Stage 82 (64): Springbok to Garies
I slept unusually soundly but woke up a little chilled; needed to pull on a t-shirt. I think that might be only the second time on this trip that it was so cool in the early morning hours. One would never have guessed it a few hours later into the morning, though.
We were away before 07:00 and back onto the N7 highway; once again, a reasonable shoulder and light traffic was the order of the day. Today would be a series of hills; significant rolling terrain, one after another. At least we get some long descents which make up for some of the grind.
We’re in a region of SA called Namaqualand; the Spring wildflowers in this area are reportedly amazing. During the rest of the year, the landscape is mostly a dry and dusty desert. However, come springtime, Namaqualand is completely transformed with flowering life boasting more color than seems possible for one place. Unfortunately, we’re in the late summer / early autumn time of year, with little to no trace of anything in the way of colour or flowers seen.
We see fields, some of them seemingly recently plowed, but all is essentially barren dirt. Farmers in this Northern Cape Province, where a devastating drought has prevailed since 2011, must be in dire straits.
Shortly before the lunch break, we see a small sign pointing to Bowesdorp, which was mentioned during the riders meeting last night. We swing off the N7 onto a corrugated dirt track for the better part a kilometre to have a look-see (just as well that I’m still running my gravel tyres, albeit they’re over-inflated for this track).
This is a so-called ghost town; I think that it’s demise came about due to the emergence of Springbok, which seems to be in a far better location for a town than the small defile in which Bowesdorp lays. Civic competition?
Once we get there, all we can make out are
the ruins of the church; there’s supposed to also be a hotel, police station, and a prison near the present farmhouse, but I for one can’t make them out. Someone has a nice collection of junk vehicles, though; all are situated under their own acacia tree, which I think is a thoughtful gesture.
Clambering back onto the N7, it’s a short run to lunch. The day grows progressively warm. Always another hill can be seen once we get to the top of whichever one we’re sweating up. Late in the ride, from one of these hilltops, David sees what he thinks is ocean out to the far west. On the next hilltop, I concur. It’s certainly blue … and we are only about 25 km from the Coast. So a noteworthy moment to the ride.
One last long descent and we’re into Garies, a very small community, not much more than a village, really. The normal campsite is apparently rubbished, so TDA has arranged for us to be quartered in a range of guesthouses. I luck out with mine - private room and bathroom. Bliss.