Ode to my Forester

Posted by batman on Nov 30th, 2013
2013
Nov 30

IMG_4613_3.jpgMy Subaru Forester 2.5 XS (2010) is really a remarkable vehicle, and has afforded my family and I many opportunities to go off the beaten track and see things we would otherwise not have been able to. I feel obliged to honour some of the achievements of my Forester.

Sutherland, Karoo, South Africa
A well-timed long weekend in Sutherland, South Africa co-incided with a beautiful cold front that left this small Karoo town (home of the SALT telescope) covered in snow – from space a white circle measuring approximately 50 km would have been seen, up to half a metre deep in places. In wet, muddy, snowy and icy conditions my Forester was supreme – I had so much traction it was hard to believe. I could hit the brakes hard, accelerate strongly from standstill and the loss-of-traction warning light never even came on. While other 2WD vehicles were sliding around and being recovered, the snow-covered roads were my playground.

Baviaanskloof, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Just a weekend spent camping with family, with a few dirt roads (and passes) thrown in for fun. I lost a tyre here in an “accident” as an inconsiderately driven Toyota Hilux approaching from the front squeezed me to the side of the (very narrow at that point) road where I hit a rock on the full – any tyre would have burst. I picked up a slow leak on another one which was easily fixed with a plug.

Cederberg, Western Cape, South Africa
I travelled up the Cederberg, Western Cape, South Africa, and down the other side again – a roundtrip of 300 km of gravel travel. This included the notorius Eselbank Pass en route to the quaint Moravian village of Wupperthal, as well as some really smooth, fast gravel roads with delicious sweeping bends. Again, supremely competent, no obstacles it couldn’t overcome and rather surprisingly no problems from the Bridgestone Geolanders.

Sani Pass, Lesotho
But the crowning achievement has been on a recent trip to Sani Pass in Lesotho. We (my brother, my two teenagers and I) covered 1,900 km over three days (with no driving on the middle day). We left and returned from Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, travelling very comfortably at or around the national speed limit and returning an overall fuel consumption of a mere 8.6 litres / 100 km. We conquered the mighty Sani Pass in Lesotho – gaining 1,000 metres in altitude over just 8 km of a very bad gravel road with no difficulties whatsoever, despite sporadic appearances of ice and snow on the road. We were surrounded by hardcore 4×4 vehicles with primarily AT and even MT tyres – I was seriously concerned that my Geolanders would not be up to this test as they have already covered 50,000 km and are described as being best for highway use with a bit of offroad thrown in – but again experienced no problems whatsoever. Ground clearance also amazed me with the ONLY touchdown being the towbar on a man-made cement drain crossing the road. Our last three hours of the return trip was in darkness with heavy rain, and driving through potholed mountain passes around Grahamstown – again the fantastic AWD system of the Forester providing absolute confidence during these tricky conditions. I’m really struggling to find many other vehicles that could match this kind of overall performance!

I really love my Forester – it offers me so many cars all in one – a 4×4 to tackle Sani Pass, a car with rally pedigree to tackle a good gravel road or a wet mountain pass with enthusiasm, a comfortable and relaxed (fairly economical) long-distance cruiser, a daily commute vehicle to work and back, space for a fourball’s golfclubs (and the fourball), space to pack in furniture, or dogs or picnics – it’s got it all.

Subaru Forester Forever!

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Wacky Wine Weekend

Posted by batman on Jun 10th, 2008
2008
Jun 10

Wacky Wine Weekend


The 5th Wacky Wine Weekend held in the Robertson/McGregor/Ashton/Bonnievale region of the Western Cape from the 6th-8th June was once again a resounding success – the atmosphere completely untempered by the severe cold and rainy weather. By all accounts attendance was at an alltime high, as most certainly were the sales of wine bottles.

Your Wacky Wine Weekend passport costs R40, and this includes and enormous tasting glass (not one of those little tulip varieties). It must be purchased at your first stop, and stays with you throughout the weekend. There’s a certain sense of cameraderie walking amongst similar-minded people – all with their large glass up in the air.

All sorts of activities were on offer – from oysters at Bon Courage, and a Sparkling ‘Blush’ at Van Loveren, to big screen TV’s broadcasting the rugby, to braaivleis, sushi and archery and a mountain bike funride. The children were also looked after with jumping castles and face-painting – to mention but a few.

Sunday was spent with “The Baron of McGregor” – Barry and his wife Ruth, guiding a trip up to one of the highest peaks in the area – on an open-back truck with about 50 freezing people. Suffice it to say even more wine was consumed on that truck…

It once again lived up to its title as “the most unpretentious wine event” – and i’ll definitely be back next year. Roll on 2009!

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My son’s friend Ockie

Posted by batman on Jul 1st, 2007
2007
Jul 1

My son found Ockie on the rocks while on holiday at Haga-Haga. They were practically “inseparable”!


south african south coast - young octopus

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