I’ve been doing a lot of thinking the past couple days and even though I have experienced so much, that it has taken many days to absorb it all.
We rode all the way (basically) across South Africa to the Atlantic coast. How is that even possible.
The roads were still very busy but it was the wind that was the most challenging. At times I thought it would blow me off the road and it was even worse when large trucks came from the opposite direction. I basically stayed in a constant battle with the bike, forcing to stay in line. On one curve, an oversized truck was so large that it came over halfway into my lane, I had no where to go. The yellow line had a 3” drop off then a guardrail, I just said “oh, shit…” and hugged that yellow line as close as possible. I needed to change underwear after that.
We saw lots of blooming flowers, and there were a lot of green bushes. It had rained the week prior and it was just carpets of purple flowers.
I crested to top of the hill heading into Port Nolloth and suddenly I could see the ocean. The beach town just looked so picture perfect. Miles of beach as far as I could see and the white caps from the waves were visible from miles away.
We stayed 2 nights at Bedrock Lodge, right across the street from the ocean. I must have talked to the operator Auriel and the chef Aunt Maggie for hours. They were so open and prayed over me and our trip and we had beautiful fellowship.
Auriel spoke some very key things about my healing that I couldn’t help but cry. She spoke about my fear of finding great love again, of starting over and she only knew that I lost Frank recently. She didn’t know about this blog. She too has had a lot of things happen in her life and is very strong in her faith. She said that pain speaks to pain. Even though ours was different, it is still the same language. She said that the people praying for us all over the countries were like little points of light that al connected to create a shield over me and our journey.
Aunt Maggie just let me sit in the kitchen and talk to her like I was a child. We spoke about family, kids, music and the problems we all face world wide. How we all worry about kids falling into the wrong crowd or their schooling. Young girls not respecting themselves and sleeping around and the getting pregnant. All the things that parents in the US experience. We talked about the racial problems in South Africa and classifications that are placed on them. It was very eye opening to see going to places like the market and seeing how everyone is treated.
Leaving Port Nolloth was the start of my off-road adventures. I was absolutely terrified. I could only drive 30km an hour and was death locked on the throttle and standing up most of the day. We didn’t make it very far that day and I was mentally and physically exhausted. The roads are dirt/gravel and sand and there are tracks from where cars have driven past but the hardest part is the corrugation. It just non stop small ruts that make you feel like you will be shook to death. The sand makes the back end get squirrelly so my quads got a work out from me popping up and down in the saddle when I felt it slipping.
We didn’t make it to where Andrew wanted to camp originally so we just found a tree to hide the bikes behind and camped in the bush. We had packed out some steaks and some Alfredo noodles packets so we cooked that over an open fire. The fire had to get down to coals before Andrew put them on so it wasn’t hot enough for the noodle mixture and it ended up becoming a clumpy, gross looking mess. It basically looked like brains. We didn’t have plates or knives. I just had a coffee cup so Laura gave me some but it had the consistency of cake batter. Andrew had the bright idea to put some beets we had brought in it and it did help the taste but it just looked like brains or intestines. It was so terrible that we just laughed and laughed until no sound came out and my side ached. We used the paste packets to wrap around the steaks and just tore pieces off like wild animals. I swear, it was the best steak that I had ever had in a long time. We brewed some coffee and sat talking and looking at the stars for a long time. I eventually got in my tent but kept looking at them. There were so many and the Milky Way was just breathtaking.
The next day was a lot better, I just relaxed more and went a lot faster, which actually made the ride smoother. We camped at Canyon River campsites and after setting up the tents, showering and hanging laundry up to dry, I went for a short walk up a hill and just sat and had a conversation with frank and I think partly with God, just asking what I am supposed to do with this gift I had been given. I just cried and held his sphere and talked to him like I haven’t done in a long time.
After I came down, we went to Fish River Canyon which is like a mini Grand Canyon. It was pretty and I got to see a small herd of Oryx run across the rode in front of me. I just slowed down and let them all pass. We got back as the sun finished setting. The sky was pinks and purples and reminded me of driving through the desert with frank so many years ago and felt such a connection to him.
The next day was very nice and the roads smoothed out a lot. I got a lot better and could go much faster so we made great time getting to the next spot to camp.
We met a guy named Richard Baath who is 8.5 months into his trip from Sweden to the tip of South Africa. He is supposed to finish the same day I fly home, only he is riding a bicycle. He is the coolest guy and I talked his eye off asking questions and wanting to see pictures. We all had dinner together and are camping out. 3 tents all in a row. You can find his blog at richardbaath.com or Instagram @richardbaath. Some of his photos are incredible. I can’t even imagine what his journey must be like and to be doing it alone.