An uneventful day
Stage 61 (42): soccer field to Ruze chalets
No rain so far as I know overnight, but everything outside very wet upon getting up.; heavy dew. Luckily I’ve still retained that garbage bag provided by Bob so I can stuff the rolled up and very wet tent fly into that, before inserting into duffel, in an attempt to keep the remainder of the bag somewhat dry.
Broken cloud overhead, but mostly blue skies suggesting it’ll be a warm day on this, the longest ride yet of this year’s tour. A surprise at breakfast - pancakes! No maple syrup on hand, but warm pancakes right off the griddle are sure a treat, along with fresh fruit. They help make up for another bowl of porridge forced down.
Away just before 6:30 … road condition is no worse than yesterday, and at least for the first couple of hours fairly quiet traffic. I pass a few large trucks, mostly north-bound, who’d pulled over for the night; the drivers now showing signs of starting their morning fires off to the edge, brewing up their coffee or tea from the look of things.
We’re now into different country; rolling terrain still, but not the extensive agriculture of the past couple days. As the day wears on, more bush and acacia trees, less people. Cattle now seen, with sign posts indicating ranches and breeding farms. I’m writing this a day late (just too tired to do it after arriving camp), but I recall few if any coke stops.
My first glimpse of a moving train on this trip; northbound carrying coal.
I’m riding by myself as usual, and the thought occurs it’d be an opportunity to catch up on some of the many podcasts I always intend to listen to, but never find the time. On the other hand, I do like to keep an ear open for trucks coming up from behind, so it’s safer just to ride and stay focused. I’m making it a practise now that when I see trucks or buses coming toward me, I’ll either try to take a look behind me to check, or just automatically hit the shoulder in the expectation that there’s in fact another vehicle about to pass. There’s certainly no extra room on this 2-lane road when two trucks pass one another in opposing directions. But there are long stretches during the day when it’s very quiet.
The afternoon thankfully sees some cloud cover move in and they keep the temperatures down in the mid-20s; far away it looks like rain but here it never really threatens. I pass these guys making and selling drums by the roadside; this is a first. I was chatting with the younger guy who kept playing when the older one jumped in took over, I think certain he could make a sale. The way of the world, I suppose.
Colleen is there by the side of the road about 30 km from the end; bananas and a re-fresh of water are much appreciated. The Ruze Chalets camp appears in due course, and it’s good to get out of the saddle for the day. Some mugs of sweetened tea, and I see there’s lots of grass on which to pitch the tent. No need for shade, as the sun already low in the late afternoon. The camp has flush toilets (admittedly not working, but the thought is nice) and a decent water flow out of the shower head. Cold water mind you, but it still feels wonderful.
Jim shares a beer with me before the riders’ meeting and dinner. We chat about it’s almost the end of the tour for him (tomorrow will be his last day, as he did the southern section (Livingstone to Cape Town and beyond to Port Elizabeth or Gqeberha, as it’s been re-named, last year). I’ll miss him.
Another pretty good dinner and that’s my day done.