We slept amongst the sables after a bit of a ‘fright night’ experience with a spider in the scullery. My mother twisted herself into the shape of a pretzel to try to get the dishes washed while watching the spider, even though Suzann had volunteered to be on spider watch.
This was the day we’d push for the border, our first, with Botswana. After swinging by the Pick’nPay in Lephalale to fill up our water stock (we’re drinking like thirsty camels in the heat), I at last, could get back on the bicycle again after my cold, and my toe …
This all after a truly touching exchange with a car guard on the Pick’nPay parking. While I was on the phone with the Vodacom call centre, trying to get roaming activated on my phone … never as straight forward as you’d think … Suzann was chatting to this humble gentleman fallen on hard times. He initially came up to us to ask if we’re selling Bibles cheaply since he’s always wanted one but hasn’t had the means to buy one at the normal retail price. Hearing this, Suzann immediately dived into the box of Bibles we’ve got stashed behind the driver’s seat. Routing around a bit under pillows and jackets it must’ve looked quite the effort so this guy quickly said, ‘don’t worry, if it’s too much trouble …’ Oh no, it soo was not too much trouble, and Suzann finally got hold of a copy of the Good News that she handed over to him. Taking the Bible with appreciative hands, he then proceeded to ask her how much he owed her for it. Oh, that really touched me when I heard … that this man of little means wants to pay for his Bible … Of course, Suzann assured him that it was for free. Wishing us blessings and a safe trip, he wandered off clutching his new Bible.
It was a blessed day … for all. I was able to strap the old toe and get my cycling shoes on again. I could take my turn, just when it was needed. Suzann had been able to take up the slack before but the heat suddenly began to soar and she would never have made it all the way to the border on her own, a single cyclist. We divided the distance up into half hour stretches, and when it got to hot, twenty minutes. The air was so hot that the little breeze just served to dry your nostrils and mouth out and make your lips crack. I went along quite well but as the heat started to make my feet swell it got harder and harder for me to unclip the foot with the bum toe from the pedal. At one stage Suzann had to come and take my shoe off, still clipped to the pedal. Once my foot was loose, she had to man-handle my shoe out of the pedal, yanking to unclip it.
Another blessing came near the end of the day, when we were about to turn into the Stockpoort Border Lodge, 500m from the Botswana border. Suzann was out front, pedalling the last few k’s in 34 degree heat. I was driving backup, and a truck had just driven up behind me. We were drawing level with the turnoff, to the right, and I had switched the hazards off so that the driver of the truck could see my indicator, showing my intention of turning right across the road. All of a sudden the truck began to overtake and there was nothing I could do but pray that Suzann would not come across the road at that instant. She didn’t. After turning in at the lodge, Suzann came walking across the road to meet us. She’d stopped on the left hand side of the road because the sand in the lodge entrance had seemed too thick for her to ride through safely. ‘Something’ had just said to her, ‘stop on the left’ and she had obeyed. The Spirit had led her, the Lord had made sure she’d be safe … for if she had turned, it would’ve been ‘splat’.
I had been frightened into a headache, and had to go and have a lie-down in my room at the lodge (no camping available) before I even had a shower. Thank goodness I did because the geysers had been turned off and the water was icy. Suzann was not so lucky and ended up under a freezing torrent. Jumping out, she had to towel off and wait for the geyser to warm up.
Finally, all showered and clean, we went to make ourselves comfortable on the easy chairs at the restaurant. We were the only residents at the lodge and could watch a bit of TV as well … channels we wanted to watch … while waiting for our supper of stuffed chicken breast and chips followed by a yummy chocolate brownie and ice-cream.
Expecting to have an exceptionally good night, I was disappointed to toss about most of the night … even though I had a ‘real’ bed. Surely too used to an air mattress by now.
Just as hot as it was the previous day, just so cold it was in the early morning. But we had to get going early. It was border day today … But what a pleasant surprise! At the SA side the police officials came up to us to get the vehicle registration documents that they went to sort out while we could get our passports stamped by a very friendly lady. One, two, three … and we were done and dusted … ready to drive over the Limpopo and no-man’s land to Botswana’s post, Parr’s Halt. There we were greeted by a very friendly man that had to spray the wheels of the car … foot-and-mouth prevention measures. He chatted all the while he sprayed and we could give him a Bible as well. He was soo grateful, and immediately assured us that he’d read it to his wife and kids, one being only three years old. Another generation will grow up with the Word because God used in the execution of this project … His plan. Wow!
Across the easiest, friendliest border post ever, we went a bumping and a jumping on the worst bit of corrugated sand road toward Malapye. Not risking another Wild Coast episode, we decided to err on the side of caution and just drive this road.
Cycling along the A1 from Malapye to Palapye was quite a feat with all the traffic whizzing past, but we did it … in relays again, as the heat soared to 34 degrees by the time we got to the turnoff to Palapye where we’d stay at the Ithumela campsite, before heading on towards Francistown and a bit of a rest.