I took a trip to Gauteng on Wednesday to see a man about a pony. I took the 1200 Triumph and must say that while I do enjoy riding the bike, riding in Gauteng in peak hour traffic is for the birds and to make it more interesting it rained as well. With the Gautrain being built and highways widened it’s a nightmare, I actually don’t know how people do that on a daily basis, they must all be on Prozac. Rush hour in Clarens is 6 cars 2 dogs, 3 geese (“you laugh”, see photo) and a chicken “every now and again” and usually he is just checking to see if he can actually cross the road! I did come up with a new adventure activity that we will be able to offer 2010 world cup tourists, that being a pillion ride on a fast moving motorcycle during peak hour traffic, “preferably with some rain thrown in”, believe me after that, bungee jumping, abseiling and shark diving will seem tame in comparison

But I digress, I left at six am from Clarens and while winter is not yet upon us it was a little Japanese (for those who don’t know “there was a nip in the air”) one of the things I like about riding is that you are alone with your thoughts, no cell phone and no distractions other than mist, potholes, cows, goats sheep and your occasional Guinea fowl, you are pretty much alone”. “Just you and nature”. Riding solo is not always the best especially on long trips but today I realised that even if you do ride alone you are in fact in the company of yourself and depending on the time of day the position of the sun and what direction you are riding in, you always have someone riding next to, in front of and behind you, I had a great conversation with myself today and myself even showed me the thumbs up at one stage.

Once Shadow and I got bored with each other’s company my mind wandered for some reason to when I was a kid “and that was a while back, unless of course you speak to Tania as she is always telling me to stop acting like a sixteen year old”. I started to think about summer holidays and how great they had been. One summer in particular stands out and that would have been the summer of 79 “just ten years on from Bryans Summer of 69” I was 16 years old, I had transport that did not need my legs to power it, I had a job at a local steakhouse, so with money in the pocket a Honda SS 50 between the legs I was King of the world.

I had just started listening to ACDC after having been an ABBA fan, “yes I admit I was a huge ABBA fan, as is my 12 year old daughter today, due to that great movie Mama Mia. Disco was big, New Wave and Punk music was starting to make its mark and while I cannot remember any song in particular I can say that the music from the late seventies and the eighties was perhaps the era’s that some of the best music has come from, not that today’s music is bad, but lets see how much of it they will be playing on radio 30 years from now. A lot of the eighties music is making a comeback and many an old tune can be heard on the airwaves. Disco was strong with Saturday Night Fever being one of the hit movies giving John Travolta his big break with Mad Max an apocalyptic biker movie that saw Mel Gibson in a starring role also hitting the screens, I managed to sneak in to that one at a movie house in Vereeneging and it was action filled, violent and had big motorbikes in it, what more could a 16 year old with a 50cc want ?

Summer of 79 I had a girlfriend called Heidi and Lazlo “my best mate” and I would spend many hours at the house emptying the fridge of food and cool drink and terrorizing her little brother, Lazlo was also trying to get a date with Heidi’s younger sister, ‘sorry cannot remember names” when we were not at Heidi’s we were at Lazlo’s, who lived just across the road and he had a pool, so we had a few pool parties with a number of mates that would come over and we would have a “pool party” I am sure a few beers were consumed and an illicit cigarette or two smoked as well. Lazlo had a round pool so we used to have a few guys run round and round the pool and create a whirlpool and then someone had to take the pool cleaner pole and literally try to pole vault over the whirlpool. If you landed in the middle of the pool it was a bit of a struggle to get out. Vanderbijlpark had a massive public pool with diving boards and we would also hang out there and dare people to jump of the highest board that sometimes ended with a sore back or legs from not hitting the water right. One guy our age could actually dive from that height, it was something that I was not going to try.

If I was not working a night shift at Prime-Rib then we would usually go to the German club and especially over the weekend have a couple of beers and listen to the Oompah band. Those days’ two beers had you tipsy, three drunk and four alcohol poisoning. Skateboards were still the rage and we shredded a few pools over the summer as well. A few pools had to be emptied and I am sure when the owners of them came back from their Christmas Holidays they may not have been happy with seeing their “well used pools”, “I did not say I was choir boy” So what did you do on your 16th Summer when you look back do you get a smile on your face, like I have now or was it just another summer ?

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