Botswana weekend on the bikes- still good to be alive!

It is winter in the Southern Hemisphere. And my wife went to visit her sister in Ireland, on Turkish Airlines… missing the attack at Istanbul with just 6 days…

On the way to the airport 9 days ago my phone started buzzing. My friend knows how I was not looking forward to this 3 week period without my wife. His first suggestion was that we should go visit Katse Dam in Lesotho on our motorbikes. But Lesotho in winter is really, really cold!   After dropping off my wife at the OR Tambo Airport, I went and stayed over at his place in Kempton Park. And then, over a bottle of good red wine,  the idea was developed a bit further on. If Lesotho is that cold, how about a trip through Botswana instead? You see- I have a virgin passport, that were badly in need of a stamp to pop it’s cherry.

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So we decided, and sent word through our Whatsapp group of friends. And soon enough the owners of 6 bikes decided it sounds like fun, why not? Three of them will also bring their wives along.  On Thursday evening, the 30th of June, three of us stayed over at one of our friends’ guest house. If you ever need a good place to stay over in Lichtenburg, South Africa, Sundown Guesthouse is your destination…  The owner really wanted to come with us, but then found that his passport has expired…  but we had such a good evening together in Lichtenburgh.

The next morning another two friends joined us, and four bikes departed, going over the border with a painless experience (not that usual in Southern Africa!) We waited in Lobatse for the other two bikes, completing our group. We then went onwards to the capital, Gaborone.

And here our friends booked a delightful Backpackers Lodge called Mokolodi.  This is a very good place to stay over when visiting Gaborone, just  a few kilometers outside the city in a very quiet and peaceful neighborhood.

IMG-20160703-WA0012We pitched our tents, and then went exploring the capital. One thing that always amazes me about Botswana is the way this country is developing and growing. The new business district is something to behold- such vibrant and imaginative new buildings going up. Botswana means business.

We returned, and pitched our tents.

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Photo: Mavis

Preparing for a cold night in the African winter. But as we Africans do… the cold did not bother us at all. We braai’ed. Barbequed. And enjoying a night together around the camp fire, under the African starry sky. And as always it went along with good story telling, and some liquid beverages consumed…

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Photo: Mavis

It was a cold night in a tent, as I was laying alone in the dark… but African Winters tend to be cold… The next morning my friend  caught me exiting my very small tent…

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Photo: Philip

On Saturday we rode from Gaborone up on the main highway of Botswana, up to Mahalapye. This part of Botswana is really flat, and not with such marvelous wildlife as you get up beyond Nata. Here you ride just to ride, and be with friends. We were very well pleased with the petrol price in Botswana- refined in South Africa but not nearly so much taxed as in our country.  We had a good rest stop in the Wimpy at Mahalapye, and then turned east towards the Martins Drift border post.  Here we were again reminded how grumpy and unfriendly South African border staff can be. We have much to learn from the way Botswana operates…

We headed to the very, very small town of Marken, where we stayed over at the local pastor’s farm. We pitched our tents under a beautiful old tree (Marula?) 20160702_164217.jpg

 

And then we had another lovely evening under the stars, around the camp fire… man, winter is bad in South Africa… 🙂

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This camping was very basic, but with hot showers provided by a “Donkey”- a fire heated geyser. There was no mobile phone reception, just us under the starry sky, underneath the Southern Cross. And around the camp fire we told stories, shared some experiences, addressed some whiskey, and shared some more of life’s wisdom.

It is for such experiences of the shared passion of motorbikes, friendship, nature, our faith, and the camp fire burning under a starry sky, that we live. And yes, my friends made the 3 long weeks without my wife much more bearable!

PS. So Sorry I rode so slowly through Botswana- I really just know of some people having received huge speed fines in very remote places, and I can’t do the time, so I did not do the crime… 🙂

 

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SILVER anniversary today!

I am still a young man. I still ride my bicycles, and motorbikes. I still enjoy Katy Perry’s music.

So how can it be that today is already my silver anniversary?

This morning, at 09h00, at the old Klipkerk in Bloemfontein 25 years ago, my bride walked down the aisle with her dad.

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I was very young when I took the leap- just past my 23rd birthday. In the beginning, I was very insecure and it must have been difficult at times for my lovely bride. But we grew together, and as the Afrikaans saying goes, started eating our seven sacks of salt together.

There have been wonderful times, and we also went through extremely difficult times together. I still can’t go away from home for a long time, without actually having an aching heart when she is not near. Her smile still lights up my day.

In my work I see how few couples are really happily married, and stay together even this long. So I know I am truly blessed, being married to my best friend.

We are growing older- we are not as young and as beautiful as 25 years ago- that would be the world’s opinion, not mine! But the journey of life just keeps on getting better and better together…

Who would not love a wife who goes on a 3000 km Bike trip with you?

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It was so good last week, on the Word Rider Tour, being so near Golden Gate, (Free State, South Africa) where we started our honeymoon 25 years ago…

Who would not love the mother of our 4 beautiful kids, and the calming factor when the storms of life hit us?
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I don't know who posted this in the first place- but all respect and honor to you!

I don’t know who posted this in the first place- but all respect and honor to you!

Still kicking…

Hi Friends!

How did I go from being a daily posterin 2014 to a monthly one in 2015?

Well, there are a lot of reasons… one being: South Africa is in the dark. Our wonderful people at our electricity company fired all their maintenance engineers a few years ago, and paid out huge bonuses to the top management for all the cost savings… and nobody ever maintained a power station ever again. Everybody at the top drove brand new Mercs and Beemers, and had wonderful parties with the performance bonuses. And now our power system is collapsing. “Load shedding” is the new buzzword around here- why so many jobs are lost because factories can’t run, and businesses can’t sell…

A lot is going wrong in our beloved country, and I tried my best not to be negative on my blog. So I have been quite quiet…

I am also training hard- the Pick ‘n Pay Argus Cycle race around Table Mountain is in 3 1/2 weeks time. I have been training by bicycle or swimming 6 days a week now. I am slowly getting there- to almost be fit enough to survive my 20th Argus race…

Wonderful news- my daughter got her first job as graphic designer. It is at a leading cycling clothing manufacturer- Anatomic- my favorite riding gear for the past 20 years. They also are the company responsible for the Ride Magazine, for our country’s cycling community. So my daughter will be designing my sportsgear… cool!

And lastly- the weather. It is hot in South Africa at the moment. We clocked 42 degrees C today at the resort where I do my swimming training.

I also had a lot of weddings to officiate the past few weeks.

Saturday’s wedding was quite memorable. It was an outdoor wedding on top of a cliff. And while we were doing the ceremony, the thunderstorm was approaching very rapidly. And when I said the final Amen, the storm broke loose. I finished just in time. On my way back home I took this photo on my cellphone- it is just so good when it rains in our drought prone region… we almost always enjoy the rain, just not when you are the bride at an outdoor wedding…

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So: still surviving, still trying to keep my head above the water… Soon… there will be more to blog about. I am planning to take my motorcycle wrecking son with me on a road trip to Cape Town when I go down there for the Argus. That will most probably result in a blog entry or two.

PS- The blue BMW was lovingly restored to almost perfect ratbike specifications, will take some photos and post soon…

Keep well!

Rider!

2015 Started with two BANGS…

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here this morning to tell tales of great sorrow…

This year did not start good…

On the 3rd of January my eldest son decided to do some agricultural work with my beloved Roadster.

And then, three days later, on the way back from the farm where he is working, the Beetle died. Yes, that Beetle that we spent so much time on restoring last year.

Such a small thing can have such huge consequences…

The tappet covers are kept tight by a cork gasket on each side. And one of the cork gaskets just collapsed due to old age. All the oil blew out there, and then some bearings in the engine started breaking. The engine has this huge knocking noise.

After all the things we have done to restore the Beetle, this was just one step too far… Now you can imagine Adele singing the theme song of Skyfall… “This is the end…”

I posted all my misery on facebook, and a friend in a neighbouring town made me an offer I can’t refuse…

So- the Beetle is being sold, as is…

In the next day or two it will be collected, and so a memory will be gone… I have known this car all my life, and owned it since I was 18. It is now 47 years old. But the new owner does have the skill to restore it properly, and bring it back to life. I don’t.

So- yes- two dreams have died this year- the one of me going on tour with my son on the bikes before he goes to the USA to work there for a year. And the dream of the Beetle doing a road trip into the sunset.

But there are some nice bike trips for me and my wife in planning at the moment- so keep on watching this space. BAd times usually don’t last forever…

But this is the end…

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Thanks to all my friends for 1014!

In a little over 2 hours time it is South Africa’s time, together with Jerusalem and Moscow, to go into the new year. Yes, I know, it is a man made time line, and it is just another rotation of the earth around it’s axle, and another rotation of the pale blue dot finished on it’s journey around Helios…

BUT… like the service intervals on a car, some measurement of the passage of time is still needed sometimes. We need to close one chapter of our lives, and move forward to a new chapter. I need new beginnings, new challenges, new opportunities… and maybe so do you…

In 45 minutes I have to go to our church to prepare the music and the lighting and sound for our midnight sermon. We start at 23:15 and end at 00h00. I am finishing a sermon series based on Psalm 23, which started the first weekend of December. Tonight I talk about the last verse- “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me…”

So, my dear friends- Christians or Muslims, atheists or Spaghetti Monster worshipers- thank you all for being a part of my journey in 2014! Thanks for all your visits, your comments and the good wishes and prayers when 2014 was sometimes a dark year…

So when the sun turns around it’s axle, and a new piece of time is delivered to live fully, my prayer for every one of you is that you may be blessed, be happy, and have peace, wherever you are! And whatever that may mean to you…

May the best times yet be in our future!

Peace!

Ewald

The art of making a fool out of yourself…

Yes indeed,dear readers, The Rider has been awfully quiet these past few weeks. There are a lot of reasons for that. The most important one being that this is the silly season in South Africa, I am running around doing two to three weddings a week at the moment. I also have just returned from our capital, Pretoria, where I had to bury a very nice lady, who died of cancer. The third is- my ISP gave me a really hard time. My internet speed slowed down to .001 MB/s in daytime, and after careful examination I found out that although my Internet was uncapped, it was shaped. They choked the life out of me… And then the lightning provided a way out. It struck the telephone line, killing my ADSL router instantly. And in stead of buying yet another ADSL router, I talked to a young man in our church, who provided me with much faster wireless internet technology. So I am back on the air…

I also just became a bit tired of posting some mediocre photos on my blog. Maybe I am searching for a bit more meaning and quality in life…

But then a little a**hole jerked me out of my slumber today. I saw his comments on my mobile phone, which still needed approval.
And then I became very, very angry, and decided to answer him. And then I wanted to start talking to my friends on the blogging world again… I have missed you guys.

The post is this one: https://vosperdruiter.wordpress.com/2014/09/13/noise-weekly-travel-theme/

It was one of Ailsa’s Travel Theme posts, about “Noise” and I posted some old photos of the last Poison Rally I have been to.

This youngster saw just my one post and decided that A- I must be an old fart who doesn’t know how to have fun, B- I am against motorbikes and rallies, and C- my readers also must be old farts who doesn’t know the meaning of the word “fun”…

So I published just his one comment, and will translate it for you…
“hou net op moun Weet julle hoeveel geld bring ons bikers in vir die dorp Dit is net een naweek .In plaas van moun kom join ons.Ander shut up and live with it You say single minded i say people having fun You are to old to know fun “

He says I must stop moaning- if only I knew how much money bikers bring into their town… and it is only one weekend. He invites me, in stead of moaning, to come and join them. He complains about my use of the word “single minded” and says they are just people having fun. I am too old to know fun…”

Well- after just returning from a funeral, I was not in the best of moods. To be judged and compartmentalized by someone reading just one post, and thinking they know me then to brand me too old for fun… it first made me mad. And then it became funny…

I live 400 km away from Kroonstad, where the Poison Rally is held annually on the first weekend of December. I usually work over weekends, and this is the one weekend in the year that I can attend a rally. Whenever I can, I do join for the fun. And I do spend a lot of money in the sleepy town of Kroonstad (where I did my military service…) But then a young couple asked me to marry them on the 5th. So, dear Biker for Live (sic) I would dearly have loved to join you. I just could not.

The theme I published about was “Noise” and bikes indeed makes the most beautiful noise I know. My BMW with the Remus Titanium Pipe contributes to the decibel pollution whenever I can.
If I had any other job, when someone would accuse me of being too old to know what fun is, I would have replied… “That is not what your mama said last night…” But me being a very prim and propper oldish guy (in some youngsters eyes maybe, but then they only have a license to ride a 125cc anyway…) I would never say such things about lovely mothers…

Do I know what fun is? Well, I do have 4 kids… 🙂 And they all know me…
I have been to Cape Agulhus THIS YEAR on one of my bikes, remember I live on the other side of the country. I have been through the wind and the rain on bikes since 1983. So yes, in some eyes I might be old…
In my eyes- I will always be forever young, forever noisy, never too late to have a happy childhood…

So dear Biker for Live (sic) if ever I do meet you, you owe me a beer. And then I could tell you about some fun stories…

And that comment you tried to publish about my dear friend M-R being too old to know what fun is… she and her husband worked on the film set when Mad Max was filmed… What could be cooler than that? There might have been a time when I thought like you- “what does anyone older than me know about fun, anyway?”
But never, ever judge people on one impression. You might be totally wrong. And that person might actually have a much more fun filled life than you could ever imagine.
So dear Biker for Live… Live and let live…

Your very old, very silent friend The Rider…

Seen on facebook, don’t know who to credit…
Too old

Still Kicking…

I am still alive, dear friends…

First of all- so sad to hear about the untimely death of Phil Hughes, Aussie cricketer… As our favorite cricket enemies, we love to hate the Aussies. But we don’t really hate them- they provide for good sport- they are a great nation… So my real heartfelt condolences and prayers to his family, friends and fans.

Secondly: today my eldest son is finishing his 12 year sentence of hard labor at the school benches. It seems like just the other day that we went to enroll him in the primary school. And now… just one last examn paper to write, and it is all over…
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Thirdly- My daughter is also on final approach for her degree in Graphic Design. They are working under immense pressure to finish their last assignments. Yesterday she was the passenger in a huge accident, involving two trucks on the highway. She is ok, but badly shaken. And she says this is the second accident in 5 days that she has been through… it really gets to a dad’s heart- so glad she is alive, but worried about all this life threatening experiences- could she not rather go bungy jumping or parachuting?

Fourthly- it is very busy times around here- in two hours time I have to conduct yet another funeral. We deal with such extreme variety in life experiences. Like yesterday afternoon I married a beautiful young couple beneath a huge Marula tree in the bush. From weddings to funerals in 16 hours’ time…

And lastly, in no particular order- I am having serious connectivity issues on the Net. Uncapped but shaped internet does have it’s drawbacks, the ISP says our family has used 100 Gig of data in November, and now we are being choked during office hours- I can walk faster and deliver an old time letter, than sending an email during office hours… That really is ruining my blogging as well. Together with the stressed out to the max times in our family with all the life changes.

I forgot- the youngest is finishing Primary School tomorrow, it is also a huge milestone in his life. So three of my four children are finishing their current life phases… and I am getting old…
Or not- just have to find more time and money for petrol for my motorbike, then I will be Born to be Wild…

(where did all the data go? My third child showed me how to get old movies on the internet. And now I am enjoying Easy Rider, and Mad Max, and Cannonball Run again… It is never too late to have a happy childhood…

Listen to your Sugar packet…

This morning Mrs Rider took a day leave from school. IT is the final day before our yearly church festival. SO we are starting with a very rare Friday morning breakfast together.

One of our sugar companies have these words of wisdom printed on every packet. Maybe if I use more sugar I will become more wise…

This cup of coffee teaches me: “if you want to be happy, be…” by Leo Tolstoy.

OK. NOW I am happy…

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And the second cuppa: “happiness is a habit- cultivate it” by Elbert Hubbard.

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OK, Cultivating in three, two, one… mission accomplished…

Thanks Hullets! Now I have to train twice as hard today… 😥

Separated for Holy Service…

I posted my Afrikaans blog entry on this one by accident this morning. And the translate function usually does not convey the true meaning of words. So let me share my heart this morning in English too…

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It is Monday Morning. Half past nine. I am supposed to be out there, visiting all the sick people in our church. Afterwards I have to work hard, on the presentation of tomorrow morning’s Bible Study. I have to try and explain Romans 9- why God loved Jacob, and hated Esau. My mobile phone is supposed to be switched on, I have to answer all the complaints about yesterday’s sermon, why the music was too hard or too soft, too fast or too slow… Somewhere in the fields there are still some cattle that must be attending our church fete in September, somebody still has to ask the farmers for some more contributions to the meat section…  Steaks for Jesus!  There are still a thousand people waiting for their yearly House Visitation. A Pastor must visit them at home, so that they can know and serve the Lord, with that choice piece of baking they prepared and serve on a Royal Doulton cake plate, with their grandmother’s little golden cake fork.

It is Monday Morning  twenty five to ten. I am the sick one. My wife has confiscated my mobile phone. The doctor has booked me off for three weeks. I may not even drive my car. I am just sitting here. Three weeks is a long, long time! I miss my mobile phone…

It is Monday Morning twenty to ten. The phone does not ring. Beethoven’s Piano Concerto #1 in C Major, Opus 15, Largo is playing loudly on my hifi in my Study.  Behind the clear notes of the piano there sounds the most beautiful notes of violin and clarinet in the background.

A Silent Presence has come with me into my study. Peace. Rest…

I don’t have to do anything. I may just… BE…

And that is good enough…