Monday, July 6, 2009

Durban to Dublin 29th June to 5th July

Monday 29th - This morning after a very emotional farewell to Simon and family we set of on our penultimate day’s ride on this epic journey that we have been on for the last two and a half Months. It seems so long ago now that we set off from Durban Auto Umshlanga on the 25th April. We have seen and experienced so much along the way. Met a lot of people, some wanting to shoot us with AK’S, some throwing stones and sticks, but the majority of the people we have met have been really fantastic. We have shared a lot of these experiences with all of you and that is why it is with mixed emotions that we head off to Dublin. Joy that at last we get closer to our destination and then head back home to our families, friends and loved ones, but this is also tinged with a sense of sadness. This has been an experience of a life time for us, we have met fantastic people along the way, and through the internet medium we have been able to share some of our experiences, highs and lows with you, our friends and supporters along the way. Speaking of which it has been a great pleasure and comfort to us knowing that daily, someone is checking up on our progress and we always knew that there are hundreds of people out there caring and praying for us all along the way.

But today the journey is not yet over…

After we left Simon we knew we had the whole day to get to Holyhead where we were going to camp before crossing into Ireland tomorrow.

We set my GPS to take us on a scenic route up through the Brecon region of Wales and then from there follow the valleys up to Anglesey. When we got into the Brecon area the road went straight through a military training area. Now I had heard of the Brecon area from guys that used to be out here in the army, this is also the area that SAS do their selection. As we entered the area I was keeping my eyes opened to see if I would see some poor new recruit being chased over the hills by some Corporal. Half way through the area we stopped to take some photos of the rolling hills and spectacular scenery.

We had just got our cameras out and taken a few shots when we heard mortar fire coming from just over the hills from us. After our experiences in Sudan with their Military we looked at each other and said Oh S*@# !!! Here we go again, except the British Army is using maximum force against us. Packing our things away with much haste we got on our bikes and headed out of there. As we rounded a hill we saw to our relief the source of the mortar fire. No it was not intended for us. The troops were doing a training exercise in the area, as we went by they cheerfully waved us on. Phew!!!

During the day we received a phone call from Simon to inform us that he had found a place for us to sleep in Holy head. Nothing less than the house of the Lesotho Consulate to the UK. I at first thought that Simon was pulling our leg. But when he gave me a number to call we believed him. Who would ever believe there was a Lesotho Consulate based on the small Island of Anglesey? How many thousands of Km’s from South Africa!

This we had to do, putting a call through to Carl Clowes he confirmed that yes he was the Consular to Lesotho and he was expecting our call, and yes we were very welcome to camp in their front yard. With no further ado we were off and arrived at their house at about 18h00.

Arriving there Dorethy, Carl’s wife showed us where we could put up our tents and invited us to join them for dinner, which would be served at 20h00. Over dinner we spent a very pleasant evening talking to them about the projects that they are involved in, in Lesotho, and we told those tales of our adventure.

Now up until now we had crossed 17 countries. I have now added the 18th!!! The Consulate is classified as sovereign territory of Lesotho that then makes the garden bona fide Lesotho country.

30th July - Up early this morning and getting our tents packed. We were relieved to see the sun shining. This meant we would be riding into Dublin Ireland under a clear sky. We really did not want to arrive at the Mayors Mansion sopping wet and wearing rain suits.

We boarded the Stenna lines Ferry that transported us from Holy head and with a scence of excitement we traveled across the Irish Sea and into Dan Loughie harbour. Waiting there was Tom Kerrigan (A very enthusiastic member of the Dublin BMW club) Tom had been instrumental in setting up our meeting with the Lord Mayor. With Tom was Dennis. We nick named him Curb, and Dave Humphreys, Dave is from Joe Duffy BMW, where we were due to attend a end of ride party that evening.

With Dave leading the way we set off through the city of Dublin with the South African flag flying very high. Not only had we arrived, but as every rugby fan knows we had just beaten the Lions in SA.

The Mayor was waiting for us at the Mansion, and during tea we handed over the Letter of greeting from The Mayor of Durban, The Honorable Obed Mlaba, that had been carried all the way from SA for the Mayor of Dublin. When we were still in SA on our way to the Swazi border we had stopped at Shakaland where I had bought a Zulu spear. This has also traveled strapped to my bike for the whole trip. This Spear I also handed to the Mayor as a token of friendship.

We could not stay to long at the Mayors office as the Mayor had another appointment to attend to plus we were due to meet up with the South African Ambassador at the SA Embassy. We arrived at the Embassy and we were warmly welcomed by the Ambassador and her assistants. We were invited into the conference room, and there waiting for u was a table laid out with snacks and good old South African red wine. We looked at each other knowing that we still had to ride out to the BMW dealership some 15km’s away, and we were not sure of the drinking and driving policies in Ireland. I think the Ambassador saw our look of disappointment that we could not have a glass or two of South Africa’s finest.

With out batting an eyelid the Ambassador pours three glasses and says that it is not everyday she gets a visit from three tough guy’s that have traveled Africa to get here. She tells us that for the rest of the afternoon we have diplomatic immunity, so enjoy the moment. Mrs. Ambassador you rock!!!

We were not going to start abusing any countries hospitality so having only two glasses of said wine we bit our farewells to the good people at the Embassy and following Tom, Dave and Dennis we set of once again through the city for the BMW dealership.

This is where Dennis earned his nickname (Curb) as we were going along filtering through the traffic. Dennis decides to overtake a car on the left. What he did not see was that there was a small curb of about twenty centimeters in height. Anyone that has done a BMW off road course will have learned that a GS 1200 ADV cannot climb a curb. Well how he stayed on we that were traveling behind him still do not know! With lots of wobbling around and legs flying he managed to bring the bike back under control, Dennis says he was watching the car next to him and did not see the curb, we think maybe two glasses of wine may have been the cause. I also think the only reason he did not fall was the thought of a very hefty repair bill to his new bike was motivation enough to make sure he stayed with the bike, come what may.

Arriving at Joe Duffy BMW we put our bikes up in the show room where they were on display for the evening and the next day.

We headed back to the hotel to freshen up and change into casual clothes, then it was back to the dealership for a cocktail party and meet the Joe Duffy customers and give a talk on our trip.

Jaco’s father also read a verse from the Bikers bible that I had carried with us from SA. We had started the journey at Auto Umhlanga on the morning of the 25th April with Hein Jonker reading a verse out of the same book, asking for protection and guidance for us during the trip. I thought it only fitting that we end the journey with a word of thanks.

1st July - Today we had a day of no bike riding. We spent the day walking around Dublin city centre enjoying the sites of the city and basically relaxing,

2nd July - Tom had arranged for us to get out on our bikes and take a ride up into the hills of Ireland. Tom was due to be back at work so Aiden Lynam a journalist and photographer offered to take us around. Looking out the window we were greeted by a typical Irish day, pouring rain. We had just ridden 18000km’s through some fairly rough territories, a rainy day was not going to put us off a days ride.

Meeting Aiden at Joe Duffy’s we were introduced to Peter ( The Greek ) who was going to be joining us for the day. Looking at the sky and the heavy clouds we decided not ride up into the mountains. With all the rain and mist we would not see anything anyway.

Aiden told us about a road race that was taking place on Saturday in a village called Skerries, so we decided to take a ride out there and have a look around the track and area.

Skerries race meeting is a motorcycle road race based on the same principles as the Isle of Man TT race. In other words the bike riders race around these country lanes at speeds reaching up to 120 mph. Convert that to km’s and you can believe it is FAST!!!! Very fast. And then on top of this there is no kitty litter or catch fences if you crash. If a rider does crash he or she will most likely end up hitting a tree, ditch or farm brick wall.

When we arrived at the track we met with Ray the club secretary. Ray gave us permission to have a ride around the circuit and take a few pics. Ray also invited us to be their guest on Saturday (Race day) and have our bikes on display in the paddock area.

Riding around the circuit at a much slower speed than what the racers would be doing on Saturday, I was really impressed that anyone could be brave enough to take part in a race of this nature. How there are not a lot more injuries and deaths in this type of Road Racing I do not know, shows the quality of riders that enter.

There is one section of the circuit where there’s a slight rise in the road. This is a popular spot for photo shoots, because the race bikes normally end up with the front wheel slightly off the ground in a kind of wheelie and makes for good pictures. The bikes normally come over this rise at 120 MPH.

Aiden showed me a few photos that he had taken at that spot, and casually asking if I would like him to take a photo of us riding gently over the same spot on our big heavy ADV bikes with panniers on.

Is a duck waterproof, of course we would like that. Off I go to do a circuit of the track at a sedate pace and when reaching the spot where all these race bikes get air born at 120MPH. I am traveling at 120 km’s per hour. Beeping my hooter to warn Aiden that I am approaching, this was prearranged. I ride over this slight rise in the road. I now let the photo speak for itself. Not much you can’t do with a 340 kg BMW Adv with panniers.

Poor Aiden did however get a big fright just after this pic was taken, when my front wheel came down the right pannier. (The same one that got beaten up during my fall in Italy) came off the mounting and went skidding off down the tar road. The noise of this sounded just like a bike crashing and sliding on tar. Poor Aiden thought I had bought it. Once again our Metal Mule panniers have shown their worth and strength. I turned around went and picked up the pannier, besides a few extra war wounds and scratches the pannier was still intact and closed. Putting it back on the rack we were once again on our way.

After a fantastic even though it was wet, day’s riding we said our goodbyes to Aiden and The Greek, and headed back to the hotel for a much needed hot shower and dinner.

4th July - Yes I know I have skipped the 3rd. Yesterday was a very quite day, spent loafing around Dublin, so not much to talk about now, besides I need to keep something back for the book, Otherwise you won’t read it, old news.

5th July - Jaco today headed off alone for London, He is going to see his best friend based there who he has not seen for a few years. Howard and I went out to Skerries Race to spend the day watching these very talented riders race around the circuit that we had just the other day at a snails pace, compared to these blokes.

Unfortunately today was again a very cold and rainy day so the racing was not as quick as they normally are, still fast mind you, but no lap records were broken today. What was a treat to see was the site of Jim Redman dressed in his trademark black leathers riding his Classic race bike around the circuit. At 76 years old he still got around the track faster than we did the other day. For those of you who doesn’t know who Jim Redman is, he is a South African who when he was much younger was 6 times world motorcycle GP champion, and multiple Isle of Man TT winner. At 76 still riding and still alive, is a great feat.

Tomorrow Howard and I will be leaving Dublin, Our mission accomplished and the adventure over. We head now for Antwerp Belgium to crate our bikes to get them home, we then fly out of Munich Germany.

This journey has been an adventure of discovery for all three of us, it is with a very heavy heart we are saying good bye to our travels, who knows what lies ahead.

To complete this adventure we have crossed two continents, the UK Isles, 18 countries, ridden 18000 km’s, experienced temperatures from up to 50 degrees down to 4 degrees,
ridden at an overall average of 65km’s per hour. Used aprox 1450 liters of fuel each, used two sets of tires each and replaced two rear shocks.

For every one that has supported us, comments on the Blog, Sms’s, prayers, Phone calls or simply in your thoughts, We all three thank each and every one of you for being with us every step of the way.

I can tell you that without the knowledge that there were all you fantastic folk following our journey and urging us on there would have been times where it would have been so easy to give up.

To all our families back home I thank you as well and look forward to getting home to tell you all in person about this trip.

Jo, A very big thank you for giving Howard the freedom and time to come along on this ( What he still thinks was a joke so many years ago in Mozambique when I first talked about Durban To Dublin ) I know how hard it has been for you.

Corne, Barent and Berne, Thank you to. Jaco I know, and saw how much he missed you. Being on the farm without him there I am sure was very hard for you guy’s.

Jaco’s Mum and Dad, “Dankie dat julle Jaco die kans gegee het om hierdie trip te kon onderneem”, you asked (No told me) to get him here safely and home to you. I have done what you asked, He is here safe and in one piece. All I now have to do is get him back to you then I have fulfilled my promise to you.

Mum and Dad Scheffer, I know you do not have internet, but have been following by means of the print outs Liz has been bringing to you. I hope you have enjoyed following our adventure, and thank you for your prayers and thoughts.

Last but not least we all say a very big thank you to each and every one that supported us by means of sponsorship, by your generous support we not only had an adventure of a lifetime but we were able to raise some considerable amount of money for our chosen Charity. PEBBLES.

BUT WAIT!!! The journey is never over. Once we get back, there are all the parties and talks lined up for us to attend. Melmoth, we will be there! (No pineapples this time)

We have a message of friendship from the Mayor of Dublin to deliver to the Mayor of Durban. There is another story that will need to be told...

And who knows there may be another adventure that needs to be experienced…….

Watch this space…

Monday, June 29, 2009

Durban to Dublin 21st June – 25th June

Sunday 21st - Well prayers do work. After yesterday’s heavy downpour and snow, we woke this morning and looked anxiously out the window half expecting to see a wet and miserable days riding ahead of us. We were all relieved to see that there was not a cloud in the sky and the day was perfect for a days ride. Since we had stayed over in Villach (You know how to pronounce that now) an extra day we now had to ride all the way to Titisee (And no we didn’t see any) some 450 km’s away. Titisee is a small village in Germany’s Black Forest region. En route we were due to meet up with Rick just outside Innsbrook , a South African guy living and working in London. He had come over to meet up with us and ride back to Wales with us.

Saying our goodbye’s to Tina at the Hotel Mosser, we set off following Christian and Anita who were joining us for the ride on their Harley Davidson. They were going to ride with us to the Italian Border. I’m still not sure if after 3 days of hosting us in Villach, that their intention was to make sure we actually did leave the country or just to have a good days ride with three (Four, Simon was with us) great guy’s. No seriously Christian and Anita as I have said in my earlier reports you were fantastic hosts and a great honor to have met you.

After about two hours we stopped at the last Austrian village before crossing into Italy to have a cup of coffee and say our goodbye’s to our Austrian hosts, we then headed down to the motorway to make up some time and reach Innsbrook for our scheduled meeting with Rick.

On arriving at the truck stop, Rick was already waiting. He had arrived just a few minutes before us. Well done Simon for getting the meeting place right and the timings. We all had a quick bite to eat at the very busy fast food place and without further ado we all set of on the next leg to Titisee. Our group was now five strong, and looking in the mirror to see not two bikes following but now four sweeping round the corners and down the road is a great site.

We got into Titisee at about 17:30 and after being greeted by this very unfriendly bloke at the reception to the camp site we got our tents up in record time, it was by now starting to rain and we did not want to get all our kit wet. Little did we know that from here on in, rain is going to be a big feature of our trip? As Simon so rightly says T.I.E. This Is Europe.

We decided to go into Titisee village to a restaurant for a meal, Jaco, Rick and Simon taking a walk around the lake to the village and Howard and I opting to ride into town.

As we got into town the rain really started to come down. We went looking for the other three guys and found them walking down to the village, Simon accepted my offer of a lift down to the restaurant. With Jaco and Rick saying they will rather walk the last bit in.

Simon, Howard and I arrived at the restaurant reasonably dry and went in to wait for the other two. After about half an hour they still had not arrived. It was decided that I should go out and look for them. Well it was by now pouring. Off I went on my bike to eventually find the two of them walking around the village completely lost and drenched. Now the village is not the biggest place in Europe, and for a guy that has just ridden all the way from South Africa, I wonder where we would have ended up if we had done the trip without a GPS! Jaco, this evening had left his GPS on his bike. He now appreciates it’s worth.

They followed me back to the restaurant. A mere 100 meters away. And we were soon warming up next the log fire and enjoying a good meal.

Monday 22nd
- Up early and under a cloudy sky we set off up into the Black forest region. Destination Les Vogues France. Soon after setting off and climbing up into the hills the clouds again opened up and the rain started coming down. As we climbed higher the temperature also dropped rapidly. We were soon riding in a temperature of 4 degrees.

After about an hour of this Howard (He does not have heated hand grips) Pulled off the road and explained that he cannot feel his hands anymore! They were almost frozen.
Before frost bite could set in he climbed off the bike and wrapped his hands around the cylinder heads of his bike to get some warmth and circulation back into them.

Simon had a spare pair of winter gloves which he kindly lent to Howard. They were one size to small for his hands, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Howard managed to squeeze his hands into those gloves and as soon as he had got his feeling back we were once again on our way.

As we came down the mountains the weather started to clear and soon we were happily riding along under a clear sky. Crossing the Rhine we rode through the Wine growing region of the Rhine Valley. Made me think of Stellenbosch and the Vineyards back home, and reminded me why we are actually doing the trip. For the kids of Pebbles.

We arrived at our overnight stop in the Les Vogues region at about 17:00 in the afternoon. The camp site is probably one of the best and most picturesque sites that we have stayed in to date. It is an old French Ch√Ęteau with the camp areas set out under the old oak trees that are growing in the grounds. We were warmly welcomed and after chatting to a few of the campers that invariably gather around our bikes whenever we stop, we pitched tents and retired to the restaurant for dinner and a glass of French wine. All very civilized, a real change from what we had been getting in Africa.

Tuesday 23rd
- Waking this morning Simon warned us that today would be a long boring ride down the motorway to a camp just outside Calais, where tomorrow we were due to cross the ferry into England.

Boring or not we had to do it, so off we set. The road was a highway with lots of traffic and plenty of Lorries. The lorry drivers were quite friendly, we were often hooted at and an am would be thrust out of the window and we were given a thumbs up. Our bikes certainly do attract a lot of attention. Loaded up as they are and with all the sponsors names stuck all over them, we really do look impressive.

While traveling down the highway we passed some wind generators, these are modern day wind mills and I couldn’t help thinking that poor old Don Quixote would have had his work cut out for him if he had to try and take these things on.

Further down the highway we decided to have a quick photo shoot of the three of us riding three abreast along the highway. Testimony to the courtesy of the people we have met along the way. Was the fact that we took up the whole width of the highway and had all these cars and trucks backed up behind us following us at a snails pace along the road while we where doing the photo’s. As we pulled of the road further down the road they all went by hooting and waving to us.

We arrived at a small fishing village about 50 km’s down the coast from Calais and decided to camp there rather than in the commercial town of Calais. Booking in and getting settled did not take to long. We have got unpacking and tent pitching down to a fine art now.

Once camp was pitched we got on our bikes to go into the village for a meal. Simon opted to leave his bike at the camp site and hitched a lift with me. Simon, I promise that was not a wheelie we did as we got into town. I call it a wee!!! Next time hold on round my waist and your legs won’t end up around my neck.
We found this small French restaurant in the village and sat down and ordered these huge bowls of Mussels cooked in white wine for dinner, Fantastic. We are all starting to look a bit chubbier since arriving in Europe. These people certainly know how to eat.

Wednesday 24th
- Today we woke and prepared to leave for Calais and the crossing into England. As we set of there was an air of sadness between the three us, each of us reflecting on what we had been through together these past two months and we are now only one small country away from our end goal … Dublin, the end of our Journey.

Talking about countries we have now crossed 15 countries, two Continents and now cross England then onto Ireland.

We arrived at the port of Calais early for our ferry. Presenting our tickets at the boarding office we were relieved to hear that there was space on the ferry that was due to depart, So we could go straight on. With no waiting about we were on our way again. Not before we had to clear the immigration officer. I stopped at the control point and this very friendly bloke gives me a form to fill in. I look at him and explain I cannot see the writing. He looked at me in amazement and ask’s if I can’t read or write. I quickly explain that yes I can, I just didn’t have my reading glasses on, and he laughed and says Oh! Over 40 are you, don’t worry about filling it in, takes back the card and says welcome to England!

Once we were on board we made our way up to the dinning area and ordered huge plates of farm house breakfast’s. We at last can eat sausages and bacon in the safe knowledge that it contains proper meat and not goat, camel or some other strange meat.

After breakfast we made our way up on deck to watch the White Cliffs of Dover approaching.

Arriving in England we followed Simon up the highway to Wales and crossed over the Sevens River Bridge three abreast and into Cardiff.

Thursday 25th to Sunday 28th - I am combining all these days in one report, because we have been based at Simon Huddart’s country home just outside Cardiff where Simon and Joe his lovely wife, and the two girls Rebbeca and Pippa, have been our fantastic hosts for these past few days.

Thursday morning Simon had arranged for us to visit the local BMW dealer (Riders Motorad) where William the guy in charge there had put on a welcome for us, and somehow organized to get hold of some Boerewors and we tucked into a good meal of wors rolls. Will is an ex South African now living and working over here. Talking to him while munching on a wors roll we could almost have forgotten that we had ridden 17000km’s to be here. It almost felt as though we were at Auto Umhlanga or Ryder Motorad back home.

After our visit we were once again back on the road through Cardiff this time heading for the Cardiff Children’s Hospital where Simon works as a Doctor. Arriving at the hospital we were greeted welcomed by some of the nurses and doctors that could leave there posts. Also there was one of the trusties of the charity that helps support the children’s section of the hospital, after being welcomed and the three of us answering a few questions about our trip, Simon took us on a guided tour of the children’s wing.

I think the three of us really felt a bit out of place clomping around these wards with newly born babies in their cribs and us dressed up in full rider gear.

While we were at the hospital Simon got a call from the Wales BBC radio station asking us to come around for an interview. Getting there they told us that the studio could only fit two people in, Howard and Jaco quickly volunteered me to go do the interview and of course Simon had to be there. As the Hospital spokesperson, the interview went well and was aired later in the afternoon.

Once all these formalities were over we headed back to Simons house for a Barbeque that he had laid on for us that evening, more food !!!

Friday morning we woke to a normal summer’s day, according to Simon, rain and more rain. We were off today to do some riding around the Wales countryside, but not before Jaco and I went into town to have new tyres fitted to our bikes. Our front tyres had traveled the whole way from Durban, 17000km’s not bad for a Continental TKC, mind you I must admit they did look a bit worse for wear by now, Even Valintino Rossi would have declined them as a slick for his bike.

We were also due to meet Hugh my brother who was coming up from London spend a few days with us and do a bit of riding together.

After fitting the tyres and catching up on Hugh’s news we all set of for the Welsh Brecon area.

Once you get riding and with the correct rain gear on it is really not that bad riding in the rain. We were taking the corners a bit cautiously as the rain tends to bring the oil and diesel to the surface and makes things a bit slippery.

Arriving in the Brecon area we stopped of at the Touretech shop to have a look around and make mental notes for our Christmas wish list. While there we also met up with Nick Plumb a local lad that has done the Dakar a few times. He was very interested in our journey and a pleasant hour was spent swapping stories. Across the road from Touretech is the Globe busters office. This is the base of Kevin and Julie Saunders ,they hold a number of Guinness World records for around the world expeditions, they also put together and lead motorcycle tours to various places around the world, they had just got back from doing the recce ride of their next expedition, London to Beijing. Talking to them about this trip it sounds really exciting and challenging.

After saying our goodbyes we were once again on the road this time heading out to Simon Pavey’s Off Road Academy which is just up the road on an old Coal mine. I had met and ridden with Simon last year when he was out in SA and was really looking forward to getting to see him again and see his training set up. Simon is also the guy that trained Charley Boorman and Ewen Mcgregor before they did Long Way Round. He has also done the Dakar a number of times. His last one being this year in South America where he finished a creditable 33rd on a 650 X Challenge.

Riding up to the training area was a bit of an eye opener for Hugh, he was on his Triumph road bike, lucky the gravel road there was not to long. Arriving at the training area Simon was busy with a course, he very kindly offered to lend Hugh an off road bike and allocated the guys from our group to one of his instructors to show them around. He then invited me to go on a ride around the training area with him. He has a 500 hectare property with these steep hills and being an old coal mine there is no shortage of rocky up hills and twisty down hills winding there way through the woods. When he asked me if I wanted to have a look around one of the instructors standing close by asked him if I was going follow him on my bike with my panniers still on the bike. Simon confidently tells him, “Yea of course I can” he says, he has seen me ride when we rode together in SA. Thankfully I saw the wicked grin on this instructors face. I quickly opted to remove the panniers.

I follow Simon who is on a cut down 1200 ADV and me on my 1200 Adv, poor thing has just crossed Africa and now here I am racing through the mud and rocks through these Walsh hills. I am not sure if Simon was testing me or whether he just likes to spend his time wrestling big heavy bikes around tracks that make the GS Challenge red route look like a gentle Sunday out ride. Well half way round this madness he stops on top of this mountain and proudly points around him and says this is his training area and playground. Yea right! All I can see is mist and rain and in between getting my breath back I know I still have to get down in one piece.

Once again we set off at a blistering pace and not too soon enough for me we are back where we started. Thankfully me and my bike are still in one piece. Once again the 1200 GS Adv has proven what a capable bike it is .There are not many places you would not be able to go with these bikes.

I did however really enjoy the ride and would definitely like to get back there some time and do some more riding in the area, would also love to get the 450 Enduro there and really have some fun.

Getting ourselves together once again we say our goodbyes to everyone there and head off down the road back to Simons house an hours drive away. As we set off we did see a look of envy in a few of the students eyes that were there on course. All we can say to you guys. Practice what you learn there on course, then get out there and do the trip of a lifetime. The world is a big place RIDE IT!!!!

Simon was on call on Saturday so he couldn’t do any riding with us today, plus it was a massive day for us, besides the Boks playing the Lions this afternoon. Jaco’s wife Corne and his children Barend and Berne were flying in to meet up with him. This morning Jaco was up earlier than his normal 5am wake up time. I looked out the window and saw him pacing around the garden like a caged tiger just waiting to get going to the airport to meet his family.

The rest of us went off for a short ride around Cardiff and a little way into the country side stopping for tea at an old 15th century ruined Abby.

Getting back to Simons house in time for the rugby we watched the game with Simon and his family. The noise in the sitting room was deafening during the first half. All I can say now that the game is done and dusted, we are very glad that we will be able to ride into Dublin with our tails up and heads held high.

Sunday - Howard and I are relaxing around the house, Jaco is spending time site seeing around Cardiff with his family, and we are all mentally preparing our selfs for the final leg of our journey up to Holy head in the North of Wales. Tomorrow we will spend our night resting before catching the ferry across the water and into Ireland.
We are looking forward to this with very mixed feelings. The Irish hospitality is I believe something you don’t find anywhere else in the world, we are really looking forward to that, but on the flip side it is with a great sense of sadness that we do cross into Ireland. We have spent the last two and a bit months riding together, sharing hardships, seeing wonderful and amazing places, meeting fantastic people and generally being a part of something that will be with us for the rest of our lives. Words cannot really explain enough of this feeling, I am sure you can all put your own minds to how we feel right now.

Enough of that, the journey is not yet over till the fat lady sings. As they say in show business.

Look out for our final report on this trip once we have reached Dublin and handed the Lord Mayor of Dublin the letter of greeting from the Mayor of Durban. We have managed to keep this very important document in one piece and clean for the Mayor.

After meeting the Lord Mayor we then ride the final few km’s down the road to the BMW Dealer where our bikes will be able to stand proud on the show room floor for all to see.