Old Legs 2018 Tour
Blog Entry 35 - Day 18.
Meerkats are not extinct. I’m camping on a remote farm in the Northern Cape 100 kms north east of Upington and there is a whole big flock of meerkats, thirty or more, in the paddock next to our tents. All is good in my world.
Apart from my kitbag. I now hate my kitbag. When I started out forever ago, I had this Dewey Decimal filling system going on inside my bag with clothing filed according to color, pastels for early in the week and dark colors for later. But it has all got horribly buggered up and somehow I’ve reverted to a Last In First Out system which isn’t working. I now have 3 basic categories of clothing - clearly dirty, possibly dirty and the clean stuff at the bottom of the bag that I hope to bump into when we get to Cape Town. In case Jenny reads this, I am washing ride shorts and underpants, daily.
I think Bruce is utilizing a similar system. Today he rode with a black secret sock on the left and a longer, almost white sock on the right.
For the first time on Tour, traffic was a factor today. It was horrible. From Kuruman to an iron ore town called Kathu 30kms out, the traffic was near bumper to bumper. Any delusions we had of riding on quiet country roads were smashed by 30 ton truck after 30 ton truck after 30 ton truck, by speeding car after speeding car after speeding car.
They sure do drive fast in South Africa. But then people are really busy here. The level of investment and development that we rode past today, in what on the map looks to be the middle of nowhere, was staggering.
It took us fifteen minutes to ride past the Kathu iron ore mine, which loomed huge in the distance. There were hundreds and hundreds of brand spanking new houses that would not look out of place in Harare’s northern suburbs and a big shiny multistory shopping centre, all busy busy busy.
And when we rode away from Kathu, then there were more mines and then more mines, for another 30 kms, I’m guessing employing tens of thousands. We rode past the longest freight train I have ever seen, with hundreds of carriages stretching away as far as the eye could see.
What an economy this country has. I don’t know who owns it all but I’m guessing the colour of their money is more important than the colour of their skins. President Ed please take note.
After 60 kms of bumper to bumper traffic, thankfully we turned right onto the Olifantshoek Road, at last an idyllic country road with minimal traffic and through beautiful Kalahari bushveld stretching away unbroken to distant horizons.
We rode through Olifantshoek, a tiny farming village perched on the edge of the Kalahari, with a pretty church, wide streets and friendly people. I want to live there.
And then we had to press on for another 75 kms to find our home for the night, under a huge shady tree in a farmer’s front yard. I have no idea how Ryan and Jenny found the place but it is perfect. We don’t know who the farmer is. He’s in Cape Town on holiday or business. His foreman told us we could camp in the yard. Ryan and Jen tried to phone the farmer for permission but had no airtime. I haven’t used the farmer’s name in case the foreman gets into trouble but thank you Mr Farmer for your hospitality and the use of your front yard.
In all we rode 145 kms today. I was properly knackered, more so than at the end of any other leg. So I’ve done a stock take of my body.
Growing up, my mom told me if you can’t say anything nice about a person, then don’t say anything at all. And so moving on from Frank Burns my arse and my man bits, the most pressing issue is the severe inflammation in my tissue beneath both knee caps. But my vet has prescribed Katoflan (sic) and it seems to be working. As for the rest of me, everything seems to be just fine.
Mostly I rode next to Bruce today and he went along just fine. Ditto Leachie, ditto Dave. I remain in absolute awe of both Leachie and Bruce. And Dave but don’t tell him.
We got an e-mail from the Bulawayo Help Network today, thanking us for our efforts and profiling some of the pensioners that will benefit from the money we raise. Like Daphne Brander, aged 99, suffering from Alzheimer’s and presently recovering from the amputation of her foot. In the letter, she is described as consistently cheerful.
I was moved to tears by the letter. I would ride to Cairo in a heartbeat to help Daphne. I’ve posted the letter and the profile on Facebook. Please share.
I am glad we turned right on to Olifantshoek road when we did. If we hadn’t, today’s ride would have gone down in our ride diary as crap. But we did and it’s down in black and white as another properly good day in the saddle.
In closing I’d like to thank Eric de Jong and Glen Lee from Seedling Express and Adam, Linda and Giles Selby from Selby Enterprises for sponsoring the Old Legs Tour. Without your help, it would not have happened.
Until tomorrow, enjoy and pedal if you can
Chicken Legs and the meerkats.
Old Legs 2018 Tour