OK, let’s start just write up. If I don’t start now, it will take weeks to do (and it did).
Those of you following/reading/enduring my ramblings on Facespace will by now be aware of Erwin and my epic scoot trip over the Dec holiday.
We started off buying 2 scooters for the trip – Erwin got a licence first and then shortly following that a (black with red decals) Yamaha BWS 100, with his first ever experience on a, scooter starting the bike after he had paid for it already. I myself, struggled to find a BWS also, so I got a blue Yamaha Nitro 100 – essentially the same engine and gearing, but more european styled vs the Jap styling of the BWS – both with around 7hp – woah nelly!
I started plotting a route inland up to Port Alfred, where we would meet up with friends of ours for new years. If you were to follow the main routes, it would add up to just over 800km one way – so roughly 1600km return; but we were not planning on following the main routes, we are adventurous, we are daring, we are not afraid to follow the roads less travelled and we are keen to do what few have tried before us, plus we are semi scared of going on the National roads with 101cc scooters that can’t do 100km/h…uhum not scared, that’s not the right word, we aren’t scared, we are considerate towards other road users. yes, that’s it. So, the route we mapped added up to around 2000km round trip excluding in-town run abouts.
Erwin pulled through to my place late afternoon on the 26th Dec, on a flippen hot summer day, to find me with my scooter pulled right into my lounge, so that I could pack it under the aircon. I finished packing my bike, we filled them with fuel and 2 stroke oil and we put the bikes in the garage ready for an early departure. We got some pizza take out and went home to discuss the maps/routes that we will be venturing on. Within 5 minutes we changed the whole route as the coast seemed a better option riding up, loads of people out and about with the added benefit of the cool ocean air to keep us from drying out like old biltong in the summer heat.
The morning of the 27th, we had alarms set for 5 am and abruptly got up, strapped remaining things to the bikes, had left over pizza and by 6:01am with the holiday smell of sunscreen fresh in our nostrils, we were parked outside all ready to go and without fail the two scooters rung to life with the deligtful ‘rin-tin-tin-tin’ sound that only a two stroke can deliver. We decided to skip the Hugenot toll road and tunnel and to head over the Nuwekloof pass which was an excellent idea untill we hit the worst mist that I’ve seen in a while with visibility no more than 10 meters. The mist so thick that we got soaked from head to toe, visors all fogged up, the pass actually becoming tricky with the tight bends and slippy road markings, but we pushed on to a beautiful sunrise on the other side. Right next to the Worcester mall my bike started screaming at the top of it’s lungs, suddenly sounding like a 250 2-stroke MX bike, and, like it’s owner it seems my bike is allergic to Worcester and like a lizard sheds it’s tail to fool predators, or its owner that loses his arms when entering Worcester, my scooter decided to shed its exhaust to ward off two tone Honda Ballades, leaving us with a massive headache as the this year for the first time 27th is a public holiday and by that account all shops are closed.
Luckily all of Worcester did not get the notice of a public holiday and after a cup of McD’s coffee and a whole helluva lot of phoning around, we starting just riding around trying to spot a place that could help. We pulled into Midas (one of the places that went unnotified of the new government constituted public holiday) and one of the sales guys there directed me to an exhaust place that was open. We headed off to go and find Millennium Silencers, where Freddy and Freddy had a look and sorted out my exhaust in an hour with some of the finest welding this side of Richard’s bay. We lost 4 hours to this mishap, but bless you Worcester and your lack of respecting public holidays for getting us up to speed again. We quickly sped off away from Worcester, before my bike decided to shed a wheel or lights.
We had a fairly uneventful ride to Robertson and then on past Bonnievale through the stunningly beautiful Trudouw’s pass, but ran into fairly heavy rain outside Swellendam. We packed rain jackets and emergency ponchos, but funny thing, we never even considered stopping, rain is just water (and in the words of Derek Zoolamder: “water is the essence of wetness”) so we got a little wet. We headed out to Buffeljagsrivier for a roosterkoek lunch and to refuel our machines. Our plan was to head towards the coast from here and then head up to Stillbay – a plan quickly forgot as we hit the turnoff only to find that the roads leading to the coast are all dirt roads – not something we liked the idea of as tiny wheels and dongas, tiny wheels and stutterbumps and tiny wheels and loose gravel by our calculations does not like one another. So we turned back to head off to Suurbraak and around the back way to Heidelberg. Around half way to Heidelberg, on a stunning ride, suddenly we hit a dirt road again – wet, muddy, clay, and in our way. So we decided to just go for it. Erwin kept a pretty tight following distance and got completely covered in tyre spray from all the puddles, but we made it to Heidelberg in one piece. From here we had no choice but to go for the N2 dash all the way to Still bay – long, tiring, boring and just as you think you are over it, you get the turnoff – great! except that from the turnoff the damn town is another 30km’s! aaaargh!
Our lodgings in Stillbay was pretty basic – a maids room in the back that a woman had put us up in – a bunkbed and the use of the bathroom in the house. But I can tell you as tired as we were from that first leg, I would’ve slept in a field under the scooter.
We met up with Barry and Friede-Marie and later Conrad joined us for a brief night out to Puffies (yes you read right), where someone actually recognized us from seeing us on the road close to Worcester earlier the day, before turning in and passing out.
Early mornings was the name of the game and the 28th followed suit. The destination for the evening: Knysna. Pretty smooth sailing – all N2 dash with a quick stop and a chill sesh under some trees next to the lagoon in Wilderness.
We went out in Knysna for a early-ish dinner and then to a place called Zanzibar and saw CrashCarBurn playing there. The crowd was way younger than us, but for all intent and purposes that did not stop us dancing a bit. We were however under legal obligation to not even look at the girls without parental consent; you had to be 18 to get in the club, but 18 looks a lot younger these days… We were staying at Highfields Backpackers in a 6 bed dorm room with 4 other guys and 2 German girls, one of which decided she’s bringing a boy back to the room in the early hours of the morning for some fun – can you say AWKWARD!
We packed our stuff, (by now not nearly as neat or organised as we started off) and pointed our bikes in Jeffrey’s direction, but my scoot felt slouchy, so we pulled into the Yamaha workshop to get an opinion – Willie (the motorcycle guru) there was on top form and super friendly and within an hour had sorted out the weights on my centrifugal clutch as they were starting to wear down from riding only at top speed over long distances.
Accelleration sorted, we headed for J-Bay. Around 30km outside Plett, you jump off the N2 and head onto the Nature’s valley road – wow! Stunning scenery, great twisty mountain passes and even some shade under the massive trees. We head over to the Bloukrans Pass side, which were according to a massive sign, closed for traffic due to rock falls or something of that nature. We, along with 4 cars decided that that will not stop us from an adventure and so we tresspassed a little. The result was the most beautiful road I have ever ridden a bike on; overgrown with trees and rockslides covering most of the road surface in some places, it felt like driving through the streets in ‘I am legend’ or like a fantastically-eerily quiet land forgotten by civilization. Absolutely priceless! With the scoots we had no problems getting all the way through, dodging tree branches, rocks etc. and out the other end and so we kept on the R102 most of the way up to JBay.
JBay in summer is known for a surfer lifestyle, boardshorts, bikinis, slops, loads of people. The place has a buzz to it, a typical holiday town vibe that unfortunately reflects in their driving style, and fortunately in the sun bronzed legs all round. Erwin has been a couple of times and so he led the way to Island Vibe backpackers where we were lucky enough to get our own dorm – schweet!
We had a couple of beers and a pretty good in-house dinner (spaghetti Bolognaise – no idea how to spell it) and turned in fairly early. By now our bodies were starting to show signs of weariness from spending between 5 and 7 hours a day on the scoots. My denim shorts – normally supremely comfy – now from sitting on the seam on the hard little seat, felt like I was sitting on a picket fence… not so much fun, no. Shorts 1: Coccyx 0. (Just in case you thought I was talking dirty… “The coccyx commonly referred to as the tailbone, is the final segment of the vertebral column in tailless primates.” – in afrikaans known as your steakie, so there).
The 30th was the final stretch of the first half of the journey (see, I’m a ‘glass half full’ kind of guy) with another roughly 230km to go, a lot of which will be N2 and not the nice clean cut N2 Capetonians are used to, this includes a single lane, bumpy, pot holey, rural looking N2 section. Anyways, we made quick work of the road to P.E. and then after we filled our bikes headed for Nanaga ‘padstal’ for some roosterkoek and a quick break. If you haven’t yet been, it is worth it to hop in your car right now, no matter where you stay, and make the drive down there for a fresh roosterkoek with salted farm butter, soft cheddar and apricot jam. Mouth watering on the keyboard as I type this – oh my!
We stopped off at some friends in Bushman’s river and got treated to a beer by Francois and Elsabe at a smallish pub with a stunning view overlooking the river. The drive there (IN A CAR – oh yes, now you’re talking) was pretty schweet and the AC made it especially enjoyable, plus the added bonus – no wind noise for a bit.
Port Alfred quickly drew near and as we passed the sign that says ‘Welcome to Port Alfred’, I did a big air punch and yelled just a little inside my helmet, possibly a girlish sounding happy shriek sound, so I was amped that the helmet kept it all (well, most of it) inside and to itself, except for a bit that reached a cow or two that was standing within earshot and that was the story of the first time I’ve seen a cow look worried and intimidated. True story 😉
We found Nikky’s place and was welcomed by a whole crew of relaxed looking holiday-goers. I have never been so ecstatically happy to get off a motorcycle albeit a scooter, as this emotion for me normally is for when I hop on; but the bum was sore and the road was long. Quick meet and greet, semi unpacked, boardshorts engaged, beer in hand the feeling settled in – we have arrived! In one piece. Alive. With 100cc scooters. 1000+ km’s. BOOM! The rest of the day was spent frolicking in the water, laying around, chatting, going for a boat ride with Nix’s dad and transitioning from scoot mode to holiday mode.
The 31st was just beautiful – waking up without an alarm, cheerful pleasant people up and at-em downstairs, the day started off with a breakyand coffee around the table and then moved on to whole lot of relaxing, swimming, watching ‘New Girl’ and trying our luck on the Pumpa Bike. It starting feeling like a ‘real’ holiday and this is just what the doctor odered after a piercing 2011.
Mid day we headed to the mall and did some shopping with the girls, well, Erwin bought suntan lotion, I bought sweets and we bought some other less important things for new years also. The girls focussed more on food (Jonathan planned a ‘potjie’ for new year’s eve), and was patiently waiting outside the shop by the time we had explored every isle in the shop. And by patiently I mean a little annoyed, but still smiling.
Back home we had some refreshments and decided it was time to get the Pumpa Bike going – if you don’t know what it is, google that thing – it is not as easy as those people make it look! Erwin imho was the winner of the day, making it all the way over the canal to another jetty and most of the way back. the rest of us was just not feeling the rhythm or the ride…
We would have a bit of a dressy new year’s do at the house and then possibly go out to a nearby club after 12. Dressy poses a problem when packing has to conform to what you can fit into a scooter fitting luggage setup. So I wore a button shirt and my shorts and brushed my teeth really really well. The girls were up to the challenge and was looking lovely. So we had new years, good food, a little bit of shuffeling, loads of laughter, a little ad-lib karaoke and good company. We hit the club, and was happy that no one at the club hit us… as there, it was frankly on the cards.
The first was mostly spent lazing around, random banter, watching TV, swimming and chilling in the sun – excellent. What a place, what a kick ass group of people!
On the morning of the second we set out, sadly leaving the Nix residence (which have now become home in a very short space of time) around 7am heading for our first stop on the return journey – Eersterivier to visit the Kemps. This as far as riding goes is quite a hectic stretch as we have to go all the way past PE, past Jeffreys and then all the way to Eersterivier (as mentioned somewhere earlier in the post, around 25km from Kareedouw).
Heading back towards home, the first thing you notice is that a 50km stretch feels like it continues on and on for 75km… not a good start. The first stop for the day was nice and early for a pie (not your average garage pie – this is prime pie – packed to the brim with big beautiful chuncks of meat and a juicy -not at all soggy – filling, covered in a golden brown soft and slightly mallible but flaky pastry, and some or other fancy juice at Nanaga farm stall, before tackling the horrible N2 again.
Going on my petrol guage and based on the assumption still, that Erwin and my tanks are identical in size and that our bikes are fairly similar ito consumption, we turned off the N2, to rather head through Uitenhage to keep the ride interesting and to escape the post new years traffic madness on the N2.
Luckily these little Yamaha motors are very reliable, as the road is bad, and kind of follows a dodgy route past a couple of informal settlements where we don’t really know the area well enough. After quite a bit of riding on this little road, we hit a massive hill climbing straight ahead for what seemed to be the better part of a kilometer. Around halfway up the hill, I overtook Erwin had a quick glance in the mirror to see him pulling over. Doubling back I pulled up next to him, “hy’s leeg ou” (‘it’s empty man’) is all he said and hopped off to start pushing – he was right, which was weird – as my scooter is normally a little more thirsty than his and mine is still running. I decided to be a sport and switched mine off and starting pushing my bike with him – comeradery is good in a situation like this – it keeps spirits up and moods light…plus, it would be very boring sitting at the top of that hill waiting for him for the next 45 minutes.
We took the distance between telephone posts as marks and pushed 1.5 lengths at a time – not that we are lazy – just because it was a helluva hill, a scorcher of a day and we were pushing bikes, with all of our baggage still on it.
….eventually, we made it to the top of the hill (later referred to by a local as ‘the dominator’ or ‘eliminator’ – who knows!?) and hopped our scooters, delighted to be able to free all the way to Uitenhage – wich is as you guessed it only around 2 or 3km downhill from us. We pulled into the first Engen filling station and filled both bikes. Erwin finished first and his scooter sounded to life with the ‘rin-tin-tin’; I closed up my tank, paid the attendant and hopped on, pusing the starter motor the little engine swung eagerly – seemingly excited by a fresh batch of unleaded fuel – just to be let down by a lot of swinging and no actual starting. My motor was dead.
We tried a couple of things, ran up and down the road trying to run start an automatic 😦 A couple of attempts/ideas came about – everything from following a guy on a miraculously-still-running scooter to Dispatch (a neighbouring town) to go and look for help at a bike shop of a friend of a friend to stripping the bike ourselves with our limited arrangement of tools checking anything and everything. Establishing we still had spark, a local also blew into the carb, to see if he had miracle breath or something else. Over this daunting period of around 5 hours that we sat there, we saw loads of random Uitenhage sightings – loads of wheelspin, extremely helpful people with a little to very little mechanical know-how, a good looking girl in a summer dress on a motocross pit bike with a pink motocross helmet, goggles and pink motocross boots that pulled into the shop next to us, and some other random things that will take up too much time to mention.
So I phoned one of my friend’s dad (oom Leon – whom we would be visiting in Eersterivier that evening), and he said that CK (his one daughter and our friend) have since moved to Uitenhage and would be heading back home later that day. She was rad and organised a couple of her freinds to come rescue us with a bakkie, and to take us to their place until she was there. The world is a very very small place, and so we ended up staying one street from where my mom grew up, very close to her high school, right next to her old church – even ran into my old Business Economics teacher Mrs Duvenhage right next door to CK’s friend’s place. As I said, the world is a very small place, and almost too small for comfort. Had a lekker braai and a kuier with CK and her bf – Thomas, whom took us in and made sure we were set until we could figure out what to do with the return trip.
We were exploring all possibilities of fixing, possibly shipping, renting a bakkie etc when Stiaan dropped me a message to ask how the trip is going. I replied with a :”it’s not going currently” to which he offered to come fetch us. To put this into persepective – Uitenhage from Stellies is a 7 – 8 hour drive – that’s a lot. Would have taken us 3 days with the scoots. We toyed with the idea and decided that that would be it – a friend in need is a friend indeed and one who offers to drive that far needs to be rewarded.
Stiaan would head up the next morning after a couple of meetings with a trailer to load the bikes on.
Massive dissapointment fell over both myself and Erwin that our trip has come to such an unforseen end – so abruptly. So we decided to stretch it for at least another day with Stiaan included.
We woke up the 3rd with very little purpose in Uitenhage – and wandered down to the mall – I say mall, but it is more a couple of shops on the same premises and had a Wimpy burger breakfast with Wimpy coffee – always a winner. A couple of silver Polo’s had me borderline heart attack and had me diving for cover – (you suck non-number remembering brain) – all cars here have EC plates – sheet! anyways…
We bought meat, liquor and sweets and strolled back to CK’s place, chilling there till the time Stiaan was outside to collect. Stiaan dropped in fairly late, so we strapped the bikes, and headed for Eersterivier, Erwin and Stiaan inside and myself on the back with my helmet on so that I could listen to music.
We pulled in way after dark with the Kemps and company on the balcony, massive fire blazing, and got welcomed with a hug, a handshake and a drink to follow suit. I had a laugh when Stiaan told me that he physically had a glass of red wine in hand before he had met anyone – that’s the beauty of hospitality. This turned into a late night (or early morning) of sitting and chatting around the table, something that we used to do back in the day at Eersterivier over Dec holidays – topics are always interesting; stars, Egypt, God, angels, love, giants, planes, secret weapons, antigravity – you name it, we discuss it. Eventually though, the four or five people left at the table calls it a night when one or more is asleep at the table and turns in.
All that was left was heading home on the 4th. I hit the first stretch on the back of the bakkie – listening to songs, and playing on my phone and we swopped spots after a Wimpy stop in Riversdale. Erwin on the back, with the smell of suntan lotion in the air and Stiaan behind the wheel, scooters trailing behind, we set off for home.
Bucketlist # 14: Travel an extensive amount of km’s, exploring SA on a small engined bike with a friend or friends. Check.
…even if we did not make it back on the bikes, we had an epic adventure and still love the scoots.
*Sidenote – my scooter is still in the hospital – Piston and rings cooked.
**and some of the photos are ‘borrowed’ from either Erwin or one of the girls.
Edit – My scooter is fixed and going better than ever. New piston, rings, sparkplug cap and clutch weight rollers. Here’s a photo showng how ‘gaar’ the piston was.
Hey peoples of the interwebs, you might have just accidentally stumbled onto my blog, or you might be a friend that got forced to read what I rant and rave about…
Anyways, I am a little less active on my blog these days – have had rediculous couple of weeks behind me – work related mostly unfortunately. The company that employs me, that I work for, that gives me moneys to do exciting things at times and severely mind numbing things at other times have had a bit of an internal shift and thus I am now the NBD designer – New Business development. Sounds rad doesn’t it?! It does?! Why yes – it sounds great. But it does come with butt loads of work and I’ve been clocking in from between 5 and 6am most days. I’m a morning person, so where as most people would dread this, this early I sparkle like a new age vampire – without the bad acting and metro hair do.
The point of this post though, I had a mind grenade the other day considering what to do for a Dec holiday. I was so looking forward to heading overseas again, and just having a great trip traveling, seeing the world, backpack and camera in hand. For these kind of adventures though, I have learnt that there is only a handful of people that you can ask or call on to join in, if you don’t want to go travelling alone. And now you are putting up your hand saying: ‘I will come with!’ But you probably won’t. Be realistic. Most people are tyre kickers – they go and view a car just to kick the tyres, looking for any excuse not to buy it. In fact, go there hesitant, with very little intention to buy.
Anyways, I have a couple of friends, that when I come up with a mad plan, will be right there with me, busy with the draft and even if they can’t join for some or other reason will be with me every step of the way, cheering, sharing and enjoying.
When I was living in London, I stayed with a couple of friends, one of which was always amped for anything and everything, be it trying to hit up every skatepark we can find, or eat pizza and fries for breakfast every day for a week. We became good friends, moving around, exploring London, partying it up crazy style, working weird hours, loving british comedy and drinking cheap beer partly because we could not afford better beer, and partly because you don’t get engine cleaner masked as a beverage in cans back home.
Sheesh, missing the point so bad here… OK, so I started formulating a plan for December, and came to the conclusion that I have not yet explored South Africa enough and that it is about time to take to the B-roads and have an adventure. With a small engined motorbike. With a friend or friends. Over new years.
I love that I mentioned this in conversations and I get 4 different replies (or type of replies):
1. The ‘WOW I love the idea and wish I could do it, (with some variations that ends in) “but alas” ‘ reply.
2. The ‘I AM doing it – there like bear’ reply.
3. The I aknowledge that you have an idea and even though I am doing what I do every year and going where I go every year – I know better, and will tell you what to do and not to do or that you should rather be doing something completely different with your time reply.
4.1. You are crazy – and I like that.
4.2 You are crazy – and will die at least once a day every day, until you die to death or get home or run out of petrol, or end in a town like that U-turn movie.
I suppose all replies are valid and I am just as opinionated as the next guy so even 3 has some place for existence on the earth; same place they were last year, and will be for the next few…unluckies.
Reply number 2 was Erwin, always keen for adventure. He commited without having ever ridden a motorcycle of any kind, no licence and no motorcycle. Brave well spirited man. Also above mentioned co engine cleaner drinking friend – just to tie up that massively loose hanging end of a side track.
OK, so that brings us to number 14 on my Bucket List – Travel an extensive amount of km’s, exploring SA on a small engined bike with a friend or friends.
Erwin and myself started chatting the thing through and after numerous desitinations we decided to let go of the Mdumbi in Transkei (3000-3500km return trip) idea and rather head somewhere we know we can get to and from in the limited amount of time a Dec holiday when employed allows you. We then settled on somewhere far uo the East coast (Port Alfred to link up with some friends, or J-bay – just a tad closer on the return journey) – but that’s still to be decided. We will do our best to avoid highways (at least long stints on them).
Erwin got a slot for writing his motorcycle learner’s permit/licence and so that was set in stone. If he passed the trip was a GO, if not, we would have to make other plans. Slots for writing learner’s licences sometimes are only available from around 3 -4 months and so the fact that he got a spot was already rad! He bought the book that you need for the test and came over to my place so that we could go over the stuff and check out controls on a real life motorbike and not the dodgy drawings in the book. Around 15 minutes into the monkey puzzles it was apparent that I should not be anywhere near a road, not in car, on motorbike or on foot – in fact not even on Heely’s! Trains and other forms of public transport should be OK. Luckily I passed it years and years ago and so I can ride without worrying about what is legal – in regards to riding abreast in a one way, in two different lanes, in the right direction…
Erwin went and wrote the test, passed and the trip is officially underway in the planning stages.
We started planning with cheap-ish chinese bikes and scooters in mind – reliability a little, but more so re-sale value, has changed all that, to either Japanese or Taiwanese bikes or scooters. Erwin got a good bite first and bought a black Yamaha BWS 100cc scoot – well looked after and for a good price – incidentally from a guy that stays around 1km from me.
I am still looking for a scooter to do the trip with and so in the meantime we have gone for an 80km setup ride – where Erwin got to terms with his scoot – winding it up to over 100km/h and cornering like a true racer. I was on the Husaberg – not really great riding partners the two bikes, but we had a good ride and good fun in hectic cross winds.
This is the route we will most probably be doing.
Let us know what you guys are thinking, and if we should be doing regular updates on the trip.
Anyways, that’s it for now.
I will keep adding as we go along.
New update: Here’s what I will be riding – A Yamaha Nitro 101cc 2007 model.
Just a quick photobomb – will do a write up laters.
I saw one advertised, went to have a look at it, quick testride and were completely blown away. An internet search however into the ‘S’ version seemed unable to deliver any idea as to the existence of the machine – until I stumbled onto this nugget of awesomeness!
” Its a 2005 Husaberg 650 force edition FS650S, very limited edition they only made 511 force editions over 5 models, 450,501,550 enduro and 450,650 sm and only 102 650’s sm’s were made in total worldwide and of that only a handfull came to the uk and most of those are currently race bikes due to the fact the equipment that came on this model was so much better than the standard 650.”
So only 102 of the 650s’ ever made…I had major luck in buying one of these last week – 2500km on the ODO, Titanium Akro (even the standard exhaust on it was apparently full ti), well priced and spotless. It has a couple of trick bits on it straight out of the factory.
My brother’s little boy is now around the 20 months old…(guesstimating – severely bad with dates).
He is my favourite little person ever.
I don’t see him all that often, but when I do I just love playing with him. He is fond of his sand pit and shovel and spent a lot of time moving heaps of sand – mostly from the pit to the lawn. I know what you are thinking, and yes I am thinking the same thing; soon he will be building dirt jumps! So proud!
Here’s a photo of Daneil – little bit distracted with my photo taking.
My bucket list is still going strong, I am just doing a couple of background things, that you wont see for now, but hopefully they all accumulate and add up to something fairly noteworthy.
I am doing smallish things on the side that gets ticked off as I do them, but they are not really ‘full postworthy’ – shotgun! and phrase claimed!
I wrote off my car a couple of months ago on the way to Namrock 2011 – taking care of two donkeys in the process – well; they were the process and the end of my car. So I think it was just fair that the process also ended their lives. And please don’t jump on your animal anti-cruelty league horsey now (or donkey, or fairy little pixie horse); it was 6am (dark, winter morning) on the N7, 12km from the Vioolsdrif Namibian border and the donkeys ran from the police and right in front of my car. This sounds immensely unrealistic I know, but true story – the police were chasing the donkeys (I think they were evading road tax or something), trying to move them out of the road, in stead; they chased them across the road like dumbasses (and the donkeys were also stupid asses) when I proceeded to hit them doing roughly 80km/h. Catinka and myself were in the car; we got out unharmed only to be frustrated by incompetent policing.
So as a testimony of awesome friendship and love – our friends following 2 hours behind us squeezed us into their (already full) cars along with all of our belongings and we continued onto Namrock.
Namrock was a lot more intimate this year than last as the group was considerably smaller – a combination of factors kept the numbers fairly low, but this did not stop a lot of awesome things happening.
After Ford met Donkeys I was car less for a couple of weeks and in that time I was commuting on good deeds – driving my dad’s club cab or my brother’s 4.2l monster Land Cruiser… Nothing shows you how much 10c difference in the fuel price makes, than when you only get 6km/l off 110km/h to start off with… I can tell you that much!
Once my insurance company paid out – not nearly enough to buy another typhoon, I had to make a plan, and being a severely pedantic person when doing car shopping, I drove anything and everything, even if it does not make sense for my lifestyle or if I could not afford it by a longshot (cue Alfa enthusiasts – Silver 3.2l GT and cue Audi guys – Blue 4.2l V8 RS4 with all the extras). I made the logical choice – buy something 4×4 (must be mondo-capable otherwise I might as well not), small-ish (or at least semi-fuel efficient), deffo secondhand – if it can it WILL go off road and I don’t want to be the first guy to scratch my car; I must feel manly and look good-ish in it (no fiat panda then thank you very much) and it must pass the AA test with flying colours and I want to feel good driving away in it. I had the other ticklist on the side obviously – you know the standard one – leather seats, aircon, power steering, tow bar, CD/mp3/USB player, good interior, rust free, good condition gearknob, elec windows, not scratched instrument panel cover, manly colour (no red/light blue/green/beige/purple on a 4×4 please), decent looking steering wheel, good tyres, good looking rims/mags, no accidents etc etc etc….as I said..pedantic.
I found a couple of vehicles that made the shortlist and settled on a Blue 1800 Pajero IO 5 door – henceforth known as ThirtyThirty (like Bravestar’s robo horse buddy). It is fairly light on fuel – considering it is a 4×4, super capable on crazy terrain, not fast…at all, comfy for longer journeys (good thing as they take a it longer than the late 100Kw Blue Typhoon) and passed the AA technical with flying colours.
So now I try my luck on any terrain that looks difficult.
Dewald is visiting from DRC and he is a massive car enthusiast, so we went to the Franschoek Motor Museum. Most of the cars have not changed since I went there previously, except the Alfa exhibit made way for a Ferrari exhibit. We went for great cream cuppacinos in Franschoek after the museum. I was super snap happy with the fish eye lens and took some awesome photos. Here’s a couple:
We have been having braais on Bothmaskop with summer on the way. Beautiful scenic views, amazing sunsets, good conversation and lekker food…excellent!
Wacky Wine was fairly eventful this year, but if you were not there, unfortunately you might never know. Blush by the kl’s.
Great day, good people, tasty food and wines. Big headaches.
I almost forgot – I played a mixed Netball tournament on Saturday. I know what you are thinking…and yes; I do look the bit in a skirt! No seriously, I did ‘nt rock a skirt, but I had to actually buy another pair of PT shorts (previously I have been seen in a pair – 2 sizes too small at my birthday a year ago – some people are still undergoing therapy – scarred for life) so I could not wear those.
My options was trailrunning shoes with soft soles on Tartan court or old school Adidas sneakers… yes, you guessed it, I’m pretty sure those sneaks were designed for basketballers back in the day, so in my mind at least it was a great choice.
I played in 3 of the four games, WD, then WA, and the Center – the best one, my favorite! Sheesh, what a fun game – I would totally play it all time if there was a club in Paarl.
I don’t have photos so all I can tell you is it was awesome. Our team was nicknamed the Tappits – and most of us sported tattoos that looked like they were drawn on by a half blind drunk person and yelled obscenities about spinning and doughnuts in the car park (albeit a bumpy field).
Rad sunny day, excercise, lots of laughing and banter, and even the tiniest battle scar in the world to show for it.
So, no big ticks on the bucketlist at this moment, but keep your eyes peeled!
This past weekend was one of those unplanned adventures that turned out pretty excellent.
Stefan via Skype invited me to go go surfing in Muizenberg with him, Kirsten, Rayno, Michelle and a few other of their friends. I have up to recently said that I want to join the guys on a surftrip – and to actually go in; but that never happened mainly due to reasons such as me not liking cold water (we stay in the Western Cape), my love hate relationship with sharks, and well mostly a combination of the two.
I was out on Friday night riding the Stellenbosch skatepark with my jump bike, trying a couple of rad things, coming short a whole lot of times, so my body took quite a beating, whereafter Stiaan and myself took a stroll around town, a beer, a pizza and eventually I got home and to bed around 1am-ish.
Saturday morning my alarm woke me a crisp 6:30am to start looking for my old second skin, pack, jump through the shower, grab some breakfast and then head through to town to meet up with the peeps at Kirsten’s flat 8:30 to hit Muizenberg 9:00am. Alarmingly I could not kill my alarm as my arms stopped working after all the intense skatepark action the previous night. I felt bruised and fragile – pretty much the feeling a couch potato would have if he was to get up and out of nowhere run a half marathon – yes; that stiff and sore.
Anyways, got up, had 2 Compral pain tablets to enable moving of limbs and to gain muscle control, ate leftover Pizza, found my second skin surprisingly quick considering I have not used it in years, packed everything and hopped through the shower with tunes blaring from my living room and hopped in my car with some time to spare.
Ayways, whilst waiting for Stefan and Kirsten, I learnt that Rayno has a spare wetsuit that could possibly fit me and so I gave him a call. Sweet, he would bring it along, one less thing to worry about.
We pitched up at a very grey, misty Muizenberg, but at least the ocean was calm and the surfing crowd not too big. Ray and the others were already suiting up and waiting for us.
Putting on a wetsuit for the first time is quicte intimidating seeing as you have one available hand, a rubber tight fitting suit and a fear of beeing naked in public… well, maybe that’s just me. The most random bit is probably when you get zipped up and your backfat/skin (whatever) doubles up and levels out at the top.
I looked like Ken (of Barbie fame) – smooth all overs… kind of awkward…at least I felt comfy and not too out of place.
Running down to the board rental spot, the guy that works there asks me what he can get me and has me standing in front of the surfbaord racks… serious…its like asking a kid in a pharmacy what medicine he would like to administer to himself when he is not ill – everything looks good, but realsitically would do more damage than good. Luckily Stefan jumped in and directed me to a 7’10” Mini Mal board as thick as a Chav.
Looking like totally surfer, bru, I along with the other guys headed out to the water, board under arm.
Rayno gave us a quick instruction on the beach on how to paddle, jump, stand and look stylish doing it. Looked easy enough, felt easy enough on the beach with the stability of sand under board.
Hitting the water is a lot less unpleasant than you would think, with water temp 13 degrees celsius, the wetsuit keeps you fairly protected. So running in was not too shocking (feet and hands excluded), until I turned my back for the first wave – when a splash of cold water got in at the back of my neck running down my spine and all the way to my crack! next wave comes – I hit it face on to avoid any more watery crack situations, annoyingly I get a shot up my right sleeve where I held onto the board and that spills all the way over my chest, stomach, groin, thighs, you name it, it’s cold and wet by now. Ice broken, but feeling and no doubt looking a bit more like Ken.
To put this in context… I have not been in the ocean in a long time, I mean as in 4 or 5 years, possibly even longer. I tried to walk into the rivermouth the other day in Bushmans, but it was too cold and so I made it kneedeep before returning to shore.
Anyways, so there I am not really knowing what to expect but having high hopes for turning pro surfer, doing gnarly cutbacks, boardgrab airs, and bottom turn reversing like the pro’s on TV.
Hopping on the board padlling to catch a wave you immediately realise it was not what you expected, I pivoted to the left with my left stroke, pivoted to the right with the right stroke and then suddenly was sideways over the board, looking a kid trying to climp over a gate and only making it over with his belly before hanging on the top beam arms and legs dangling off either side.
So after a couple of tries, at least I could semi stay on the board paddling. Now to catch a wave. I jumped on the board trying to catch a couple, but for the life of me could not keep the board under me when I launch to my feet. To keep on keeping on eventually paid off and I got to my feet.
I got up a couple of times, unfortunately standing atop the wave and not riding it out. Rayno pointed out that I get up too quickly, so I actually miss the wave, even if I do stand proudly on top of it.
After another 10 or 15 minutes in the water I had to admit to I have no feeling left in my hands and or feet depending on what if any was still attached. So I left the water for the misty beach, to try and heat up.
Luckily Michelle was near the bakkie and I could get Stefan’s key from her, grab a cold shower (after the water it felt like room temp) and then get dressed. Once again getting a wet wetsuit off with one hand next to a car takes mad skills and just as I was butt nekkid, Kisrten rocked up and a homeless guy (not with her – just awkward timing) asking for something to eat… major dislike of being nude in public kicking into overdrive. But a least I got dried off, dressed and started feeling my extremeties again.
After cruising barefoot on super rough tar to the store with a lot of giggling due to feeling like I’m walking on stubbs to get homeless guy some lunch, everyone got cleaned up and we had some breakfast at Knead.
Excellent ending to a great morning!
BL#13: Surf: check!
Surfing deffo something I am going to be doing more often; and now I can use terms like ‘gnarly’ and ‘I hate crowds’ with a little more authentic street cred…rad!
How I felt:
How I looked:
What scared me:
How I saw it in my head:
How I most probably looked to bystanders: