Wednesday, 26 September 2012
My difficult day 9
I survived! What a day! It was probably the most difficult riding I had ever done! The tummy bug had me awake all night and then I got up just after 5am to start packing and loading. Feeling tired and drained, the next 500-odd kms lying ahead seemed a bit much. Once again I got away later than intended (what’s new?!?). I took the coastal road from East London to the Pedi turn-off and then made for the N2 via Grahams town. What a lovely ride that was?! A quiet road I shared only with some cattle and goats. The N2 was also surprisingly quiet compared to the very busy, truck-laden coastal road. I refilled in Grahams town – what a lot of lovely churches – probably more than in any other town in SA!
From there my ride was becoming difficult. I was very tired and fortunately there was no strong wind from the front. Yet I had severe tummy cramps. Abie had gotten me meds and I suspect I might have “overdosed” to make sure I won’t have problems along the way. As I had not been eating since the previous morning (except a slice of toast), I had a sandwich in PE. I drunk copious amounts of Energade and felt extremely bloated and uncomfortable. My ears also felt strange – almost closed up – and I wished they would pop open.
After PE I took the small detour via the pretty Gamtoos River, but hit the N2 once I reached Jeffreysbay, not wanting to drag out the riding for too long. Since my stops were taking a lot of time, it was getting petty late. The Bloukrans and Grootrivier passes were both closed down and I was disappointed I missed out on that – I was sure some special scenery would have taken my mind off my fatigue!
Once I had passed the toll gates, (R36 for the bike?!? Is that crazy or what?!?), the sun was so low, it really made riding extremely difficult. I was staying over with a friend on a farm some kms out of Plettenberg bay. The dear petrol attendants at PE washed my helmet for me, but did not rinse it with water, so the soapy residue suddenly had me almost blind when the sun got too low. Dog tired and within miles from my destination, I did not want to stop and spend more precious time trying to find something to clean it with, so pushed on. Once I hit the 6km dirt road, vehicles racing past the beautiful but busy dirt road, made it almost impossible to see, so I was eating dust as far as I was going due to lifting the visor!
By now the cramps, nauseous-ness and tiredness was unbearable and I was just so relieved to hit the day’s destination - safe and sound. My friend was out for another hour or so and I literally passed out on the couch!
Tomorrow is a short day and I thought of doing some of the beautiful passes in the area. If I don’t feel up to it, I will just take a relaxing ride into Knysna and not do much. I sleep in Wilderness with a friend, also a beautiful place. She said we will have a relaxing evening and she will rustle up something to eat at home – I hope I am up for some eating by then!