Relocation to Cape Town.
After many… many… many… years in Jo’burg. I have decided to make the move to Cape Town. As I type this blog, I sit in a little secluded coffee shop in the suburb of Stellenberg. Stellenberg is home to a good friend, Dave. We met over thirty years ago in Jo’burg! Thank you, Dave, for allowing me to crash your little home for a bit as I find my feet and get better settled!
Over many years of visiting the Cape, with guests on tour, I often wondered about ‘emigrating’ here. Changes in personal life circumstances have led to my decision to make the move. We will settle in the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town. Yes we - there are two emigrations taking place. Mine in inverted commas, and Diana’s without the commas, rather a full-on change of continent and country as she moves from Berlin, Germany to be with me and pursue a future together in the Fairest Cape.
Moving to the Cape on a motorcycle is no easy task… as it became clear when I had to leave my trusty espresso machine behind in Jo’burg. My intention was to strap ‘sunbeam’ (the manufacturers name, an apt name for this life altering device) on the back of the bike but just didn’t seem feasible. Deciding instead to do the sensible thing and take shoes and collared shirts in my ‘shangaan bag’ (please do google 'shangaan bag', it is quite fascinating and perhaps a future blog entry on its own). Panniers bursting, top box overloaded and exceeding Givi’s maximum weight suggestion, Shangaan bag strapped on the pillion seat… I set off like the trekkers of old, however, in the wrong direction… back to the Cape!
The two-day ride down from Johannesburg, covering approx. 1,500km, brought my bike and I down to the Cape. The wind-swept Karoo kept me well awake with strong westerly winds requiring continual adjustments to accommodate terrain changes and the regular trucks passing in the opposite direction.
Alone on a bike you don’t expect to meet anyone, not true on this ride, the brotherhood (and sisterhood) of bikers had and has a way of shining through. The first 400 km out of Jo’burg to Bloemfontein was easily achieved on a full tank of fuel with a litre or so to spare. My calculation was therfore that I should easily reach Richmond in the Karoo on the second filled tank… ha… no chance! The hectic side winds caused my trusty ‘Weestrom’ to sip fuel at a much faster rate. The last bar empty and flickering uneasily with still about 30km to go. Last fuel opportunity - Hanover, 30 km behind me - next stop 30 km ahead! Tucked in and trundling along at 75 kmph in the emergency lane with trucks whooshing past, wind relishing the opportunity to punish the impetuous biker for his lack of prudence. An old BMW GS drones past. The rider slows to my snail’s pace. I gesticulate to the tank and offer a thumbs up, all should be well… I hope! The rider chooses to ride behind me for the next 30 km to Richmond. We both stop, have a quick chitchat, PJ lives in Gordon’s Bay. I made the fuel stop with fumes in the tank. The willingness to offer peace of mind and comfort in the wind swept Karoo once again underlined why bikers are a bit special.
An overnight stop on the outskirts of Beaufort West, a pleasant farm stay with an amazing sunset and a good bed set me for the second days ride into Cape Town.
I had on day two a ride over Du Toit’s kloof pass in the planning. That plan was thwarted by the lovely farm and a second cuppa or maybe third before departing much later than originally envisaged! The wind appeared to have forewarning of my departure though, as it decided to greet me once again as I droned out of Beaufort. The wind kept me company all the way through the Karoo and into the Hex River Valley. The ride over the pass was however thwarted, not by the late start but rather the weather… wind now joined by rain and much cooler on the bike. The blanket of cloud and rain in the mountains helped make the decision to use the 4km ‘Huguenots Tunnel’ (the longest in South Africa). The warmth of the tunnel made for welcome relief and a little thawing out. The Du Toit’s Kloof Mountains divide the ‘Breede Valley’ (Worcester) from Paarl and Cape Town. On exiting the tunnel, I was greeted with warm sun breaking through… and…. the beautiful first sight of Table Mountain in the distance. The later than planned start saw me enter Cape Town as the afternoon traffic had begun to build. The weary ‘emigrant’ had arrived!!!
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