Another chilly morning and a bit of backtracking to the point where we left off previously. Very difficult mentally to drive out along a road you’ve driven before, only to get out of the car and jump on the bikes, and ride right back along that very same road … again! But we made it back to Oudtshoorn, despite a bit of a headwind.
Now it was simply to ride out of town, across the long bridge, and take a left … then a right at the ‘proefplaas’ … and onto the gravel. Oh, if only it had turned out to be that simple …
Turned out that the directions we’d got from reception at our campsite, were … well … open to interpretation, I’d say. The bridge we were to cross was not, in fact, the long bridge out of town but the bridge over the train tracks at the taxidermist, and the ‘proefplaas’ came after (not before) the required right turn. This all resulted in us riding out of town, crossing the Olifants River, and then turning right around and heading back to the nearest petrol station for directions. We figured that something was seriously wrong when the only turnoff to the left was a dirt road with a rather rusty, lean-to farm gate.
From the local motor spares guy, a surely man more concerned with engines than with us, we got redirected toward the elusive ‘proefplaas’. But we weren’t thrilled for very long, since we soon realized that we’d missed a turn somewhere. About 5k’s in the wrong direction, we were forced to turn back. Finally spying the ‘proefplaas’, we took the turnoff only to hit the gravel for the first time on Cross Africa.
We’d decided to get some of the distance scheduled for next day, done … since we only had 28km to go to get back on schedule again. Wanting to get ahead of schedule though … well … that got us on the ‘wild goose chase’, looking for the gravel detour around the roadworks on the road between Oudtshoorn and the R62.
I’m no gravel road lover, so Suzann took the lead as I wobbled and slipped and generally hung on for dear life, behind. Soon the glucose ran out and we were forced to take a lunch stop … in some farmer’s access road.
After lunch I began to get my ‘gravel legs’ and now it was just to keep turning the cranks, even when being buffeted by endless clouds of dust kicked up by passing motorists … the large construction trucks being the worst. We coughed, we spluttered, we sweated and swore (sorry … sorry …), and nearly called it a day as we came through the rather picturesque Paardepoort. Thank goodness we didn’t give up, since it was not very far from the poort when we finally hit the R62 just opposite the Herold turnoff. As goal for the day, we loaded the bikes and drove back to Oudtshoorn.
Back in camp we were one man down as our driver was feeling a bit under the weather. We all decided on an early night after the days adventure.