Daily Archives: June 5, 2019

9 May: Garies to Strandfontien

163 km, with 2160 metres to climb and 2380 metres down, plus 27 k of gravel.

Very cold again in the morning and fog and a lot of climbing. Not an appealing day to be out on the bike. I decided to eliminate the fog and cold and 3/4 of the climbing and took the truck to lunch.

The landscape is the same as yesterday, mountains and sand – bleak, desolate, and beautiful. Lulu told us that between late July and late September this area is covered in acre after acre of wild flowers and is incredibly beautiful, and people come from all over the world to see it. Hard to imagine at the moment.

Just before lunch we hit the gravel for 2 km, it was pretty nasty, hopefully I will be able to ride at least some of it. After helping set up lunch I set off.

I walked up the first hill to warm up and then started riding, it was actually not too bad. I had to criss cross the road frequently, but mostly managed to ride it until the last two kilometres where it was a 50/50 mixture of riding and walking. It still took over two and a half hours.

After this it was rolling hills on tarmac. There was about 5 km that was a bit hairy with no shoulders and busy. I had to get off at one spot that was very narrow and trucks passing both way.

It was great to see the first sight of the Atlantic. However with the sea often comes wind and the last 10 km was hard work with a up gradient pushing into a Wellington-worthy head wind. I was averaging 6 km an hour.

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First sight of the South Atlantic Ocean.

We have a very pretty camping spot right by the sea. Fantastic views, lovely beach, and grass to camp on. Tallis has provided a chilly bin with beer and wine we can buy. Life is good.

Dinner was really nice, a spicy bean mix with chilli and avocado, very enjoyable even with the inevitable tomato and cucumber salad.

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Coming into the beach camp at Strandfontein

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8 May: Springbok to Garies

It was very cold this morning, I had full finger clothes and my rain coat on setting out.

Unfortunately my nice warm thermals and over boots are in my permanent bag and my toes are freezing. I did have a look in the truck where the permanent bags are stored to see if I could see mine, and if I could I was going to ask to get into it. Unfortunately it is buried under others and can’t be seen.

I resorted to a trick I used in South America where the last couple of weeks were very cold – plastic bags on my feet. But instead of a plastic bag over my shoes, I had a pair of socks, then a plastic bag, then another pair of socks – kept my feet pretty warm.

As well as being cold it is overcast, so hopefully it warms up when the sun comes out. There is lots of climbing, so by 20 k, I am warm enough to take my coat etc off. There is a lot of climbing today but some great descents as well, and the same bleak but stunning scenery. Sand and mountains.

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Overnight stop in country town of Garies

The campground at Garies has fallen into disrepair and the toilets are unusable and TDA have been told they can not dig holes, so tonight TDA has put everyone up in a hotel or bed and breakfast.

We are at a bed and breakfast called Sophie’s full of old stuff from the 50’s, it’s pretty quaint. The shower is all ceramic and pieces of mirror and glass with yellow flowers.

The dinner tonight is white pasta, broccoli in sauce, and tomato and cucumber salad .I am pretty much done with TDA food and hope not to see another cucumber and tomato salad for many months. At least not one without lettuce and other ingredients.

Tomorrow we get to see the sea (Atlantic Ocean) which I am really looking forward to.

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