08 February 2010
It is Monday morning and the MotoBerlin people are coming to Summerset Estate to pick up Dr M and take him to the depot where he will take delivery of the BMW800GS.
They had been given the coordinates S25 57 13 E028 05 43. We use post codes in this country. Lat and Long seems to work very well in South Africa. At about 08:45 Albert from MotoBerlin arrived.
Dr M went with him to Bardene in Boksburg, near to the airport to MotoBerlin. I had the coordinates: S26 10.620 E028 14.357. It was rush hour and due to the traffic it would be slow-going by car to Boksburg. I decided to leave later and meet Dr M at the depot. Of course I would be on the motorbike and would get through okay.
Dr M took this picture from MotoBerlin's van. The traffic doesn't seem too bad. We finally set off from MotoBerlin (also known as Motorrad Rentals) at 10:45. The camera clock is set to GMT.
Dr M had opted for a top box. He figured that a back pack would be too hot. My experience was that, provided one was moving, the BMW motorcycle gear worked well in the heat, even with a back pack.
KTM gear. BMW motorbike. We thredded our way to Heidelberg by way of North Rand Road, Atlas and Van Dyk (M43), then the R23. It was breakfast time (late breakfast) so we stopped just past Heidelberg on the Standerton road.
The R23 to Standerton was not brilliant. The 'R' roads are called 'Major' roads. The 'N' roads are 'Highways'. The R23, like so many 'major' roads, has been neglected. It has a poor surface due to lack of maintenance. Large trucks use the 'R' roads because most highways are now toll roads.
Standerton has an airfield to the north west. Many Commonwealth pilots were trained here during the Second World War. Maybe a plane hit this sign! The R23 is the 'old' Durban road. We are also headed for Durban, but not today!
We took a lot of pictures of shacks ....... these are on the R546 to Vrede which is 58 km from Standerton. The road was good in parts, but mainly potholes linked with tar. However, as long as you concentrate, you can take a line! One MUST be aware of traffic behind. You cannot afford to swerve in order to avoid a pothole at the last second. Pothole riding requires concentration and situation awareness.
This town is called "PEACE" - peace after freedom from the British? Actually this province IS called the Free State. But the British are back! We crossed the Gauteng/Free State border 25 km after Standerton.
This is the R34 to Memel. Memel, Bethlehem, Benoni ... there are a lot of biblical names around here.
57 km after Vrede we turned off the R34 into the town of Memel. We were looking for a cup of tea. This is a butchery or a bordello. It says "Meat Market" on the wall. The madame could be Mariaan!
When I say neat parking I forgot about the 800. Notice the stoep where one can take tea and watch the world go by. We reserved our table with our helmets. The lady who runs the hotel was very pleasant and we received a very warm welcome.
There are hills in the distance. The terrain is definitely getting more interesting. The time is about 16:30. At Newcastle we turned onto the N11 Ladysmith road, but after about 20 km turned southeast towards Dundee.
Dundee seemed like a good place to stay for the night. It was now 17:13 and the priority was to find a decent B&B.
There were a few likely looking B&Bs in Dundee, but I like to draw on local knowledge wherever possible. So I pulled up next to a white Isuzu pick-up which was being driven by a young lady. I asked if she could recommend anywhere to stay and she said, "Follow me." My mother always told me not to follow young ladies, but I made an exception in this case. She drove down a few gravel roads and stopped and pointed to "Chez Nous" B+B and waved goodbye.
Chez Nous was wonderful. The welcome from Elisabeth was so warm. She said, "We love bikers!" Big smiles from Roxanne and Louis.
Roxanne showed us to the accommodation which was huge. Two bedrooms, kitchen, lounge, dining room, another lounge, stoep. Piping hot water and very comfortable. I had the "Japanese" room.
After a shave, shampoo and shower we had a sundowner on the stoep. Dr M had had the foresight to bring a bottle of scotch from the airport. Elisabeth, who is French and originally from Saumur, kindly gave us a lift to a Spur steakhouse in town (about 1 km distant). We had a few Castle beers and a great meal. Andrew chose a T-bone and I had spare ribs.
Then a walk back in the dark but in perfect conditions, warm, but not too hot, to "Chez Nous". And guess what? A whisky before bed. What a good day!