Had I known how wet the start of the ride was going to be I might have reconsidered! Thank goodness I didn't know, I'm not sure why I didn't, it's easy enough to get accurate weather predictions from your bloody phone nowadays!
At around 06h30 I was ready and eager to go, loaded the cases, made a last minute mental check of all the things I might need to make sure that I had not forgotten anything - like my reading glasses which I did forget and which lack is now making itself felt here in my room in Graaf Reinet as I type with a bedside lamp right next to the keyboard!
After saying a fond farewell to my lady my first stop this morning was at the Langebaan service station to pull on my wets! Ten minutes into my ride it was pissing down! Great start!
I must confess that I did not enjoy the first hour, my decision to take the "awful 22" off the R45 to Moorreesburg was a bad one, the sun was trying to rise, obscured by rain and a narrow bumpy and gravel-strewn road had me tensed and swearing when I should have been singing.
Swinging out of Riebeek heading towards Hermon the road was dry and my spirits lifted, I actually did start singing old Eagles songs such as "A peacefull easy feeling" and a really bad rendition of "Hotel California".
Breakfast and hot coffee at the Wimpy in Ceres revitalised me and by then the sun was breaking through, as I headed north and east I started leaving the bad weather behind.
I normally don't like riding the N1, especially on a Monday but today it wasn't too bad. It is busy because it's the major artery North from Capetown to Johannesburg and Pretoria and there are almost continuous speed check gantries, but I set my cruise control to 125kmh and actually relaxed and it didn't seem too long before I was cruising into Beaufort West.
I turned off the N1 onto the R61 and headed into the plains of the Camdeboo, wonderful, I had not been there before, I was heading to Aberdeen 130kms away and hoping to make Graaff Reinet for the evening but I was tired by then, even before I had done 500kms I was feeling tired, I drank yet more coffee and urged myself to get it together, I had done longer trips than this before!
That 130km ride was the longest I have ever done, the road was dead straight with perhaps a two or three percent deviation to the left every thirty or so kilometres, and to top it off there were average speed gantries every twenty kilometres. I set my cruise control again and just sat enjoying the sunshine. I stopped for coffee at a little shop absolutely in the middle of nowhere.
Later I stopped for a wee, the veld is dry but after a little recent rain little grass shoots are growing and the sheep are getting new food apart from the fynbos, I was to enjoy some of that lamb later that evening in "Polka" restaurant with a bottle of dry red wine, delicious!
I reached "Aberdeen" just after 15h00 and had considered staying there but after seeing the place I dived into the 54km stretch to Graaff Reinet, what a dump!
746km I rode today, I found a very nice and very reasonable place to stay; "Profcon Resort" R389 for a comfortable en suite room with secure parking for my baby;
It is now 21h00 and I am tired, I have had a fantastic day out on the bike, I have had a lovely meal and I'm sipping a bit of Johnny Walker Red as I write this, tomorrow I have planned to do only some 650kms but it really doesn't matter if I do less, if I want to explore, because day three will only be a short one, some 150kms.Man I'm looking forward to tomorrow! I will keep you updated, stay with me.