Day 290 Springbok Tuesday 08/05/07
It felt quite nice to have a lay in for a change and not really have to do anything. After breakfast, I went to an internet place (extortionately expensive), and bought two new pairs of socks and a pair of boxer shorts. The state of the two pairs of boxers that I've had since the start of my trip 10 months ago is quite remarkable, and I'm unsure whether to bin them or donate them to a modern art gallery. Spent the rest of the day vegging. It's a hard life.
Day 291 Springbok Wednesday 09/05/07
I was going to give the bike a service today, but the more I looked at it, the more I could see things that I didn't like – Spokes bent, frayed wires, wheels not going around properly. It's only got 550 kms to go, so I just cleaned the chain a little and left the rest alone. Crossing my fingers is probably going to be more effective than tinkering with it at this stage.
Day 292 Springbok Thursday 10/05/07
Just a veg day of doing nothing. I'm looking forwards to starting off again tomorrow and reaching the end of my journey.
Day 293 Springbok – Kamieskroon Friday 11/05/07
Todays little section of 65 kms was extremely hilly all throughout, and it would have been quite tough to do it as part of a longer day. Actually, I'm enjoying these short days of cycling – it's a good way of winding down towards the end of the trip.
Day 296 Bitterfontein – Vanrhynsdorp Monday 14/05/07
It was really windy last night, and it was still giving it some this morning, so I was in two minds whether to set off or not. I'm glad that I did though, because the wind was blowing the right way, and of the three and a half hours it took me to cover the 90 kms to Vanrhynsdorp, I only had to pedal for half an hour. I picked up a bargain hotel room for 100 Rand, and I hired a couple of DVD's to watch in the afternoon. Looking in the map book given to me by Mr. Mullet in Palapye, I am now on the final page (6), and have 300 kms left to Cape Town. I've been thinking about at exactly what point I say that I have cycled to Cape Town – Do I finish at Table Mountain, Cape Point or what? I've decided that as soon as I see the ‘Welcome to Cape Town' sign I've done it though!
Day 297 Vanrhynsdorp – Clanwilliam Tuesday 15/05/07
Today was one of the hardest days of the trip. Unlike yesterday, the wind and mountains were not in my favour. There were no flat sections, and any downhill parts were strategically placed so that I was going directly into a headwind and had to pedal just as hard as if I was going up. And the uphill sections were insanely steep. Of course, if my rear wheel went around properly, it might have been a little easier. I had a puncture in the rear with 20 kms to go, which was great fun repairing in gale force winds at the side of the road. Why do people sound their horn when driving past somebody changing an inner tube at the side of the road? Am I likely to be in a good mood and want to wave back?? As I changed it, I noticed that not only was the sidewall splitting, but that the tyre is now so thin as to be almost see through. That can't be good. I considered putting the spare tyre on, but its been folded up for so long that I seriously doubt it would resemble anything approaching round when unpacked. Saying that, it might fit my misshaped rear wheel like a glove. 220 kms to Cape Town remain.
Day 298 Clanwilliam – Citrusdal Wednesday 16/05/07
Todays 60 kms passed through very picturesque fruit growing valleys, so there was more mountain work, but thankfully the wind was minimal. I took a break halfway through the journey at one of the regular picnic tables to spend an hour sorting out the spokes on the rear wheel again. 160 kms to Cape Town.
Day 299 Citrusdal – Piketberg Thursday 17/05/07
So, another day off. Not a lot to do but veg out, have a long bath and watch TV. I'll be back at work soon, so I have to make the most of it!
Day 303 Malmesbury – Cape Town 21/05/07
After a big breakfast, I finally hit the road for the last time! The weather wasn't exactly good, but at least it wasn't as bad as it had been over the weekend. According to the news, a fair bit of damage had been done in Cape Town by the winds and rain then. There was no real wind today, but pretty regular spells of rain accompanied me all the way, and it was quite cold. Not to worry though – It was my last time of cycling on this trip!! Who cares if the rear wheel is an oval shape and the tyres are transparant??!!?? After 10 months of cycling through deserts, over mountains, eating the strangest food and meeting even stranger people (most of them nice though!!) its now over. I”VE MADE IT TO CAPE TOWN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(And so now, its over. I'd just like to thank everybody whose kept in touch with me as I've cycled, the people I've met on the road, and especially the folks back home for the loan which meant that I could finish the trip!)