TG Newsletter: RHODES
(12 June 2014)
After I survived the attack of the killer geyser, I decided to stay away from household appliances and took cold showers for a while. I guess this is what you call survivors guilt.
I also found out that I have more than one guardian angel! Peeps jumping in to help where they can. So… in the words of Karlien van Jaarsveld:
*switch to high-squeaky voice*
“Baie, baie, baie, baie, baie, baie, baie dankie!”
After we collected all the parts we needed, Mike Puzey from Biker’s Warehouse (www.facebook.com/PuzeyMotorCorporation/info) took a blasting two days to get Brom back on his wheels. His tubes pumped full of antibiotics, penicillin and probably a good dose of steroids - my steed was a galloping again.
Mike – the ‘horse’ whisperer
But, I had to get back on the Rhode(s) again. There was snow in the mountains and I knew where it was. This time though, my bag was stocked with an extra helping of plasters, Germalene and a headache tablet or two… you never know when the DB boards join the rioting geysers!
I was on my way to Smithfield and had a scenic route planned through Fickburg, Clocolan and Ladybrand, but I left Jo’ies a bit late and realized my eta was pitched at 19:30…
In the dark…
With a tank that only made 140km…
…if I’m lucky!
So when the Kernel pulled me over at Senekal, we first had to pose for a selfie. He feeds more people in Africa than any Samaritan organisation can dream of.
Next moh, I hear my name… a Tank Girls reader got himself a breast, two thighs and a Skinny hug.
He also advised me to take the quickest route as the dips in the roads go down to freezing at night.
The Vrystaat is orange… windy… cold… and blêrrie plat! So instead of taking lots of flat, yellow kiekies – I put wrist.
Maybe a bit too much wrist as I ran out of juice just before Bloem. I quickly disengaged the fuel cell and filled Brom up as not to lose too much time. The next moment I felt a tap on my shoulder… I wet myself – and how I hate riding with wet panties!!! With my earplugs in, I never saw/heard the bakkie pulling up in front of me and the farmer checking if I’m OK. I think I politely declined his offer for help, but maybe a few decibels too loud as he just smiled and left.
I got to Smithfield at 18:30 and stopped next to the road to find out how far the cage-brigade was behind me and where our lê-plek was booked. Our guest house was 200m further down the road and I rode there without my helmet. All of a sudden a disco broke loose in Smithfield. A spietkop pulled my over… No way?!? WAY!
After surviving a road block and a few tollgates through the day – here I was gonna get a fine at 18:30 in Smithfield??? But I’ve got nanas and I took drama classes at school. I almost had the blue brigade in the bar with me drinking Jack. Almost…!
That evening we had dinner at the Laughing Likkewaan – made by a tuindwergie.
I couldn’t fit Brom through the kitchen door, so I shared one of my blankies with him. But I only had one warm-water-bottle, and there’s only so much love I can share.
Early morning Thor woke us up… he lay down the hammer – there was a long road ahead.
I was gonna break a neck and even though I only had three days, I would try and break as many as I could.
I filled up all the cavities on Brom as I wasn’t sure when I would hit the next petrol station.
In Zastron I couldn’t break a neck, but there was a little hole in the mountain. I’m claiming it!
I hopped over the Orange…
…and quickly found my first neck – Dulcies nek! I snapped it like a twig.
I slowly sneaked up to Lundin’s nek. I was going to catch him by surprise.
But I don’t think it was such a big surprise. Around every corner there was at least a goat, donkey, hut, sheep herder or snotneusie announcing my arrival.
I met these two jockeys in one of the small towns. They couldn’t understand English or Afrikaans and my Sotho is limited. But they did make out about ‘dice’. Soon I was up against Jafta, spinning up a hill trying to keep ahead. I had to admit defeat. Them donkey-legs were just too nimble for my steed.
We had to take a breather after our race and we parked next to the Tele River with a juice and Jelly Tots. I had to save some energy for my war with Lundin’s nek.
Don’t let the halo fool you…
I was hoping to see a buck, or even just a dassie. But at least I didn’t go home empty handed. One of Dolly’s clones kept an eye on me.
I had Lundin by the collar and I was ready to apply a karate tjop…
…when my bubble got burst – literally! I saw the corner of my fuel cell was a bit wet but I didn’t pay too much attention. When I looked back, I saw it started dripping. I ripped the bag off the back and tried to save as much fuel as I could, giving Brom an emergency transfusion.
*Dankie to Pauli from GPS4Africa (www.facebook.com/GPS4AFRICA) for getting me a new cell*
Lundin was a tough contender but I pulled through – breaking another neck (…and sommer the sign post as well). Lundin’s was under the belt!
On the other side I went through the Lundin’s police station; apparently one of the highest in South Africa. I stopped to chat to the constable and they said I should stay a while. There was Bob Marley playing on a draagbaar and all of a sudden it was clear to me why it was classified as a HIGH station.
As I met up with the road from Barkly East, I saw two 4x4’s ahead and knew they must be part of the caging crew. The trot was on! Not long before the guys saw a little stof-streep chasing them down and they gave gas. I’m glad to say I won at least one race for the day!
I trotted into Rhodes and guess what I found…?
The next day was freezing. There were still some patches of snow on the lawns from the previous weekend as it was too cold to melt it.
The next day (Saturday) was the day that I was going to break the ostrich’s neck – the highest pass in South Africa.
It looked innocent at the bottom…
…but the closer I got to the top, the harder it was to focus on going UP and not getting blown DOWN. Those Naude’s brothers who built this pass obviously forgot to close the door behind them. The wind came HOWLING through!!!
Making my way up, the wind almost snapped MY head off.
I nearly got blown off the other side, but I successfully cracked another werwel…
On the way down I stopped for a Jack on the rocks, but they were low on whiskey.
That evening we partied like FIREflies – we decided to paint the town NEON!
But we heard a cacophony next door and found out this was where the BARflies were hanging out… so we gate crashed their party. Rhodes is small – you’re bound to ‘bump’ into the neighbours.
Especially if you walk into their house, uninvited – dressed as a glow-in-the-dark-showgirl!
I kissed a pig… and I liked it!
The tekwiela fountain eventually dried up… our sticks were dimming… and we started losing feeling in our toes. Early morning, we snapped the last glow-stick and retreated to our Xmas bed in front of the fireplace.
So came along the last day at Rhodes and another neck had to roll - Carlislehoek nek!
This was the most challenging one of all. It got steeper and steeper to the point where they slapped a thin layer of concrete over the top to give you some grip.
I had to pull off to the side to let a car come past from the top, but even with front and back brakes locked I was sliding down the mountain. From this point on – all oncoming traffic was enemy number 1!
The higher I got – the colder it got. I’m glad to report my panties weren’t wet anymore. THEY WERE FROZEN!
(The sign said the worst was over… but O-Bhoy!)
The last few kays, I stumbled upon a GRADER! This neck was going all-out to win the fight, but luckily my panty was frozen to the seat and there was no-way I would come loose off Brom.
(When I get myself into these why-do-you-do-this-to-yourself situations, I don’t think I’m all that well. I should really have myself tested one day………)
Was hoping to see some of the other Shred Bettys there (www.facebook.com/shredbettys1) but we found the pub… and downed a few tekwielas. Thinned blood doesn’t freeze so easily!
I sucked up all the warmth I could find, said goodbye to the nazy-panzy cagers, before attempting to kill the décolletage in reverse!
*beep beep beep beep beep*
That evening we kuiered around a can fruit jar of 6 volt-brannewyn filled cherries with amazing new friends made.
The next morning there was still the Polo neck of necks left. The only tarred pass for the weekend.
There were beautiful views but I had a long run to get home. I didn’t kill this pass; I only gave it a skuins klap. I’ll have to come back to finish the job.
Stopped in Clocolan for a quick toastie at a roadside stall that looked quite inviting.
Our dreams are created for us and our ideals our neatly printed in glossy magazines. We strive to live a save life, to tread lightly and breath calmly. We hope to have no regrets…
But when we finally step out into the mountains and climb over the first rock, we see the world of adventure not as a beast out to devour us but as misspent time waiting for us to turn back the clock.
We should fill our jars of regret and breathe life into our stillborn intentions.
Welcome to my NECK of the woods!
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