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Week 01 Chapter - 02 Oct ~ 08 Oct - South Africa

South Africa

"Genuine beginnings begin within us, even when they are brought to our attention by external opportunities." - William Bridges

"It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." - Robert F. Kennedy (1925 - 1968), South Africa, 1966

"The longest part of the journey is said to be the passing of the gate." - Marcus Terentius Varro

Start Location for This Week: Cape Town, South Africa
Ending Location for This Week: Kokstad, South Africa
Planned mileage for This Week: 1,112 miles (1,779 kilometers)

The banner image at the top of the page? The Victoria & Alfred waterfront at night in Cape Town, South Africa, arguably one of the world's most beautiful cities. At dramatic backdrop for our equally dramatic GlobeRiders Africa Adventure 2007 - welcome to the tour! Over the next 37 days, we'll journey close to 11,000 kilometers on the tarmac, gravel, salt and sandy roads of six countries in southern Africa, some of the finest riding in the world.

We're off to a late start on our Week One Chapter. It seems easier to ship a container of bikes across both hemispheres than it is to find internet access reliable and fast enough to publish our travels on the web. Nonetheless, the group arrived in Cape Town on schedule on 02 OCT, and after one of the fastest and easiest customs clearance procedures I've ever experienced, we rode from the South Africa Container Depot on 03 OCT, then headed out of Cape Town, on schedule, on 05 OCT.

This week takes us through the towns of Swellendam, Knysna, Port Alfred, Kokstad, and finally to Umhlanga. Along the way, we'll ride to the southernmost point on the African continent, Cape Agulhas, and weather permitting, the more experienced riders will make it to Sani Pass, the highest border post (and microbrewery!) in Africa. We'll start out along the Garden Coast, turn inland, then make our way to the Indian Ocean, before starting the westward trek into the deserts.

We're fortunate again to have Marius Swart join our group as our local guide and chase vehicle driver.

Let's get started!

Be Well, Safe Journeys,

Mike M. Paull - Partner, Guide, Webmeister

Day -05 - 28 Sep 2007 - Cape Town, South Africa

On Vacation

Sitting close enough to an African Penguin at "The Boulders" to be bitten, seeing Right Whales procreating in False Bay, tasting wonderful South African wine and staring at The Cape of Good Hope, where seafarers have for centuries rested their eyes; it is a country of surprises and surpasses all that I had expected in reading before visiting.


Day -1 - 01 Oct - Cape Town, South Africa

Pre-Departure Musings

A city of contrasts.

Elton John's "umpteenth" home just a few kilometers away from shacks made of corrugated plastic, tin, and cardboard (aka Townships).

Beautiful beaches and restaurants, juxtaposed with poor South Africans plying a living by selling trinkets such as blow-up beach balls.

Wealth and prosperity across the street from third-world existence.

Where else can you see penguins, whales, the smallest (but richest) of the worlds six floral kingdoms, play gold, and stand astride the Indian Anticlimactic oceans?

The trip thus far has been amazingly interesting. I've met people that love life and endeavor to enjoy it to the fullest.  From ex-cons to self-made entrepreneurs, we have an incredible group of individuals who make up this excursion

I have been exposed to so much already, and WE HAVE NOT STARTED - YET!


Day 01 - 02 Oct 2007 - Cape Town, South Africa

Anticipation is Half the Fun

Sometimes I wonder about that. How long can you anticipate something until you finally say “enough already”? There’s a blurry line between anticipation and anxiety. It’s Monday and I’m getting a root canal on Friday. In that case, the anticipation was worse than the actual event.

So what’s my point? The anticipation/anxiety reaches its peak, for me, four days before the flight. Once I’m on the plane it starts all over again until I’ve retrieved my bike from the shipping container, cleared Customs and started riding. That’s when I say “Ahhhh”, and the anticipation is over.

The day of bike retrieval is usually a blur. It reaches a climax when I see my bike for the first time in months. It’s like the bike came through a time warp, sent to me from the past. The mind-numbing blur starts as soon as the bike comes out of the container and I touch it and push it out of the way to a spot where I can get it going.

You know the routine: removing the seat, hooking up the battery, etc… Several trips ago in the calmness of my garage, while I was prepping the bike for shipment, I left myself a bright pink sticky-note under the seat which I knew I would find at a later date and I knew exactly when and where I would find it and what state of mind I would be in. My mind would be blurred, I would be sweating profusely no matter what the temperature, and my time-traveling sticky-note said, “Stop! Relax! Look around you. Remember what you are seeing.”

That was the clearest moment of the entire trip. I followed the directions I had given myself on that note, then put it in my tank bag. I came across it several times on that trip, and each time I did as the note directed, taking a moment to relax and imprint a memory of where I was, what I was doing, thinking, feeling.


Day 06 - 07 Oct 2007 - Port Alfred, South Africa

A great group of riding partners from Washington State, Nevada, New Jersey, Texas and New Zealand

I started a few days early to Cape Town to "adjust" to the 7-hour time difference.

A good hike the first day to the top of Table Mountain with Harrison, Debbie and Frank for some fabulous views 2,000 feet above Cape Town, with the Atlantic Ocean on three sides. Cape Town is truly one of the most beautiful cities of the world.

The following day, a group of five went up the coast to Hermanus Bay and Gansbay, renowned for whale-watching. We went out on a great White Shark viewing cage/boat ride. Truly a breath taking experience to be in a metal cage seeing a 1,200 pound shark swim by 5 feet away!!

The next day, we picked up the bikes from the freight terminal at the port and had our first arrival/intro dinner. A great excited/driven group of serious riders.

The following day, a visit to Fred's neighbor from New Jersey, USA, who owns a vineyard in the town of Paarl about 35 miles out of Cape Town. A beautiful 300 acres of land surrounded by steep mountains in all directions. Our first day driving on the left side of the road. A new experience again.

Our first day of the real trip starts with a 200 mile ride to Agulhas, where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. A beautiful windy spot where the green and blue waters come together. The "real bottom" of the African Continent.

More to come......MAC

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