Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Out of the fire and into the rain ...

And so began the last of the long days driving, about 7 hours in all.  It took us about 30 minutes more to climb out of the Gamkaskloof valley than it took for us to drive in.  I don't really understand that but it is what it is and were were already two hours into the journey by the time that we even got back onto the Swartberg pass which is as fantastic on the back as it was up the face of it.  Looking back after we climbed out of Gamkaskloof proper this is what we saw.  I tried going in and out of having the central diff locked and it worked a cinch.

From the left turn onto Swartberg pass we drove a really good gravel road until we met the tar road and turned right towards Meiring Poort.  On the way down there is one particularly twisty section going down a steep  kloof until we found ourselves in the bottom of the ravine looking up at the jagged peaks above.

Meirings Poort is one of those serendipitous occurrences in a journey.  It turns out that the flood of water falling from the sky on our tent two nights ago created a real flood down Meirings Poort and we could see the debris piled up to the height of the roof of our car as we drove over the drifts.  I should have stopped for a photo but for some reason I didn't but it really is a fantastic drive criss crossing the river with numerous drifts with names like skelms drift, dubbel drifts se draai and perskeboom drift.  The workers were also out in force clearing the road of debri and marking various sections for later repair.

Arriving in Willowmore we stopped at cafe called "Wille'more Kofi" where we had a pretty decent coffie and roosterbrood for lunch.  The roosterbrood was, again, absolutely delicious.  So simple and yet tastes so amazing.

As we were about to leave we saw the "Willow Limo" which I took a snap of and about 30" later an aged gentleman ran up to us and spoke to me in machine gun afrikaans, of which I understood not a word.  Hauling out my best afrikaans I asked him to "praat so net 'n bietjie stadiger" which he kindly did and what he wanted was R5.00 for the photograph which we duly paid him.

The trip from Willowmore to Graaf-Reinert is quite short but we could see lots of thunderstorms like the one below which didn't bode well for the evening.

The campsite at Graaf-Reinert is a bit spartan and there was no real shade to be found so we opted for a site which would have afternoon shade but nothing in the morning.  Unfortunately, all the sites are pancake flat so if we have another serious thunderstorm we might end up in a water bed in which case we would have to take shelter in the car; not an appealing thought.

Met a couple from Durban with whom we had drinks on the platform overlooking the dam as the sun set while we kept an eye out on the ominous looking clouds and lightning to our north.

We prepared for the worst by taking everything that would be find that would handle sitting in 3" of water out of the car so that if worst comes to worst we can grab the bedding and gap it for the car.  I feel like we are rain magnets the regularity with which we are getting rained on when we are camping.

Made a fire and true to form the heavens opened and I had to stand out in the rain protecting the fire as best I could until the potatoes were done.  Another night when I won't be able to sit late into the night staring into the flames of the fire.

1 comment:

margaret said...

That flood was a big item on the news early in the week and we saw a stranded bus and a car that was washed away (passengers all survived). We didn't know where you were so I was a mite concerned and relieved to receive your blog a day or two later. Believe Heidi has invited you to accompany Alex to Cape Town for climbing. Really hope that you can make it as it will be a big relief to her and fun for Alex.