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Saturday, January 01, 2011

holiday, part two

Two: Murraysburg to Napier (Sunday, 19 December 2010)

We chose a less traveled route since we wanted to drive through some breath-taking places for Mother's benefit. From Murraysburg, we took the R63 west, back to the N1. It is one of my favourite drives. It's the same road that you use to get to Graaff Reinet from Murraysburg, past the Valley of Desolation. It certainly is a very desolated road - we didn't even have cellphone coverage for most of the 132km. I find the stark and ominous scenery very beautiful.

The N1 was overcrowded with lots of GP numberplates - ours included. It's a little inside joke in South Africa - in December, everyone from the land-locked provinces stream down to the coast. In high season, there are more cars with GP (Gauteng Province), FS (bloody rude Free State idiot drivers), MP (Mpumalanga), NW (North West Province) and L (Limpopo) numberplates than there are coastal ones.

We drove through Three Sisters (hate that place, don't know why), Beaufort West and then on through the deadly, blistering Karoo where the sun burnt part of my driving arm and a patch on my driving leg to a crisp through the car windows. I have never had sunburn that painful, and I am still peeling two weeks later. I feel and look like a part time leper.

We were stopped in a road block by the Traffic Police just outside the dusty little town of Leeu Gamka, but since we had spent almost R3000 to get the car ship-shape for the journey we had no problems and were sent on our merry way by the nice officer.

The N1 always seems endless from Beaufort West through morose Laingsburg where we refueled, on to Touwsrivier. Finally we turned off the N1 before it reaches Worcester and took the R318 instead. This is also one of my favourite drives. It is a narrow road that winds through Koo before snaking through the Rooihoogte Pass and the Burgers Pass, the scenery slowly changing from sun blackened Karoobossies to the austere, misty Langeberge and the fertile green valley below. Then came Montagu, Ashton, Bonnievale and tiny Stormsvlei in quick succession. Almost there, we took the serene but utterly boring 52km of the R317 through the Overberg and the last 13km on the R316 to Napier.

At long last, we arrived at The One's mother's house around 15:30. We would spend the next ten days there.

Written by I