Word Riders 2015- a little bit more of the story…

Apologies to all my faithful readers- it might have seemed as if I have dropped off the face of the earth… it felt like that!

We had a wonderful ride through a beautiful part of South Africa. But I experienced serious connectivity problems. You see, I forgot my new tab’s pin number! And I just did not find any wifi hotspots along the way, this is rural Africa, remember!

We stayed over at Aliwal North when we last talked. ON Day 3 we visited a few schools around Aliwal North. We had wonderful times meeting with the kids. But the poverty and alcohol abuse in this region is so sad to see.  The local people caring for this community worries that almost half the children suffer from the effects of Fetal Alcoholism Syndrome… and that is really scary!

After spending the morning in Aliwal North we found our way to Barkley East via the scenic little town of  Lady Grey.  WE had an amazing ride through the curves of Barkley Pass, past our country’s only skiing resort- Tiffendell. We arrived at Barkley East in the afternoon, and then had a nice hamburger lunch at this establishmemt…

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IT was a bit of a struggle to get there! It is just outside Barkley East on the road to Rhodes. But it is a steep downhill gravel road. And after the rain of the past few days it was so slippery. One Harley went down… And still it kept on raining… but such beautiful countryside!
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After lunch we were allocated to guest families for the night. My wife and I spent the night in the parsonage of the local Dutch Reformed Church,  where we were treated with great hospitality. We went for a walk to see the whole town, and after five minutes returned for an afternoon nap…

That evening the church gave us a wonderful barbeque (Braai!)
They supplied a lot of mutton chops,  very good dining indeed!  After an exciting day we retreated to bed to end Day 3 of the Tour… With all the rain I really did not take many photos. I will get some from my fellow Word Riders and share with you as I get it…

Word Riders Day 2- Lesotho

We had an early rise this morning, as we had to be at the border post at  Maseru at 07h00. It felt so good leaving South Africa behind, and crossing into Lesotho for the first time.

We had to wait for an official traffic escort, which duly arrived on a Suzuki V Strom with a rather flat front tyre. But this dude can ride, and with his flashing blue lights and blaring siren escorted us safely through Maseru to our first school.

One thing that was really impressing is how friendly and relaxed the people of Lesotho are. Their school pupils look very well behaved. And in each school the children sang for us. School buildings might be a bit dilapidated, but the children are amazing.

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We heard primary schools in a rural setting, in shabby buildings, singing complicated choir music in 4 different tones. We heard music that would be very well received in the best cathedrals and concert halls. These Lesotho children have a very good ear for music!

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We visited three schools in pouring rain, and then exited Lesotho again at Wepener. This is a very sad looking dying town in the eastern Free State. We rode on  to Rouxville where we had our first thing to eat and drink at the delightful Country Cousin restaurant.

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Being soaking wet, that hamburger and chips and coffee tasted heavenly. We rode about 280 km today in the rain. My wife did it with me without any complaints! What a woman!

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Tonight we are staying in Aliwal North, and we are having supper at the DRC again, our church really knows a lot about hospitality towards weary strangers! They have been busy for hours making Potjiekos, food prepared in a huge threelegged cast iron pot. We who love Potjiekos would vehemently disagree that it could also be called a Stew… It is a Potjie…

Now we are trying to get our riding gear dry…

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Word Riders 2015 Day 1

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Technically that would be yesterday. Day 1 that is..
Yesterday morning we left home at 07h00. We rode to Kempton Park, where our country’s largest airport is. But we are not flying with wings, The northerm  riders rode together from Kempton Park. Near Heilbron we went through a terrifying electrical storm, with a lot of rain pouring dowm. Anyway, all the Word Riders came together at Bethlehem, the main town of the Eastern Free State. We had a lovely stay at The Lofts in Bethlehem. Supper was at the Bethlehem North Dutch Reformed Church. They managed a barbeque in pouring rain, and gave us an excellent meal!

This morning our group split up and visited 5 churches in the region. I had the honor of preaching at Bethlehem Effrata DRC.  Psalm 107 was used as my Scripture reading.

Afterwards we drove the 37 km to the scenic town of Clarens, a place so beautiful that Brad Pitt owned a house there. The photo above is on the outskirts of town. The road behind leads to our South African Golden Gate,  where 25 years ago my wife and I began our honeymoon on 31 March. Yip- silver anniversary coming up!

After an excellent Roti lunch provided by the DRC Clarens, we drove over some bad tar roads but through beautiful countryside to Ladybrand, where we are staying at the Cranberry Cottage. Another excellent place to stay!

Tomorrow morning we are doing another first for  me. A group of us are entering the country of Lesotho, going to the capital of Maseru. We are visiting some schools around the capital tomorrow morning. The weatherman predicts rain…

WE are having a lot of fun so far on this tour, and have done nearly 700 km since leaving home yesterday.

I dont get much chance to stop and take photos yet… will try to get some from the support team to share later on.  But now it is time for bed, we have to cross an international border at 7 tomorrow morning. It feels so strange to know we are sleeping just 13 km away from a totally different country’s capital tonight. I am so looking forward to finally get a Lesotho stamp in my passport!

Thanks for reading along!

You can also have a look at wordriders.wordpress.com  for more info on our tour.

PS. i have written this post last night after taking a sleeping pill. I did not post it then, you would have laughed at the last paragraph before I fell asleep. Edited and posted now…

 

Adventure in the Water

I am packing for our next Motorbike trip, starting tomorrow morning. Will blog from my new Samsung Tab4 if I get the chance and some wifi…

Meanwhile, two weeks ago we saw some amazing fun in the sea just of Bloubergstrand, Cape Town, South Africa…

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This is one of my favorite photos… I don’t know how to watermark yet….

Preparing for the next Word Rider tour….

ON Saturday morning my wife and I, with a lot of friends on 44 bikes, are leaving on this year’s Word Rider tour. This year we are visiting the Eastern Free State and Eastern Cape provinces.

I am really looking forward to this year’s tour! The autumn colors in the mountain ranges around there are breathtakingly beautiful in March. 

We are starting in Bethlehem on Saturday. I will keep you posted as we ride along…

So this week, in between normal duty, I snatch a few moments to start cleaning my bike, and packing our luggage.  This part of the journey is already exciting!

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Another Orange Ball dips behind the horizon over the Atlantic…

Yes- another take on last weeks’ Orange Photo Challenge!

The one thing orange I really love, is a good sunset. Here where I live in the South African Bushveld, north of Pretoria, we do have some magnificent sunsets! But we love to travel to see our world through different eyes. So- totally different from my normal world is a sunset over the ocean, only possible over the West Coast of our Country…

And here was last Tuesday’s sunset. I really, really enjoyed it a lot. I sat in awesome wonder at the beauty of something that happens every day…

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The location is Tietiesbaai, near Paternoster, about 150 km north of Cape Town on the West Coast. Tietiesbaai would roughly translate as “Boobie Bay”- but it does not refer to beautiful female anatomy, it was named after a certain Mr Tieties. It is a lovely place to visit, in Cape Columbine Nature reserve, there is no electricity, also no cellphone reception. Just you and nature… like a good day of rest is supposed to be…

Tripadvisor Link: http://www.tripadvisor.co.za/Attraction_Review-g1055305-d1204559-Reviews-Tietiesbaai-Paternoster_Western_Cape.html

Orange- The Southernmost flower in Africa- WPC

I know, I know! It is so last week’s Photo Challenge… but I was far away from civilization, ok?! Ok…

The theme last week was Orange… and I was standing in front of the Southernmost flower in the whole continent of Africa… at Cape Agulhas, South Africa. Where Ewan and Charlie ended their Long Way Down bike ride. Where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet.

These flowers grow all over the place in that beautiful part of my country. And still I do not know what they are called. People like Seegogga and Toortsie living nearby might know…

But here goes my take on orange- the flowers and some lichens on the rocks…

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The Wall at Williston Mall- Weekly Photo Challenge

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/wall/

Just a little background: Williston is a very small town in the Karoo region of South Africa. It is very dry around here, and towns are far apart. In this rustic little town of Williston there is a must-visit site. The Williston Mall…

On my road trip with my son the past two weeks we stopped there after a long day driving of nearly 1000 km. It was very hot. They promised the best milkshakes in the Northern Cape province. And it was!

The walls of this travellers delight kept me busy a while. My son remarked how a Discovery program like American Pickers would love all these old artifacts, craftfully adorning every bit of wall space…

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#20 Done and Dusted…

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Yes, the route was less than half the original. So it does not do to compare times with previous races.  But it sounds good to me that I finally rode  a Sub 3 hours official Argus race. Nearly broke 2 hours!

But the South Easter blew quite heavily up on Hospital Bend. Past Grootte Schuur Hospital, where Chris Barnard did the first ever successful human heart transplant so long ago.  We also did not get any grace on the incline at Edinburgh Drive, also known as Whine Burg Road.

The route felt a bit crowded with a possible 35000 people entering the race. Yes, 35 Thousand!

I enjoyed my race today! No excuses, no regrets!

Will wait for the official time, my little cycling computer stated my time as 2 hours 7 minutes for the race.

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My team manager also had a great day at the Victoria and Albert Waterfront in Cape Town, waiting for his star athlete to take him to beer and home…
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What a day!

47 but still great!

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No, not my age anymore…

ON Sunday I will ride my 20th Argus. (Cape Town Pick ‘n Pay Argus Cycle Tour…)

BUT Table Mountain has been burning since last weekend. The fires has been conquered to a great extent. A great health threat still remains with possible flare-ups and soot.

SO the race organisers took the difficult decision to shorten the route to 47 km. It is usually a 109 km race around Table Mountain, now just 23.5 km out on one side and then an about turn back.
I am disappointed, as I have really tried to train hard for this race. But then: a lot of people lost so much in the fires. And the firefighters put up such a brave fight against nature’s power. 

So- I really understand the decision and will try to do my first sub 3 hours Argus ever! 
I am so grateful that the race was not cancelled altogether.  I salute the race organizers and marshalls for still hosting the greatest one day cycle race.

Meanwhile- we are really enjoying the good times with our friends in the Cape. Having a great time with my son!

We just celebrated sunset over Robben Island at the Blue Peter Hotel, a very significant place in my life as that is where we celebrated our honeymoon, on the 31st of March, 25 years ago…

Today was a beautiful day in Cape Town, and in my life!

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But the young man is starting to scribble his girl’s name in the sand…

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