Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Peace Island", you must be kidding me

I have stopped giving opinions on my blog, but after someone indicated on my poll (see upper right on home page) that he/she does appreciate my opinions on life issues as well, I decided to give my opinion on something that I saw in the local newspaper this morning. Actually, I was so flabbergasted by what I have seen, that I would've given my opinion in any case. Some bright spark and his wife are thinking of building an island (like you find in some other parts in the world like Dubai) in between Robben Island and Dolphin Beach. If we weren't near the end of September I would've thought that this was just another April Fool's joke. When I looked on the Internet and saw that they actually had a web site promoting this, I realized that this might just be for real after all.

So many questions pop up immediately like why would anyone want to build an island that is going to cost billions to house only the filthy rich, when South Africa could've used that money to uplift our poor communities and improve our already dilapidated infrastructure? Well, obviously someone is going to benefit from this, but I am sure it is not going to be the "bergie" that knocked on my door this morning looking for food or the 500 others that are scratching through my rubbish bin every Thursday morning looking for scrap to sell or leftovers to feed their families with. But no, wait. On the web site they say that they will dedicate 10% of the island to housing projects for the poor. It should be the other way around, because in South Africa 90% of the population is poor and only 10% might be able to consider buying property on this exclusive "island for the wealthy". Or is this for wealthy foreigners that haven't had their hands yet on the unaffordable-to-South Africans property in Camps Bay or Landudno? And what about the environment, or is greed devouring all common sense again when they see dollor signs flashing?

So if you are one of the fortunate who has coastal property which is situated on the edge of the water and think that no-one can steal your view anymore, don't be so poised. The rich just go and build an island in front of you. Sorry. I guess I can go on forever giving reasons why I think this is the most absurd thing I have ever heard, and I am sure that many more will give their opinions on this in time to come. I am for sure not the only one who was a bit shocked this morning...and obviously not the only one who had a thought about this being an April Fool's joke. And why call it "Peace Island"? There is not much peace going around in this country at the moment and building an island where only a small portion is favoured above the rest is not a good recipe for peace either. Does anyone really believe that an island where the richest of the rich live together with the poorest of the poor is going to promote peace? Or is this to give the inhabitants of the island a true South African feeling where you have to fence off everything because you have no idea who would be climbing through your window at night? Why don't we give this island to the brothers who can live in harmony with nature and with their fellow brothers. People who have already found that inner peace that everyone is searching for in the wrong places. Not the rich or the poor, just the dudes who appreciate life and appreciate fellow human beings. Then for sure we can call it "Peace Island".

But then again looking on the positive side of this whole island idea. If this island can increase the sea water temperature along the Atlantic coast with 5 degrees or more or even slightly improve the size and consistency of the waves in this area then I might even support the whole idea myself. And with 10% housing allocated to the poor, I might even be able to get some property there myself. What a joke!!

Read more opinions.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The end to all my problems?

I have read books and searched the globe only to find the solution to all my problems in Knysna, South Africa....

It seems to be all in herbs!

Monday, September 27, 2010

No trespassing here, please

A friend of mine told me that in Scotland they don't have trespassing laws. I was rather surprized by that, but when I asked him what would happen when people do actually "invade your privacy or property", he said that they don't really do it over there. But that is Scotland and this is South Africa. We do have trespassing laws, and we do have trespassers. Many of them. The thing is in South Africa we are so worried about people's rights that we sometimes forget who we are protecting. Despite our trespassing laws trespassers sometimes have more rights than the owner of the property that they are trespassing on. Another problem is that when people trespass it is usually for the wrong reasons. OK, let me call it by name. To steal. So, we try to keep unwelcomed guest off our property by fencing off our properties, sometimes even using electrical fences and barbed wire. Some people invest in vicious canines (be careful, when your dog bites a burglar you might be held responsible in the end) or other dangerous animals like crocodiles (I have a good story about this one). A neighbour of mine kept poisonous snakes in his house (or at least that is what the sign in the window said). But many just use simple signs saying "This is Private Property, Trespassers will be Prosecuted". To keep a potential thief off your property this is as useless as saying "This is my house, please do not break in". I had to smile however when I saw the sign below on a property in Mossel Bay. I think everybody that has been to Mossel Bay knows where this little cottage next to the sea is situated, and everybody knows the real reason why this "prime" property has lost most of its value. It also has something to do with "unwelcomed guest". But I have to give him some credit for originality, even if only one trespasser falls for this warning sign then I guess it was worth the effort.


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The little devil in the back of the car

Some advice from an explorer. Do NOT explore new roads when you are 400km from home and you have a bored 3 and a half year old in the back seat....

Mossel Bay's Harbour
Mossel Bay towarsd the left
I am always looking for new roads...or the scenic routes as I prefer to call them. The problem with finding these roads is usually time...or rather the lack there off. We are so used to speeding from one point to our final destination that we forget to look for the "alternative routes". There are quite a few roads in the Southern Cape that I still want to do, and I have a long list of them, but finding the time is usually the obstacle. After spending a weekend in the Garden route I decided to take a different road back home. My plan was to leave the N2 10 kilometres after Mossel Bay and then to cross the Outeniqua Mountains via Herbertsdale and Van Wyksdorp to finally reach the well known Route 62. From there it would be straight back home. But there were two things that I didn't take into account....the surface of the road and the patience of my 3 and a half year old son in the back seat.

Herbertsdale Valley
Little devil and his stones
I sort of did know that the road from Herbertsdale via van Wyksdorp (R327) is gravel, but what I did not know was the condition of the road. We left Mossel Bay at around 9 am after I took one or two pictures from the top of the hill where all the rich people live, and headed straight for Herbertsdale. To get to Herbertsdale one has to turn off about 10 kilometres after Mossel Bay just before the PetroSA refinery. This road has a couple of twists and turns and eventually goes down into the Herbertsdale valley, pass the Gourits River. Herbertsdale is a very small town with only one shop (OK, there might be one or two more), but I did not stop to take pictures. At this point we have already stopped once to take pictures, but the stop was rather to give my son some "time outside the vehicle". He insisted on picking up stones (he is an avid stone collector) on the side of the road and it was already a struggle to get him back into the car. I didn't want to push my luck any further.

Going towards Cloete's Pass
Part of Cloete's Pass
On the other side of Herbertsdale we hit our first gravel. The road looked very well maintained and I was sure that we would get to Van Wyksdorp and eventually to Route 62 in no time. But first we had to cross Cloete's Pass. The pass actually runs in between the Langeberg Mountains and the Outeniqua Mountains, but with enough sharp bends to make it yet another stunning gravel pass. Here I reluctantly stopped once or twice to take some pictures. We crossed a couple of low water bridges and drifts and I was sure that during the raining season there would be no way to use this road. I also realized that there were no cell phone reception and I was rather pleased to know that we were entering rather desolate terrain. Should we have a break down here, we would have to wait for passing cars, and there weren't many of them around. I knew that this was more a road for my bike, but I had an opportunity to see it and I was not turning back or anything. My son on the other hand was getting rather annoyed with sitting in the car and was making life really hard for us.

Cement road on opposite bank
Low water bridge over Gourits
As we went further the road became more and more rocky. It was clear to see that the road does not get used much. We couldn't see any farms and I was sure that this was "no-man's land". Going deeper and deeper into the valley was really awesome and when we finally reached the Gourits River (I assume it was the Gourits River, there were no signs) I was ready to stop and hopefully take my son for a quick swim. Unfortunately (or fortunately) by this time he had fallen asleep. I stopped on the way down for a picture but had to keep on driving as we reached the low water bridge. At this point I promised myself that I will come back later for a proper swim in this river. With absolutely no-one around swim suits are definitely non-compulsory. Freedom at its best. On the opposite bank the gravel road turned into a 100 meter single lane concrete road, probably because of its steepness and problems with erosion. From here onwards we were in the Klein Karoo and ahead of us was nothing but dry earth and a long stretch of dusty road.

Langeberg Mountains on the left
Karoo "dust showers"
We eventually reached civilization again in the form of some remote farmsteads, but due to the poor condition of the road we weren't traveling very fast. My son was still asleep and even though I wanted to continue past Van Wyksdorp, I now started looking at my watch and contemplating the distance still ahead. At some point he will wake up and if we are still exploring the same gravel road he might make it even more difficult for us to enjoy the adventure. So, I was looking for the shortest way home now, and when we reached the turn off to Van Wyksdorp I did a few calculations and decided to head straight on to the nearest tarred road. Just before we reached the R323 which gave us the option of 20 kilometres back to the N2 or 43 kilometres to Route 62, we entered a small Klein-Karoo rain shower. Not what you can call rain, but it did settle the dust a bit. We call it "stofbuie" ("dust showers") in South Africa. The smell of the rain falling on the dry Karoo veld was better than most of the perfumes you find in the duty free shops at Heathrow. At the tarred road I went for the 20kms south over the Garcia Pass option towards the N2. I knew that from there it is much quicker to Cape Town than via Route 62. If it hadn't been for the little devil that was still sleeping like an angel in the back of the car, I would've however gone for the yet-to-be-discovered scenic route. But now at least I know what the road looks like. I also know that this is a definite one for the bike and not for the family car. I will come back to take my dip in the river that I unfortunately had to pass in an attempt to spare ourselves possible complications further down the road to Cape Town. But, I am still glad I did it and I don't blame the little devil in the back of the car. One day when he is older his dad will take him on the back of the bike....and we will explore more roads and both do our swim together in the first suitable river we find.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Queen of the Mountains

I had lots of things planned for this weekend. A bike trip to the Garden Route across the Prince Alfred Pass towards Uniondale, searching for the Uniondale ghost, riding down into the Langkloof, everything to make my weekend hopefully a memorable one. But unfortunately the "Forces of Nature" had other plans for me, or the people at the SA Weather Bureau just had their worst weather predictions in a decade. Rain, rain and more rain was predicted. So the results of their most inaccurate weather predictions left me chaperoning my other half on her way to her first Karoo to Coast Mountain bike race.

Forest side of pass close to Knysna
Road cutting through the rocks
When my wife decided about a month before the infamous Argus Cycle Tour that she was going to take part, she had a lot of people raising their eyebrows. Some gave tips and without actually suggesting that she would not make it still made her feel as if she was not going to make it. To cut a long story short, she was not going to back out and eventually completed the rest in a very good time and with a smile on her face. Take into account that her Trek 830 mountain bike is about 18 years old, that she did her last fun ride about 15 years ago and that she did not really train for this, in many's eyes she did very well and even had me surprized. To allow herself to stay motivated and not quitting from keeping up her new interest in cycling, she looked for another challenge. This time it would be one of the more grueling mountain bike races, the Karoo to Coast. This time some experienced riders told her in her face that she was not going to make it. And to make matters worse, with her current bike her chances of finishing this real mountain bike race looked even dimmer. So, MY weekend changed into HER weekend as I was taking her over the Outeniqua Mountains towards Uniondale were the race would kick off. The last time we crossed the Prince Alfred Pass was about 15 years ago and I could see on her face that she couldn't remember how many steeps climbs and sharp bends there were on this pass.  The pass would form part of many other steep up and down sections that makes this race according to a well-known cycling magazine "one of the 10 best mountain bike races in South Africa".

More bikers on their way to Uniondale
Pronce Alfred pass
The road between Knysna and Avontuur hosts one of the most impressive gravel passes in Southern Africa. The scenery on the coastal side changes from subtropical forest into Karoo "bossies" on the other side, from a moderate climate to a very dry and hot climate. One has to drive the pass to experience the beauty and appreciate the extraordinary engineering skills they had many years ago, and what better way to do it than on a mountain bike. But there was another objective for her doing this race. If she could complete it, she promised herself a new mountain bike. When asked by a less informed relative what the difference is between her current bike and the other bikes taking part, all I could say was "light years". From the 2000 bikes in the race, she probably had the oldest one, and only one of two bikes with no front suspension. The rest were new high tech stuff. This made her motivation to finish just more intense. I was actually feeling sorry for my wife for attempting this race with "less than adequate" equipment, but she couldn't be phased, she was riding for honour and for a new mountain bike and was determined to do it on her trusted work horse. At least the bike has new tyres and the gears are still in working order. She has a very good bicycle mechanic in the shape of her husband, me, and I did some fine tuning the day before, adjusting the gears, cleaning the chain and setting the brake blocks just right for that important downhill sections. All she had to do was to get on and finish the race.

The big guns in front
Tasting the Karoo dust
Because inacurate information was given that the road back to Knysna would be closed on the day of the race, I dropped her early in Uniondale and after taking a few pictures close to the start I hit the road back to George with the plan of catching up with her again as she enters Knysna. For the remainder of the race she would be on her own, doing her own pedalling and changing her own tubes. My biggest concern was punctures and not that the bike would break up into pieces at the weakened corroded  spots or that she wouldn't give up because of tired legs, but waisting time and consequently missing the cut-off time would mean dropping out and not being able to finish the race. That was not an option. My first chance of seeing her again was close to the finish, about 4 kilometres before the end. All I had to do was wait. And what a long wait that was. After getting too worried that she might have ended up in the sweeper truck or still sitting somewhere with two flat wheels, I phoned her hoping that she would be in a place where there is reception or in a position where she could answer her phone. My luck was in, she was about seven kilometres away from the finish, just three kilometres away from where I was waiting to take an victorious "after" picture. She only had seven kilometres from the initial 100 to complete, and minutes away from "qualifying" for her new bike. Oh and minutes away from silencing her critics. What a pleasant view it was for me when she came around the corner with a big smile on her face. I knew at that point that the weekend belonged to her, that she was very impressed with herself and that she was my "Queen of the Mountains". She did it! She's been there, done that, got the T-shirt. Next week we are going shopping, and I hope she gets the bike she deserves. I don't really think she needs it though, but she worked for it and she can have it. I suppose women can also work on their toy collection. "Geluk ou skattebol, jy het gekook en ek is trots op jou!!"

"Before" picture after 5 kilometres into the race

"After" picture after 96 kilometres

Sunday, September 19, 2010

On The Way To Uniondale

Knysna Waterfront

Sunday, September 12, 2010

West Coast Family Fun

The weather in Cape Town has been awesome the last couple of days. Friday night was spend with friends doing what South Africans do best....braaing. Saturday was a stunning day and was spend with my family on the beach. Today was another splendid day and was not going to be wasted either. My wife suggested that I do another bike ride, but I wanted to spend the day with them as well. So this time I tried the West Coast for a change...

The Great Trek towards Potsberg
The first time I went to the West Coast National Park I was a quite disappointed. We went there to see flowers and animals, but all we saw was fynbos (fine bush) and tortoises. Oh, and a couple of antelope somewhere in the distance obviously knowing that it is better to avoid the tourists as much as possible. I promised myself that I would never go there again, but this was a family day and I was thinking that taking my son to see some fynbos, tortoises and antelope somewhere in the distance might still excite him. Besides, the weather was good and my main objective was to reach Langebaan Lagoon (more on the reason for this later) which is situated just adjacent to the park. We were fortunate that my son didn't look like an "adult" yet and we managed to get him into the park for free. This is flower season, so the entrance fee is a bit more than during the rest of the year. Every bit we save can later be spend on something better I guess.

The first thing we encountered after entering the the park (apart from the fynbos) was tortoises crossing the road. I didn't see the need to stop and show my son the first couple of tortoises knowing that we would still see plenty on our way. Besides, he has two pet tortoises at home. The driver in the car in front of me has obviously never been to this park before. He thought he was doing the tortoises a big favour by picking them up and putting them on the side of the road, not even taking into consideration which direction the tortoise was heading in the first place. In the Addo Elephant Park you only see two things...elephants and dung beetles. There you don't stop to help the dung beetle across the road, you might just have an elephant tapping on your shoulder. Unfortunately in the West Coast National Park you are allowed outside your vehicle, and this man was using this privilege to "save" tortoises. We eventually passed the smug faced tourist who was very pleased with himself for saving 0.0003% of The West Coast National Park's tortoise population (I wonder who is doing it when he is not around?), but we wanted to get to the main attaction Potsberg where there is a very beautiful lookout point towards Langebaan and the Lanbgebaan lagoon. Oh, and there are flowers and birds at Potsberg as well.

Some peculiar rock formations
The flowers were beautiful, but you don't get the same flower sceneries that you get in the Namaqualand. If you are into taking pictures of flowers and birds, then I guess you might find plenty to do, but we were here to see animals and to spend the time together as a family. On our way we did see some antelope, but like last time they were keeping themselves quite distant from the road. If you want to see real wild life in its most pure form then you go to the Kruger National Park. There you will find leopards crossing the road and lions doing there daily catch right next to your vehicle. And believe me, they are NOT tamed. You might even get your vehicle turned over by an elephant if you ignore his size and flapping ears. But this is the West Coast National Park and the most dangerous living thing you are likely to encounter here is someone driving like the smug tourist who kept stopping without notice to help another tortoise across the road.

Eland avoiding the tourists
Bontebok grazing away
Along the way we saw Eland, plenty of ostriches, Bontebok, Wildebeest and Zebras. There were even Springboks, but after South Africa's defeat in the Tri-Nations they were a bit reluctant to lift their heads and jump across the fields illustrating where their name originated from. And there were tortoises of course. Eventually we reached the best spot in the park...the lookout point. For me this is the highlight of the park, for two reasons. One, this is where we take out the picnic basket and fill our stomachs, and second, from here one could see if the wind is good for kite surfing at Langebaan. Both were in my favour. After stuffing the last bread roll into my mouth, we decided to move on. The road would take us back towards a turnoff just before the gate and all around the Langebaan Lagoon towards the spot where I started my kite surfing career some years ago. On our way we had one more memorable moment. Seconds after explaining to my son why bees sting and why human beings should stay clear of them, we drove into a swarm of bees which acted like they might've overheard our conversation and was going to illustrate the point we were trying to make. Some managed to fly into the kombi, but most of them were trying to put their stings into my windscreen in an attempt to show there disapproval against this huge "blue beast" that just flattened them without any warning. Needless to say pandemonium broke loose inside the kombi. My wife was doing quite well swatting most of the intruders and the couple that survived headed to the back of the kombi where they felt a bit safeguarded against my wife's swinging arms. I was trying to clean the winscreen which was covered with a honey orange coloured sticky-like juice. It took a while to get my son to regain his composure, and only after I told him that we are going to beach where you won't find any bees (we do have to lie to our kids at some points). On our way towards the gate and coming from the front we passed the kind tourist again, still escorting tortoises across the road....

A rather embarrased Springbok
View towards Langebaan

I won't be surprized if some of the footage from the well-known movie The Blue Lagoon, might have been taken at The Langebaan lagoon. I guess the vegetation would not have made the cut for that tropical movie setting, but the lagoon is beautiful and it has a very distinct blue colour. We stopped and carried all my kiting equipment to the water's edge, as well as some cool drinks and my camera. I was hoping that my wife could take some pictures of me doing my stuff. This was actually her first time with my camera so I wasn't expecting pictures that would make it into the GUST magazine. Unfortunately for me at this time the wind was dying down. I still kitted up and tried my luck, but I looked more like a beginner than somebody getting ready for a kite surfing photo shoot. There were one or two kite boarders in the water still, but even with bigger kites I could see that they were struggling to get up and stay afloat. Most of the other kites were floating upside down in the water already. I wanted a picture for my blog and was determined to get it up. At this point a youngster walked up towards me and asked me if he could give me a tip. I was rather annoyed with this young fella's forwardness and for thinking that he could help me with some kite surfing lessons on the side. After I told him that there's no wind and I know what I was doing, he passed another comment about being a instructor and walked off clearly noticing that this old dude is not taking any tips from him. I tried once more but then decided to pack up. I was clearly going nowhere. At this point my obnoxious young "instructor" decided that he would take his kite into the water and show me how it is done, despite facing the same problem I had seconds ago with a lack of wind. I was standing on the side watching him, just like he was hoping I would do. After a few futile attempts to lift his skinny arse out of the water he looked even worse than me when his kite fell into the water like it's losing an erection. I know I am too mature to act revengful in any way, and my wife was shaking her head trying to convince me that too, but at that point I couldn't stop myself and shouted at him from the side...."Can I give you a tip!?" The look on his face was priceless....

Trying to stay afloat
Having more fun than his dad

Main Beach, Langebaan

Wrapping up a wonderful day
We packed up and headed towards Langebaan. It was late and time to head home.  I was a bit disappointed at my very recent miserable kite surfing session and knew that writing on my blog that I had to pack up and go was not going to inspire me to write at all. When we crossed the hill before one gets to the little town of Langebaan some colourful movement at Main Beach caught my eye. The wind was much stronger at the beach and there were a couple of kites in the water. After giving my wife that puppy look she gave me permission to put on  that cold wet wetsuit again. It was already getting late, but she knew that the only way I would be able to face this coming week is if I get my kite boarding session that I was so desperately looking for today. I rigged up and plunged into the water, enjoying the warmer water coming from the lagoon and saying thank you for this last opportunity that was presented to me to wrap up our enjoyful day on a positive note. My wife tried to take some snaps, but with the wrong lens, a son that keeps running away and some real beginners dropping their kites in front of me, I was happy with what she managed to get. At least she was taking pictures of the right person and and not like a friend of mine a while ago who was still taking pictures of the wrong unknown kite surfer while I was on the beach already packed up and ready to leave.

Exhausted! Every penny's worth
After shouting "My last one!" for the fourth or fifth time, I decided to get out, get dressed and have a last coffee before we hit the road back to Cape Town. What an awesome day it was, spending time with my family in the most awesome surroundings and weather conditions, doing the things that I like with the people I love. I might not be a big fan of the West Coast National Park or like the idea of youngsters giving me tips, but today was one of those days that gives me a smile on my face when I climb into bed and reminisce about the fun we had. I don't think the West Coast National Park will see us again, NOT if my bee scared son has any say in it, but who knows, I might just go back and start saving the West Coast National Park tortoises as a sign of appreciation for the family time the park had offered me today.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Clocking 10 000 kilometres

It is a while since I did my last road trip on the bike. I had plans to do one the previous weekend, but never got that far...I was too busy trying out the macro lense a friend lend me. My bike has 9750km on the clock and I am taking it in on Thursday for its 10 000km service. Being a Virgo I wanted to get a little closer to that 10 000 mark before I take it in and the only way of doing that was to take a quick trip before work. So this morning my intention was to take a ride out into the country side, have coffee and return to work before anyone could even notice that I am a bit late. I was thinking of turning around at Darling and then riding straight back home, no plans to venture off onto dirt roads or anything.

Looking back towards Darling
I left at 7:15 and headed straight onto the West Coast Road towards the Darling turnoff. It was 11 degrees Celsius when I left, much better than my recent trips where the temperature fell all the way down to 2 degrees. This was just going to be a quick trip, so I wasn't really worried about the cold. All the traffic was coming from the front and I was wondering if these people realize that it is actually possible to go for a bike ride before you start your day's work. The section of the West Coast Road until you get to the Darling turnoff  (R315) is rather straight and very eventless. At this point I wasn't even thinking of posting anything on my blog about my ride. It was nearly 8am when I entered the sleepy town of Darling. Apart from a few earlybirders the town was very much asleep. I was checking my map to see if there was not a more interesting route to take back home as I was scared of falling asleep on my bike. I saw one or two other options, but they were actually leading further away from Cape Town. At least they would also eventually bring me back to the N7 which is the fast way  back to Cape Town. All of a sudden I was much more excited and eager to explore. So much that I didn't even stop for my coffee in Darling. I headed straight for what I thought was the road I saw on the map, but soon realized that I might be on the wrong road. What motivated me to go on and not turn around was the fact that the road became a gravel road after a couple of kilometers and I was determined to see where it was going to take me. Besides, how difficult could it be to get back to Cape Town from any road on this flat landscape?

Definitely not enough reason to turn around
The road which was perculiarly red in colour (I thought there was only sand in this part of the country) was rather smooth with some soft sand on top. This wasn't really a problem, as I could feel that the bike was quite stable on the surface. A bigger concern came when I reached a shallow drift filled with water. It wasn't very deep, but I was wondering what might lay ahead. I really didn't want to get stuck in water further down the road or turn around. I decided to continue my journey into the unknown. I had no idea where I was going, so when I reached a fork in the road with no signs I decided to consult my unreliable GPS. Boy, was I surprized. Not only was it able to tell me where I was, but it did so within 30 seconds. The fastest it ever managed to find a satelite. It was still another 25 kilometers before I would get to the N7, but knowing where I was gave me enough relief to take it slower and to take time off for some pictures.

Evidence of last week's cold front
Time to take out the GPS

The wheatfields of The Swartland
So where was I? Somewhere on a farm road between Darling and Malmesbury. Not really lost by all means, but lost in the bauty of my surroundings. This was the wheatfields of the Swartland. The pictures I took will not bring justice to the beauty of this area and while chatting to some contruction workers that were repairing a damaged low water bridge I had to point out to them that working where they are now compared to working in an air-cooled office in a city is a privilege that they should never underestimate. All they lacked was coffee, or at least, that is what I was lacking at that point.

Spot the mighty mountain in the background, top right
After another 10 km I reached the R45 which would bring me onto the N7. From there on it was straight back to the office. I arrived a bit later than anticipated, but still managed to walk in without being noticed. What I do know was that I started my morning the best way I could. I did 180 kilometres, some on gravel road and although I didn't get my coffee I still got much more than what I bargained for. On Thursday I will take my bike in for that 10 000 km service and her much deserved shampoo & wax.

So this is what the sole of a tree's foot looks like?