The Set-Up

... and other tales of intrigue & adventure •  20 - 25 May 2009
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The cold biting at my fingers reminds me to switch the heated handlebars. Besides, it sharpens the senses and the particular pleasure at the beginning of a road trip. Twenty five years ago this moment would have been all about listening and feeling for the things that were going to fall off, or to rub against something else to the point of destruction.

I am on my way to work, but not in the car. The bike is packed for a six day trip and the sense of excitement tastes good after early morning tea. It'll only be a half-day job and this to set us up for tomorrow's big pull. John and I have Iron Butt certificates. None the less a ride of over 700 Kms remains a serious undertaking.

Ten minutes before two, I receive the expected call from Mike. We're on the road. I pull on my leathers and excuse myself from the office. Crossing the border back into South Africa I'm afforded the opportunity to hold the throttle wide open for some seconds as I carve my way up the hill towards Ladybrand. That cleared the miss-fire that bugged me this morning.

At the intersection of the R26 and the N8 I wait for my friends. I hear and then see John's bike first. I am surprised. They made the 65 Kms from Ficksburg in remarkably short time. I hope that this will not set a precedent. Some roadside pics for the record.

A dop at the Ford Laser, top up the fuel and we're on our way to Aliwal North. This still familiar territory from Sunday morning breakfast runs and previous road trips. Booked in for the night at a small B&B, right across the road from the spa.

Dinner at The Riverside Lodge, a couple of drinks and reasonably early to sleep.

continue ...

Not to be associated with the simpletons, sadists, fetishists, xenophobes, thugs, psychopaths, nudists, nosebleeders, kidnappers, toad worshippers, mass-murderers and other characters of the BBC2 programme.