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Author Topic: Of Dust & Men (Day 2)  (Read 875 times)

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Offline wino

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Of Dust & Men (Day 2)
« on: January 30, 2006, 11:15:35 am »
Day 2

The day to meet up with my friends!
I got up early in order to catch a Karoo sunrise ? for me the Karoo sunrise/sunset definitely counts as one of the top life experiences. By the way, I once read that the Karoo is one of the quietest places on earth ? apparently, with special equipment one can actually hear the atmosphere grinding against the earth!
Early in the morning I was also treated to a spectacular sight of an almost full moon setting in the west ? you know, when it looks like the moon has been pulled closer to earth by Bruce Almighty? Wowee!
Another plus for the early ride was the fact that the wind was almost non-existent, which gave me a chance to settle into a relaxed pace, always mindful though of critters crossing the road.

Eventually, the sun started to rise, or rather, from my vantage point the impression was created that the sun rose. Nevertheless, it was breathtaking? a moment of silence, please.

And so I carried on, the wind was starting to pick up and passing through some vales (cannot call it a pass) I got thrown around a bit.
The ubiquitous windmill. Much of the water in the region used for farming comes from underground.

On the way to the top of the Lootsberg pass I came across this sign ? might well have read: ?Occasional UFO Landings?! There have apparently been a few of those in the Karoo.

And on top of the pass, I was treated to this breathtaking scenery? but it was going to get even more spectacular later on! Difficult to imagine that the Karoo was once an inland sea and which later became littered with swamps. This is why the Karoo is regarded as one of the most fossil rich areas in the world today. (More about fossils later.)

Eventually, I reached the turnoff to Nieu Bethesda. For a brief moment I almost lost my senses and wanted to carry on to Uniondale. Well, it was only a brief moment and soon I was on my way to Nieu Bethesda, the first gravel of the journey.

Nieu Bethesda is situated about 30k?s from the highway with the gravel not really challenging. What is however challenging is to play Russian roulette when going into blind corners: I passed 3 4x4?s coming from the front and each one was in my line, which made me swerve into the line less travelled (which from a biking point of view as opposed to a life point of view, is not always the more fulfilling choice!)

Ahh, Nieu Bethesda! Nestled between the mountains it proved to be an oasis, and for the people that have come to live there over the past few years, it is clearly an oasis for the soul.

Nieu Bethesda became famous for the ?Owl House? www.owlhouse.co.za (some pics later on.)

I had a breakfast in the back garden of this quaint restaurant and had an informative conversation regarding the area and the advent of tourists to the town with the owner.

After the early morning ride, this felt like a place where you can take off your boots, have a glass of cheap wine with ice and savour the contrasts in the moment? but I settled for some juice ? the chillies/jagermeister mix was starting to work some purple magic. Imagine if farts had colour?

I also made friends with the dog, which reminded me of my own pooch back home.

Due to the peaceful setting and the interesting conversation I stayed a bit longer than I anticipated, but eventually strolled down to the Owl House:

Well, as is often said, pictures say a thousand words, in this case probably a few more! I wonder what went on in her mind? Snap out of it, time to get rolling!
Leaving Nieu Bethesda I was treated to this panorama:

Yep, this was GOOD! It reminded me of the words of Eve Palmer: ?Few people have the good fortune to be born in a desert?.

Onwards to Graaff Reinet, where the main attraction for me was ?The Valley of Desolation? (sounds like something out of Diablo), about 17k?s outside of Graaff Reinet. But first, the obligatory church photo:

Onwards to the Valley of Desolation - truly breathtaking views:

Looking back to where I came from.

And where I?ll be going to:

Hee-hee? ok?

Well, I got what I wanted for my perseverance in riding down. Now it was a straight line to Uniondale. And straight also in the physical sense, the road just kept going over the horizon, and the wind?

About 40k?s to the nearest town, either way I came across this guy?made me complain a little less about the wind, at least for the time being?until I met a guy on a bicycle, then I stopped complaining!

Maybe someone can explain this enigmatical observation: if I ride with a crosswind from the left and the road turns 90 degrees to the right, should I not have a backwind? Well, maybe in theory, but the wind was like smoke around a campfire, following my sides the whole time.
Ahhh, some break in the monotony?a shade of green!

Well, the reason for the shades of green became clear. A dried up dam!

Now the flatness and straightness was going to end!

And so I reached Uniondale, full of excitement to meet with my friends and chat about what lay ahead and beyond.

Approaching Uniondale out of the heat of the Karoo I could feel the cold from the sea, approaching in tandem with some clouds that started to spell some warnings for the next day. Stuff it, I?ll enjoy the evening!

Some pics of the other guys? journey:


Offline LiveInTheOutdoors

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Of Dust & Men (Day 2)
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2006, 11:31:23 am »

Isnt this pic KompasBerg? If so.. I have climbed it. Its the 2nd highest mountain in the ECape, and its right at Graafies...

We jumped in our cars  - oh ten years ago - in Joeys FRiday night 1230am, and drove to Graafies, had breakfast where you had your meal (same restaurant - lekker hey) had the locals warn us not to climb please cos the wind was going to blow us off - screw that - we is tough!

We climbed Kompassberg, had a snowfight on top (bliksem it was cold up there), almost got blown off the mountain on the way up of course (and down), had a pee from the top and then climbed down, washed in the icy cold underground sourced water from a pipe, slept, climbed back in cars, and made it back to Joeys Sunday night 10pm. What a trip.....

Cool report!!!!
very minute is a chance to turn it all around - Vanilla Sky

>Mav... started gym. Officially at 95kg....<


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Re: Of Dust & Men (Day 2)
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2006, 11:38:14 am »

If I had this growing out my crotch I'd go see a doctor, get some topical cream or something....   :twisted: