Now we had to get serious about making up some time and try to make De Aar some 140 km away via the N1 to Hanover (again against the law) and then the N10 to De Aar. The road to Hanover was uneventful on the N1. The most exciting part was the cops and there speed traps, I was trying to figure out how fast we were going.
We reached Hanover and by now Tony & I had realized that as we entered the Karoo, the Old Town Hotels were going to be our target. You can just feel the history and imagine the stories told 100 years ago in these incredible surroundings. After a few beers and some lunch, Tony felt he needed to change his rear tyre. I was not so keen on this and thought he could make De Aar, so I ordered more beers, became a lazy sloth in this unrelenting 36 deg heat and watched as he changed tyres on the Hotel patio. I think that when I started this tour, this would have annoyed me but as the tour progressed, I learnt to start enjoying these moments. Every time we stopped or had a breakdown, we met some amazing people and it was becoming part of this incredible story, so I quickly learnt to embrace these moments. Right, tyre on, time to hit the road after an extended stay in Hanover. Our target was De Aar and the heat was not going to let up. We had another 63 km to go and this was not going to be easy as it was already nearly 4pm.
Things were going very well until suddenly, yes you guessed it, Tony’s bike down again. We were about 30 km from De Aar and the bike had no spark. Change spark plug, nothing, what could this be now? Finally I got on the bike and pedaled like crazy and the bike fired up, great, switched off and off we went, or NOT! It just refused to start. I was eyeing out a farmhouse not too far from where we were. I saw a car riding out on the dirt road and I spontaneously just jumped on my bike and headed for that car. As I approached the car I found two young ladies and asked them if it was their farm. It was their fathers farm and I told them of our predicament and asked if we could possibly camp on their property. The farmer, Sakkie van Zyl came out to meet us and welcomed us onto his farm. We set up camp in their back yard and then their was some excitement to be had. A truck had arrived to collect some sheep and they had to be herded and loaded. I immediately asked if we could help and didn’t really wait for the answer. For a brief moment I had forgotten that we were on a first ever tour to Cape Town on motorized bicycles. I was in the moment and felt what it was like to be a Karoo sheep farmer, I was in my element. Once again, a breakdown had led to an experience that I would never forget. Sakkie, his wife Vivienne, his son and two daughters, we will always remember you for your hospitality and assistance, best oats I ever ate, thanks Vivienne! In the morning we assessed the situation and the only problem we could find was that no power was coming from the CDI unit. Before that we had changed the plug and the magneto, no joy. How were we going to find a CDI unit for a motorized bicycle in the middle of the Karoo. Zak, Sakkie’s son took Tony to town to see what they could find while I stayed behind and serviced my bike. They returned empty handed, we were in trouble once again. I decided to give Hilton a call, no one knows these engines better than him. Hilton is the importer of these little engines, his knowledge and experience has saved me on many occassion, check him out on www.ecotrax.biz . He gave me some advice and I told Tony to go inside and have breakfast, I wanted to do what Hilton had advised while he was not there. Put everything back together and it fired up straight away, thanks Hilton, you are a real champ. So once again, after saying goodbye to the great van Zyl family, thanks to the girls that brought us some much needed beers while packing up, we were on our way again. From De Aar we were heading for Britstown, again I had never heard of this little Karoo town but it sounded interesting once again. It was only 85 km from the farm where we were but it was already afternoon again and we had to get some kms behind us. After a quick stop in De Aar to get some meat and a few beers, the ride to Britstown was typical of what I was wanting to see of the Karoo. It has a beauty that has to be experienced. Its dry and baron with heavy winds and beautiful mountains but it is just something special with sheep and windmills scattered everywhere. My favorite little mountain as can be seen below, Mt Smiley.
It was a great ride to Britstown and the bikes were going very well again. On arrival we headed straight for the Hotel, the Trans Karoo Country Lodge. What a little gem this place is in the middle of nowhere.
We were a little hungry and needed something to wash down the ice cold beers we were enjoying. I took a look at the menu and took charge of the order. After all we were just going to have a snack because earlier we bought some T-bone steak and Karoo lamb for a braai (BBQ) later that evening. I ordered peri peri chicken livers and skilpaedtjies, a Karoo delicasy. liver and lamb fat. We shared the dishes and summoned the chef. What came out of the kitchen really surprised us, a tiny coloured lady that was extremely shy. We thanked her for the amazing food and she disappeared into her kitchen again. What another great day on our adventure. But it was not the end of this day’s adventures, we still needed a place to set up camp and have the braai we were really looking forward to so much. So we hit the road again just before sunset, trying to get just out of town and then find a place in the bush somewhere, wild camping. We road about 5 km out of town when I spotted a bridge and under here looked like a great place to stop and this was going to be home for the night. This was going to be a night to remember.
After a great meal, time to set up our tents and Tony thought he was just going to sleep in his sleeping bag under the bridge. I strongly advised against this and told him that we were in the territory of Caracal and the very shy but dangerous Brown Hyaena, never mind the foul tempered Puff Adder and possibly Cobras and that nasty little thing called a scorpion. I have never seen Tony put up a tent that quickly. Although the ground was hard, I fell asleep quickly and only woke up at sunrise, for Tony, it was not such a peaceful night.