Johann and Anthony had set themselves up in the perfect location, a lounge right beside the pool, making the best use of the wireless internet services! A nice Labrador pooch showed up for a drive by petting, with Johann, Anthony and I happy to oblige. Soon our breakfast was ready and as we ate Eve (the owner) provided a brief history of Stocklands Farm, needless to say we were all captivated by her stories, and the history of the place!
By the time we finished breakfast and packed our gear, the fog was starting to lift! With the sun starting to peak through I could feel my excitement build, peaking as I thumbed the starter on the BMW F700GS! My gear was dry, the sun shining and we were off riding in South Africa, what an amazing thing!!!
Soon we were heading north on toll Highway N3, I had my point and shoot in my pocket, pulling it out from time to time to snap pictures of the group as we rode along, and Neale photo bombing me while I was doing a selfie at 70 mph!
We stopped for fuel at a rest plaza northwest of Escourt, and as we parked we all noticed a large group of motorcycles, ranging from Harley’s to Ducati Sport motorcycles, our group adding to the numbers! We all walked through the groups of motorcycles, chatting with fellow riders, telling stories from our adventures, and enjoying the two wheeled art forms which linked us all together. The desire to ride soon outweighed the desire to talk and we all geared up, continuing our journey north.
We got off the toll highway and began taking secondary highways, the South African scenery stunning in the bright sunshine! I lagged back from the group so I could divert some of my attention to the scenery, my head bobbing from side to side, the photographer in me taking mental pictures of the landscapes we passed. Anthony and Neale were clearly in the same mode, lagging behind the main group and I could see they were looking at the landscape the same way I was. I noticed that Anthony had his GoPro with him and was taking pictures of each of the riders and as well as the scenery! I could not help but ham it up for the camera when I pulled up beside him, using my clutch hand to manipulate the throttle while pointing at his camera with my throttle hand!
The road began to get twisty, and I knew that this was my last chance to actually ride a motorcycle on this trip to South Africa, so I twisted the throttle hard! I was determined to test the limits (safely) of the tires in the dry, and it was just as much fun as it was the day prior in the rain! I took off ahead to stretch the legs of the F700GS and truly enjoyed the feeling of cornering, the road, tires and suspension providing me with incredible feedback, not only on what the bike was doing but a true feeling of living life on the edge, moment to moment, corner to corner.
Good feeling gone as I was mid corner in one section and noticed a female police officer coming out of the bushes, walking towards a laser camera (similar to the one in the above photo), the ones that Johann had warned us about. I was over the speed limit so I was concerned, but it was clear at that point the police officer was not manning the camera. Cris was with me and further down the road we pulled over to wait for the rest of the group, laughing and fist bumping at how much fun the curvy road was!
We ended up stopping for lunch in Waakerstroom, where we all relaxed, and Johann let us know that pushing through areas where he knew the police would be set up with speed cameras was not the brightest thing to do. There was a bit of tension there, so I just gave Johann a great big hug, he was always looking out for us, and I did not want him to be upset, I knew when he smiled a little that everything was ok! He was right, and he had done so much for us on the trip, my hug and smile was sincere, and I think it helped take some of the tension out of the group! For the rest of the ride I behaved myself, but did lag behind again just to enjoy the scenery of amazing South Africa!
We later arrived at our home for the night, the Rohr Family Farm, a beautiful bed and breakfast just west of Piet Retief, South Arica. We were assigned out rooms, and after unpacking we all explored the area and enjoyed the hospitality of our hosts with another BBQ! We had an incredible evening telling stories from our ride, and the police speed trap feeling full after filling ourselves with a variety of meats from our home style BBQ!
Anthony, Don and I decided we wanted to try and get some night shots, something we had wanted to do since we arrived in South Africa, but had been so tired from riding that we just did not take the time to do it. We set up our cameras, tripods and then chatted about night settings, light painting, and the night sky, all three of us enjoying the moment. I was not on my game, but tried to get some good shots, and Don did an amazing job getting some incredible night shots. It was incredibly fun, but soon I called it a night, heading to bed exhausted from the days ride.
Tomorrow would be the last day with the motorcycles, and we will be staying near Kruger National Park…I ended up dreaming about the upcoming safari and exotic wild animals. I also dreamt of mounting a photo radar ticket on the wall should one come in the mail…I would at least make the best use out of a ticket that way!