Day 18 Riverside Sun to cathedral peak
Wow what a change of scenery!
After more then two weeks of driving in mostly flat dry and often desert country today we really hit the mountains.
We started at 8.45 with partly cloudy skies and 22 degrees Celsius. It was the first time in weeks that it was below 30 degrees.
Today no competition, just passage controls and a lunchtime time control.
The first 100km was quite boring except that we were warned that there was a police speed check at 41 km. The local police force were looking like fools when 35 rally cars past their radar gun at 20 km below the speed limit. We all politely waved at them when we came past.
We also passed a place called Sasolburg which is really just a large oil refinery owned by state owned oil company Sasol It is surrounded by a lot of townships, some of which really look very poor.
Thereafter the landscape started to become more pleasant and we started to spot mountains in the distance.
We passed a town called Heilbron and saw a sign to a town called Frankfurt. For a short while we thought we were driving in Germany but then we arrived at a small town called Reitz where we had a passage control PC in a wonderful traditional coffee and cake shop. At this shop we found our senior rally friends Ed and Janet Howle and we all sang for Ed who turned 83 today. I think tonight there will be some more celebrating going on.
After the coffee stop the landscape was really getting very nice, lush and green with well organized farms and nice roads.
The lunch TC was in a lovely town called Clarens. This could be a village in the Hamptons (USA) Very pleasant with nice shops and cafes. Unfortunately we only had time for a sandwich before we had to leave again. Still 200 km to go.
Our next route took us to and in the Golden Gate National Park. This is an exceptional mountain range with breathtaking views. We will try and send a few pictures but you really have to see it to believe it. We climbed to over 2000 meters (6000ft)at one stage. There was a rally passage control (pc) at one of the best view points.
Then on to Drakenburg mountains. The road was beautiful but we passed quite a lot of very poor villages with many small children alongside the road. The road got smaller and narrower the further we drove into the mountain range.
Eventually , literally at the end of the road, we arrived at the entry gate of the Cathedral Peak hotel. A very classic British Style hotel with an amazing view of the Cathedral Peaks.
The hotel was build by a mr Albert and his wife Doreen van der Riet and opened its doors in 1939. It is a lovely place to stay and hopefully it will cool down a bit tonight because this afternoon the temperatures soared again in the mid thirties.
Tomorrow an early start for us and another long driving day.
There are two off road time trials for the first time since Jan’s accident. There’s an alternative route but we will start and go through the test but at our own pace.
Tomorrow night should bring us to the Phinda game resort where on Saturday we will have a rest day. Time to give the car a good check up.
Mick & Grace