wine estate.
The road into Tulbagh in the afternoon, our accommodation at "HomeAway" cottages was just a little further on the left hand side.
We settled in to our room and then rode "light" (no heavy jackets and boots) downtown to get some supplies and then went to the "bush pub" for a couple of beers and a light meal. Very pleasant and a comfortable evening in our chalet.

On Sunday we took it easy, we got a message from Alan so we knew when they left home, we rode through on the R45 past Wolseley and to a "Spur" diner on the N1 near Worcester for a very mediocre breakfast. We cruised through to Robertson where I had planned to meet up.

It was good to see our friends again, we met way back in the early '90s when we both worked for the Sea Harvest Corporation and had remained in contact even though they have been in Qatar for the past nine years. We led them back to Tulbagh where I had cold beers waiting in the fridge and we set up for an early braai.
No they are not lighting a joint!
Eventually we get it going

We ran into a bit of a problem when it came time to light the fire, none of us smoked and we couldn't find matches! Janet eventually found some loose matches but nothing to strike them on, Alan managed to light some tissue paper in the toaster and eventually we got the fire going. A South African will always "make a plan" when a braai is at stake.

After a bit of a fight over who was going to braai we had a good meal of lamb chops and local boerewors and then we sat drinking and chatting late into the night as only good mates can. Tomorrow the short ride home, a very nice New Year's eve with our friends, we stayed up long enough to wish each other "Happy New Year!" and then we turned in.
They stayed with us until Thursday, we had another braai, some good meals and then we rode halfway down the R27 with them for a breakfast at "Beulah Farm Deli", said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.
Good people, good friends - a front veranda full of motorbikes, see you two soon again I hope.