We had a comfortable stay over, it was nice to relax for a day and the big hole museum, diamond tour and historical village makes for an interesting day, but that's really all the time you need in Kimberley. I would certainly recommend it to anyone who hasn't been there, you get a very good insight into the early diamond rush days, how the people lived and how some of them made huge fortunes in the harsh conditons.
The next day was 177kms to Bloemfontein, the weather seemed to have calmed down and the strong winds were all but gone, we had a very good ride and arrived in the City at about 0900, I had phoned the previous day to order the large BMW topcase which the agent assured me they would get down from Jo'burg that morning. We had decided to spend the money (R6,900) on the case as what was the point of having the best motorbike in the world and battling with makeshift luggage?
We had a good breakfast and then ended up spending about two and a half more hours at the BMW agent while they waited for the case to be delivered. However whilst there the mechanic approached me and asked where we were going and when I told him that we were heading for East London he said "You won't make it! Not with that front tire, it's almost showing canvas!" He was right that tread was very thin, I had intended changing it in East London but decided to do it there - was that Divine intervention? Someone was looking after us.
We eventually got on the road at about 1300 and what a difference the new case made! Everything that had been in the small top case and the pack now fitted into the new case with room to spare. Cool!
The N6 out of Bloem is a good road and not so busy but it is almost 200kms to Aliwal North and a further 160 to Queenstown where we had planned to spend the night. We were able to make good time and sped through Reddersburg, Smithfield and Rouxville to eventually reach Aliwal North at 1600. Far too late to do another 160kms so we looked for accommodation and eventually settled on "Presley's".
This turned out to be a mistake! I don't like staying in crap places when I'm travelling, life's too short for crap places and cheap whisky! When it came time to eat I asked the young barman for some wine only to be told that they don't serve any wine, not even "Chateau le cardboard." I said I would nip over to the offsales to get a bottle or two and he then told me that they would have to charge me R15 corkage per bottle.
"WHAT!" I shrieked "How can you charge corkage if you don't sell any wine anyway?"
I made it known that I was not a happy biker and by the time I returned with my two bottles he had wisely decided to forgo the corkage rule.
The evening meal was pretty good and the bed was clean, but there was no;
wine in the restaurant!
air conditioner in the room,
fan in the room,
window in the room, there were two doors one of which we had to leave open which is not the safest thing to do in today's South Africa,
chairs in the room,
tv remote - there was a tv but we couldn't switch it on.
undercover parking for the bike!
We won't be staying at Presley's again!