Day 10 & 11

The official start to the second stage of Cross Africa was the Market Square parking … and when we arrived there at 9am some ladies were already there waiting to see us off. Thank you to all for your support.

And so it was that we set off, me cycling and Suzann driving backup … but I was not alone … Jane Donald and Tina van Reenen, thank you so much to you two ladies who gave of your time to come and join us, in fact cycle with us, a way into stage 2. Words cannot express our gratitude.

And we were so grateful too, for the pleasant weather on Monday morning. This made for a great ride, even though we did have to battle the hill up to the Moss’nMaple farm stall. But we all made it!

Through the twisting turns of the road out to the Crags the morning sun shone brightly and everything looked all washed clean and fresh, renewed by the recent rain. I didn’t specifically look this morning, but I’m sure the mountains still carried their snow-coating that had been so visible during yesterday’s ride into Plett … beautiful.

I couldn’t think of looking for snow as we rode out through the turns because the wind had suddenly come up and I had to really pedal hard to keep any decent semblance of speed.

By the time that we reached the Crags shop, I’d blown my legs … no wonder after yesterday’s epic ride. The gusts of the wind kept threatening to blow me, bicycle and all, into the oncoming traffic so I threw in the towel and called it a day. Now it was my turn to sit in the warm bakkie as Suzann took on the windy conditions out towards the tollgates on the N2.

Pulling off at the toll plaza, she also had to admit defeat as the wind had become so strong that the updraft from the gorges below nearly undid her as she limped across the Bobbejaan and Groot River bridges. There was no way she was going to take on the Bloukrans Bridge in these conditions … the wind could surely gift you a free ticket to bungee, with your bike nogal, but you won’t get a cord …

Having known from the start that we would have to backtrack home once again to complete the packing, we were quite satisfied to have got that far.

Back home we went again … and then it was time to pack … it’s like playing a giant game of Tetris … and every so often you have to take it all out and start again. Finally we managed to man-handle the last of the bags and crates into the back of the bakkie. Standing back proudly to admire our handiwork, Suzann slammed the gull-wings of the canopy down and locked everything in snugly. Just hope we remember how it all fits in once we’ve packed it out at the first campsite again …

Feeling faint from all the effort and organisation we made a spontaneous decision to have our rest day at home before starting out from the tollgates again. Now I’ve got some time to get the diary up to date again. We’ll be leaving tomorrow (weather permitting, of course). We’ve decided to rather wait out bad weather than risk another drenching and general delay that trying to dry things off again causes. Anyway, we hope to ride from the tollgates east in the direction of Port Elizabeth as far as we can go, and then return to Storms River for the night. The following morning will then see us riding on from the previous day’s furthest point, thus shortening a rather long slog towards Jeffrey’s Bay.

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