Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Easter Swaziland Day 1: Joburg to Waterval Boven

Randburg - Bethal - Waterval Boven
about 340 km

The Thursday morning before Easter, at 9/10-ish, it was pouring with rain with no sign of clearing up. The bikes were packed and while we waited for better weather, Hardy put his kit on just to see if it fits over the biker paraphernalia. It did. Then I tried my rain kit over the gear - and it fitted. So we got on the bikes and left Randburg in pouring rain.

We didn't get far. The TW only did about 100km after the last refuel, but there was that incident where it didn't want to start and when about a litre of fuel leaked out of the air filter when Hardy removed it. So, we thought we'd get out of town and then fill up. But about a km from home the TW sputtered and then refused to go any further. Reserve tank, got to closest garage, and filled up. It was closer to 11/12-ish when we finally were on our way. 

The plan was backroads to Waterval Boven.First stop was Delmas after about 80 kms. We filled up with fuel and stocked up with chocolate eggs (it was almost easter weekend, after all) and sour worms to fight the cold.

About 100 kms further in Bethal we couldn't find the Wimpy (despite huge signs next to the road), so we stocked up with braai meat and some wine from the local Spar, and continued in the rain. It was about 60 kms to Carolina, where we knew we'd find a Wimpy. 

It was cold and I imagined if I could press my knees close enough to the tank I'd get a bit of warmth from there.

There was about 3 minutes of relative sunshine on day 1. The Tènèrè even made a shadow for a minute

I don't go to Wimpys ... ever ... except on bike tours. You know what's on the menu (a big pot of tea and ham&cheese toasted sandwiches) and they never complain about the mud on your boots or all the space you take up with the wet rain jacket, biker jacket, helmet and neck brace.

It was still another 70 km or so to Boven, and we knew we were chasing daylight, so we couldn't linger too long over the three cups of tea and toasted sandwich.

We approached Tranquilitas from the same side as 2 weeks earlier on the Eastern Transvaal tour. It was darker and muddier than 2 weeks before.

It was the Thursday just before the Easter weekend started, and the campsite was already relatively full. We were going to camp but when we heard that they still had one of the 'glamping' tents available and could make a plan for us, it was an easy decision.

Hot shower, proper coffee, a huge bundle of firewood, Bethal TBones and some Tangled Tree wine. The weather gods allowed us to braai, and then it started raining again.

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