Old Legs 2018 Tour
Blog Entry 36 Day 19
It was still semi dark when we rode out of our borrowed farmyard at 06.40. The sun sleeps in late in this part of the world. We headed due west in the general direction of Upington. Our shadows were long on the road in front of us. My shadow’s calves look quite big. My own calves however continue to look not so big. I was promised legs like Schwarzenegger by Cape Town if I did my leg exercises daily but so far nothing. I think I’m going to ask for my money back.
For a landscape with nothing in it , the Kalahari bush is quite beautiful. It was like something out of a Clint Eastwood cowboy movie but without cowboys, Clint or tumbleweeds.
After three hours it stopped being beautiful and started work on being boring.
I focused hard throughout but didn’t see any meerkats. But I did see a springbok, an ostrich and best of all , 2 herds of majestic Gemsbok. We enjoyed Gemsbok pie at Springbok Pan Guest Farm. It was delicious and I had seconds. But looking at them so at home in the stark desert bush, I wish I hadn’t. Gemsbok are better live.
The yellow line lane on the N 14 to Upington is skinny like my calves and gave us nowhere to hide from the passing trucks and cars. It was nerve wracking stuff. Dave saved my life when I was almost hit by an oncoming motorcyclist who was too busy overtaking a truck to pay me any attention. In return, I’m not going to nominate Dave for Dick of the Day until after the Karoo.
We rode with a side wind that was viscous at times but it more help than hindrance and we flew. I dropped off the back to take a photo and adjust man bits and I took me 20 minutes to rejoin the bunch.
We did the 110 km to Upington in just over 4 hours. Bruce was annoying and scampered up the hills into town like a teenager, closely followed by Leachie. I would have gladly punctured their wheels but couldn’t catch them.
You ride alongside the Orange River going into Upington. They call it the green Kalahari. I saw massive cattle feedlots alongside huge lands of irrigated Lucerne. There was also maize, even some cotton, but mostly I saw vineyards of table grapes, thousands of hectares of them ,all grown for export. Commercial agriculture has transformed the desert into a thriving economy. Please take note President Ed.
Our host for the night, Hendrik Roux, ex-Macheke, met us on the outskirts of Upington. We followed him to our home for the night on an island in the middle of the Orange River. The island, 18 km long and 6 km, is called Kanoneiland and is wall to wall export table grapes.
It was stupid hot, 35 degrees plus and I wilted badly over the last 32km. I have scheduled extra E Pap tomorrow morning.
We have transformed Hendrik and Esthe’s garden into a campsite. Green lawn, no thorns and running water complete with porcelain are a luxury. Camping wise, we are getting organized and should have it sussed by the time we get to Cape Town.
Bruce gave me laundry lessons. He is very methodical and a good teacher. To get your whites whiter, mostly you wash them and then you drop them in the sand whilst hanging them up so that you can wash them again.
Dave also taught me how to clean my bike. He says a clean bike is a fast bike, apparently. I think my bike has been very dirty all along but watch out tomorrow when we ride 100 km south to Kenhardt on the edge of the Namaqualand.
In closing I would like to thank Andrew Brown and his team at Ilala Lodge in Victoria Falls and his cousin Phil Brown at Dichwe Implements for their generous support. Without them the Old Legs would not have happened. I believe Phil Brown is very ill so please squeeze him into your prayers tonight. Get better, my friend.
Until tomorrow, enjoy and pedal if you can
Eric the wilted Chicken Legs.