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Offline BliknÍrs

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A biker is born - Monte Christo ride father & son
« on: December 24, 2012, 09:56:52 pm »
This is a RR about a short trip to the father and son/daughter ride organised by Gwild. There were many firsts and it's a trip I will always remember and hopefully my 9yr old son will think back fondly on the time we spent together in the years to come.

As always I was late with the packing. Thursday evening I took both the panniers off and dumped one in my room and gave one to Aidan with instructions to put his stuff in there. Then we sat down and made a list which was on the table in the lounge for reference - it read 4 x underpants, 4 x T-shirts, toothbrush & sunblock (in mom's handwriting), kettie & survival knife (in Aidans handwriting) and beer & hand granades (in my handwriting).

Also on the list, but towards the bottom were several nice to have items like a tent, stretchers and sleeping bags. Off course the nice to haves will only get packed if time and space allows.
 
Friday night I started packing in earnest. It wasn't a long trip so whatever I forgot wouldn't be to serious. My pannier filled up quickly as I threw stuff in. In the garage I paid special attention the tool situation by strapping the Suzuki supplied toolkit into it's spot under the seat. If I knew then what I knew later I would have paid more attention to the contents of that tool kit. A breakdown in 40 degrees heat in the middle of the Karoo with your child next to you can be a wake up call.

After that I makde sure my puncture repair kit was still complete. It missed some of the compressed air canisters and a certain redhead quietly disappeared when I started looking for it. I also couldn't find my Richtersveld tea kettle. But thats not important I will have my leatherman with me and as everyone knows I can remove an appendix under a tree with my Leatherman if necessary.

While packing:


This is the redhead starting to miss his shadow:


So Saturday morning came. I had a fitful sleep as my daughter demanded we swapped places somewhere in the middle of the night and she slept with Mom while I tried to sleep as best I could under her pink duvet with fluffy toys all around me and a pink mozzie net trying to strangle me.
 
So needless to say I overslept and only woke up with a fright to see it's already five o'clock.

I quickly chucked some more clothes in my pannier, had some breakfast, read the newspaper, mowed the lawn and cleaned the pool. By then it was time to wake up my riding partner but as I walked into the house he was already up and dressed and sitting in front of the TV. I wanted to leave at 7 but at the last minute decided I need to put the top box on i.s.o. the soft tail pack. More space and better for my pillion to lean against. This later proved a wise decision as he kept on falling asleep on the back of the bike, they were so tired.

Now, putting that thing on is not something you just go and do 10 minutes before your trip. You have to take some stuff off the bike first (the luggage rack hides the nuts of the fitting plate). It wasn't long before I was sweating and swearing, and it made us late.

According to Google maps we had 329 kilos to cover. I didn't share this information with my pillion - he just knew he was in for the longest ride of his 9 year old life!

We left home around 7:30, and off course the tar road between Swellendam and Ashton is still closed so we started our trip on the gravel. Not ideal when you're late but we got to Bonnievale and rode straight through to Robertson. I was planning on stopping at the Farm Stall on the Worcester side of Robertson for a Coke but it was closed. And I could see we were running late. So we stopped at a truck stop for a quick butt break and made it to the Wimpy which was actually a Steers only a couple of minutes late.

I found ROVrat's bike and went looking for him but only found a little girl with helmets so asked where her dad is (in Afrikaans) but she just looked a bit shy and frightened so we picked a table next to them and waited. Riaan came over and introduced himself. We joined them at their table. He spoke English to his daughter so she didn't understand what I was on about earlier!

After breakfast we walked out and it was HOT. In the 30 minutes or so we spent inside the temperature must have jumped at least 5 degrees. Putting jackets, helmets and gloves on made it even worse. I asked ROVRat if we were going through Bains Kloof as I had visions of taking my boots off and putting my feet in an ice cold mountain stream. As it were, we weren't going through Bains Kloof but there was a stream close by where we stopped. I didn't take my boots off though but we wetted our bandannas to keep ourselves cool as it was going to get even warmer!

The river stop:



We then rode through Wolseley towards Tulbagh. Then through the short mountain pass and right after that we turned right onto the Gouda/Porterville road. Having grown up in Riebeeck West I'm familiar with Gouda, Hermon etc and every time I ride past Gouda I have to grin when I see the "Gouda North" and "Gouda South" signs either side of the R44. Off course the R44 signs give me another reason to grin because the other part of it runs between Gordons Bay and Rooi Els (etc, etc) and how they're connected I could never quite figure out! I used to ride the R44 (Gordons Bay - Rooiels) often when I stayed in Gordons Bay & Strand on a TLR, R1 and later a GSX-R750. Had some wonderful times there, some close encounters and lost a friend and his daughter on one disastrous Sunday morning.

More tomorrow!
« Last Edit: December 25, 2012, 07:14:19 am by BliknÍrs »
 

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Re: A biker is born - Monte Christo ride father & son
« Reply #1 on: December 25, 2012, 09:27:12 am »
My first memories as a human being is standing on the front of my father's scooter cruising through the neighbourhood, and its lasted a lifetime.

Trust me, this will always be precious, treasured memories.
...dis nooit te laat om n happy childhood te he nie !

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Re: A biker is born - Monte Christo ride father & son
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2012, 10:22:52 am »
Thanks for that RR Blikners :thumleft: Really so nice to see that you guys had such a nice time. Something really special about being able to do this kind of stuff with the little ones,...they sure will appreciate it Gr8ly as they get older. :thumleft: :thumleft:
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Offline BliknÍrs

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Re: A biker is born - Monte Christo ride father & son
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2012, 07:59:12 pm »
We had to stop at Porterville as it was the last stop before Monte Christo. The plan was to buy our meat and drinks here. We stopped in front of the butchery and made turns to do our shopping while the others kept an eye on the bikes and kit. I'm used to the Saturday morning buzz of a farming community but I suppose being the last Saturday before Christmas moved it up a notch or two as Porterville were bursting at the seams! While ROVRat was shopping we stood around sweating and watched the locals fighting across the road. Soon the cops came, broke up the fight, bundled the fighters into the back of the van and took them away - relative order was restored. It was very hot and I had to explain to Aidan why he can't ride without his jacket and cloves without having to resort to graphic details. He understood and kitted up reluctantly.

Porterville main road:


We have worked out a simple communication system for this trip. One tap on my shoulder means we need to stop. I will pull over as soon as I find a safe spot. Taps on both shoulders means the pillion needs a butt break and is about to stand up to stretch his legs, he must then peek over my shoulder and wait till I have slowed down to under 100km/h before he can stand up. Because he wears a MX helmet with a peak, he needs to be careful of the wind, so keep his head at an angle. If he feels sleepy he needs to hold on around my waist so I know what he's up to. If I fall asleep he's allowed one kidney punch only as an emergency measure. From my side I would touch his left leg if I see something he might be interested in, like a car rolling or on fire, Sponge Bob Square Pants running across the street or another bike coming our way.

Monte Christo is just outside Porterville, about a km along a good dirt road. We turned off and found the campsite with the kids and their parents all sitting in the pool!




Finding shade was easy, but making sure your tent stayed in the shade as the sun moved was more challenging. I asked around and was shown the "best spot for afternoon shade". Off course the people showing it to me has already pitched their tents in lesser spots, so I was a tad sceptical. When querying their views I was shown a bluegum tree in the distance with all of 3 leafs right towards the top which, according to their theory, will cast a cooling shadow on my tent at exactly the time it is needed most. Which off course is 17 minutes past 2.



This 3 leaf shadow, engulfing my little tent, and cooling it down, will then miraculously stop moving and cast it's energy giving shadow on my tent for the rest of the weekend. All this off course according to the Mayan calendar which we all know, never make mistakes. So I piched my tent next to Riaans. Gavin gave a hand and it was done chop-chop so we can get out of the sun. I didn't use any tent pens as I was convinced I'd have to move the tent later. So the wind blew the tent away once or twice but there were always people close by to catch it.

Now sleeping in a tent is not my favourite thing in the world. Those that know me, especially during my growing up years, might be surprised by this as I grew up sleeping under the kitchen table and later, after I got married, more often than not the couch in the sitting room. So you can be excused for thinking I don't mind sleeping on the floor. I find it hard and uncomfortable and my aging body struggles to get to sleep. I should have strapped the stretchers to the bike, but off course it was to late now!

The party:






Some went to bed early, some continued sitting around the fire until late. All had fun. We had lots of funny stories and I especially enjoyed Riaan and his Brothers good humored jokes about themselves, snoring and truckers doing bikers favors by moving into their side of the road and flashing lights at them!

Next installment we decide to take the scenic route home and spend the whole day riding!
 

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Re: A biker is born - Monte Christo ride father & son
« Reply #4 on: December 25, 2012, 08:19:44 pm »
 :thumleft: nice
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Offline BliknÍrs

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Re: A biker is born - Monte Christo ride father & son
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2012, 10:28:51 am »
Sunday morning I was up while it was still dark. It was surprisingly cold during the night, and the ground was hard, so I opted to go for a walk on the farm as soon as it was light enough. One of the sheep dogs accompanied me and we saw a little steenbokkie. I also found a cement dam with water in it that looked inviting but soon realised there will be no way to get out once you're in as the water level was too low. While exploring the farm, I also found another, huge dam with lots of water in it. Must be the dam with the fish in it, but the path that I was on didn't go there.

Back at the camp, the other guys were again sitting around the fire as if they never went to bed. It was like deja vu all over again, and if I didn't see that there was no-one sitting in the chairs when I left for my walk I would have sworn they never went to bed. Soon the left over braaivleis was produced and we all had cold wors for breakfast.

Some of the kids were already up and about, some headed for the swimming pool! Aidan was still sleeping. When I woke up earlier, I folded my sleeping bag and made a mattress for him, so he was having the best sleep of the night.

But soon Samantha and Slade found him and woke him up to come and play. Look at the photo (nog lekker deur die k@k geslaap).


He didn't want to swim but wanted to go and see the waterfalls.


The walk to the waterfalls wasn't far but some climbing and bundu bashing was needed. The end result was well worth the minimal effort.





Back at the camp, though, people were getting ready to leave. ROVRat was packed first and after a discussion about boiling water in 2L coke bottles, suggested an alternative method to the one the other Riaan had going. Variety is the spice of life and all that but soon after his experiment was put in the fire, he announced that he had to leave NOW. That led to come consternation as people get nervous when the experimentor decides to leave soon after the experiment was launched. But it all ended well, ROVRat stuck around and I think the water boiled in the end.

Soon we were packed too. We followed Fearless Frikkie (nice meeting you and your brilliant daughter Nico) down the road. His daughter rode all the way on her little Yamaha YBR and carried her own gear!

My plan was to take the scenic route home. If we had to sleep over another night, we'd manage because we had all out stuff with us anyway. I didn't quite feel ready to go home yet. After asking around the camp fire the previous night, I knew Citrusdal wasn't more than 100k's away and my petrol would easily make it. So we set off.

Piekenierskloof was stunning. The little man kept on pointing at the fields far below us while I had to wave an idiot in a maroon Mercedes past who was obviously in a hurry or looking to dice up the pass.

As we haven't eaten yet, breakfast was high on the agenda. The first place (looked a bit larny) was closed. Kardoesie or something. But a kilo further we found a roadside breakfast joint and pulled over, parked the bike in the shade and went looking for breakfast. It was about 9 o'clock and already very hot. Aidan quickly bummed a R5 coin to support the vending machine and came back, disappointed, with a pink plastic car. We played with it for a while and it is now in my cupboard as a memento of the trip.


We filled up in Citrusdal. I wanted to goto Ceres from here and looked for a cafe to buy some coke or water as it was very hot and going to get hotter. I have never been on this road but Riaan told me at the camp it's part dirt, so it sounded promising. And it was great. Very scenic and with one or two tar stretches so you were surprised a couple of times when the dirt started again. But it was very hot. We stopped once or twice, but shade was at a premium.





Here you can see how tired he is, look at the bags under his eyes!



Soon we were in Op-Die-Berg and got some Coke etc from the Spar. Here a drunk woman made a nuisance of herself, and we couldn't finish and get out of there quick enough.



Down Gido pass I was telling Aidan about the hill climbs they used to have here and soon we entered Hamlet and then Ceres. My plan was to get some coffee at the Wimpey but as we approached I got a tap on the shoulder and a little, gloved finger pointed at the Spur. So Spur it was. Here we had some chips, ice cream and talked with 2 nice ladies at the table next to us. They made a big fuss about Aidan being this far on a bike.

More later.
« Last Edit: December 30, 2012, 10:43:01 am by BliknÍrs »
 

Offline spoedvark

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Re: A biker is born - Monte Christo ride father & son
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2012, 01:34:39 pm »
Subscribed!

Lekker read with mooi pics!

Thanks for sharing!
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Re: A biker is born - Monte Christo ride father & son
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2012, 05:10:48 pm »
Baie nice RR en lekker bonding met die kiddie.
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Offline Ian in Great Brak River

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Re: A biker is born - Monte Christo ride father & son
« Reply #8 on: December 30, 2012, 10:29:26 pm »
Great ! ... this is just what RR's are all about.

 8)
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Offline Roadcat

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Re: A biker is born - Monte Christo ride father & son
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2012, 01:41:36 pm »
Sub.

What a great way to bond with your kid.
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Offline schalk vd merwe

Re: A biker is born - Monte Christo ride father & son
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2012, 03:56:44 pm »
Nicely written, nice trip.
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Re: A biker is born - Monte Christo ride father & son
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2012, 10:51:46 pm »
CAnt wait for the rest??
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Offline BliknÍrs

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Re: A biker is born - Monte Christo ride father & son
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2013, 07:28:56 pm »
This is the second to last installment. The last bit is not long but this part is finished and I'll do the rest later, with the last of the pics. Thanks for reading thus far & your patience!

-----------------------------------ooOoo------------------------------------

After eating we took the road out of Ceres. Direction Touws River - about 80km's of tar incl a part of the N1. It was now getting very hot and every time we stopped - which was quite often - we had a discussion about riding without jackets and gloves. Along this road I could also feel Aidan dozing off on the back of the bike. I would feel his helmet getting heavy against my back and started getting worried about him falling asleep and falling off the bike.

As it were he's tall enough for his feet to reach the foot pegs so he can balance himself but we didn't have a strap arrangement (he says he's to big for it) so if he falls into deep sleep he could slip off. I did take care with the packing though so I kept telling myself he didn't really have anywhere to go between me and the tent and sleeping bags tied to the front of the top box. But still, I'm a father so I worry and every time this happened I stopped, and fed him some Coke.



On one of out last stops, he had some Strawberry flavoured water which has been sitting in the sun the whole morning and it tasted awefull! I pretended not to notice his face when he took a sip, and, as expected, I was offered the bottle with a wicked grin and a promise of how nice it was. I had to take a sip and perform a bit, just to cheer him up it must have been hard on the back of the bike, sitting still etc.

Here he is taking a sip, and then offering me some while trying to keep a straight face (Dis lekker, vat n sluk!).

Dis lekker, vat n sluk!


I was still worried about the sleeping on the back of the bike, so we worked out a system where he would put his arms around my waist and hold on to the buckles of my riding jacket. It gave him some confidence and before too long he dozed off for about a couple of minutes.

Then we hit the N1. Now I know the Koo road was close but for the life of me I didn't know if it was to my left (Touws River) or right (De Doorns)! So I went left and soon saw a sign that said Touws River 10km. So it must ahve been the other way then. But no worries I have ridden the dirt road from Touws River to Ladismith, Barrydale, Montagu often and actually preferred it to the Koo road.

At Touws River we filled up again and ate some ice cream in the shade. Then we rode through town, past the hotel, past the swimming pool (packed! it was sooo hot) and down to the railway station to find the dirt road for the last leg of our journey. It was about 3 o'clock.

We have been on the road since 9 and covered about 300km's in the energy sapping heat.


As I crossed the railway line the bike gave a mighty backfire and started making a funny noise. It wouldn't idle and sounded like part of the exhaust came off, in front somewhere.

Oh, no not here, not now, I thought.
Not with my child with me.

But on the bright side we were still almost in Touws River and the bike was still running - I could go and look for a safe place to make a plan. I turned around and decided to limb back to the hotel, looking for some shade and a safe place to see whats going on, and try to fix it.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2013, 07:35:02 pm by BliknÍrs »
 

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Re: A biker is born - Monte Christo ride father & son
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2013, 07:59:38 pm »
 :thumleft:
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Re: A biker is born - Monte Christo ride father & son
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2013, 08:12:55 pm »
Thanks for sharing!
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Offline BliknÍrs

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Re: A biker is born - Monte Christo ride father & son
« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2013, 09:05:56 pm »
Last installment. This RR have been bugging me to finish it for the last couple of days. Thanks for reading and the encouragement!

-----------------------------------oOo----------------------------------

We limped to the hotel, past everything we went past minutes earlier. The same people walking the streets etc. The Shosholoza Meyl train still in the station.
We stopped at the hotel.
As it happened in front of the pub.
Two drunk guys got out of a car.
One started chatting to us.

Where you coming from?
Porterville.
Where you going to?
Swellendam.
Now what the f@ck are you doing here?

I wasn't up to this and told him we were there to meet the friendly people of Touws River, which we have heard so much about and by the way has he seen any?
His friend walked over, the two got thirsty and buggered off.

We went into the hotel.
I was trying to work out scenarios.
We might have to stay here and call for a trailer if I can't fix the bike.

So how much was a room?
R500 sir.
Oooohkay.
Do you have a yard or some shade we have bike problems and I need to try and fix it.
No problem, ride around the complex and wait in front of the gate. Theres shade and a safe place to work.

She led us round the back. As promised, there were shade and a swimming pool. But we weren't allowed to swim, guests only! Oh and there was a kid unfriendly Labrador keeping an eye on the back yard, sort of 1 I.B; we had to watch out for him. It turned out to be a huge Rottie laying in the middle of the passage! I had to pick Aidan up and put him in a tree when I went to look for the bartender.

We started taking the fairing off. I wanted to see the exhausts, the plugs etc as by the noise I decided it musy be something like that - and for that the tank had to be lifted. We just filled up, so the tank was filled to the brim.

Starting to remove the tupperware:


I didn't really know what to expect when I opened the Suzuki tool kit but it had all the tools we needed. I was dreading this moment as we were limping back - opening the tool kit and finding a crucial spanner isn't there. But it had some Allen keys for the fairing, a #10 spanner for the tank and a bigger one I used as a prop for the tank etc. I said a silent thank you to Mr Suzuki for being so thorough and hoped I didn't need anything non-standard. So we started loosening Allan bolts.


While Aidan was doing that I looked at what I could see with the naked eye. Front exhaust manifold was fine. Back exhaust was fine. Front plug was fine. Everything was very hot so I burned my fingers a couple of times. We lifted the tank and saw the rear plug was fine. All my scenarios checked out wrong. What now?


Then Aidan spotted the rear throttle Body boot was not seated properly! I remember reading about this so the other DL1000 guys please take note.


Well I was overjoyed it was the problem and a quick fix. I seated it again an tightened the screw. Tried the bike and it was fine. While I went to thank the girls at reception and get them to open the gate for us again Aidan fastened the fairing for us, packed away the spanners and sorted himself out. It was still very hot. It was also around 4 o'clock.



Once packed we headed for the railway line again. This time we managed to cross it and got on the gravel road. Soon we were riding into the wind. It was humid and I could see thunder clouds up ahead, and looking forward to some rain!

Past the Leeuwenbosch turn off, I know there's a nice place to stop just off the road but the gate was closed so we headed past. Soon we stared seeing some cattle gates and I felt one or two big raindrops on my face. At first I thought it was bugs and kept my mouth closed but a quick peek in the mirror showed no yellow goo on my face and I soon realised it was big rain drops. This road was almost deserted, I think we saw one other car, a local jalopy.

It was, as usual, in good condition and we pushed on but now the limiting factor was fatigue and boredom. I stopped whenever I felt his head getting heavy against my back. Once he almost fell off the bike, but I managed to catch his arm and pull him back. I got a fright and stopped but he had a stupid grin on his face and said he was just trying my reflexes. I had my doubts but let it slide with a slap on the back and a manly "Jy het my laat skrik!"

Warning : No kids were hurt during this trip!!




Klein Karoo Express (now Slaaptrein)


So we went, turning left towards Montagu.

Stopped for some photos once or twice on Ouberg.

One of me (who else)


Counted the driffies, someone once said theres 32 but I counted less.

Finally we rolled into Montagu. It was about 6 o'clock but still very warm. We headed straight for the Spar and got some more cold drinks and chips and sat on the wall enjoying it. We were almost home and was chatting away, already planning the next trip.

My son handled everything from the sleeping on the ground, the extreme heat, unfamiliar people, unfamiliar places, sitting on the bike for hours on and end the stressful breakdown in a calm manner that belied his age. I am so proud of him and the way he conducted himself at the camp and along the way.

From Montagu it was only a short ride home, with the inevitable detour via Bonnievale.

It was now safe to start thinking about the pool we'll be jumping in soon!

Well, that was the end of a great weekends riding. It's the sort of trip I enjoy, lots of riding, good company, no real plan and no pressure to be somewhere specific.

I will now take the bike apart and see that everything is fastened properly. Put some thought into a more comprehensive tool kit (although I didn't need anything more it could have been different).
Next time I will also make a plan for something soft to sleep on and get a stove for coffee.
Oh, and start packing earlier!

Thanks Gavin for the brilliant idea. Riaan (ROVRat) for the company, the kids for behaving (we never knew about them, there were no fights or tantrums).
Riaan (also his Forum name) for the fridge.
Vaalbaas for the droewors and chilly bites.
Rooi Willie for all the laughs.
Nico (Fearless Frikkie) for the intelligent conversations!

Also thanks for Monte Christo for letting us use the camp site - I have received a message from them saying we're welcome there any time.

Till next time, ride safe and have a brilliant 2013!

Blikners Out.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2013, 09:07:23 pm by BliknÍrs »
 

Offline Kuifie

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Re: A biker is born - Monte Christo ride father & son
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2013, 07:53:19 am »
Baie nice.  Ek het lekker gelees en hoop ons sien sommer gou weer. My seun het dit ook baaaaaie geniet   :laughing4:
"If the left side of your brain control the right side of your body, only left handed people are in the right mind"
 

Offline Scenic Ride

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Re: A biker is born - Monte Christo ride father & son
« Reply #17 on: January 02, 2013, 03:24:48 pm »
Lekker RR,  jy't seker maar vergeet ek bly hier in De Doorns na ons so lekker in die Overberg saam gery het!  Touws is naby...
Freedom's just another word for nothing left to loose.
 

Offline XXL

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Re: A biker is born - Monte Christo ride father & son
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2013, 09:58:00 pm »
Very nice report :thumleft:
 

Offline spoedvark

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Re: A biker is born - Monte Christo ride father & son
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2013, 10:31:23 pm »

what an excellent RR. Well done and thanks for sharing. Enjoyed every episode.

You have a very special son there. My daughter his age BUT she would have brought out her mothers traits after a few hours on the bike!!!!!!!
Go Big!
or
Go Home!!!!
Previous bikes:
Yamaha XS 400 Special Kawasaki ZX 10 Yamaha XT 550 BMW 650 GS BMW 1200 GS KEEP THE RUBBER DUSTY!!!!