Last yesterday afternoon we heard Peens refused KTM Prince George’s quote of $8000-00 (R120 000-00) to fix his bike’s clutch, he had gone to Oom Jan Maak
We had a lovely meal and it was nice to sit around the table with kids and have a home-cooked meal, the 1st in a long time. Their hospitality was simply astounding, to invite people to your house when you live in the basement and cook in the garage is simply on another level.
Then we Ubered back to our Days Inn Motel and decided to have a Loop Dop (a final drink to end off this Leg.) So we walked along the main road to the local Sports Bar.
We had a drink and went to sleep. This morning we discovered Peens’s bike park almost inside the reception, with the staff up in arms pointing at all the proper parking bays. We were relieved that he had made it alive and that he limped the bike home.
I have no further news about him as he crashed in the warm bed Milsy vacated and he was still asleep when we all left to the airport for our flights.
I consider myself a seasoned traveller, but you are never too old to stop learning. I decided to not have my Boarding Pass printed and tried going the “show your phone with a photo of barcode method.”Epic fail!!!! When I got the security at the beginning of the security check he wanted to scan the bar-code, but every time I would widen the bar-code with my fingers, as one does on the phones, the barcode would flip from landscape to portrait, making the barcode to small to read, the security asked me to switch on the anti-rotation-lock-function, Ia had done this at least once before, but with my reading glasses on, but due to the lack of sight, I did something else and all of a sudden my phone was locked with a photo on it, and the more I tried finding the Boarding Pass the more I got lost between other photos, which were still rotating, On my 2nd attempt I got the Stop-Watch doing a count down, (nice to know I have a stopwatch on the phone) and the security patiently waited and the rest of the line behind me saw me looking at my photos and then doing a little bit of stop-watch-count-down. Very embarrassed. So out came the glasses and eventually got the scanner to accept my offering on the 10th attempt. Then
Part 2 :
(The deep-stuffs, no photos, only my thoughts)
I have finally made it to Amsterdam and my lap-top-charger can fit into their plug-points. I am sitting in the lounge and here is my last 2c worth for Leg 15.
The fuel in the USA cost us about R12-28 per litre, there are many different prices and discounts and promotions with reduced prices on some Octane Fuel. Most of the fuel in the USA contains 10% Ethanol which causes some of our fuel-gauges to get stuck, in Canada this problem went away as their fuel, which is about R14-00 per Litre, has no Ethanol. But up in Northern parts of Alaska the price of fuel went as high as R19-53 per litre.
We rode 12,170km on this Leg, we spent 121 Hours and 28 minutes riding. Dad-Ass used 5,1 Litre per 100 kilometres, in spite of the 4 days on the Dalton “Highway” and the other Gravel Days, our average moving speed was 101 kilometres per hour.
On our bike-trips we spend a lot of time all alone with yourself inside your helmet, I can’t listen to music all day long, I suspect my ear-holes are deformed, and this was not picked-up by my parents when I was a kid, bad parents, and as a result was never fixed, 😉 so my ears hurt after the 1st Two hour’s riding session. And on this trip there was 24 days riding, much more than on the other Legs, (apart from Leg 1) so I had a lot of time to think about things.
Oh, I better say, that the opinions and views I express here in this Blog is my own and is not necessarily the views and opinions of the rest of the team. I see things and hear things and then I think about them, for hours, I get philosophical and often emotional about the thoughts.
I have previously expressed my views on hunting, not for the pot, that I am fine with, but for trophies, that sucks. But there is a case that can be made for this hunting as the animal might be at the end of its life and therefor it is bigger and a trophy, and jobs are created and bla bla bla, still believe it sucks. But on this trip I was confronted with a new evil, trapping. A trap catches everything that sticks it neck through the noose, or steps on the trap that smashes close on the animals leg, to die a pain and a slow death. And there is no skill involved, all the food is covered deep under the snow, you are hungry, look, here is a carrot magically in-front of me, and then its game-over. Well not straight away, you take a long time to die, and then you end-up as a coat or a scarf. Or you get stuffed and get put-up in the local pub. It sickened me to see how big Trapping is up North. And in Alaska there are very few animals left, maybe there were less to start off with because the weather is more severe, but there are enough dead animals in all the restaurants and pubs up-North, so they used to be more in the olden days before every “man” could buy a gun and start shooting the crap out of everything.
Another thing that we all noticed was how rude the Alaskans are. Alaska is a State of the USA, and all the people I have come in contact with in the USA are VERY friendly and well mannered, if you say “Thank You” they immediately answer back “you are so welcome.” So seeing how rude even the Server in Alaska is to the table when their tip depends on them being friendly. I got the feeling that they knew you were just passing through, tomorrow you are gone, so why even try to be nice. And you are a captured market, there is only one pub or filling station, so why should I look up from my phone, or take one earphone out of your ear so that I can hear you? Service in the USA and Canada is really good, but oh boy, does it suck in Alaska!!!!
And then more serious stuff happened and crossed our path. The Australian guy and his Canadian Girlfriend were murdered, they were camping in their RV\tent next to the road. Then the two kids killed another man 100km further, a manhunt was launched, the police were going to catch them, no doubt. Everybody we spoke to were shocked, horrified, these things don’t happen here. Then I get a video-clip of two black South Africans, the one is dropping a huge boulder onto the others head who tries to run away, dazed, caught and smashed with the rock again. The people continue filming, others go to his car to see what they can “score” and I know the police will not catch that animal with the stone, and not too many people are shocked, seen it all before, life continues. The contrast shocks me and I battle with the images in my head of the video-clip. Surely that is the low of my trip, it can only get better, right?
In El Paso, a town near the border with Mexico, a man who hates Mexicans, a racist, shoots 20 people dead, many other injured, most who die are Mexican, Trump is told he should not come to visit the town in their grief, not welcome there, the shooter was a Lone Wolf, him and his hatred acted all alone.
Racism is alive and kicking in South Africa, we grapple with racism every day, then you can add in some White Guilt and that makes-up a big part of the issues we are currently dealing with in RSA. You don’t have to be a racist to see the problems we have back home, they are easy to spot. And yes, even non-racist worry about their future in RSA. We are sad with the thought that in all probability our kids will emigrate and find better jobs and opportunities in other countries, but I know that should my daughters leave RSA they will be an asset to their new country as the youth of RSA today are dealing with the problems much better than us, their parents. They don’t see race like we do, they have moved on and are ahead of us, so there is hope. In 50 years from now the world will look so much different. See how 75 years have changed relationships between countries who hated the other, millions were killed in Wold War 1 & 2, now German and Englishman respect one another, the hate has gone, we learnt, moved on, for the better.
But the type of racist that shot those people in El Paso is the extreme type, a little crazy, but there are different levels of racists. I came across other less extremist-type of racists on my travels and back home and that is what kept my thoughts occupied for many hours on this bike trip. The “sleeper” type racist is the most common, they only spew their filth when they are amongst people they feel safe with, people like them. Some are even very religious, one would think they have their seats booked in Heaven one day, (but do they realise that Heaven will be full of other races, different from them.) And will they make it to heaven without the “love for their neighbour” which is a pre-requisite to get there? I doubt it, but that is not for me to decided.
I noticed that the next level up racist, the ones who live with a constant hate in their heart, the people who are so consumed with race that it takes over their lives, that it is all they talk about, it is always on their minds, consuming them. I am of the opinion that as a result of their racism they subscribe to different principles in life, they are selfish, its all about them, they don’t have successful relationships, they are too toxic, they go through life never committing to real relationships, they leave a string of failed relationships behind them, never willing to commit, like a rolling stone, not gathering moss, they are loners. Sad individuals.
NOTE: I am back in the Business Lounge of KLM, my flight left and three hours into the flight the captain informed us that we are turning around, there was an issue with the “Fuel Monitor” when we took off, and then they lost the 1st weather radar, and later the 2nd, and now we were heading for Africa where you cant rely on information from the ground, the weather radar is crucial, and because of the fuel monitor issue they don’t feel confident to fly out over the ocean to avoid the weather. So we turned around and flew back to Amsterdam. Later he told us that they were going to dump some fuel to lighten the aircraft and that we would see a mist at the wings for about 15 minutes while they dump the fuel.
Before we landed they went through the procedure to evacuate the plane through the slides. I suspect the fuel gauges were not working and they were too scared to dump too much fuel, so they dumped some and hoped the aircraft was not too heavy. The cabin crew were tense and one could see things were not OK.
It was during these 3 hours that all of a sudden things clicked in my head, I understood what it was that I had to learn on this trip, how to make sense of the thoughts I had in my head for most of this journey on Leg 15. To make sense of racism as a 56 year old South African, and how in my mind I could figure things out. I thought about my funeral, should the plane crash, who would be there, how many people would miss me, would I have made an impact on other peoples lives? I don’t want to share with you what I thought, but I did think of this example:
I know a guy who came from a broken home, the cards of his life were stacked against him to become a loser, also leave a broken family behind him, fail in life. And if he did no one would have been surprised, that is the result of the hand of cards he was dealt in life. But in spite of
Yes I know, the job is too big, too many that need help, leadership, direction, up-liftment, and you are only one person. But start with helping one, then another, start small, make a difference in a person’s life that needs it. Learn to love others that are different, in spite of them being differnet from us and get rid of the hate in your life, go and see a phycologist, work on your problem, become a better person, it is so much more rewarding to give than to receive. Once you get this something will click in your head, you will see people differently, you will respect all people, not just have time for only you. That is what riding over 75 000km have shown me, everywhere we go we see people who are different to us, but also just like us, they have the same needs and wants as us, is it too much to ask to give them a “hand-up” try it, you might develop a heart and experience joy.
BUT that is still not what I wanted to say with this Blog, it is actually deeper than the above, much deeper:
Apart from the beauty of nature we were blessed with daily I also started realising that there was something else I should savour, enjoy, and that is friendship. How many people have 6 friends he can share this type of epic adventure with, how absolutely fortunate and lucky I am to have a bunch of guys, all mis-fits, so different from the other, and to experience this journey with, through 29 countries. When I am in the old-age-home one day, my pyjama-bottoms maybe wet from the whisky I am spilling from my shaking hands (or from another reason,) will I give the racist that crossed my path one second of thought? No, they don’t deserve my thoughts, they dug their own lonely old-age, but in my mind will be fond memories of those days when I rode with 6 friends around the world.
Hope you ride along with us next year in May
Love you all