Day 1: Edenvale to Sasolburg
Distance: 110km, average speed 17.3km/hr
Up early to head to our departure point at Subaru Johannesburg in Modderfontein. By, “up early”, I mean we somehow drag ourselves out of bed at 5am despite having too much wine and a midnight bed time. Thanks to Beverly at Subaru for supporting our trip. We are taking along Grafix Reloaded’s trusty Subaru XV along as the support vehicle, having served admirably on 9 Peaks Tour previously.
A few minutes behind schedule, we head off into the weekend Edenvale traffic, taking mostly back roads and doing a fair bit of climbing in the first 30km. We meet up with Maggie in Alberton again and head south. We’ve previously done the same route to Parys on our Triple Challenge so navigating doesn’t present much of a hassle. Most of the peril comes from reckless drivers and distracted pedestrians in Vereeniging CBD.
We survive town and get onto quieter roads (by that, I mean the R57 and R59. Quieter, yes…) ending the day at Abrahamsrust campsite, which was once a prime site for holidaymakers, but now looks like a hovel. Fortunately, initial reports that the showers were not hot proved to be false. We also manage to find a campsite that is NOT shaded by Chinese oak trees, which are at peak acorn-dropping season and would surely have caused injury to someone’s “nut”.
We all get a reasonably early night (fortunately the revelers nearby also decide to) and it’s a peaceful night in a campsite that is deserted apart from one other family.
Day 2: Sasolburg to Parys
Distance: 58km, avg speed: 17.6km/hr
Up at 6am. Discover Colin forgot to unplug the fridge and the Subaru is dead. Try push start it, fail. Find jumper cables and ask the only other people in the campsite for a boost. Success. Off a bit late as a result.
It’s an uneventful cycle through the “flat” Free State (hint: not that flat). Minimal traffic and what there is generally gives us a wide berth.
We finish the day at Dimalakite campsite, right on the banks of the Vaal River. A notable spot for fishing and bird watching. The Vaal is fuller than anyone has seen it, due to torrents of rain for the last few weeks.
We head off back to town, Maggie takes her turn at cycling while we ride in the support vehicle (long day tomorrow, ok?). We head to the Pickled Pig Ale House on the main street. Excellent selection of beer, shoddy service. So shoddy, the waitress brings me the bill, I ask her to add my customary tip which was rather generous given the service, she forgets to add it and I say nothing and feel no guilt. At least the beer was good.