Thur 29 Nov, 2018. Day 361
Staying at Muiskraal Farm, 25 km from Riversdale, bottom of Garcia’s Pass
Distance 120 + 20135 = 20255
Time 8 h 2 m
Location S33.920602, E21.213531
We’re getting worried that our bed back home won’t be as comfortable as the ones we’ve slept in over the past few months. There have been the odd bouncy or lumpy mattress but they’ve been few and far between. Had breakfast with Ray and Lizette, said goodbye to Lizette’s lovely 11 year old Boxer. She has back leg problems and one vet hasn’t given much hope for her recovering so Lizette is getting a second opinion at 5 today. Hope it’s more positive. Pity we never got to meet Lizette’s 18 year old cat but he tends to go walkabout and visits neighbours.
Were on the N2 by 07h00 and after a few kms a lady police officer shouted at us (while writing out a fine for some poor guy) saying that we weren’t allowed to ride on this section of road as it was a national road. The arterial road was bumper to bumper and riding with all the traffic would have been more of a hazard. When I say we ‘See More by Bike’, it also refers to hearing more and smelling more. Today the sound of the Mossgas burner was extremely loud compared with driving past this area in a car, also the smell of guavas after a truck passed us lingered for a long time. Yesterday while riding the Saasveld back road to George I heard a woodpecker chipping away on a tree.
We had a great tail wind and breezed into Riversdale at 2 pm. I was cruising the aisles of the Spar supermarket when a lady came up to me and asked how I was. I recognized her immediately as Lynette Weeks, married name Lynn Marshall. We hadn’t seen each other in well over 25 years. She and hubby, Paul are camping at Still Bay. I bought our usual ‘onion and tomato’ ???? as well as diced chicken, a tin of chakalaka and a tub of yogurt which we devoured outside the Spar.
Peter and I had a quick meeting … camp in Riverdale or carry on and in a few seconds, we both said ‘carry on’. Back riding again by 14h45 and a few km’s later we began climbing Garcia’s Pass, 11.5 km to the summit. A toughie considering we had just completed 100 km before the pass. It was terribly sad to see the devastation of a fire that ravaged large sections of the mountains just 3 weeks ago. I filled my one bottle with water from a mountain stream but the water was brown, probably from vegetation and possibly also from the fire so had to toss the water out.
Coming down the hill with the time at 17h45 we were both scanning left and right for a farmhouse where we could pitch our tent. We came to a huge building on the left with a farmhouse up a long cobbled brick driveway and Peter asked Jenny Chamberlain if we could pitch our tent on the lawn. The farm is called ‘Muiskraal’. Her son, Henry was working at a dam close by replacing burnt plastic water pipes. We got directions to a small cottage a few hundred metres from the main house and was met by Henry.
In 2015 30 hectares of olive trees were completely destroyed by a fire so it’s been hard for them. They cut the burnt trees right down and 80% have grown again but their first crop of olives will take a few more years. Henry told us that artist, Vera Volchenk has painted the cottage so I’ll google her website to see what the painting looks like. Instead of sleeping in our tent outside with the wind causing havoc with the fly sheet flapping, we have a roof over our heads, foam mattresses, a stove to prepare supper and boil water to wash ourselves with in the bathroom’s hand basin and are both as happy as pigs in their proverbial poo. Time is 21h00 and my diary is done for the day, yippee.
PS. NO DIARY FOR FRIDAY AND SATURDAY. We are staying with my cousin and there’s no wifi in Touwsberg
– Devastation in Garcia’s Pass from a fire three weeks ago
– Statistics on Garcia’s Pass
– The quaint ‘Tolhuis’ (Toll house) on Garcia’s Pass narrowly escaped the raging fires
– Jenny Chamberlain and her son Henry
– The yellow cottage where we’ll rest our weary bones tonight