THE STORY OF THE BMW CENTRAL COMMITTEE HAZYVIEW LONG WEEKEND IN JUNE 2016
The first day…
Thursday 16 June arrived and the start of the June 2016 long weekend ride to warmer climes down in Mpumalanga. Huida and Granville, leaders of the group for the weekend, arrived at the Rosehaven Sasol garage at about 8 o’clock and prepared to meet the arrivals. Most of the group had, however, indicated that they would make their own way to Hazyview either on Thursday or Friday.
After coffee and a light breakfast, a small group left at 9 o’clock with our Chairman, Pat, as tail end “Charlize” and headed off down the N4 into the mist. Thankfully the mist was not too dense and the Shell Ultra City near Middelburg loomed quite soon for a toilet stop and re-adjustment of anything which required re-adjustment.
Then off at a steady, brisk pace to the Belfast turnoff, through the town and on to Dullstroom where the group stopped at about 12 o’clock for lunch at the Duck and Trout. There we were joined by Henning & Kobie, Allie & Brenda and William & Elize. Unfortunately, the restaurant was out of duck, but the other cuisine kind of made up for it. The initial group then headed off to Lydenburg, to be followed later by the other six. The trip to Lydenburg was uneventful. After passing through the town, we headed east, up and over the famous Long Tom Pass. The roads were in perfect condition and the cornering superb. Before we knew it, we were in Sabie and stopped for coffee at Woodsman Pub…well actually, Clifford had a large toffee milkshake, much to the disgust of cholesterol sufferers around him!
The group happened to bump into Frank Struckmeyer who was also passing through on a 1980 Honda CBX 1000 six cylinder. Frank owns a large number of vintage and classic motorcycles which he houses in his museum in Springs and the idea was born that the club could possibly arrange a breakfast run there one Sunday morning. The huge diversity in types, models and sizes of machines was considered likely to appeal to a lot of members of our club.
Anyway, back on the road…and a blitz down the famous “22” from Sabie to Hazyview got us to the Numbi Hotel at about 4 o’clock. Time for check in, a few drinks, a wash and clean up and then the whole group met up for dinner.
The Numbi Hotel is known for good food and excellent service and they certainly did not disappoint us. The group sat together at two long tables and before long there was much laughter and festivities. We met up with John & Jenny, Chris, Graeme and Lindsay, Steve & Linda and Johan & Netta. Regrettably, Rob Wilson tendered apologies and could not make it. Granville welcomed everyone and gave a broad outline of what to expect over the next few days. He also handed out the itinerary, so that everyone was aware of the plans and times of departure. Breaking from tradition, Huida handed out gifts to members on the first night. The red neck warmers were well received, particularly as the next day was anticipated to be pretty cold. From about 9 o’clock, people started heading off the bed for a nice comfortable night’s sleep.
The second day…
On Friday morning, a very small group gathered in the car park and left at 9 o’clock for Castlebridge Shopping Centre at White River where decadent chocolate was introduced to hot cupachinos.
Then on to the BMW dealership in Nelspruit for more coffee and a browse around the car and bike showroom. There we met up with Pat and with Chris and Graeme Stockwell who had already done about a 250 km round trip before the meeting time at the dealership. Pat had not been feeling well the previous day, so she had taken it easy and visited the pharmacy on the way to Nelspruit.
The group then proceeded up the sweeping bends to Kaapsehoop, doing our best to keep up with the Stockwell brothers…to no avail. We arrived at the Silver Mist Inn around lunchtime and were treated to a feast of lasagne and salads in a cosy dining room with warm fire. Johan and Netta, who had followed a different route, met us there for lunch. Good socialising followed. Clifford and Noliene headed off after lunch to visit an old friend back in Nelspruit, Chris and Graeme took the fast road back and Granville & Huida and Johan & Netta took the R539 over the mountain back to Sabie and then on to Hazyview.
That evening we were joined at dinner by a lively rest of the group comprising Doug & Glynese, Tracy & Hugo (favourite son-in-law) and Pedro & Candy. Pedro attracted attention as he was there driving a white Porsche and has an affinity for Harleys, not BMW’s. This later earned him a penalty/fine from our group! The number of long tables in the dining room expanded from two to three festive tables and the food consumption from the lavish buffet continued unabated.
We were also joined by Rupert (former bike shop owner in Johannesburg and long standing BMW member) and his partner, Val, who are now retired and living in Sabie. It seems that Rupert is often called upon to assist bikers who have bike problems of various sorts. His help was going to be called upon by one of the members of our group the very next day…
The third day…
The group gathered in the car park at 9 o’clock for a safety briefing and explanation.
Chris and Graeme headed off on their own route with the intention of catching up with everyone at Graskop for lunch. (However, we heard that later in the morning Chris on his GT 1600 six had whacked a large pothole on the road from Hazyview to Graskop and had badly damaged to front rim of his bike with minor damage to the rear rim. Luckily he is an experienced rider and managed to control the bike and did not get hurt. A call was made to Rupert in Sabie and the bike was taken away on a trailer to be repaired).
The group left Numbi Hotel went along the R536 to Sabie and over Long Tom Pass to Lydenburg. On the Pass, we encountered an accident where a biker had come around a tight corner and ploughed into a stationary caravan on the side of the road. It was not nice to see the biker being loaded into the back of an ambulance on the side of the road.
Further up the Pass, the Ride Leader had to make an emergency pit (should that not read pith stop hee heeeee……. ) stop on the side of the road due to a call of nature, which the entire group had to witness. Luckily no photos were taken so all stories will remain hearsay and probably exaggerated. Pass now been renamed to LONG SLONG PASS……….
We re-grouped at the service station at the bottom of the Pass and then wound our way through the Lydenburg Saturday morning traffic to exit on the R36 heading north towards Ohrigstad.
After a slightly bumpy ride on the R36, we turned on to the road to Pilgrims Rest, where the more spirited riders took in the long fast bends leading to the top of Robbers Pass. There, the big potholes, cars and trucks and tight corners pretty much levelled the playing field as it were and we meandered into the little village to set up base on the veranda of the Pilgrims Rest Hotel for drinks and a chat.
There was lots of banter and laughs as the group interacted with each other over cold drinks and discussed the scary episodes down Robbers Pass. The tight corners and serious potholes had been more than a match for many of the riders. Others were only too happy to display their excellent riding skills.
Generally, Pilgrims Rest seemed quiet, even with the odd tourist bus pulling in. Certainly not the village it used to be.
At 12 o’clock we wound our way up the Pass to Graskop where we all had lunch at Harries Pancakes. The town was very busy, with lots of other bikers and tourists. The food was good, as usual.
After lunch, the group split up heading in different directions with the aim of meeting up for dinner later at Numbi Hotel. On the way back from Graskop to Hazyview, Pat thought that she had lost the passenger saddle on her bike enroute. So she rode back from Hazyview to Graskop to see if she could find it. Not being successful, John offered to give Pat a spare saddle which he has at home. However, Pat remained unsettled through the evening, sketching various scenarios of what may have happened to saddle. Other people saw the opportunity to make light of the situation seeing that we saddled with mystery of the missing saddle.
The evening dinner took the form of a braai and generally a good time was had by all. Pat thanked Granville and Huida on behalf of the group for a well organised trip. Granville then thanked everyone for attending and spoke of the arrangements for the trip home the next day. Most people indicated that they would be making their own arrangements for the trip home.
Huida then conducted a ‘fines’ evening to gather donations for tips for the hotel staff. This was greatly enjoyed with much laughter concerning the reason for the ‘fine’ imposed. The fine was set at R50 each (everybody got fined) and an amount of R1600 was handed over to the catering manager the next morning for distribution among the staff, together with a thank you card on behalf of the BMW Central Committee.
The last day…
Good news reported at breakfast. Pat found the passenger seat for her bike. It was in the shrubs right next to where she parks her bike next to her room. It had been lying there quite safely for the last day or two. More speculation about what may have happened to dislodge the seat.
A small group left the hotel at 9 o’clock and followed the arranged route home. Doug & Glenese and Hugo & Tracy rode with the group (well, overtook at speed, waited and then overtook at speed again) until the turnoff to Machadorp and did a round trip back to the hotel. Lucky them, they spent an extra day at the Numbi Hotel and came back home on Monday.
Travelling down the Pass on the R538 between Nelspruit and Barberton, Huida and Clifford & Noliene were overtaken by a cyclist on one of the sharp corners! Embarrassing. Imagine the story he willing be telling at the next meeting of the cycling club. How he overtook two GS’s.
The R40 to Badplaas and on to Carolina, where we had lunch at the Wimpy, was outstanding and we were really glad that we had avoided the N4 from Nelspruit to Middelburg. From Middelburg, the traffic was quite heavy on the N4, but bearable.
All in all, a great ride, wonderful company, good food and more importantly, great companionship and friendship. There will be a lot of stories told about the weekend.