The Long Run

... and other tales of intrigue & adventure •  20 - 25 May 2009
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Its' an auspicious beginining for the first full day of our trip. At 7am sharp we roll out of the B&B. We're on the road as the sun rises and there is a touch of frost to make this another cold morning ride. Deliberately we have chosen to not have breakfast yet, but to cover some distance first. Sixty odd Ks down the road to the little dorp of Steynsburg where we find an ancient establishment prepared to serve a hearty meal.

We stand in the sun waiting, some smoking, slowly warming as the sun burns off the last of the cold. We notice the owner an elderly man, returning with what would appear to be sausages for our breakfast. Is this going to take long?

Soon we are all full and the bikes fueled and we're on the road to Graff-Reinet. Here a routine fuel stop, bottle of water and on our way. We'll be back here in four days. Important to keep moving and cover the kilometres.

We pass Aberdeen, the point at which we begin our loop. We'll be back here too. It's a long straight and windy road. The wind makes the ride tiring. I move my weight to one side of the bike in an atempt not to have to lean conitualy in to the wind. We pass a small farm house, 70 Ks from the nearest human establishment. Amazing. Who would live there?

The Beervlei dam is on our right. Its empty. We pull off to the side of the road by the dam wall to rest from the wind. For a few pictures and to re-group. After more than ten minutes we become anxious as Mike and Charl have not yet arrived. Colin calls Mike. Mike can answer his phone while riding and tells us they are not more than five minutes out.

The back-pack of Colin was tied to the back of Mike's bike in Graff-Reinet. Somehow, it has worked loose, slid down the side of the bike and finaly under the back wheel. Mike decribes a moment of terror as his bike did the "vark-pil-polka". The bag is a bit scuffed, but still usable. Now Colin rides with it for the rest of the trip.

After a brief fuel stop in Willowmore the road could not be more different. Now it twists and turns uphill and down through some small passes. This is really enjoyable and beautiful too, painted in autumn colours. An arrangement of trees that look as they might have been deliberately planted to provide this autumn picture. A large road-side sign board, "Met Eish, Ya!". Laugh.

Turn left on to the N12 and we pass the only place in SA (and probably all of Africa) where hops are grown. Now for the Outeniqua Pass. The route was chosen specifically for this descent. The first corners negotiated with care. Now into a right-hander. What's happening? The bike is leaning to the right, handlebars pointing in the right direction, throttle open carefully. But the bike is going - sideways?

My heart is in my mouth as a huge blast of wind threatens to throw me over the side of the mountain. I recover and check John in my mirrors, anxious to see how he will fare. One by one we all experience much the same. Charl says the "vark-pil-polka" got his bike (again).

A wrong turn in George sends us on an extended tour of the suburbs, but soon enough we are back on track for Herolds Bay and the Dolphin View guest house where we are greeted with a warm welcome. Bikes unpacked, its pleasant by the sea and stripped down to T shirts we follow the windy little road down to the seafront and the beach. The afternoon was spent enjoying a couple of beers.

This evening we head for George to find a seafood platter for twelve.

continue ...

The time has come, to speak of many things ...
... of bulldogs eating porridge.