2011 will be the last year where I will do a “Recap” post as I have done for the other years. The reason for this will become clear at the end of this blog post. But things have changed significantly for me at the end of 2011, so this post will be short with lots of pictures!
(Click on any picture to see the full gallery of pictures)
During 2011 I did some great trips no doubt and you can read about them here:
As always, I have done quite a number of rides in between. These included a few rides out to one of my favorite play areas, the mine dumps of Maraisburg! Maraisburg is situated on the outskirts of Soweto on the south eastern side of Johannesburg. Gold was (and still is) mined in this area and has been for well over a hundred years. This has resulted in massive mine dumps scattered all over the southern parts of Johannesburg. As we do not really have any sand to ride in Gauteng, the mine dumps provides the best alternative we have. I will let the pics to the talking to give you an idea of the fun to be had on the dumps!
Another favorite riding area we have is the ride out to Beestekraal Station northwest of the town of Brits, northwest of Pretoria. The canal service roads towards Beestekraal is a well-known route for many dual sport riders and always a favorite. But beware, during the rainy summer months these roads can become a mud fest and I have seen a bike and rider ending up in the canal before!
There was a few rides out to other places as well, namely Secunda in Mpumalanga, Cullinan east of Pretoria, Loskop Dam towards the north east of Pretoria, and another great playground called De Wildt.
I also attended two days of training and skills fun at ADA’s facility. This was great fun and resulted in many laughs and jokes with a great group of friends. The training and skills was great fun and the out rides onto the surrounding farms was even better!
You should go and read all about Skinny’s crazy biking adventures here: Skinny!! – Click, go and subscribe to her newsletter – JUST DO IT!!
A work function in Mpumalanga granted me the opportunity to take a ride to the coast for the week-end following the work get away. This was a great trip and the solo ride down to Vryheid was just what I needed! In Vryheid I met up with my long time riding buddy Sephton and we hit the road down to Sodwana Bay for a rough night of rum, bikes, catching up on old times and a good deal of partying! The next day was a loooooong day back to Pretoria from Sodwana Bay!
My final trip of 2011 was down to Fouriesburg and the Monontsha Road in Lesotho yet again. I just cannot get enough of this route. This time I would lead the BMW Club during the Club’s annual year-end function. Hopefully no broken bones this time around! On entering Lesotho, we (Marnus and me) were given quite a hard time by one particularly hard-arsed border official who wanted to fine us as we did not have exit stamps showing that we exited Lesotho on our previous visits. (I exited Lesotho in March 2011, and Marnus in Dec 2010). These exists were at crossings where there are no Lesotho border post, only a South African one (Monontsha and Ongeluks Nek), and we had the South African entry stamps. She would have none if it and wanted to fine us R 200 ($14) per day. For Marnus this worked out to something like R70,000 ($5,100). She blamed us of exiting Lesotho at a post where Lesotho does not have a border post. We argued that it is not our problem if Lesotho does not bother to put a border post. We had an entry stamp into SA, so we did in fact exit Lesotho. Then the waiting game started, she would have none of it and we would not back down either. Luckily we know how these things work and after a few minutes she realized we are not moving and her boss was now on her case as the line kept on growing with other travelers wanting to enter, so she gave in and stamped our passports….Hahahaha
And as usual, have a look at this Interactive Map showing where I went in 2011![map style=”width: auto; height:400px; margin:20px 0px 20px 0px; border: 1px solid black;” kml=”http://www.etiennexplore.com/wp-content/uploads/EtienneXplore_2011.kml”]
This was to be my last ride for quite some time, well, almost a year! You see, towards the end of 2011 I was offered a job overseas. I took it. This meant that I had to pack up everything I owned, lock it away in a storage unit and give up my life in South Africa. It was a hard thing to do, but I know it was the right thing. The biggest issue was what to do with my bike. I eventually made an agreement with a friend of mine to look after the bike for me and I would ride it when I visit back in SA. This actually worked out quite well. So on 1 January 2012, I boarded an Airbus A380 and headed north……
Thanks for reading, next post will involve sand, camels, crazy drivers, fancy pants world cities, a Dakar Rally winner, and lots of shenanigans in the land of sand!!