Sunday, 21 March 2010

Moto S.A. DAY 26. Cape Town. Final Day.

25 February 2010
This is the last S.A. Ride report. Moorreesburg, where I had stayed at the invitation of an old friend, is only 100 km from Cape Town. The 'adventure' is nearly over. I stopped at Swartland Service Station, on the N7, briefly. Then it was the final leg back to Motorrad Rentals at BMW Pavilion after more than 7,100 km so far. Seeing Table Mountain from the N7 on my final approach to Cape Town caused me mixed feelings. It was good to have completed the ride, but bad that this was the last day.

My flight to London was not until the evening. There was plenty of time for a ride around the city.

Cape Town will always be special for me.

This was taken from Beach Road at Green Point.......

....... and this is at Surrey Place off Beach Road. WAKAME restaurant is here.

There was some cloud on the mountain - normal - but at sea level it was a beautiful day.

This is the new work-in-progress football stadium. The football World Cup 2010 will be very interesting.

I have procrastinated long enough. The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is very close to BMW Pavilion. I called in at the V & A for one last time. This little Honda with a young couple on board single pulled up next to me.

I've heard of a Honda Africa Twin but never a Honda Africa Single!
I said, "Hello," to the young couple. "Have you come far?"
"From England!" was the reply.
My easy 7,210 km tarmac (mainly) ride around South Africa on a big BMW1200GSA suddenly seemed very straight forward and un-noteworthy. Time to hand the bike back to Danie at BMW Motorrad.

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Saturday, 20 March 2010

Moto S.A. DAY 25. Calitzdorp to Moorreesburg.

24 February 2010
This is the Sunshine Cottage (CLICK HERE) at Calitzdorp that had been my refuge for the night! The motorcycle is just visible, parked behind the cottage. It is dawn.

I was kind of reluctant to leave this comfortable cottage and interesting town. But I had to press on as always.

However, before starting up the motor, I had a last little look around in the quiet of the dawn. This is the view from the cottage doorway ........

........ and so is this ..........

...... and this ........

This view is from the main house stoep.

Here is the bike at its overnight parking ...... and packed up ready to take me wherever I want!

My few belongings were secured with my cargo net. Although my kit had been hanging up in the shower all night, some of it was not quite dry. It will dry on the way. Boots, no socks, again!!

About 50 metres from the cottage I stopped to take this picture. Then I refuelled (Trip: 6,551) in Calitzdorp and set off on the R62.

Is this orographic cloud caused by an anabatic wind I wonder?

There are two towns in South Africa named after Lady Juliana Smith, the beautiful wife of Sir Harry (One Town) Smith. The Ladysmith in KwaZulu Natal has a 'y'. This Ladismith has an 'i' - in fact almost two!
Ladysmith was under siege for 120 days from 2nd November 1899 to 28th February 1900 in the Anglo-Boer War

The R62 took me across the Touw River between Ladismith and Lemoenshoek (Lemon Corner).

Actually, I think it the TouwS River not the Touw River. "Hello ............!" (I have just seen a comment from Andre & Mags - It IS Touw River. The town is called Touws River.)

The bridge is about 43 km from Barrydale - where I hope to get breakfast!

The weather cleared up. Here we have: the open road, no traffic, beautiful scenery, mountains ahead and blue skies .... any questions?

Yep ...... no traffic - confirmed!!

Barrydale will be the first stop this morning - after that stop at the bougainvilla bush and the garage for fuel that is!

I stopped here! It was not yet 9 am. There was no sign of life. Maybe everyone was still in bed!!!

Actually, I had heard about 'Ronnie's Sex Shop'. As 'Ronnie's Shop' business had been slow for years. He changed the name. Business has been booming. But only BEFORE 9 am obviously!!!

15 minutes later I reached this beautiful little town. My immediate aim was to find some breakfast. As you know, I do B+zero, and stop for breakfast on the road!

From the town sign, one descends into a lovely valley. Barrydale is nestled between beautiful mountains on the south side of the Little Karoo.

At the bottom of the valley I followed signs to a little cafe .........

....... called (yes, you guessed it) The Blue Cow.

I sat on the deck stoep veranda. This was the outlook! Breakfast was first class and served by Doree de Villiers. She was charming!
ThinkBikeSA (CLICK HERE) had been very helpful to me and I wanted to meet Jinx a ThinkBikeSA-er. Jinx lives in Montagu. I phoned ahead.
"Hi Jinx, I'm thingy. Blah blah blah ........... meet for coffee?"
"Of course we can! When will you get here?"
"Ummmm.... in about an hour!"
"Okay. See you then at the Wimpy!"

Then I just had time to ride around the town for a looksee before heading off for coffee at Montagu. Is this a beautiful church or what?

Back on the R62 to Montagu it was impossible to resist stopping and photographing these flowers. Are they Cannas?

Well ARE they??

That is Montagu at the bottom of the hill. This is a beautiful fruit-growing area. There are also ostriches here and, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, some EMUs.

Montagu was easy to find - it's on the R62! It's a lovely little town.

The rendezvous was the Wimpy. I rode right past it in spite of the clue on the huge sign: WIMPY. Jinx talked me down luckily! Here we are.
So, I met Jinx (Emu farmer and tool hire specialist), her husband Andries and her mom Wendy. They are lovely people and it was a pleasure to meet them. Thanks for all your help ThinkBikeSA.

This is a farm stall place on the R62.

It is open, but I was only interested in the garden, the driveway and the flowers ........

.......... as you can see .........

Actually, these two pictures are the last taken today!

Soon after this I reached Ashton, home of Koo and All Gold brands, famous in South Africa.
Robertson was the next town on the R62. From there the pretty little town of McGregor, 22 km away in the mountains, beckoned.
It was a good ride to McGregor, where I stopped at a shady place and bought some lunch. A young man called Clinton Meyer took an interest in the bike and the gear. We chatted for a while, then it was time to go back to Robertson (the only way out as far as I knew).
The heavens opened up and I just made it to the shelter of a petrol station before the downburst! It was at least 45 minutes before I was able to continue, but the sun did shine again and I headed for Paarl via Du Toit's Kloof Pass.
Paarl is a great town, but I didn't stop there this time because I had been through Paarl on Day 2 with my son. My aim was to ride, via Malmesbury, to my friend's place at Moorreesburg.
Tomorrow evening I have to be at Cape Town Airport for the flight home.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Moto S.A. DAY 24. Aberdeen to Calitzdorp.

23 February 2010
The next morning, Tuesday, I crept out of Pagel House at dawn and made my way to the N9. It was drizzling slightly. I had no socks on, just motorcycle boots, because my clothes were still not dry. I rode off in the rain in the expectation of getting my clothes dry en route.

After about 105 km on the N9, and about 19 km before Willowmore, I stopped at Beervlei Dam. The dam wall is very interesting because one is able to examine both sides (wet and dry!) from the top of the dam wall. There is no water in the dam so examining the engineering was interesting. The dam wall was built in 1957.
It was more than an hour since I had left Aberdeen and breakfast was needed. The road into Willowmore seemed like a possibility. It turned into a certainty, because I soon found this delightful little restaurant called 'Sophie's Choice' (S33 17 42.3 E023 29 11.9).

The time was 08:00 and the timing was perfect. The coffee, bacon and eggs here were excellent. I have only just noticed the bicycle on the roof!
After breakfast the rain eased up quite a lot and I set off again to join the N9.

This old Ford 'flower pot' caught my eye and I just HAD to photograph it. Classy!!

This is the road out of Willowmore.

This is the Olifants River. 39 km after Willowmore I turned west onto the R341 heading for De Rust.

Dry river beds fascinate me. This part of South Africa, unlike most of the country, had had very little rain in recent months. It was desperately needed. It had stopped drizzling!!!

On the R341 I saw this little creature crossing carefully. I thought that maybe he was being a little too careful in the middle of the carriageway, so I picked him up and deposited him on the far side. I hope that is where he wanted to go!!

This very impressive gateway caused me to slew to a stop and to admire the flowers and the wall. Congratulations to Henry & Martie van der Westhuizen on a beautiful front gate!

I think that 'Aangenaam' means 'pleasant' or 'enjoyable'! I was having a 'aangename' bike ride!

My drive is only about 3 metres, but I might build an entrance like this!!

De Rust is a popular tourist destination - so I didn't stay long. It was nice but not my kind of place. I like rustic with no tourists (except me of course).

I refuelled at De Rust (Trip: 6,301 km) and stopped briefly on the Meiringspoort Road to check out these ostriches. They quite liked the motorbike ..........

........... especially Orville here!!
The road from here to Prince Albert was very interesting and spectacular, especially through Meiringspoort and the Groot Swartberge. It was raining again, so no photos unfortunately.

By the time that I reached Prince Albert, after 79 km, the rain had stopped and the sun was shining - hooray! It was time for a cup of tea and a toasted sandwich. 'Mix' looked perfect ........

..... so I parked the bike and went in. The shop is delightful and, in addition to breakfasts, lunches, sandwiches, soups, quiches, salads, chocolate and ice cream, it has for sale; furniture, collectables, bric-a-brac, crafts, knitwear, soft furnishings and recycled clothing.

'Mix' is owned and run by Nicola, and here she is on the veranda of her lovely shop. No toasties on the menu today, but her butternut soup & roll were delicious. It was a good decision stopping here for a bite! The telephone number for 'Mix' is 083 270 6003.
I needed to buy a memory card for my camera. I was directed to the Lazy Lizard.

The Lazy Lizard is an internet cafe. No memory cards were available, but the proprietress said, "Why don't you let us download your memory card to a DVD disc and then re-format the card?" What a brilliant idea. Two hours later (Juan and Matthew hit a few snags - but got it sorted) I had all my photos on disc and the picture above is the first on the re-formatted memory card. Thank you Juan and Matthew. Prince Albert is a very good place I am beginning to think!

No change here ...... I ride around the streets of the town and take pics of the houses and churches ........

This looks like a good place to live .......

........ as does this .........

.... and this ........

...... and isn't THIS cute?

What's not to like about this little place?

Well maintained or what?

Now THIS is my idea of a church. I would even consider going sometimes if I lived in one of Prince Albert's lovely houses.
Nicola at 'Mix' had convinced me to take the Swartberg Pass to Oudtshoorn, but the pass was closed and I had, therefore, to retrace my track on the R407 and the N12 to De Rust. From there it would be the R62, the road I intended to take to Robertson.
It was raining again, but conditions were not unpleasant. The weather, though, was the reason for the lack of photos from here to Calitzdorp where I found the perfect place to stay overnight.
I found a self-catering place called Sunshine Cottages. I pulled up outside and was contemplating what to do when a very friendly lady came out and introduced herself as Sandy. She was so nice that I decided there and then to check in.

The cottage was just right and there was a hard standing for the bike within a few metres.
Sandy recommended a walk into the town to the N.G. Kerk (Dutch Reformed Church) where, every evening, Dr Noel-Jean Kriel plays organ recitals at 6 pm.
After washing my stuff and hanging it up - it was good to get out of the motorcycle gear (!) I showered and changed and walked into the town. It was raining slightly, but not too much. The N.G. Kerk was easy to find with its spire as a beacon. As I approached, the most beautiful organ music could be heard. I found a door eventually and went inside. There were perhaps 10 people sitting in the pews listening to Dr Kriel's recitals. He played magnificently, and explained each piece beforehand. Thank you Dr Kriel for a wonderful 45 minutes of beautiful Mendelssohn, Beethoven, Bach ......
After leaving the kerk the weather had improved. By now it was virtually dark. A beer and some dinner were the next priorities.
Very near to the kerk I found Die Dorpshuis restaurant. It looked just fine - and had a veranda option if one wanted to eat outside. I ordered a Windhoek lager and a Lamb Shank with Roast Potatoes and Vegetables. It was a good meal, good value and with very good service.
After a pleasant walk back to Sunshine Cottages I wrote up my journal for the day and then went to bed.
Again, it had been a brilliant day.
Here are the contacts for Sunshine Cottages and Die Dorpshuis:
Tel: 044 213 3204/078 129 6498

Die Dorpshuis:
Tel: 044 213 3453