We're glad we spent an extra day here, it was a good break.
I got to catch up on some blog entries and Neda spent most of her time in the sunroom reading by the window. We decided that if we were ever to settle down, a sunroom with a reading chair is top of list of must-haves. But settling down is the furthest thing on our mind. We are leaving Mossel Bay today.
However, our talents for bringing rain to drought-afflicted areas continues unabated.
Preparing to leave Mossel Bay
After yet another night of rains, the streets are still slick with water, so we begrudgingly don our rainsuits and head out into the misty morning. Our route for the day is along the main highway N2 heading eastbound. We should finally be leaving the Western Cape province and be in the Eastern Cape by this evening.
Neda's rainsuit is so bright, it looks like it's powered by batteries!
We passed by these cool-looking plants, they were all over the side of the road
Neda, the resident botanist explains that this is Agave. Oh! Like the ones we saw in Tequila, Mexico? They look so different. The ones in Mexico don't bloom like these ones do.
I love that little things we see around us constantly remind us of places that we've been to years earlier!
Riding blind on the N2 out of Mossel Bay
As we continue on, the fog thickens. Traffic on the highway slows as the visibility drops to only a dozen meters or so. Moisture beads up on my visor as I strugle to see Neda's tail lights in front of me. I really wish I had windshield wipers on my helmet instead of constantly flicking at my visor with the index finger of my left glove.
This stretch of the road is part of South Africa's famed "Garden Route". Everyone we've talked to has told us, "You MUST ride the Garden Route! It's very scenic!"
I'm sure there are amazing things to see somewhere behind all this fog. But the only clear thing in front of me is my GPS, from which I can guess that the Indian Ocean is somewhere just a couple hundred metres off to our right. What a tease! :(
Hurray! The fog is lifting!
We're a bit disappointed with the Garden Route. Aside from the fact that we couldn't see anything for the first part of our ride, most of the way is a super-wide, four-lane highway. Not our favorite kind of road at all!
An impromptu BMW GS conference on the road! We all do that awkward head tilt thing that they do in left-lane-driving countries
The afternoon sun dissipates the fog around us, but also causes the temperature to spike. I know Neda is overheating in her rainsuit. She hates wearing it. She's the more climate-sensitive of the two of us, the first to feel the cold and the first to get hot. I joke that she's like a lizard, unable to regulate her own internal temperature. I radio ahead to tell her to pull over.
Once off the bike, she tears off the SaunaSuit that's swaddling her. "I hate wearing this damn thing!", she exclaims over the radio. :)
About an hour past George, we hit another town. A full minute had passed after we rode by a sign of the town's name: "Knysna". What a strange name. I kept saying it over in my head... and den:
I radio Neda, "OMG, guess what I just saw written on a sign?"
"Why would they write Nice-Nah on a sign?"
"NO, KNYSNA!" I spelt it out.
The entire conversation felt like it was straight out of that movie "Dude, Where's My Car?":
"Dude! What does my tattoo say?"
"Sweet! What does mine say?"
"Dude! WHAT DOES MINE SAY?!?"
Too funny! We had just ridden straight through the mythical Nice-Nah place that we've been yammering on about in our RideDOT-Gibberish-Speak this whole time. It's a good thing people don't hear what we sound like when it's just the two of us. I swear we're like a couple of five-year olds...
The town of Nice-Nah! Not that special-looking, but I had to take a picture of it!
And then we get back on the boring 4-lane highway. We rode for another hour or so. It was dead boring.
Neda radios me, "I can't take any more of this highway, I'm falling asleep!" I consult the GPS. There seems to be a smaller parallel road close to the ocean that looked more enticing.
We turned off at a place called "Nature's Valley". Neda approves just because of the name!
YES! Less Highway, More Twisties, Tastes Great, Less Filling!
Nature's Valley is very Nature-y
And then we stopped for a scenic break
The road had taken us high enough that a break in the clearing gave us a great view of the coast below.
And then back on the long boring highway. Neda does some calisthenics on the bike to stave off the boredom
This was kind of a boring riding day.
We did bail on the highway and got to do some interesting smaller roads. But even then we're both left with a bit of a hollow feeling; that sense that we're missing something fundamental about this place. The same kind of vibe I got when we arrived to Cape Town and found ourselves surrounded by Farmer's Markets, Vegan Brownies and Assorted Tourist Traps.
We're here riding motorcycles in Africa, but doing all these twisty mountain passes (which were great, BTW) and ocean-side highways, it feels like we could be riding in any developed, western country: the south-west United States, or the arid badlands of Andalusia in Southern Spain.
We're missing a sense of exoticness and adventure.
This is Africa, right?! What exactly makes this place different than all the other places we've been to?
At the end of the riding day, we stop in another coastal town, Jeffrey's Bay, which is a popular spot for... you guessed it, surfing. :)
The AirBnB that we found for the evening is a bit strange. The owner has renovated their garage and turned it into a makeshift studio apartment. It's done up nicely enough, but you have to open the garage door to get in and out. We're not complaining, it's cheap. But it's kinda strange to be sleeping in a garage...
No, just a garage...
And then Neda made dinner for us. Boerewors on our camp stove in our garage/apartment! We're South Africans now!
We grill with the garage door open so we don't stink up our "bedroom"!
No "And then"!