|Looking up from my tent|
Saturday, 22 September 2012
The wind had been howling all day and night and by early evening a few drops fell. I was concerned about rain, as wet gravel does not only become muddy, but terribly slippery and dangerous. During the early hours of the morning, the rain started falling. Sleeping right in the top of a double story cottage with a corrugated iron roof, it sounded like the rain was hammering down. The wind had blown down a tree over the road 50 metres from us.
Getting outside, in spite of the rain, the roads were perfectly dry. Yeahhh!! Dark skies indicated there might be a lot more to come, so we decided to take the direct route to the Bash, so that we could get the tents pitched before the water came down. Although Rhodes was one of the cutest towns I have seen, with only gravel roads and kids playing in the tree-lined streets, they had no petrol. It is so remote and the road so tedious, that the petrol tankers just don’t come that way anymore and the locals have to drive 60km to Barkley East to fuel up.
We had a few drops along the way, but nothing serious. Once again a stunning ride up between the mountains, with lots of hairpin bends and stunning views. At on place we saw a canyon, not as deep, but looking similar to the Fish River canyon with stunning rock formations and crevices as far as you look.
We arrived at Snow Valley just around lunch time and got the tents pitched in a howling wind. What a magnificent place?!! There was a huge open field that reminds one of a rugby field, surrounded by mountains, and Willows at the edge of one side, all along a little river. The “lawn” was all nice and green, in spite of it being the dry season. Walking up an (steep) little hill, the main get-together area included huge tree stumps for seats and plenty of fires. Ablutions and a nice big hall with tables and chairs!! A fully stocked bar the fellows made good use of. They had set up stunning ablutions, with 3 (hot) showers and 2 toilets for us girls (Unsure what the guys have), in a corrugated iron “shed”.
Most people underestimate these roads and the time it takes to travel them. The result was quite a few bikers arriving well after dark. I went down with my Montagu Muscadel, offered the cold guys a swig and helped pitch their tents. In that wind it is real difficult keeping all the flaps down, so an extra pair of hands can help a tired soul out a bit.
We received a bright red Wild Dogs T-shirt and a braai pack for supper when we registered. Everyone got together inside and just visited and chatted – all bike related of course! What bike do you ride? Where do you come from and what routes did you take getting here? I have altered my engine in such and such a way and the next guy has interesting luggage or a new suspension. Whatever! At least I can go rattling on about bikes and routes and no one seems disturbed by it!
The food consisted of braai packs enough to feed 3 people!! My chicken pack had 2 thighs and drumsticks, a 400g piece of rib and a piece of sausage. My next night’s pack consists of 2 pieces of sausage and 3 pieces of lamb chops! Crazy right?! I had been lugging a 2L ice cream dish along (for our sandwiches the first day) and it is filled to the brim with food left from supper – enough to keep us going all day till the next supper!
It started raining around 7pm. Hard rain and gusting winds made me less enthusiastic to head down to a cold tent and a hard bed. But my tummy was full; I had a good ride and met many new kindred spirits, all loving bikes and the open road. I am happy and content – and so fortunate I have the opportunity to share this experience with a few other people.