4 May: Seehiem to Fish Canyon Road House

Today there is 93 km to ride with 480 of climbing and 360 down, however the gravel for the first 29 km is going to be very bad, and given that I am dreadful with gravel I have decided to go with the lunch truck to lunch and then ride from there. I wasn’t aware that a number of riders had organised to get a ride with Tallis until the end of the gravel and then ride from there, otherwise I would have taken that option.

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 Tough first 30k today

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Leaving Seeheim Hotel. Hotel being restored after fire.

From lunch the ride was easy to the finish which only took 1 hr 15 and I  didn’t feel like I had gone for a ride at all. Once again amazing scenery.

The place where we are staying – Canyon Road house – is an amazing place, lots of old cars from the 1940s – 1950s, inside and out. At night the headlights of the old cars are the lamps around the outside. The inside is decked out like a 1950s diner. In the bathrooms are a box saying “Pandora’s box” with a sign “do not open” – of course most people do and every time a loud hooter goes off in the bar and the sign from the box pops up “Your shout”.

As it is only just 11 am it’s like having a day off. I got a room which is lovely, with a great shower. I wanted to go to Fish River Canyon which is the second biggest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon. However whilst the lodge has a tour it doesn’t go to the Canyon which is a bit weird but I guess most people who come here come via their own transport, and no many people would turn up via bike. To get there my options are to ride 22 km each way on gravel that TDA advised is pretty horrid, or hitchhike, neither option takes my fancy.

I spent a lovely afternoon reading, having a leisurely restaurant meal, and a nap.

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Canyon Roadhouse

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Canyon Roadhouse

For dinner was a vegetarian cottage pie. I did not eat much due to not riding and I had the roadhouse burger for lunch.

At the riders meeting we were advised that the place we are staying tomorrow for the rest day, the restaurant service there is torturously slow for meals.

The service in Africa can be very frustrating, there doesn’t seem to be any concept that if you know you are going to have 63 riders and staff arriving, plus bus tours, maybe get some extra staff and supplies. Especially as this is an annual occurrence.

We were advised to stop at 129 km on the ride tomorrow and buy food that we can carry on our bikes to barbecue. However a bit of a hiccup – the supermarket at 129 km shuts at 1pm. This is the only place to buy food, and given there is gravel in the morning no certainty of getting there before 1 pm. So we decided I will go in the lunch truck to 80 km and then stop at 129 km to get food for two nights for Brett, Shirley, Dan and me.

We went to the bar to have a drink after dinner and before I went to bed I checked there was no outstanding balance on my tab.

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Coffee and strudel stop. Place set up and run by a couple who previously ran a cattle property. They set this place up alongside the road and, as the guy said, they now farm the tourists.

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