According to Wikipedia, the proverb “a rolling stone gathers no moss” is commonly interpreted in one of two ways. The first being that those who are always moving, with no roots in place, are avoiding responsibility. Although I can’t deny the truth in that sentiment, I prefer the second interpretation, which equates “moss” to stagnation or the antithesis of growth and experience.
It appears that we’ve gotten a bit behind with the plog posts. Right now, we’re sitting in a “backpackers” in Jeffrey’s Bay, a small surf town, which lies about 80k west of Port Elizabeth. It’s pretty windy (not an unusual occurrence here in one of the top South African surf spots) and an overcast day, so we’re actually taking a little “down” time to get things in order.
A day of rest has been a rarity thus far in our African odyssey. As a matter of fact, I’ve recently found myself thinking quite a lot about Newton’s First Law of Motion. I guess that’s part of what keeps me going during the tougher stretches…the fear that, if I were to actually take a significant break, inertia will set in and my legs may never pedal again.
I guess there are just a few other things that keep me going too, like:
Being surrounded by absurdly beautiful landscapes…
Looking back on the Swatberg.
Not sure what these are called, but these are said to only bloom one day per year.
The Red Hills outside of Oodtshoorn.
Another shot of the Red Hills.
A very happy little girl in a not-so great ‘squatter camp’.
A newer ‘township’ – government built housing.
Descending to a large dam. It ended up being about 100 degrees that day.
Cactus seem to be getting bigger and bigger the more we move across the Karoo.
More ostrich farming.
And more tortoise… which also seem to be getting bigger.
Making friends with some of the most generous and warm people on the planet…
Stephen, a mohair farmer living in the Klein Karoo, and his beautiful wife Lhana rescued us from the sweltering heat, fed us, gave us a bed to sleep in, and took us on an awesome tour of the farm.
Meet Lego, the three legged Anatolian sheep dog, who recently caught and killed a fox in defense of goat brethren.
A twister forming in the distance.
These tractors are in mint condition. They are Stephen’s pride and joy.
Their farmhouse… which used to be a school.
Beautiful farmland with a peek at the range we will cross the next day.
Invited to yet another braai. Endless boerewors.
A closer shot at the mohair goats the next morning.
The Paardepoert valley.
Climbing the ‘old pass’ to George.
Gin peers over the edge as the gravel becomes rocky dirt on the long descent.
Huge descent as we passed several mountain bikers coming up.
The bottom gently smoothed out.
Learning new and exciting (and sometimes even gross) things about how the world works…
Jake, our Warmshowers host showed us his dairy farm. We arrived at milking time and here is his employee running the show.
Jake’s farm dog holding up our bikes.
Making baby cows without a daddy cow. Jake later informed us that his arm went slightly numb after fertilizing several lady cows… very interesting to watch.
And, finding myself in some wonderfully unexpected places.
Heading to a braai, with some meat in a bag.
The next day we ended up at a mountain bike race where upon arrival someone immediately bought us a round of beers. I love these people!
Finding ourselves on some single track.
For more information on this route, including GPS and logistics, click here. Also, check out our growing list of bikepacking and dirt road touring routes.