Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cape Town

Today's route:  Seapoint to Noordhoek

The last two days in Cape Town have been wonderful, both in the enjoyment of this increadibly beautiful city and in the satisfaction of a tour well completed.

Yesterday, Wednesday, was a very windy day. The Kennedy's and us left the hotel early and drove north to Bleuberg, which provides the iconic view of Table Mountain across the bay. I have always wanted a photograph of the car from there and it was well worth the drive.

A sugested drive was around thge penninsula, but as windy as it was I decided to avoid the False Bay side and instead headed to Noordhoek along the eastern side. Through Sea Point and then onto Clifton - the beaches as magnificent as ever and then through Bantry Bay and along the most magnificent coastal road up past Llandudno and then down Suikerbosie into Hout Bay. All this was my regular cycling route when I liverd here for a few months so many years ago and it has not lost it's splendor.

Up and onto Chapman's Peak with its long climb is an incredible experience. Sheer cliffs alongside, the icy waves crashing onto the rocks below it is simply magnificent. Rounding the apex, the view back to Hout Bay is outstanding, then we begin the twists and turns of the descent into Noordhoek.

Once in Noordhoek, we were welcomed at Lord and Lady Laidlaw's estate - the most magnificent home and gardens I have ever visited. Spanning over 300 hectares, it is crafted with style and elegance and unlike many large houses it is clearly a home - both warm and intimate depsite it's size. The gardens are simly spectacular and defy adequate description that would do them any sort of justice. A wonderful lunch was catered with care by Christine and with excellence by their chef. It was one of the highlights of this tour.

Also at the luncheon Fredericke had an exhibition of her work - stunning paintings by one of South Africa's most talented artisits. We were fortunate to see them.

After lunch we returned to our hotel and a little later went out to Gordon Ramsey's restaurant Maze - the food was forgetable but the company was great.

Our last day, today, started with a visit to the Christian Barnard Museum which honors the world's first heart transplant - it was excellent. Then a loverly lunch with family (Eve and Gerald ress) and a friend Robyn Nuthall  and then a good afternoon with my brother Rod.

Our final tour banquet was held tonight - it was excellent and sad witht he realization that the tour is now over. Tomorrow we ship the cars, and ourselves, back to our many corners of th world.

I would like to thank John and Fredericke White and Stuart and Cindy Maxwell, our organisers and hosts, for the trip of a lifetime.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Franschoek to Cape Town

Today's route: Franschoek to Cape Town  76 miles

After almost three years of planning, and months of car preperation, today we drove the final leg into Cape Town, South Africa's Mother City. The tour is not quite over, as there are day trips still planned.

It was with somewhat mixed feelings that I left Franschoek this morning after breakfast on this final destination leg of the journey. Situated in the heart of wine country, the drive was marked by fields and fields of grape vines as far a sone could look.

Our first stop was at the Franschoek Mpotor Museum, a private collection of some of the finest and rarest cars in the world, housed in four large showrooms. Simply stunning and they even had a Curved Dash Oldesmobile like mine!

After having tea there, we drove to the Hartenberg Wine Estate for lunch, where we were joined by local RR owners. A great wine tasting and simple picnic lunch.

After lunch, a fairly short 50 km to Cape Town, our first view of Table Mountain coming from quite far out.

After so many kilometers, we arrived at the Waterfront Raddison -  a spendid hotel right on the water. The car had made it, and apparently so had I.

It was quite sad parking for the last time, although there are day trips planned.

An hour later we were off to Table Mountain - a magnificent view from the top. Never tires.

Cape Town as a lovely as ever.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Arniston to Franschoek

Todays route: Arniston to Franschoek  197 miles

The sunrise in Arneston was brilliant orange between the early clouds. The howling seaside wind dies soon after sunrise and it was another brilliant blue sky day.

We left Arniston soon after breakfast, with Gerald Davies driving the first 25 km for me - he had come down from Botswana to visit! After he left, we carried on our route through huge farms of wheat and cattle - the heat building as the morning aged.

Our tea stop was in the seaside town of Hermanus at a private home. On arrival, it seemed the entire town was there to meet us, applauding as we entered and followed by a speech by the mayor. The home, contemporary in design, was built onto the rocks overlooking the huge expanse of beach. Every window framed a stunning view. The tea and snacks were wonderful, but the day was stolen by the multiple pods of whales visible fron the deck - mother's and calves.

After tea we headed for Franschoek. Soon enough the multiplicity of vineyards appeared as we were entering the very heart of the Cape wine industry. Field after field of vine.

The final climb up the Franschoek Pass was lovely, and the view as we crested stunning.

After descending the very twisty and steep downhill, we checked into the magnificent hotel - we have our own villa - and then promptly went into the vlllage for a kingclip lunch and some shopping.

Franschoek is a very pretty town - green leaves and white Cape architecture everywhere.

A relaxed afternoon and nice dinner tonight.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Oudtshoorn to Arniston

Today's route: Oudtshoorn to Arniston 204 miles

Today was a magnificent day - fantastic weather and a route that could only be dreamed for.

We left Oudtshoorn soon after breakfast, the crisp morning air buffeting around us in the opne car. The Klein Karoo's emptyness soom gave way to a mountain pass that was not very high, but also wound it's way through rock formations and over a river. The tea stop was at a very nice B&B and they certainly outdid themselves in all the baked goods - served in their back verandah garden under the purple canopy of a blossoming Jacaranda tree.

From tea we pressed on south, and soon enough the Karoo was replaced with endless farmlands of the southern Cape - gentle rolling hills surrounded by wheatfields.

Arniston is a fishing village at the tip of Africa - stark while houses in the Cape style that overlook the absolutely turqiose water of the Indian Ocean against stark white beaches. We pulled into the Arniston Hotel and parked on their front lawn - the ocean providing a magnificent backdrop to Bill Kennedy's panoramic picture.

After lunch (calamari, fish and carrot cake!), by now almost 4 pm, we jumped back into the car and set off for another 50 km (100 km round trip) to Cape Agulus - the southern most tip of the huge African continant, Arriving there, we found a stunning coastline and soon made our way to the very tip of Africa - where the Indian and Atlantic Ocean's meet in a swirl of turbulent vortices. A terrific feeling standing there - with the car to one side - definately one of those life moments.

Arrving back at the hotel just in time for dinner we managed to see the last of the sunset.

This was one of the best days on the tour. Perhaps they all are.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


Today's route: Rest day Oudshoorn

Today was a rest day, although there was a suggested drive to Prince Albert fro lunch followed by a climb over the Swartberg Pass.

As I had a lot of car work to do - relap some valves - I started early but pretty soon it became obvious to me that I would miss the drive, I chose to do the car work as it is more important to get it right now rather than risk a problem later.

So, Bill and I spent most of the day doing valve work in the hot sun. But, when we were finished, we did takr a drive up the Swartberg Pass to see the magnificent scenery - husge vistas of farmland abbutting the concoluted cliff faces of the Outeniqwa mountains. Quite magnificent.

Dinner was at the hotel - not bad - with a birthday song for Joan.

Short day - back on the road tomorrow.