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Author Topic: Purple Hooligan: A funny thing happened on the way to the farm...  (Read 2973 times)

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Offline Ri

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It's 26 May and I'm on my way to visit my close family in the Northern Cape for a few days, on the Purple Hooligan. Itís my nieceís birthday party in the afternoon, and I hope to be there in good time. The distance from Stellenbosch to Fraserburg via the R356 is about 422 km and should take me about 8 hours, according to Google Maps. I havenít ridden the R356 before, but I figure itís a gravel highway, how bad can it be?

I shouldnít have asked.

The plan is to leave home at 07:00, and true to form I pull away just before 08:00. I heeded the weather reports of maximum 15 degrees all over the Karoo, and Iím wearing a vest, long-sleeved T-shirt, short-sleeved T-shirt, down jacket and riding jacket with inner, thick skinny jeans, riding pants with inner, two pairs of socks, a polar fleece buff and knitted gloves inside my riding gloves. My fingers and toes are still cold but my body is toasty.

I swing through Stellenbosch onto the R44, turn towards Paarl and take the offramp to the alternative road over Du Toitskloof Pass, trying to get used to changing gears with the new MX boots.  I turn left over the highway, then right towards Du Toitskloof Pass, and pass a bevy of Beemers collecting on the corner. I nod and one waves as I pass by. I carry on at a sedate 80kph and soon they come zipping past me. At the top of the pass they turn off at a view point while I head onwards.

The Hex River Valley is covered in low misty fluffy clouds. It is beautiful but eery to ride in. I turn towards Rawsonville. The mist thickens and I ride slowly so as not to miss my turn-off to Slanghoek Valley.

A few kilometres outside Slanghoek the mist clears up but a sign warns that the road ahead is closed due to flooding. I pay it no mind - I can always turn back if I canít get through. Sure enough, about a kilometre before the road T-junctions into the R43 towards Ceres, some drums block off the road and boards indicate that the low water bridge is flooded. A bakkie ahead of me slips through a widened space between two drums and I follow him. To my slight disappointment, the river no longer covers the low water bridge and we cross without incident. Ahead, low laying areas in the valley are covered in fluffy clouds. It is cold!

Hooligan happily climbs Mitchellís Pass, and we reach Ceres where I stop to fill up and WhatsApp the family that Iím about to leave Ceres. The sun is in my eyes and I canít find my sunglasses - quick stop at Clicks to buy a cheap pair, then I'm on my way again. 40km outside Ceres, the road becomes gravel, then tar, then gravel again and splits into the R355 to Calvinia 200km away, and the R356 to Sutherland 152km away, respectively. I turn right onto the R356, and open up.

The surface is rough with loose gravel, sand, ruts and mud from recent rains. Hooligan keeps unexpectedly weaving from side to side in a disconcerting way, and Iím not enjoying the ride much. I keep an eye on the road surface and count the kilometres. A thought pops into my head that I should deflate my tires a bit, but Iím unsure of how much to deflate the tires. Two bakkies pass me, traveling in the opposite direction towards Ceres, and then Iím the only movement on the road.

About 50km along the gravel road I crest a slight rise, eyeing an interesting mountain formation to the right, when suddenly the front starts weaving quite violently, a slow motion tank slapper. The next moment Hooligan and I are down and sliding on the ground in a wide arc. We grind to a stop, facing the direction we came. Iím still sitting/lying in the saddle.

Dazed, I notice the bike is still idling, and reach over and turn off the ignition, then sit/lie still for a long moment. I mentally check all my body parts; except for a burning ache in my left foot, still trapped on the foot peg under the bike, and a graze on my right hand, I miraculously seem unhurt. I close my eyes and thank my Lord, overwhelmed with gratitude and relief.

Then I look at the Hooligan. Something is missing, and it takes me a moment to realise thereís an emptiness where Hooliganís right handlebar should be. I slowly get up and walk up the road, taking photoís of the road and the bike, trying to organise my thoughts and evaluate my situation.










Damage to riding gear




Fuel alarmingly drips out from beneath the bike. I also notice that the tankís breather pipe, newly purchased, has fallen off. My mind fixates on that, and I fine-comb the road looking for it, absurdly grateful when I find it about 2 metres from the fallen Hooligan. Pieces of Hooliganís new windscreen lie strewn along the road, a big shard still fixed to the fairings. I canít be bothered to take it off, and simply push it out the way.

My mind races over possible courses of action available to me. I shed a few layers of clothes, loosen the bags on top of the bike, and manage to lift up the Hooligan. I walk around him, looking for damage. He is no longer leaking fuel, and I guess it was just fuel draining from the carburettor. The gear lever is bent in and up, and its rubber cover is torn, but when I push it, it still moves fairly freely. I expect the left pannier bag, which must have born the brunt of the impact and slide, to be torn to pieces, but to my surprise it only has a neat rip from front to back, in the centre of the bottom of the bag.


The funny koppie that drew my eye before the fateful slide




Twisty skid marks




Bent gear lever






Ripped pannier bag




I turn my attention to the missing handlebar. It is a hollow, fat Renthal handlebar and it was on the bike when I bought it. The right side broke off cleanly next to the right mounting point, and I suspect it must have been cracked. It hangs loosely, attached only by the electrical cables which thankfully seem to have suffered no damage. I twist the throttle experimentally, and it moves easily. The vapour of an idea stirs in my mind.







Looks like the broken handlebar took out the windscreen.




My work cell phone was in my left upper pocket. The phone screen's protective cover had two new cracks, but the phone itself was fine, and its screen is still working normally. Later on I noticed that the phone had bent a bit.




It seems I also bumped my head along the way, but it is also still working normally (OK yes this might be debatable)



« Last Edit: June 30, 2018, 09:36:50 pm by Ri »
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Offline Ri

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Re: Purple Hooligan: A funny thing happened on the way to the farm...
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2018, 04:37:19 am »
I look at the veld showing signs of the long years of drought, and find a thickish dried branch from a shrub, made up of thick fibres. With a fold-up knife I neaten the edges and trim it down until it fits inside the handlebar. Then I force the broken piece of handlebar onto the longer fixed end until the two pieces of handlebar almost touch. The branch holds the broken handle in place, but allows too much movement, and I tie it down with a tie strap I got from Yamaha Paarden Island, given to tie my newly purchased MX boots to my bike. Gavin, thank you!!

Amateur McGyvering










Optimistically, without testing my setup, I strap the tool bag onto the bike again and put on all my gear. I climb onto Hooligan, turn on the ignition key and cautiously push the happy button. Hooligan gives a full-throated roar; I have never felt so happy in my life!

I notice a dull ache in the ribs behind my right breast, shortening my breath to stunted gasps. My mind quickly reviews itís dearth of knowledge about broken ribs and deflated lungs, and suggests Iíd probably only bruised it a bit.

I briefly consider my options: ride back home, where I have the Gent to carry me to my destination but probably only the next day, or carry on towards the farm, where my family is waiting and my nieceís birthday party is starting soon. I decide to carry on, as the handlebar seems firm enough and I donít want to disappoint my family and especially my niece.

I carefully paddle Hooligan around, gratefully praising the Lord, and gently open the throttle. The gear changes are difficult but manageable, and we drunkenly swerve down the road as I try to come to grips with the unaccustomed loose downwards-twisting right handlebar.

The hack works - kind of. Keeping the throttle open causes the handlebar to lean downwards until Iím riding with my hand on my right thigh. I realise Iíll have to make an adjustment. After a few kilometres, I reluctantly come to a stop on top of a hill and push the kill switch. However, I fail to check the road camber and canít put the side stand down as the bike isnít tilted enough. Paddling forward is nearly impossible without leveraging the whole handlebar, but I manage to shuffle forward a centimetre or two, and kick the side stand down.

I realign the strap and thread it into a better position. Then for some inexplicable reason I decide to check the oil level. I pull Hooligan upright towards me while I lean down, trying to peek at the oil window. Slowly Hooligan continues to tilt until he is leaning awkwardly against my left leg, while I take too long to curse my stupidity and consider the odds of pushing Hooligan upright. Thatís right - none. I carefully withdraw my now-strained knee and drop the bike onto itís gripless right side, almost crying as fuel immediately starts dripping out of the breather pipe. Stop breathing, dammit!

I try to lift the bike but with the road slant downwards, it is too heavy; added to this is the disadvantage of no right handlebar for leverage. I cry to my Lord: Iím too spent, I canít do this! A calm voice inside me answers a touch irritably: What else are you going to do? Of course you can do it. Just take your time.

I sigh. What choice do I have? I slowly unhook the few pieces of luggage I removed the first time, but it isnít enough. I resentfully unstrap the left pannier bag. It lightens the bike enough that I can lift it, but with the camber, the weight of the right pannier bag drags it over onto me again. I somehow manage to untie the right pannier bag while pushing the bike upright. Truly, most damage is self-inflicted.

Hooligan is finally sufficiently upright, and I fasten the luggage at glacial speeds. I hate tying on the pannier bags because the straps are too short and my fingers are raw and aching when I finally have them all tied. Exhaling with relief, I swing my tired body onto Hooligan again, turn the key in the ignition and hit the kill switch to disengage.

It doesnít budge.

I stab at it a couple of times and achieve a whole lot of nothing. I stare at it in rage and disbelief: such a tiny little red button, yet it turns my otherwise perfectly working bike into a greasy book-end.

I sob to my Lord for help a little desperately, childishly punching the little red button repeatedly, to no effect. Then I calm down and again attempt to adult. I glare balefully at the little red plastic knob that so effectively curtails my journey, looking for a way to circumvent, override or incapacitate it. I wonder whether my strapping caused some grief to one of the electrical cables, and reroute the entire strap.




I repeatedly turn the key on and off again, punching the little red button. It stubbornly refuses to pop out. I inspect it more closely and notice a few thin streaks of dust. I wonder, could some grit have gotten inside and jammed it? I take hold of the small knob sticking out and wiggle it up and down vigorously. Then I punch it again and out it pops, a little red tongue sticking out at me spitefully.

I stare at it, dumbfounded, then my heart explodes with jubilation and praises and I swear to never, ever touch that red button again. I hit the start switch, Hooligan springs to life, and Iím off again.

This stop has cost me an hour. In total, Iíve lost two hours travelling time. I havenít seen a soul, and I still have about 90km to ride to Sutherland, and from there a further 110km to Fraserburg. Iím going to be late for my nieceís birthday party, and my sister is probably having conniptions from worrying. I push as hard as I cautiously can. The handlebar is holding up well, and despite a manoeuvring scare here and there, I make good progress.

After what feels like an eternity, I reach the T-junction with the Sutherland/Matjiesfontein road, and carefully come to a halt again, switching Hooligan off by turning the key. Managing to travel at the speed of about 80-90 kph, Iím feeling the cold and need to put on some of the clothing I discarded at the last stop.








Hard-pressed Ri




« Last Edit: June 30, 2018, 09:49:23 pm by Ri »
Tales of the Purple Turtles: Ride Reports
PROJECT SAS WILDEHOND III Contributions: R Snyman Capitec Savings Account 1545860511 Balance (2017/12/07): R3,190.23 - R1,600 for steel purchase
 

Offline Ri

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Re: Purple Hooligan: A funny thing happened on the way to the farm...
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2018, 04:38:27 am »
As I’m tucking in my shirt and am about to fasten my riding pants, a custard yellow KLR 650 sweeps around the corner and I frantically wave for him to stop. He looks about to ignore my gestures so I wave again, and he comes to a halt just beyond the Hooligan. For some reason he seems irked and asks whether I thought he was going to pass me, and whether everything is OK. I answer that everything is fine, but I’d had a little trouble that cost me a lot of time. When he reached Sutherland, could he please contact my sister to let her know I’m fine and I’m on my way?

His name is Martin and he’s from Worcester, riding with his friend Michael from Melkbosstrand. They’re staying over at Sutherland, then riding back the next day. However, Michael has fallen behind and is nowhere to be seen.




Martin is impressed with the Hooligan’s setup, and keeps commenting on how well-rigged the bike is. He queries me about the problem and where I’m going, and then declares that he will accompany me all the way to Fraserburg. Apparently he also fell on the road, and indeed his KLR bears some scars. While we look things over and chat, I open a can of energy drink and he gratefully shares a few sips.

I kit up, trying not to hurry as I always forget something, then Martin and I head onwards. We soon reach tar and turn towards Sutherland, swinging through the beautiful Verlatenkloof pass. In Sutherland, I stop at the fuel station to fill up and call my frantic sister to set her mind at ease.

Martin also fills up and finally receives a message from Michael, who seemingly has a flat tire. He is torn between his promise to accompany me to Fraserburg, and going back to help a fallen comrade. He shows me the message, then suddenly notices what else is on the phone screen and instructs me to ignore the frosted flesh-toned photo’s. I laugh and assure him I’ll be fine, and he should go check on his mate.

Then he manages to reach Michael on the phone, and tells him he’s found another breakdown, a woman, and that he plans to ride with me to Fraserburg. It turns out that Michael had found and plugged the hole in his tire, and had somehow arrived in Sutherland before Martin.

Michael swoops down on the fuel station on his BMW 1200 GS and gives me and Hooligan the once-over. Martin enthuses on how well-rigged the bike is, and how Hooligan is faster than his KLR. Michael gives me another quick sidelong glance and says softly, maybe it’s the rider and not the bike. He disdainfully asks Martin why he is accompanying me - what can he do if something goes wrong?

Martin, to my secret relief, is adamant. I know I’ll be fine, and my sister told me the road from Sutherland to Fraserburg was scraped the previous week, but I’m exhausted. Michael heads back to the guest house, and Martin and I race off to Fraserburg while the sun sinks swiftly.

Despite my non-static handlebar setup, I manage to maintain about 100kph average. But I should have taken a comfort break ages ago, and while I tell myself I can still pinch for a bit, the bumps and corrugations cause a painful pressure. I look for a likely spot and slowly slide to a halt. When Martin pulls up, I explain my dilemma and he rides up ahead a few metres to give me privacy. I crouch behind a bush and wait, but relief is a long time coming. My body has gone into lockdown and refuses to give up anything. Eventually, we carry on again.

The sun is quite low when we reach Fraserburg, and I stop to bid my guardian a warm thank you and good bye. He stoically accepts my hug and pats me on the shoulder, wishing me a safe journey. Then he turns around and quickly roars off on his almost 90-minute return journey. What a gentleman!

I limp through town and out the other side another few kilometres until I reach the well-known and beloved turn-off to my brother-in-law’s farm. I inform the family of my imminent arrival, and moving like an old person, dismount to open the first gate, ride through and close the gate again. It rained here recently as well and the road has mud pools and deep ruts where the lorry had recently passed through, and in one place even got stuck.

With limited steering and unable to stand, I carefully crawl along. When I’m through the first ruts and puddles, I open up a bit and roll up the first bump. The first bump however is a particularly vicious bump and almost caught me out on my previous visit as well. It’s higher and more triangular than it seems with a sharp drop-off on the other side. With his improved suspension, Hooligan all but jumps over it and I almost fly out of the seat, the loose handlebar moving up and twisting down disconcertingly when we land, almost sending me tumbling over.

I relax my clenched teeth, buttocks and death grip on the handlebars, and crawl forward even more cautiously. I’m forced to stop precariously at closed gate after closed gate and wonder bitterly: I told them Hooligan is broken, couldn’t they have left open a single gate for me? Apparently not.  But that which does not kill you, makes you stronger, or makes you use stronger language, or some such.

After what seems like forever, Hooligan quietly snores into the muted dusky farmyard and quietly squeaks to a halt. Next moment the door bursts open and a bunch of tween girls squeal out to stare at the alien on the purple bike. The niece’s party is still going strong and I didn’t miss much. I hand the camera to the niece to take a quick photo. Then, thanking the Lord for His love, grace and mercy, I head inside into the warmth.




My sister quickly heads me off when she sees my mud-spattered boots and legs, and instructs me to undress in the washroom. I shed the outer layer, go wash my face and hands, and quickly take a seat at the dinner table.

The company is convivial, the red wine is excellent and the laugher flows. Almost imperceptably, various aching and throbbing bits and pieces start to make themselves known now there is no longer any adrenaline and heat-producing movement. Then all the guests are gone, and I’m sent to soak in a hot, hot bath, fed some pain tablets and ordered to bed.

The next few days I walk like an old woman, hunched over from the stabbing ache in my ribs, the spreading ache from the odd bruise at the top of my left thigh down to the knee, and the twinge in the outer left knee where Hooligan leaned so overly familiarly. My right tricep for some reason complains at odd moments.

Still, I’m amazed I suffered nothing more serious than this. Earlier this year, my sister gave me a ring with the engraving: “I am sheltered by the Most High”. Truly, I give thanks.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2018, 09:54:19 pm by Ri »
Tales of the Purple Turtles: Ride Reports
PROJECT SAS WILDEHOND III Contributions: R Snyman Capitec Savings Account 1545860511 Balance (2017/12/07): R3,190.23 - R1,600 for steel purchase
 

Offline Pilchie

Re: Purple Hooligan: A funny thing happened on the way to the farm...
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2018, 06:48:49 am »
Fook - that's hectic and very brave of you Ri. Always enjoy reading your Ride Reports
May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live
 

Offline NoRush

Re: Purple Hooligan: A funny thing happened on the way to the farm...
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2018, 06:50:22 am »
Ri, you are indeed a woman of great courage. Awesome, that you still do a photo for us unbelievers. Always enjoy your RR.
Those little mercies goes a long way, takes time to see them all around us.  :thumleft:
 

Offline Skim

Re: Purple Hooligan: A funny thing happened on the way to the farm...
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2018, 07:16:21 am »
Eish - Well done  madam!!!

You should have borrowed my Dustrider "hoist" - you are still welcome to come check it out sometime.

Again well done with the macgivering.


Skim

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Online edgy

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Re: Purple Hooligan: A funny thing happened on the way to the farm...
« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2018, 07:16:40 am »
Well written as always :thumleft:
Brave girl!
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Online Noneking

Re: Purple Hooligan: A funny thing happened on the way to the farm...
« Reply #7 on: June 29, 2018, 07:27:07 am »
Well done Ri!
Watís volgende? A funny thing happened on the way to Van Zylís??
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Offline EssBee

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Re: Purple Hooligan: A funny thing happened on the way to the farm...
« Reply #8 on: June 29, 2018, 07:28:45 am »
Well done, Ri, on 'recovering' from THAT! Pretty damm admirable!!!! Thanks for sharing, these incidents bring home how suddenly things can take a change in direction ( pun intended I s'pose  ::) )
 

Offline Jors Troelie

Re: Purple Hooligan: A funny thing happened on the way to the farm...
« Reply #9 on: June 29, 2018, 07:32:34 am »
Indeed very brave and courageous, but then again most female riders on this forum are a cut above the rest. I know a lot of guys that would have phoned a friend to bring a trailer. Its rides like this that makes memories.
 

Offline Ganjora

Re: Purple Hooligan: A funny thing happened on the way to the farm...
« Reply #10 on: June 29, 2018, 07:45:36 am »
congrats on breaking the renthal bars.
i have tried on a number of bikes,  and never got it right.
 

Offline JonW

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Re: Purple Hooligan: A funny thing happened on the way to the farm...
« Reply #11 on: June 29, 2018, 07:51:02 am »
Well done Ri

I'd ride with you any day.
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Online woody1

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Re: Purple Hooligan: A funny thing happened on the way to the farm...
« Reply #12 on: June 29, 2018, 07:54:13 am »
Jou ma brei seker jou truie met staalwol.  As die weerlig slaan dan slaan jy terug... Chuckiline Norris   :laughing4:
« Last Edit: June 29, 2018, 07:54:56 am by woody1 »

I WOULD RATHER BE AN HONEST ASSHOLE .... THAN A FLIPPEN LIAR !   


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Offline the ruffian

Re: Purple Hooligan: A funny thing happened on the way to the farm...
« Reply #13 on: June 29, 2018, 08:07:57 am »
I donít know about the ďgirlĒ there, Edgy. More like a beast, or at best, a Wilde tannie, hey Ri...?

And a flipping literate tannie at that - ďthe vapor of an idea stirs my mindĒ ... !!

As just another heathen, I certainly envy you your support system too...

 

Offline Coxwain

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Re: Purple Hooligan: A funny thing happened on the way to the farm...
« Reply #14 on: June 29, 2018, 08:14:17 am »
As I have said once before......this is one very gutsy lady. Awesome report Ri ... :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
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Offline Lou1

Re: Purple Hooligan: A funny thing happened on the way to the farm...
« Reply #15 on: June 29, 2018, 08:45:17 am »
Blksm!  :o

Adventure indeed.

Briljant gekryf, ekke voel die pyn en proe die stof.

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Offline Ri

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Re: Purple Hooligan: A funny thing happened on the way to the farm...
« Reply #16 on: June 29, 2018, 09:13:35 am »

Thank you all for the kind and hilarious comments. Whether it's courage or stupidity is debatable, I'm sure :imaposer:
Tales of the Purple Turtles: Ride Reports
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Offline Welsh

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Re: Purple Hooligan: A funny thing happened on the way to the farm...
« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2018, 09:14:56 am »
Respect... :thumleft: 8)
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Offline Ri

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Re: Purple Hooligan: A funny thing happened on the way to the farm...
« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2018, 09:16:16 am »
I donít know about the ďgirlĒ there, Edgy. More like a beast, or at best, a Wilde tannie, hey Ri...?

And a flipping literate tannie at that - ďthe vapor of an idea stirs my mindĒ ... !!

As just another heathen, I certainly envy you your support system too...

Geeeez a beast? Granted in that one photo I look a little wild-eyed but still  ???
Tales of the Purple Turtles: Ride Reports
PROJECT SAS WILDEHOND III Contributions: R Snyman Capitec Savings Account 1545860511 Balance (2017/12/07): R3,190.23 - R1,600 for steel purchase
 

Offline Ri

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Re: Purple Hooligan: A funny thing happened on the way to the farm...
« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2018, 09:22:22 am »
Indeed very brave and courageous, but then again most female riders on this forum are a cut above the rest. I know a lot of guys that would have phoned a friend to bring a trailer. Its rides like this that makes memories.

What I would've given for cell phone reception :sad2:

But very true about the memories.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2018, 09:25:55 am by Ri »
Tales of the Purple Turtles: Ride Reports
PROJECT SAS WILDEHOND III Contributions: R Snyman Capitec Savings Account 1545860511 Balance (2017/12/07): R3,190.23 - R1,600 for steel purchase