Alex to Kosi – Day 17 & 18

Neither ‘tannie’ nor Lynsey wanted to leave Jongensfontein.  It was a beautiful morning and everything seemed to be happening in slow motion.  The tent and gazebo were wet with dew so we had to wait until they dried off some before packing up in earnest.

We were to drive up to where the Blombos road came out on the tar.  That was where we came out and that was where we had to start cycling, direction Stilbaai.

But we’d only go about 6km before hitting town and we had to do a shop.  We desperately needed toilet paper.  And there we thought it odd that everyone stocked up on the stuff for lockdown.  Anyway, the bikes had to be loaded and locked to the vehicle and we had to go buy some toilet paper and some other stuff at the local Spar.

The parking area was not exactly conducive to pack all your groceries away with two bikes lying about on the road surface, so we just piled the shopping bags in higgledy-piggeldy and drove to the outskirts of town, over the Goukou River that divides the place into east and west.  There, at a type of picnic site we’d stop and unload the bikes to get in the back with all the groceries.  Then it was just to get to the gravel road from Melkhoutfontein in the direction of Gourits.

But Lynsey would only last about a kilometre on the absolutely pitiful gravel road.  Suzann suggested that we try to run it.  So we did.  Each one taking a turn of 5km at a time.  But the road was so awful even running was difficult.  Finally we just gave up and drove to the tar.  There Suzann would attempt the bike to Gourits again but the wind was pumping from the front and soon she ground to a halt.  We were both totally ka-‘poeps’!

We consequently drove to Mossel Bay because, as the lady that spoke to us at Mountain Breeze Caravan Park in Stellenbosch had said, ‘Liewe Jesus sal nie omgee as julle nie elke stukkie pad ry nie.’  After all, it’s not about us and our physical abilities to ride our bikes …

Boy, were we ever surprised to see how many caravans were camping at The Point resort in Mossel Bay.  Some of the vans looked like they had been standing there forever with grass growing over the caravan’s wheels already, and there was even one old couple that had a veritable garden of pot plants out in front of their tent.  And it was no wonder we noticed such as the manager told us that folks lived in the park all through lockdown.

He was very chatty and we were very finished but tried to engage as best we could.  When we finally reached our allocated site though, another caravan was already on the site.  So we went ahead and chose another.  That in itself was a feat since the park was very full and many sites had random cars parked on them.  So too the site that we eventually chose.  The shadiest spots were all occupied by cars from random caravans around the park but one ‘oomie’ must’ve seen us eying that spot where his car was parked and so he sent his wife to move their vehicle.  We quickly snapped up the site and began setting up camp for two days.  This would be a rest stop and the gazebo had to go up as well … as much for privacy as to keep the wind at bay.

But then disaster … the gazebo broke!  One of the nuts that hold the bolts in place where the poles concertina out had gone missing and the poles had parted ways … and not in an amicable fashion.  Suzann called for the Allen keys and tried to screw the bolt back in through both poles.  She got the poles reunited but how to keep them that way without a nut.  The ring that screws onto the bicycle tyre valve was a handy replacement but was actually a bit too big.  That required us engage the insulation tape and bind the protruding end of the bolt until it was thick enough to ‘sort of’ fit the ring off the tyre.  Thank goodness we got the ring to ‘take’ the thread of the bolt through the layers of insulation tape but for extra security we strapped it all together with duct tape.  Then the gazebo stood but we could hardly stand anymore.

Suzann had kept it together pretty well, even when we were addressed as the ‘mother-daughter’ team at reception with reference to her as the mother, but the gazebo crisis nearly undid her.  Well, we were probably so ka-‘poeps’ by then, we must’ve looked about sixty!  The rest day was indeed very necessary, and we did nothing, so much so Suzann got quite anxious about our listlessness.

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