Monday, June 26, 2006

Day 8 - Forgotten vallies

With the big mountains behind us, it was time to start the slog across the Eastern Cape into the Karoo. Gerrit & Xolani left at 5:30am,
to ensure that they got to the portage section before dark. Grev woke up sick, so stayed in Rhodes. We'll have to wait and see what happens to him. I carried on alone to the next stop Rus de Winter in the Barkly East Area.

I initially expected the terrain to be fairly flat, far from it actually - the climbs are shorter bu steeper, sapping your energy. We spent the day going up river vallies, over the neck, then down into the next valley. The roads generally meander along the river, occasionally climbing up on the slopes if the valley walls are too steep. There was still a lot of snow on the slopes, so the trip was quite spectacular - I even had time to nail Gerrit with a snowball. I had caught Gerrit and Xolani at about 11:30am. I have driven on the main road through this area before, and had no idea that these valleys even existed.

At one point I saw about 30 vultures sorting out a carcass, about 20m from the road - they are huge birds.

We travelled the rest of the way together, and ended the day with quite a harsh portage, over an unmarked neck - pick-up-and-carry for 4km after doing 90km. Ouch.

Rus de Winter is a huge old farmhouse, each room the size of a double garage. The food was excellent, and the hospitality top notch. Elizibeth, our host, came in at 5:30am to cook us a warm breakfast. We had a traditional Greek Bake for supper - nearly like a lasagne, but with a cinammon topping - if any one knows what this, please let me know.

Tomorrow we're of to Smutspas - the race organisers have redirected Xolani to go on district roads, so its just Gerhard and I.

Left Rhodes - 7:00am
Arrived Rus de Winter - 6:00pm
Distance - 112km


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