Friday, June 4, 2010

Day 7 – Plantations

105 km – 2050m assent and more than 11 hours on the road

What a great place, the Royal Hotel in Pelgrims Rest. Great dinner, fruit and yoghurt for breakfast and then sandwiches, potatoes and eggs to take with me today. I left just after 5am and could still see the moon and stars in the sky and no wind but as it got lighter I could see the frost on the ground and a beautiful sunrise.

I have not scouted today’s route but followed the route I have tracked with the assistance of “Google earth”. The road through the plantation was very bushy and after a flat front wheel, I decided to take another road. At one time I ignored a sign indicating a dead end in the road. Fortunately it led to a beautiful clean stream where I filled my empty bottles, and I single track crossing the stream leading back to the contour road.

Just after 10h00 I was on the ridge of the escarpment, thereafter cycled the well known Hartbeesvlakte and jeep track. At 12h34 I reached the Long Tom Pass and hoped that the road surface will be the good and I will not get lost. I cycled more uphill than I expected but this can only mean a great downhill. But it was not to be :(  Too overgrown with hidden holes to negotiate and I cycled down slowly and carefully.

At 16h35 I reached my destination, Mankele, 2km from the Sudwala caves. Waiting for me in the bungalow was lasagna and red wine for dinner, fruit, yogurt and muesli for breakfast. It was a long day and I was tired but - What a great day!

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