1st Cape Town Free Chapter

The Three Musketeers‘ Motorcycle Road Trip 17-29 March

Noel, Poul and Rob.

This is the story of our road trip, which was quite fun and very eventful. It is about the people we met, more than the bikes (two of which misbehaved quite badly) or the fantastic scenery we went through. It is not in order of days, more the order in which we met interesting people, who were much more friendly in remote Dorps in the Klein Karoo than you ever find along the Garden Route

 

LOXTON LODGE (DAY 3).

“My name is Terblanche….yes, but what is your first name? That’s it, my surname is Du Plessis”

This was the landlord of Loxton Lodge, who entertained us royally while we had excellent food brought to the pub by a local caterer/restaurateur. We had breakfast at her cafe the next morning, it was a bucket of muesli each, a barrow load of fruit and a gallon of yoghurt. She had been in Loxton for three years, had built the ‘Tin Shed’ along with many tons of large round rocks for a huge wall and sheets of tin for the cafe walls. Having finished building and opened the cafe, she now had it up for sale as her fiancé was beginning to find it too far to drive from CT to Loxton each weekend (approx. 1600k’s round trip)

Loxton would not be your first choice for a place to open a cafe, let alone to try to sell it.

The landlord was one of the best that Poul in his 89 years has ever met, and he kept us entertained the whole evening, along with the Six Nations rugby matches.

 

CALVINIA(DAY2)

The day before in Calvinia we’d stopped for coffee and found a general store who made us some. Served by a woman of about 40, who also had had a fiancé for several years. She had a sort of General Store, and her shop was stuffed full of absolutely everything…we were given Ricoffee coffee, and when we asked to use the loo, we had to fight our way through piles of stuff. Her shop was on a side street, in a bad place, and she told us that Ackermans wanted the place where she had been, so presumably her landlord took the money and kicked her out. Lovely women who gassed away at us for around a half hour…obviously didn’t see enough people, or maybe didn’t get out enough.

 

WILLISTON MALL (DAY 2)

Peter, the owner, was a real hippy, no shoes, long grey ponytail, and a Bruce type goatee, but many more times stragglier. Both he and his wife, obviously extremely eccentric, were lovely They actually offered trips around the Mall, which consisted of a big yard full of amazing junk (see below), offering a cup of coffee to each taker, and charged R20 for the experience…apparently they had school trips visit…we politely declined a visit, as we were quite sure we’d feel obligated to buy something in her shop. They also chatted away to us whether we wanted them to or not. They came into their own when the Africa Burns takes place…. they could accommodate 22 people and obviously had a great time. Like our Montagu rally it has not happened for the last two years, and they must be really hurting. They also had an old Morris Minor 1958 which they claimed was in working order, and a huge Chevy with a large trailer, like a float in a carnival, which they used at Africa Burns.

They opened the bonnet of the Chevy for the first time in over two years, and the engine was encrusted with a half inch of sand and dust. They had had a nine years drought until this January, when it all came down. It poured while we were there, and our breakfast table was covered with several rusty old enamel buckets and bowls. Luckily it stopped by 10am and we got to our next stop, Loxton, without getting wet (almost). There was surface water everywhere, and all the dams were full…the Karoo was almost green for once.

Leaving Loxton, Noel and I had a game drive along the R63 : a beautiful scenic road with a couple of lovely curving passes, perfect surface, no passing traffic, and first a mongoose that tried to get Noel to run it over while trying to cross the road, and then deciding to double back. Then came a Leguaan, which didn’t bother about us and just held his course, just under Noel’s wheel to get into the verge….then a boring old giant  tortoise who didn’t even know we were there, and just kept on going. But the most amazing sight was a kudu which jumped the 1.5metre fence on our right, crossed the road in a couple of bounds, and cleared the fence on our left. We’d have taken a photo, but it all happened a little quickly.

 

BLANCO GUEST FARM (DAYS 4&5)

“My name is Q. Yes but what is your name? Q (spelt QUE)…I was named by my parents after the scientist guy in the James Bond films “This was the manager whose head was as shiny as a billiard ball. Again, very friendly, especially after telling us we should have brought our own booze…it presumably said so in the literature. On seeing our faces, he went off and came back with two large bottles of coke, some cans of an unknown cola, and four Castle Light. Better than nothing, especially as we had a supply of 10-year-old KWV brandy, and a bottle of whisky with us. Oh, and a bottle of Spier Sauvignon Blanc was also in the Welcome package.

I moaned that I prefer red, he said he’d try, and at supper there was a bottle of Nederberg Baronne, on our table…a very acceptable red blend. This had been supplied by Chris, the owner who was also a serious farmer. Blanco has been a Guest Farm since the 1930’s and is now owned by the fourth generation of family. He wouldn’t let me pay for it which made it even more acceptable.

On the way to the Guest Farm we were a little alarmed to find that the road leading to the farm was dirt, and since there had been a lot of rain, it was quite churned up from cars driving along it and making channels. It was my turn to ride Poul’s bike, and it got into one of these grooves and I was forced off the road into the verge. Luckily, I managed to stop, get my feet down and coax the bike back onto the road. We planned to leave early on our last day in the hope of beating the rain due at 13.00…we didn’t fancy that farm road in the rain, but found it had dried out a little, and we managed it with great care, having asked one of the staff to keep an eye on us in case we came to grief.

The next day was free, so we relaxed, washed our clothes, I practiced chipping and putting, on the 8-hole golf course, with greens which looked green, but were not ideal for practicing anything, while Lorna swam, and Annya walked. The Guest Farm does pony and horse rides, bird watching, tractor cart rides for kids, 4x4 trails, mountain bike trails, a game park (which we didn’t get to see, fishing, and all sorts of indoor activities, including snooker and a wreck room for teenagers. A brilliant place to bring a young family for a week, all set in beautiful countryside, lush green due to the rain they also had had this year.

 

VANRHYNSDORP DAY 1

We stayed our first night in Vanrhynsdorp, in the Namaqualand Lodge, a dim, dingy hotel full of massive carved elephant and buffalo in very dark wood, so they blended in almost perfectly with the walls, the furniture and the stuffed antelope heads on the walls.

Very unmemorable, and the only way we could later bring it to mind was because Annya slipped on a dog turd in the dark corridor…the rest of us had managed to avoid it. The maid scooped out up, but didn’t wash the floor, so the outline of the turd was still on the floor.

On the way to Vanrhynsdorp about 20 Km’s outside Clanwilliam, disaster struck. My back wheel began to wander, so I immediately pulled over to see whether I had a flat. No, so maybe it was just some heat distortion on the road…it was on the brow of a hill. But still it was wandering. Stop. Kick the tyre, Noel and Poul come back to see. Kick the tyre. Nothing. Carry on. Now there is a screaming from the back wheel. Is it the drive belt? No, doesn’t seem to be. So I limp along at 60 Kph to Clanwilliam, with this sort of metal-on-metal very loud screeching. Go past the Toyota garage, as don’t expect they’ll know anything about Harleys, and ask at the next garage. The guy there checked my wheel nuts as we’d begun to think maybe they had loosened. No.

So, guess what, he said there’s bike mechanic at the Toyota garage. We go to see him and sure enough he knows his bikes. He works on a few Harleys in the town and had a brand-new Husqvarna off road bike.

He said the rear disc pads were completely gone, which turned out not to be the case, and I could have a wheel bearing gone. He’d take a look at it, in his own time, but was away for the long weekend and couldn’t look at it till Tuesday (this was Friday).

I’m thinking of calling my Breakdown/household insurance to fetch it on a low loader, when Alwyn says he will be going to Somerset West to visit his mother-in-law and would ride it down to there for me to collect at the end of our trip. What a pleasure!!

So we took off my saddle bag, and I piled into Lorna’s car with Annya and the two bikes continued. Poul and I then agreed to take alternate turns to ride his bike, changing over at each fuel stop. We got to Williston Mall that evening.

 

STEYTLERVILLE (DAY 9)

Met by the two gay guys who run the Karoo Theatrical Hotel, we were given sumptuous rooms with a lounge, and the promise of a floor show/cabaret in the evening. Annya and I knew it from a visit some five years ago, with her brother, and found the show hilarious.

We had stayed the previous night in Port Alfred (DAY8) a hotel on the river/estuary called Halyards. A superb location, and a lovely hotel built in grand style, probably in the 1930’s, but unfortunately has been neglected for many years, and had wash basins with holes in, doors hanging off wardrobes and generally was in need of many R millions of Tender Loving Care to get it sorted. It served the purpose and we set off the next day expecting rain. We got a large swarm of locusts smacking into our screens and visors…I have a peak on my helmet, and I lowered my head to try to stop them hitting my visor desperately trying to keep the white line in my sight. One locust hit my visor and left a very squishy yellow mess, which luckily, I could see to the side of. This was the fourth swarm we’d met in three days.

We rode 300 km’s and got to Steyterville, had a late lunch, and went to our Karoo Desert Hotel. It was a dirt road, dried hard, so no mud this time, but dreadful corrugations…enough to loosen your fillings, and very, very hard to keep the bikes on the road at about 25kph in third gear.

“My name is Jaques”, says the guy at the desk of the Karoo Theatrical Hotel. He’s a good 120 kg’s, and has brightly varnished red fingernails, long fluttering eyelashes and eyeliner. With a toupee. The other guy, they jointly own the hotel, is Mark, and he dresses like a man. The hotel is a km or so out of Steytlerville, and has a cabaret every Saturday night, which they do themselves, based on the Lisa Minnelli film “Cabaret”.

But before that we all (40 or so guests) have cocktails on the veranda, with Mark playing some beautiful piano, after which we take our tables, and are entertained by Mark on the musical bottles, and Jaques going round our tables trying to work a ventriloquist’s dummy. Mark was professional, Jaques amateur, but it was great fun.

After a lovely dinner, Mark starts the main entertainment with some brilliant piano, all sorts, very varied, and puts on a different smoking jacket for each section. 

Then it’s Jaques’ turn, he comes on in drag, and mimes to all his songs. His miming is better than his ventriloquism. Again he changes in between each number, while Mark plays some more piano….we learn that Jaques has designed and made all his own costumes , very elaborate, one is split and he gives us a glimpse of his bare arse…not a pretty sight, and at the end he sings ‘I am what I am’ before whipping of his wig, no toupee this time, and tears off his long gown which is kept together with velcro, to reveal that he is dressed in a leather bondage costume, just a few strips of leather, and turns his back, again to show us his fat wobbly bum…well, it was based on Cabaret, and when he came back on for the applause at the end, he had one of those caps like in those in the ‘Young Man’ song by The Village People.

The 2 km drive to the hotel was diabolically corrugated, but we managed to make it without falling off.

The guest house we stayed in in Oudtshoorn (DAY 9) was up a gravel drive, and you had to turn in quite sharply. Poul’s bike was becoming very good at cutting out when you were in first. Starting it and getting it to go up this gravel drive, when the bike had to be revved a lot, was not the easiest manoeuvre.

Annya had been suffering with stomach cramps for almost a week, and we’d thought it was constipation. It was so bad when we reached Oudtshoorn that I took her into the Mediclinic. They wanted to X-ray her and they put her on a drip as she was dehydrated, then tried to put a tube in through her nostril. They couldn’t manage it and left it for the while. I had to leave her there overnight.

 

SWELLENDAM (DAY 10)

“My name is Marion”, said our B&B host. Lorna called her Ewa Braun, and Poul was too scared to ask her for a towel, she was so strictly German.

This was our last night, and the four of us remaining had a very good meal in the restaurant next door, run by a French woman, Christelle. What with her and Ewa Braun, Swellendam was like a mini United Nations. Annya had been collected from the hospital and taken by friends to George. She was intending to fly there the day after we got back after the trip, stay a few days ,then drive down to Cape Town with the friend who was going there anyway. So that all worked out very well, thank goodness.

We set off at 09.30, our usual time, and took Poul’s bike into Harley, since true to form they had sent him on, as he told them, a 3000 Km trip with the faults he had told them about unrectified…the stand had a weak spring, and when it drooped down, all the lights came on in the speedo, and the warning “ S/STAND showed in the display. If in first gear, the bike would stall…always at the wrong time, such as traffic lights, and had to be put into neutral before it could be started, which also was not that easy. Funnily enough, it was not necessary to move the stand up to restart the bike. It happened when going along every couple of minutes, but the engine only cut out when in first.

The last day. We left Annya in the Mediclinic for her friend to collect her and take her to George, 60 km’s away, which worked fine apart from her friend’s clutch master cylinder failed, and covered her foot with hydraulic fluid.

We said auf Wiedersehen to Ewa Braun and went to fuel up. I either dropped my wallet at the fuel station, or it fell out of my pocket en route. It had about R600, three credit cards, and Annya’s wedding ring, which I’d put in there when they admitted her to the Mediclinic.

I called the garage, but they said no-one had seen it. Surprise, surprise! When I got home, I stopped the cards, and luckily had a UK one in the safe, so I could draw out cash to buy fuel with, as it was an Amex card which few outlets take.

We stopped at Houw Hoek for coffee, but Noel paid, so I didn’t miss my wallet. Poul and Lorna drove off before us, and I waited while Noel searched for his house keys. He said go on ahead, but I said we started together, and we’ll finish together. I’m glad I did, as on the top of Sir Lowrie’s pass, the cloud was really low and it was raining hard…really the only rain we had on the whole trip, and I was very glad to follow Noel’s flashing hazard lights and his bright yellow Hi Vis rain jacket…visibility was less than 20 metres.

I took Poul’s bike straight to the dreaded Harley dealership in town. I told them that it kept cutting out when trying to pull up or take off in first gear, and that all the lights plus S/Stand came up in the display at any speed, but the engine kept running OK. They said it must be electrical, and I told them they must ride it till the engine got hot and keep going till these symptoms showed. They got the message…the guy there that sold Poul the bike swore it was just the side stand drooping…we thought “Bull”, but in fact it was…you just wonder how they sold it to him and then checked it over immediately before we started our trip and missed this very obvious fault.

Poul came down in his car with my luggage and took me back to Hout Bay. After he’d left I found that a Woolworth’s shopping bag was missing, which had in it two rain jackets and my wash bag…OK I think, I’ve got another toothbrush and toothpaste, but I call Lorna, who checks the cars and says the bag is not there. Then I realise that Annya had given me her Cartier watch and a pair of diamond earrings, when I had seen her in the Mediclinic, which I’d put in the side pocket of my wash bag. Oh sh*t. Call Lorna again….and a few minutes later Poul called to say they’d found it. Whoa!! A black bag in a dark garage….

Noel never found his keys, I lost my wallet and Annya’s wedding ring, my wheel bearings gave out, Poul’s bike was a juddering wreck by the time we got back, but all in all we had a great trip.

 

Thank you, Noel, for all the work you did to plan it and organise everything.

Rob Jones

Free Chapter Board News - Nouvelles Free Monde

Les News des FREE    Mars 2022


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Hello to all Free Chapter

As you know, the exceptional situation that Europe is experiencing at the moment following V.Putin's declaration of war on Ukraine has led the Board Manager to react.

First of all, even if in our Free charter the use by the Free Chapters of politics and religion is condemned, even if we do not have to get involved in the political or religious opinions of our Free, the unprecedented situation current and so incredible that we had to react and urgently know the position of our three Free Russian Chapters.

We immediately contacted them and they unanimously and immediately answered us by e-mail, that they were against war, for peace and that they did not support the current actions against Ukraine, they also confirmed to us that they were 100% in accordance with the rules of our Free charter and that they respected them.

We also asked Moscow FCR to delete its Facebook posts which had announced with supporting photos their annual outing in a shooting range with weapons in hand and wearing a jacket. Even if their intention was not related to the events, these publications were biased, incongruous and unwelcome. They immediately ran.

Of course, the Board Manager remains very vigilant on the subject and, as we told them, we will immediately cancel the Free(s) in opposition to our Free charter.

We strongly condemn this attack and we are totally in solidarity with the Free Chapters of Eastern Europe who are on the front line and who are mobilizing in a remarkable way to bring support to the Ukrainian people.
Currently, on their border, our brothers of the 1st South Poland centralize and manage a considerable action of assistance to the Ukrainian refugees.
A real need for funds was quickly felt in order to carry out their actions as well as possible.
In this totally unreal situation and this geopolitical disaster, anxious to participate in these support actions, the Board Manager decided to help them by donating € 4,000 to the 1st South Poland
We sincerely hope that this situation will end as soon as possible and that we can all meet again soon, faithful to the values ​​of our movement in peace and fraternity.

Harley for the Board Manager

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                                        In Memorium

Willie Lubbe (Namibia)                     and                Ben Oelsen (West Rand)

This month sadly we remember 2 Harley legends who passed away recently

Willie Lubbe (seen here on the left) was a distinguished international member of FCCT from Namibia seen here proudly wearing his chapter colours. Eben and Nerina Smith took part in the motorcycle drive past at his funeral service in Windhoek on Friday 16th July 

Ben Oelsen, (on the right ) was a Free Chapter SA Council Member and Director of Free Chapter West Rand - South Africa who has lost the battle with Covid and passed away this morning 19th July. His wife, Annatjie is currently in hospital on a ventilator and we pray for her full recovery. Ben was a school classmate of Monica Haasbroek

Our deepest sympathies to their respective families

Two BIG trees have fallen

Route 62 Rally – Pure Romance

In the years which my lady and I have been in a steady relationship, not once have I missed our Anniversary, her birthday, Valentine’s Day or even the odd bouquet of flowers!
 
It’s fair to say that we’re head over heels in love. You know, the good ‘ol fashioned type.  The Black and White flicks which portray an adoring housewife waving her soldier-husband good bye while he boards HMS Whatever to fight for freedom type. 
 
It’s been pretty Lilies and romance until Valentine’s Day this year as I attended the Route 62 Rally, without her.
 
If you’ve never been to this rally, let me say with my hand on my heart that it is absolutely breathtaking! 
 
Nestled between the mountains, warm springs and the familiar sound of a rumbling Harley engine – there’s pretty much nothing like it in South Africa.  In fact, it’s the longest running Harley rally in our beautiful country.  Harley-Davidson faithful attend with their partners, in clubs or on their own.  There’s an abundance of activities to keep you well entertained.  Or, if you just need some downtime, then why not unwind in the crystal clear pools which just so happen to have a bar close by.  The cocktails are great and the beer is ice cold!  Luckily, nobody took a pic of me drinking a pink drink.
 
Riding there won’t exactly leave you in the desert yearning for a drop of water either, as it’s a stone’s throw from Tyger Valley but just far enough for you to clear your head and fall in love with the road. 
 
AND THAT’S WHEN I DISCOVERED MY PROBLEM!
 
While I thoroughly enjoyed the well-organized rally (thanks to the Free Chapter) and the facilities which were on offer at Montagu Springs, it was the open road that made me realize something…
 
I’ve been cheating on my Mrs for years as I have a love affair with the open road and the Route 62 Rally is my mistress!
 
After all, I know I’ll be back next year again as the Route 62 Rally is pure romance!
(Now, about that pink drink…)

 
Written by: Ty The Harley Guy

15th Route 62 Rally postponed


Be sure to visit the Fokus website to view and order online your favourite pics of the rally

http://www.fokus.co.za/BaseFolder/Photos/Other%20events/Roete%2062%20Rally


Our 15th - 2022