Sunday, 23 October 2011

SA/Namibia 2011 - Day 22. Durban to Bethal.

View 22nd Sept: Durban to Bethal in a larger map

Last night we ended a very pleasant day with a meal and a beer at uShaka. This morning we were reluctant to leave Durban, but The Plan was to make it to Vanderbijl Park and Randburg respectively by Friday 23rd. So, we took the North Coast Road towards Stanger.

The North Coast Road. Mike and his machine.

The road repair programme impressed me. After Pongola, between Piet Retief and Heidelburg, there were numerous traffic hold ups due to this programme. The traffic controls at each section under repair were inconvenient but necessary. The waiting times were seldom more than 15 minutes. One of the advantages of travelling by motorcycle is getting straight to the front of a queue. Drivers, especially truck drivers, did not seem to mind at all that we nudged into a space in front of the leading vehicle. Of course we never held up anyone. When the lights changed to green we were off and away in a flash.

On this occasion we waited in turn.

Traffic control can mean commercial opportunity.

At Piet Retief we stopped for a coffee and also a few zzzzzs for me. We thought that stopping in Ermelo for the night would be a good plan.

But plans don't always work out. Ermelo was 'full'. We tried a few places and made enquiries. There was not a room to be had. The problem was that daylight was diminishing rapidly. Our policy was not to ride in the dark. The road surface state is so important to the motorbiker, and, with no highway lighting, no cats eyes and few white lines, good visual conditions is important.

We decided, therefore, to ride in the dark to Bethal!! It wasn't a lot of fun - too many dazzling car headlights and high speed 4x4s. Not only seeing but also being seen is so very important on the road. We felt, and were vulnerable. Maybe we should have just waited at a garage until dawn?

However, we did make it safely to Bethal. We pulled in to the first B&B place we saw. It was Die Groen Kooi and it was fine. Click here for the link.

We were only about 2 km from the centre of the town, so we dumped our gear and rode in to get a hamburger and a beer.

 'Cheers - we made it to Bethal.'

'Cheers and well-done.'

Back at the B&B we had a quick nightcap before turning in for a very welcome rest. I didn't even unpack my stuff.

Distance Today: 659 km. 410 miles.
Trip Distance: 6 453 km. 4 010 miles. 

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