Scoot West Coast – Rediscovering people and places
written by Roan Mackintosh, pictures edited by Rory Alexander
It’s funny how 7 days can go by so quickly and yet still seem like another time in one’s life. We set off from outside the Goodhope FM‘s studio in Seapoint with an uncertainty about what exactly lay ahead but also an excitement that it all promised to be fantastic. Last year Scoot62, the brain child of Guy McDonald & Rory Alexander, saw us scooting up Route 62. Scoot West Coast is the 2nd installment of this concept, brought to life by the commitment of Wesgro to showcasing the wonders that lie on our doorstep.
Being a pretty active person, I was particularly excited about the truly epic activities on the itinerary (such as stand up paddling in Langebaan, golf at Shelly Point, mountain biking in all manner of places, zip lining in Piekenierskloof and of course the skydiving near Malmesbury) & I knew it was going to be one memorable trip in which the highlights were going to be hard to pick. What surprised me though is that the true highlights would not come from any of these, but rather from the people we met along the way. It sounds a little clichéd, but the people really are the hidden gem of the West Coast. Truly sterling human beings! From Wendy Wentzel at the West Coast Fossil Park, Cpt. Tollie of Tollie’s River & Boat cruises in Port Owen, to Marietjie Basson at Draaihoek in Eland’s Bay, to Len Koertze at Namaqua wines on the outskirts of Vredendal, to Ardel at Hebron B&B in Citrusdal, to John “the tongue” Tecklenberg at Bar Bar Black Sheep in Riebeek Kasteel… they all want nothing more than to share their warmth and passion with everyone they meet. At almost every stop, the friendliness of local West Coasters is palpable & you get a true sense of what makes a visit to these smaller towns on our Western coastline positively special. I can honestly say that my two favourite evenings were those spent with Len Koertze and John & Susanna Tecklenberg.
Both at the end of long days when I could think of few things better than a warm bed and an early night’s rest. From the moment we entered their premises, the weariness of the day’s travels were simply washed away by genuine hospitality. Len is like a naughty schoolboy that wouldn’t hesitate to catch you out with a whoopee cushion on your chair but then immediately draw the attention to himself again so that the resulting laughter would not in any way be awkwardly directed. One of those honestly young-at-heart people who let you see their heart smiling from the inside.
In contrast, John is a more serious, contemplative fellow (make no mistake he can still appreciate a good joke) but more a kind of red-wine-by-the-fire-conversations type of man. His years of varied experiences leave him with that kind of rich, ornate tapestry that just seems to get more intricate the longer you examine it. I think we could have spent all night chatting to him & his wife and been surprised to see the sun coming up outside. What a serendipitous turn of events that Eskom’s load shedding allowed him to emerge from the kitchen sooner than he might have otherwise.
As a little bit of a behind the scenes – I can tell you that we did indeed find it necessary to have a team meeting along the way to surface frustrations within the scoot group. It was a short meeting, but necessary in making sure we all stayed focused on the ultimate goal of showcasing the great West Coast attractions. Spending 7 days in constant proximity with five others for 12-15 hour non-stop days can be trying on people of any dispensation & I’m actually amazed that we only had one meeting! Probably helped to have the alone time on the scooters between places to gather our thoughts… Goes to show though, the spirit & commitment with which the team approached the journey (making moon-bags look that good ain’t easy you know!) and I honestly feel privileged to have been a part of it all.
It has also been a bit of a journey of personal growth for me. My mantra for the week was to always embrace the experiences and do anything that was offered. I’ve gone from not really eating seafood to eating fish biltong & whole-cooked fishes with my hands! I also managed to conquer my fears by once again throwing myself out of an aeroplane. Not to mention the good-for-the-soul conversations with people from various walks of life that allows one a different perspective on life and the ability to be appreciative of what you have as well as build goals for the type of person you want to be. Thank you also for the kind comments on my writing of the daily blog – I really have enjoyed doing it (even if it did mean staying up until 2:00am some evenings)
A trip of a lifetime such as this doesn’t just happen. So thank you once again to Linda (representing Wesgro & DiscoverCTWC) for making things happen. Thanks to my friends Guy McDonald, Rory Alexander & Siv Ngesi for being comrades on two wheels, as well as the tireless Dwain Heldsinger without who’s roaming support, we would never have made it all the way. Thank you also to the participating tourism partners for doing such a marvelous job of showcasing your various destinations and attractions. And lastly, thanks to the people who have followed our journey – I hope you feel inspired to get out there and experience at least a few of these wonderful things for yourself.
Well, it’s back to the grind stone for me & I can now only reminisce about all the laughter, great times & great food experienced along the way. I cannot wait for the next installment of the Scoot roadshow, so be sure to follow Guy McDonald as I know he has something new brewing. Till next time, I bid you adieu!