Monday, 30 November 2009

Following the Departure Date

Patience and a Calm Head:
The 4th of December 2009 is the departure date. It has been hectic by way of preparations of all manner: breadth, width and depth of all kinds of huddles and blessings.  You will better appreciate this state of affair, it takes much focus and energy from one.

                                                               Scorpion Always attracted Attention  

As days crawl by, there were endless little things to prepare to be trip-ready. First it was the bike, new tyres, new sprockets, new chain on the one hand then new oil, new antifreeze in the radiator on the other hand. Then Andy  my friend ― gave Scorpion a microscopic inspection: tightening, what needed to be tightened, oiled and lubricated those parts which required such tender care. 

I have always complained about wind buffeting even though I have the tallest screen in Gauteng, according Andy.  In his generosity, he fitted an Aerotrim.  There have been debates about its effectiveness, here we give these debates a wide berth. My experience is that the buffeting is significantly reduced  80%.  We often joked that if it does not work, we will retain it on the bike for its aesthetic value.  All said and done, it is my view that no one could have given Scorpion such tender loving care as Andy. We know that going into Africa is a herculean feat, while it is true that no amount of preparation can eliminate all eventuality, better preparation was necessary.

I have gone through various emotions in the last few days. This is best described by some of the events leading to the Odyssey.  Three weeks to the Odyssey, the bike developed a  stating problem. Turn the key, hit the start button silence.  About the same time it developed a sort of mysterious and ominous problem  water in the bottle attached to the radiator was continuously emptying.  Then the clutch was not feeling right. Was this a real problem or a figment of my imagination.  I have done so many things in my life but mechanics is not one of them.  You can imagine that I was beginning to get a bit hysterical.  Men tend to keep these things under the surface. Well then riding back from the BMW training grounds at Swartkorp, I realized, or rather heard the something was wrong with my rare brakes. The pads were missing; I mean nothing completely. Where had my pads gone?  And why must these things begin to happen on the eve of my departure?  Andy's calmness helped keep my sanity.  He always had the right answer to these problems. There are more issues I would like to talk about but your patience will be reward at the end of this trip. The point is this is just one level of problems  the machine.  Many more lay in wait.

Yesterday, I spent time with Scorpion.  With tools around Scorpion, I fixed, washed and polished Scorpion.  I did something carefully and with special attention.  I knew that for the next couple of weeks, she will have a bath.

The fun part of it was that at the end of the day I cooked my favourite dish: baked Irish potatoes baked in butter, with roast rump in butter and salt. The salad was chopped English cucumber and sliced tomatoes  and with a glass of champagne, my feet hang on a stool.  Grateful to have my best friends with me that evening.  The relaxation was complete and necessary for tomorrow.  And in this way I passed the rest of the evening. 

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