Thursday, 15 January 2015

Roadtripping To Paternoster

After a last minute hectic whirlwind day of shopping; cleaning; packing; organising etc on Saturday the 20th of December, I climbed into bed at around 10pm after a quick bath, fell into an exhausting sleep and woke again at 1 am to shower; get dressed, finish packing the car to leave at 2 am for our long trip to Paternoster in the Western Cape. At one stage Mark wanted to leave at 5 and sleepover somewhere, but our pet sitter had plans, he was having a braai (barbeque) which Chad went to for awhile, Mark fetched Chad at around 8. We were not comfortable leaving the dogs until the pet sitter came after the braai had finished, in case it went on until very late. It is a lesson that Mark never learns - people can't fit into his indecisiveness.

Saying Goodbye

We left at around 2.30 and put Miss Piggy and Pluto in the bathroom as normal and Spike and Jingles in the kitchen (they often stay in the kitchen when it rains and we go out - so it was nothing new). Garfield was on Clint's bed with her food and water in the diningroom. My nephew, our pet sitter came early on Sunday morning to let them out and check on them and then stayed there for the rest of the time as arranged. The confusion being that we were going on holiday on the 21st, but the house/pet sitter always stays from the night we leave; because we always leave during the early hours of the morning. Mark never explained that when he made the arrangements.

Saying goodbye to the animals is always stressful and sad; they always know something is up when the bags come out the cupboard, especially Garfield. I don't have photos of Spike and Jingles, because they were running around outside whilst Mark and Chad were loading the bikes and checking the trailer. Pluto and Miss Piggy go off to bed as soon as their beds are in the bathroom.

It was a worry that all would be ok and a relief when we received a photo of Spike lying on the couch early in the morning - proof that all was well at home. Mark had consulted with his "experts" about the best way to get to Paternoster, so as we set off, instead of adding the address or just Paternoster into the Garmin, he put in Delareyville as that was the route that was recommended by his "expert". The estimated time to Paternoster is 16 hours - very long without a break.

This was the start of quite an adventure. We drove and drove until about 4.30 and then Mark was feeling sleepy, so Chad drove and Mark slept at the back, whilst I kept a very very close eye on the roads.

We drove and drove and Chad was going to drive until the sun came up, but ended up driving perfectly for another 6 hours. At one stage we stopped at a filling station, as we were already a tank in (I can't remember the name of the town) and fortunately it had relatively clean toilets and luckily we used them as our adventure on Mark's recommended route did not include proper rest stops.

We drove and drove on the N14 for about 500km's on this long straight and extremely boring road. Sometimes the only car on the road for long stretches - listening to the news on the radio and reading the traffic reports on Twitter, I was pleased that we were on a quiet road.

The other roads were busy and there were so many reports of pileups and collisions and fatalities, but after 6 hours of no rest stops - no shops - I am not a pee in the bush person; I was wishing for busy roads and toll fees. The plan wasn't to go tollfree, but the best route possible - not sure that it was. We stopped at a Steers at some stage, in a little town, I think it was Kuruman, I know it was the Northern Cape and it was 9 am and hot as hell. I thought I would remember the names of the towns, but I didn't. The next place was Upington in the Garmin and off we went. In Upington we filled up again - no toilets again. Another tank of diesel, our third, the Drifter drank diesel and it doesn't have a small tank. I think it takes just under R1000.00 to fill it. By then Mark was driving, which was a good thing because we were driving around the busy centre of Upington looking for a Petrol Station.

Mark couldn't understand why we were using so much diesel, yes the trailer is heavy and add the two motorbikes and all our luggage at the back, but still he used to take heavier loads to Ballito in his bakkie (pick up truck) and it was light on fuel.

We drove and drove along this same quiet road, with mostly dry vegetation, interspersed with sporadic greenery from the vineyards in between the dry thorny lands. By then I had, had a sleep in the back before we had stopped in Kuruman, Chad was sleeping and I was in the front. The road just went on and on and on.

If we were gulping down diesel before, we were now guzzling it faster than ever. The road was long with a constant incline for miles and miles. Still hardly a car in sight, except when there were a few trucks holding everyone up and impatient idiots overtook on solid lines or on coming traffic.

It was a long and boring road and I would never do it with small children. There were plenty of "stops" along the road, where you could pull over and stretch your legs or have a mini picnic, if you were prepared and knew you were travelling on the road less travelled.

We drove through another town - an oasis in the middle of dry arid land. It even had a country club, but in a blink of an eye, the town was gone.

And then we went from roadtripping to extreme adventures..................

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