So Saturday (7 December) was my birthday but I was not going to miss out on my birthday day off. It was an institution I finally started last year after several failed attempts to take the day of my birthday off and spend it doing something I want to. Last year I went fishing for yellows in the Vaal river on my own. This year the plan was to take Friday off, take the scenic route to Parys, overnight on the farm underneath the stars and take a long ride back home on Saturday to be home on time for a braai with some friends.
It did not start out as planned due to some urgent work responsibilities but I eventually left the office around lunch time, packed and left to Parys. To not get to the farm in the dark, I abandoned the idea to take my usual dirt route and took a relaxed ride on tar. A last minute stop at the shop in Parys before I headed to the farm to get some snacks.
As I neared the farm I could not pass on the opportunity to stop and take in the sunset. It was awesome to see the sun colour the dust clouds caused by the farmers plowing the fields next to the road.
Although the trip was mostly tar, the last couple of kilometers before we reach the farm is enough dirt to wet the whistle for tomorrows riding.
As I sat on the koppie watching the last rays of the sun disappear, I was startled by a strange noise I haven’t heard on the farm before. Very paranoid I sat in the dark trying to discern if I was being stalked by a leopard or some illegal residents. When I saw the bush pig running trough the brush below I could not help laughing at myself.
My fire was burnt out by the time I got back from my encounter with the pig, so I had to start it again to get some food cooked. What a pleasure to sit next to the fire with no-one around, listening to the jackal call in the distance.
Out of the dark, on the rocks next to the fire I saw a small spider crawling closer. I removed it into the bushes but it came back each time I removed it. By the third time I realised that it might not be the same spider returning each time. Scenes from the old movie “Arachnophobia”, where large spiders terrorised the town and took over the small island, played through my mind as I enjoyed my supper.
After breakfast and a lazy morning I started of on a dirt loop through the Vredefort dome towards Venterskroon to meet up with a group of fellow riders to welcome home Jo-Rust (http://jorust.com). This was the last leg of her trip around Africa and a group of riders that have been following her trip closely arranged to welcome her home and escort her the last stretch. Here’s a link to another report of the get together http://www.roamafrica.co.za/forum/index.php?topic=1220.0 on the Roam Africa forum.
The arrangement was to meet at the Old Imperial Inn in Venterskroon. I can definitely recommend it as a stop over when riding through the Dome. Friendly people and cold drinks. They also have a pool to cool down in.
I did not join the group that accompanied Jo back home and headed of on my own enjoying the dirt roads until I took a wrong turn and ended up on the Golden Highway and took the last stretch on tar. This was an awesome Birthday ride in a beautiful area that I can recommend to visit. Not very technical but the scenery makes it worthwhile.
Below are some more random photo’s of the trip.