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2004 Biking North Cape

Half-way-to-Pofadder (Kakamas), Wednesday, Dec 15; Die Mas, R600 total; 71.2 km @ 14 kph; max 37 kph; cycle time 4h54

This was to be a fetch-and-carry day as there was no way we could reach Pofadder (and there is “nothing” between Kakamas and Pofadder) and so we had planned to cycle part way there, to be brought back to Kakamas for the night, and to be dropped for the final Pofadder leg on the following day. We had agreed that we would call mom and dad about 40 km outside Kakamas (i.e. while there was still cell phone coverage), but that if they had not heard from us by 11h00 they would come and get us.

We were up betimes again and on the road (the 2-plus km of dirt from the backpackers to the Alheit road) before it was completely light. Both with our back lights flashing red; me with my new (fore)headlamp on. Then left onto the road back to Alheit…to find we were cycling directly into the rising sun. When I looked up I found that Charl, cycling ahead of me, had all but disappeared in the glare. So we chose to cycle facing oncoming traffic instead – to whom we were more than visible with our lime green reflective vests and fluttering quad bike flags. It is always scary cycling into traffic, but as usual on this trip to date most drivers were most considerate. The exception being two buses whose dimwitted drivers simply refused to move over despite the fact that there was no approaching traffic. And who essentially, therefore, forced me off the road. I yelled “f***ing arseholes” and gave them the finger, but one does not try winning a point with a bus on a bike!

At Alheit we turned right (west) onto the N14 again. Our shoulder was back – broader than before and a pleasure indeed. One no longer needs to listen or watch for every vehicle. One no longer has to concentrate as hard and can take time out to daydream, watch the scenery, etc.

The first route marker to Pofadder read 122 km. We had planned to do at least 50 km so as to leave a manageable 75 km for the following day.

We had averaged 14 kph to the turnoff, but dropped this to 12 on the 19 km gentle incline out of Alheit. This we slowly built up again over the next kms. We called dad at the 85 km to go marker, and by the time he and mom had completed the shopping and caught up with us we were at the 73 km marker – much to our satisfaction.

The day was in some ways tougher than the previous two – mainly due to our increasing tiredness. But the road was good (had we been fit it would have been a breeze), the shoulder wide, the traffic sparse, the fairly strong wind a cooling whisper just behind our left shoulders. The aridity interesting and curiously lovely. Red sand; yellow flowers of an unexpected tenderness in all that quivering heat; white skeletons bleached clean by the unrelenting sun; quiver trees seemingly rootless and placed at random – somehow not quite real.

We breakfasted on biltong sarmies under a constructed umbrella shading the usual green and yellow cement table and benches – constructed as there are virtually no trees to speak of. It is dry and sparse out here. Just sand with scrubby bush. And a sign stating: Caution. Only authorised vehicles for speed testing for next 120km – 250kph. Anything passing us at that speed would have sent us flying!

It was very hot by the time dad picked us up and drove us back to Kakamas, where we lunched and slept and chatted over a variety of drinks until dinner time. We treated ourselves to dinner at the charming Vergelegen – which I had heard mentioned on Radio 702 as being an excellent country kitchen. Dad started with smouldering chicken livers while Charl and I shared fried haloumi and springbok carpaccio with cottage cheese, capers and quinces. Main meals: tripe & trotters, steak (incredibly tender) with a feta and fig sauce, calamari for mom and spare ribs for Charl. Yum!

South Africa en route Pofadder
South Africa en route Pofadder
South Africa en route Pofadder
South Africa en route Pofadder
South Africa en route Pofadder
South Africa en route Pofadder
South Africa en route Pofadder
South Africa en route Pofadder
South Africa en route Pofadder
South Africa en route Pofadder
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