After sleeping like the proverbial log I awoke to a magnificent full on breakfast cooked by Kobus, really excellent 🙂 He gave me the low down on the way and made sure I left with over 3 litres of water & pumped my tyres up with a proper pump. After taking my picture for his rogues gallery of cyclists who have stayed there in the couple of years he has owned Hardeveld Lodge (Looks like I will be 104+-) I was away.
The road is hilly of cause 🙂 with no cafes at all until I reached Bitterfontein and its delightful cafe come antique /farmstal / trinket shop housed in the old community hall. Excellent 🙂
I ploughed on stopping at every roadside table (alas no food or drink provided) up and down endless hills nearly bypassing Garies like the N7 road builder did!
I found the previously booked by Kobus, Garies Guest House apartments and checked into my OK room with kitchenette etc. I went down to the neighbouring Sophia guesthouse to make sure I was booked into breakfast 🙂
Then it was time to find some dinner, total nightmare. The so called hotel first said they only did meals for residents after some cajoling by the alcohol shop girls I was shown into the very dark & dingy dining room with it’s numbered bays. No menu but I could have lamb chops with chips or burger with chips. No vegetarian option. I left, to be chased down the street but to no avail. So I went to the only shop open with it’s bare shelves to buy some pasta etc. The whole evening was surreal to think, I’ve travelled less than 100 miles in the same country and gone from abundance to poverty. Interestingly the ANC have an office here, first time I’ve seen one. Maybe Castro & the ANC have something in common.
A really tough biking day after a bad night with an upset stomach.
Pretty sure it was the carrot cake from Isabella’s restaurant that was the culprit 🙁 I took one of my Ciprofloxacin pills which cleared it up by mid morning. However, when I went to get the bike from the garage I discovered the front had a flat 🙁 first in past 2500 miles the culprit was a thorn although the Marathon Plus had stopped the othe other 5 which I pulled out. I patched it up and gave the bike a once over and a oil.
I departed just before 9am for what I knew was going to be an eighty miler to get to the N7 road. The first 22 miles was down the dirt track alongside the Iron ore railway (The road is officially closed to the public by the rail company but the guy at the barrier, fortunately, didn’t seem to care 🙂 The road is awful with it’s constant up and downs (whilst the railway has little bridges & cuttings. Really hard pedalling up in sand & crud.
Two and half hours later I reached Doringbaai and it’s tarmac road although no yuppy cafes 🙁 only a Cuba type shop with a drunk rolling about on the floor clutching a bottle like some baby. Dispirited I had a coke and crisps and rode on. Just up the road was Strandfontein which looked more promising but I wasted 10 minutes or so exploring the ghost town 🙁
On up & down even more hills but at least on tarmac and pretty empty roads. After 5 hours biking I reached Lutzville and its garage with AC where I could sit down with an ice cream and yet more coke. Managed to contact Em who was very excited about her interview and a job offer 🙂 cheered me up no end as I ploughed on up ever more stepper hills with minimal downhills. I
After 63 miles and reaching 830 feet I made the right turn onto the dirt track that would take me 17 more miles to Nuwerus. A journey that nightmares are made of 🙁 each turn and hill top opened a new vista of a sand road and more hills and more hills and even more peaking at 1470 feet before dropping to the cluster of houses thats called Nuwerus at 1200 feet. Did I say it was a total nightmare? The only relief for the day was I had the wind behind me.
I Arrived at 6.30pm to the Hardeveld campsite/lodge and the very chatty owner proceeded to tell me about the 150 or so cyclists had used him over the past few years and his strategic position by the N7 and R 363 for anyone heading to Namibia. He offered to cook my evening meal and breakfast so all was OK after a very tough 80.1mi and 3,819 feet of climbing on sand. He assured me that Namibia dirt roads are easier but less roadside facilities. I think the excess calories eaten along the Garden Route etc will soon be needed!