Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Tomorrow I walk into Africa .( Twisted from Alexander Supertramp )

I am not certain of the intervals between updates from this point onwards .

THANKS SOUTH AFRICA for a great trip so far , you support has been phenomenal

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Manouta to Louis Trichardt

Kuname River Lodge

I stay at the most stunning Safari lodge you could imagine , Kuname River Lodge , my hosts Barry , Min , Ralie , Mike and Peter were really great . I was luxury at its best . Look at the pics below and you will understand how special it was

Tzaneen to Soekmekaar

Set off from Jan and Leoni's house early early and was pleasantly surprised at the beauty of the Limpopo province with the waterfalls, fruit and tree plantations and stunning scenery. Leonie gave me some sandwiches for the road and an I had a chuckle when I eventually opened them and found two little notes saying “minced rump and cheese - safe miles “and” black current and cheese - happy miles”

When I reach mojaji's kloof town I was stopped by a lady who gave me a gentle squeeze on the arm and thanked me for what I was doing, I was really touched by her gesture. I met numerous people on the road and after about 40 km I was flying along thinking how easy the day was going. I had to climb 400 m from Tzaneen to Soekmekaar and it had been really easy so far and I only had about 20 km to go.

I reached the 12km sign and rounded a bend and then realized when the 400 m climb had been hiding. Well needless to say the last 12km to well over 2 hours to complete and I ended in Soekmekaar after 64km and was shattered.

I went to the impala cafe to try and track down Ria Erasmus; they gave directions to her house as well as supplying me with some milk and a plate of hot chips full of salt and vinegar.

Ria and Andre were fantastic and fed me and told me about the road ahead and there life in the region of Soekemekaar and Bandelier kop where I would be heading tomorrow...

Soekemekaar to bandelierskop ( Lalapanzi)

I left at 6 and took it easy as things were still a bit stiff from yesterday. I had only gone about 8 km when a mustard ford pulled up and the lady greeted me by name. her name was Kobie , we chatted for a while and I ask where she was headed to , She told me she was headed nowhere and had come to find me to see if I need anything as she had heard I was on my way to bandelierskop and that’s where she lived .

I told her I was ok for now and would probably see her later. She came back once more and then met me for a last time at the bandelierskop centre where she introduced me to Martin the manger of the centre. I suggested she stay for coffee but she left me with Martin.

Shortly after that radio jacaranda called and asked that I give the listeners an update of my journey. During the update I was cut off when the signal dropped, as I looked up a young lady came skidding to a halt to tell me that I had been disconnected :-)

That night I spend the evening in the Lala panzi hotel and Marius the owner told me stories of the notorious " breaker Morant " who was and Australian who had been assigned to help the British fight against the Boers . He was a really bad man and killed anyone who got in his way. look it up it’s really fascinating.

I was my steves birthday today and the 3rd anniversary of me stopping smoking, hard to believe that I have been running for less than 3 years.

Lala Panzi to Louis Trichardt

Had a great run in to Louis Trichardt. downhill all the way. I stopped at the farm J3 where a chap called Frans' works and had coffee with him and his grandchildren. he had called me the day before and invited me and as today was a short day I decided to take him up on his offer. I enjoyed my brief stay and the company was good.

When I arrived in Louis Trichardt, I was met by Dirk and Jan from the Zoutpansberg 66 roundtable. they had organized a group of guys to escort me into town, which they did and blocked the intersections as I arrived at each one so that I did not have to stop running.

With that done we headed to the round table club house for some early morning beers :-)

Later I went to Camp Africa in the mountains where I was to stay. and have my rest day.

I headed off early the following morning and made my way to bokmakirie . On route i was met by Steve , My brother , This was a really welcome site and was a highlight for me . We shared some stories , had a few cold cokes and he stocked me up with all kinds of goodies for my upcoming border crossing . I can't say more than this as it was a moment you had to be there to appreciate . We parted with a laugh and a promise to catch up again on Kili.

I had met a girl , Karlien ,, at a party in Louis Trichardt who had made contact with her dad in Bokmakirie and organized a place for me to stay . She told me to look out for Grizzly Adams and that would be her dad .

i found Charles and spent a good eveniing with him , his wife Helene and there son .

it was really relaxing.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Lydenberg to Manouta

Lydenberg to Orhigstad ( Hannah game lodge )

I had a fantastic stay at Lorna and Frans , the rest day was perfect and i spent most the day with Tanie Charlotte and Lorian around the house .If you ever want to meet a person that has a super positive outlook and an undaunted faith then i suggest you take a drive to Lydenberg and meet Lorna , I will not go into details but with the amount of adversity they have had in most would have cracked , so hats of to a really great family .

Franco dropped me off at really early an di set off on the downhill plummet from Lydenberg to Orhigstad , It was a great days running and was spent mostly reminiscing about family holidays with my parents and 3 brothers in the big white Rambler that we owned , with red seats that you stuck too if you sweated to much .:-) Fishing at a place called sycamore , I also dared my oldest brother Grant to give me a donkey bite at watervalbowen when my parents were in the shop , well he did , I screamed so loud they thought he had tried to kill me ..

I arrived at The turn off to Burgerfort and was met by Wayne the GM of the Hannah game lodge , I was treated to seeing a stunning Sable antelope bull which was a site to be remembered .

Orhigstad to Manouta park

I left Hannah and head up the Able Eramus pass . I really prefer the civil engineers who build tunnels compared to those who build passes . This Particular pass does not have a single flat bit on the way up and it seems to go on forever. Gee whiz, dig a tunnel dude .
I went over the top and descended into the settlement of California where I was hailed by on of the fruit sellers ,Muis , to come over and chat . She was a wonderful lady , she fed me on banana’s while we talked and she insisted , with a big smile and a wink ,that should I return this way that I should stop and stay with her for the night . then her and her friends packed up laughing and asked if I needed another wife so I don’t get to lonely on the road . We parted with a good laugh and I headed for the strydom tunnel .

Things were getting quite busy now and I was seeing people all the time . The drunk in the politically sloganned T-shirt , the road side vendor with a bird watchers scope to make anyone jealous , the ladies at the tunnel who need a demo of me running with pram, twice .

I arrive at the Manouta caravan park and was directed to a chalet , The only other guest were a family from Tzaneen so I hung around at the pool with them and the lady at the bar ,Laura, kept up a steady flow of Black label and a Jack of two .
It was a really enjoyable relaxing afternoon .

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ermelo to Lydenberg

Oh yes. My big surprise in Ermelo. Well if you been on face book you know already but this is what happened.
I was lying on my bed having a rest when there was a knock at my door and Lin , the owner of the owner of the guest house where I was staying said I should open . A bit annoyed by her insistent tone I went to the door and pulled it open. Well I would never have thought but standing there was... my Mom and her good friend Margaret Swift. It was a great surprise and made my day. We had a great lunch at the Dro’s (mine was on the house, thanks to Gerrie the manager). Then a couple beers and we ended up for a hunger busta burger at the spur for dinner.

Thanks Mom.

The next morning I was off to and early start and on my way to Chrissiesmeer. As I came over the one hill I heard dogs barking and looked ahead of me and saw a terrifying site. Nine stray looking dogs, the same type the locals use for hunting were charging down the hill at full speed towards me. I grabbed my stick and clutched my trusty pepper spray and readied my self of the imminent attack. When they were about 100 m from me 4 of the dogs diverted off the road and into the field and the other 5 just kept coming.
Ready …steady ( phew , at least I had the Rabies injection ) and then they upon me but they did not even slow down and just kept going straight past me and up the hill behind me . What and absolute relief that was.

I arrived in Chrissiesmeer and it was raining. I stopped at the first coffee shop that I got to which also happened to be the tourist information centre and was treated to an interest and embellished history lecture of Chrissiesmeer while I enjoyed my coffee. Father Christmas, the history lecturer, was very entertaining and my stop was well worth the time I spent their. I later found out that farther Xmas real name s actually Ben. He told of mysterious moving rocks, frogs, flowers and indigenous Bushmen. The history of the giants (yes Giants, he has a picture of a skeleton of one  and the rock art from forgot times gone by.

I headed out of town and thanks to a local fellow Koos, was able to get a lift to the guest house I was staying at, Florence Guest farm, as it was in the opposite direction to where I was going. There I met Ane’ and Nico. The name Ane’ sounded familiar but I did not think trice about it until Nico mentioned a guy who was going to Jerusalem a stopped by a couple of years ago. I then new exactly who they were. There was a French couple who walked to Jerusalem too, Alec and Sonja. They had also stayed at Nico and Ane’, in there book they referred to a guy who was ahead of them, and now I know his name, Stephen.

They were great hosts and the house they live in is stunning. I loved it.

I learned a tragic but beautiful story about Chrissiesmeer while I was there.
During the Boer war a British soldier was killed and buried in the local Cemetery. His name was Lt Andrew Swanson , The year after he died in October a small box arrived at the Chrissiesmeer post office with a short note saying that the sprig of heather in the box was please to be placed on his grave and it had been sent by the FiancĂ©’ that he had left behind in Scotland . This continued to arrive every year until 1950 when the box arrived in October as usual but the note said that because she was now 80 years old they were moving here to an old age home so this would be last sprig of heather that she would be sending.
After 1950 the children from the primary school would go to the grave every October and sing “My bonnie lies over the ocean “.

Chrissiesmeer to Carolina

I left Chrissiesmeer at about 6 am and started out for Carolina, within the first km I caught up with 4 young black guys walking in the same direction as me. I greeted as I went past and the one guy, Aaron, picked up his pace and walked with me. He told me all about his family, his 1 year old baby, his father who works on a local farm etc.
I asked where he was walking too and he told me that he is on his way to work at the charcoal manufacturing farm. He explained that some days they get a lift if they lucky but most days they walk.
So it turns out the its 9 km there and 9 km back every day 5 days a week to earn R50.00 per day unless it rains then there is no work .

We parted ways and I kept on my way to Carolina. Carolina came and went with out much ado. I stayed at the Fairview guest farm where Christine that kitchen lady took great care of me. There was a power outage at about 6 pm, so it was an early night and the rain poured all night

Carolina to Belfast.

The run to Belfast form Carolina started out well and then just deteriorated in to a slog that I wanted to get over and done with because my left foot was very sore. I got and sms from a friend for work, Shireen, saying she hoped I was having a good day. This brought a smile to my face and cheered me up because I was probably having one of my worst days, but then as it may be a sign was sent to me, almost like a gift and as I looked up a beacon of hope brought a smile to my lips and all my negativity from the bad day was gone.
At first I was not sure, a mirage perhaps but no, I was correct, it was a sign of hope and it said “Engen one stop, Wimpy “.

While I was there I met Gert Jordan, who is involved with the n4 toll road and we started chatting. He told me how he believed that I only could have got this far safely because God had been watching over me and he believed that I will remain safe as this is what God wanted. We chatted for a while and just before I was leaving he gave me a couple of rands for me to get a burger or something for myself.
I entered Belfast and found the Owl and Trout guest house where Janet and Julian Hendrikz had offered me accommodation for the night; this was thanks to Sylvia the local lady in the Belfast tourism office who had kindly assisted to find me places in Belfast and Dullstroom.

I heard that in Belfast there had been 3 Boer concentration camps and according to the map the one, Camp 3, was fairly close to where I was staying so I headed out to find the original site of this camp. It proved to be a bi harder than I thought as no one really new what I was talking about but after listening to Janet’s instructions and asking a lot of question I eventually found it, Strangely (I use the word strangely because I don’t really know the proper use of the word ironically .. hehe) to the plot where it is houses the local Belfast orphanage and the staff working there did not seem to know that the grounds had once been a concentration camp.

Belfast to Dullstroom

After the really bad day yesterday to was a dream day. It was going to be a short day only 33km but I took the road to Spionkop instead of Dullstroom and had to back track and in doing so added about 6km to my day but it still went really well. It rained the whole way but the new pram cover that my mom had given me kept everything dry and I put my rain coat on before I left.
I cruised into Dullstroom well before lunch and headed for Peebles guest lodge, which Sylvia had arranged for me. Mike, the owner met me and was a great host, his place has 5 stars so I was in an environment where I had not been before and it was very fancy and enjoyable. Although the rooms, grounds, builds etc were all stunning the thing that struck me the most was that fact that the rose that was left on the bed for new guest had the most amazing scent.

4 of the managers from CEB showed in Dullstroom to have lunch with me.
Schalk, Tanya, Pierre and “Thomas” (well Thomas is not really his name but I thought would protect this identity).

We had a great lunch and enjoy a couple of beers and then Thomas did a handing over ceremony of the chocolates they had bought for me. One at a time with a hand shakes after each one. There were about 15 so it did take a while.

Later I went back to Peebles and enjoy the use of the Spa which really made me feel pretty good.

Dullstroom to Lydenberg

I setoff in the rain at about 5:30 am and did the first 27 km in about 3:30 at which point I got to the farm of Frans and Lorna where I was going to stay . I went in introduced my self to Frans and had a sandwich and some water. I then for only the second time in 48 days abandoned my pram and headed out with my day pack to complete the last 27 km to Lydenberg. Running with out the pram was really quite strange. I enjoyed the run tremendously. When I got to Lydenberg I went to the Vroutjies coffee shop and had a Muffin and coffee while waiting for Frans to collect me to take me back to his farm. The owner very kindly ended up donating the coffee and muffin.

I went back to Frans and met the family, Lorna his wife, Franco and Lorrian there children and Charlotte a blind lady they care for.
My rest day is here so I will fill in more details when I write again.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Clarens to Ermelo

Clarens to Harrissmith
After a spectacular rest day in Clarens I set off before sun up , I was not sure where I would end today because I was going through the golden gate national park and then on towards the Basotho cultural village where I could possibly camp and then through Phutatithjaba to Harrismith .
The run though Golden gate was spectacular, amazing towering sandstone walls. River. Valleys and wild life .It also felt different, like freedom, maybe it was the lack of fences that made feel that way.
As luck would have it I found my next love story although you have to use a bit of imagination to get this, I passed the Van Reenen family grave and I noticed two side by side graves. The two , Valerie Wilcox(22) an Johan De la harpe (21) must have set off on the morning of the 18 Dec 1932 , probably in love , and together they spent the day climbing and working their way up to the top of the Mont Aux sources . The weather closed in and things must have got stormy so the probably held each other for comfort and this was when tragedy stuck. On the 18 dec 1932, Valerie Wilcox and Johan De la Harpe, both died after being stuck by lighting. Quite sad that they were so young still.

After that I headed along and spent messing around watching the baboons and the Wildebeest, the Km flew by, really easy going. I saw the Basotho cultural village and decide to push on as it was still quite early and I had only done about 40 km. maybe I should just push on to Harrrismith, I would mean about 70 km for the day, yeah right!

Shortly I approached Phutatithjaba (old Qwa qwa). It was about 1 pm on Sunday and I headed into town to find a coke. Everyone had said that this was a dangerous area and that I should avoid it and be careful , so secretly clutching my pepper spray with my heart doing double time I headed into a shibeen called " Joes truck stop " . Joe staggered over and asks what I needed but before I could answer his friend said that I should get cool drinks that were cold from around the corner and the 1.25 liter was R9.00. I agreed to this and he headed off with my money. I chatted to Joe while he explained in great detail that my " Brooks" running shoes were the best pair of Nike's he had seen. My coke arrived, I then had to pay an extra r5 because I did not have an empty and then I was on my way. So all my worries and need to clutch my pepper spray were for nothing as Joe and his buddy were as friendly and helpful as all others I had met on the road so far. (No picture's would not have dared take my camera ... I should have)
I figured that I had already done about 50 km so that mean that Harrismith was about 20 km up the road. It was then that I came across the 40 km to Harrismith board. Many hours later and a while after dark, I eventually got to Fred and Petrie Enslin home in Harrissmith. Petrie runs the Platberg nursery so you can imagine what a stunning garden she has. I was shattered and did not waste much time in getting into bed and falling asleep , Later that night when the thunder and rain woke me I was glad that I had done the 90 km rather than be stuck out in my tent in this weather .
Harrismith to Verkykerskop
Early the next morning I head off towards Verkykerskop. Fred Enslin had dropped me back on the wrong side of Harrismith because that where he had got me the evening before.
About 15 km into the run I met David Tresone who pulled over when he saw me. He said that they were expecting me to stay with them only in a day or so, which was correct because I thought they lived in Memel, as it turns out they lived just a short way up the road, so instead of a sleep over they met me at the entrance to the farm and supplied Coffee, biscuits and sandwiches. Thanks Carolyn and Dave.
I eventually got to Verkykerskop after a day of spectacular views and stunning scenery. There were more snakes on this road than all the other roads so far, it was quite fascinating.

I was met in Verkykerskop at the local shop by Stephan. Stephan runs the shop and manages the hotel /B&B accommodation, and is the barman, and is the local builder’s supervisor; I suspect he also runs the post office too. And just to top things off he has the most amazing and extensive Vinyl record collection you will ever see in your life .Seems metal is his passion but all genre's are carefully played and looked after

We shared a good couple of beers and reminisced about Yeoville in the 80's and Melville in the 90's and shared some tales that are best left unwritten :-) . Verkykerskop is definitely a place worth seeing. It appears that a lot of well known Afrikaans musicians have bought property or are investing in the area around there.
Verkykerskop to Memel

Today was a herd day, rain, rain and mud and more mud but one interesting this did happen, tricks of the mind.
Stephan and I had spend some time the previous evening talking about the fact that Verkykerskop was one of the last places that the Boers had hid their women and children from the British so it smuts have been on my mind .
I past some old abandoned laborers cottages and I nearly jumped right out of my skin when I hear a group of children laughing right behind my back. I got such a fright as they were so close that I jumped and spun around ...... again no one. Just my mind 
I got to Memel and stayed in the Memel hotel with Chris and Audrey martins that had left the movie industry a few years ago in cpt and have now settled in Memel. I was exhausted and headed off for an early night but not before I had had a wonderful burger from Audrey.

Memel to Volksrust
Rain Rain, Mud, cold, more rain and just when I thought I had seen the worst of it the hail joined the party too. This was a tough 60km. I only saw two farmers the whole day but I saw some exciting things and a sad thing too.

I ran about 200m behind a jackal for about 10 minutes along the dirt road before it realized that I was there and then it took off.

Later I came over a rise in the road and saw a little black lamb in the road. it kept dashing back to the fence and looked like it was trying to get under the fence but as I got closer I saw that it was really running to its mother rand trying to nudge her tostada up but she was not moving . I had closer look and saw that she was alive but looked like she was dying. I watched for a short bit and decide I could not do much except let things take their course and I headed on my way.
I stopped the next farmer I saw and told him but he did not seem too concerned.
Later in the day with about 10km to go I noticed that I was wandering a bit while running and was feeling g very detached and it almost felt like I was falling asleep . I thought that if I just run with my eyes closed for a bit then I will be ok. luckily something inside me said hang on , this is not right so I stopped sat down , drank some electrolytes , ate some food and then felt a bit better .
I arrived in Volksrust and met Louise at the tourism bureau and she arrange a place for me to stay at the Bridle Guest farm B&B where Amanda and Fannie took good care of me although I was so cold and tired from the rain and mud that was sleeping but 6:30

Volksrust to Amersfoort
I felt terrible when I woke up but decided t goes on anyway. The first 10km way horrific and I nearly called Louise to come fetch me as I was nauseas, sore, and vomiting but not much. After a while I started to feel better so I stuck it out and eventually at about 12 pm I reached Amersfoort.

Well what a surprise waited for me. I came around the corner and the primary school was lined up along the road all cheering and clapping , with a big sign “ AMERSFOORT WELOCOMES RICHARD GOODHEAD “ I spent the next while talking in my excellent Afrikaans to the children .

I found it quite funny how the girls all asked maternal questions , “ who is taking care of your children “ “ where do you sleep at night “ while the boys asked question like “ have you got lost yet “ and “ how far have you come” . I head prefects presented me with a enegade and a envelope with a lovely card inside
I stayed with Elaine du toit and had a wonderful dinner with her and her son Michael where we all shared a great bottle of red wine. Elaine, Michael and there friend Sandra all gave me a little something to help me on the road which was really appreciated.

I left Amersfoort with a feeling of worry as the previous day had not felt good at all but as I progressed I felt fine and things were going well. The road was not as bad as I had been told and at the 30km mark I found an unexpected shop / Shibeen and I chatted to Daniel while enjoying an ice cold coke .
He told me all the ways people could try and get into his shibeen and how he had secured them . very entertaining indeed .

I reached Ermelo eventually at about 2 pm and met Lin and Charles at Lins guest house .
Lin had offered me accommodation for the night and after a few jacks I was off to Sleep .

I had a big surprise waiting for me but more of that next time

Friday, November 5, 2010

Lady Brand to Clarens

Well it has been an exciting week. Firstly thanks to the owners of Smokey Joe’s Dinner for the use of their laptop and internet.

I was met in Lady Brand by “gouws” and Tracey who took me back to their house when I was going to stay. I met Tanita their Daughter when I got there. When they showed me to my room I found the parcel I ad been expecting with my new shoes and GU energy supplements, I was like a kid at Christmas. They were amazing people and they looked after me so well. Tracey went and bought me a new shirt, sweets, padkos, suntan cream and really took care of me well. The next day was my rest day and “gouws “ called an told Tracey that Nedbank Maseru were coming to see me to try and get some publicity for my run in Lesotho . The manager, Vusi, and his marketing person Rethabile arrived later in the day, we took some pics, and they gave me some hats, shirts, umbrella and a new raincoat. So hopefully some pledges for the charities will come out of Lesotho.
Later that evening we went out to the local steak house where gouws treated us to a scrumptious dinner and good company with Julian, Maria, Tanita and Tracey. It was a good time.

Later that evening gouws and Tracey gave me a wonderful donation towards some new equipment that I may need along the road. Sorry Tanita, I got your vacation money  .
The gouw’s are a friend of mine from work, vasti’s, family and I was interested to see how many of her mannerism’s and characteristics came from her family. Tanita has all the same gestures and emphasis’s in her body language as her sister. Oh, I forgot to mention that although gouws and Tracey think the run the show in the house, Tanita actually has them around her pinkie finger 

Thanks for a great stay Gouws family I really enjoyed it.

I left early the next day and headed for Clocolan, its 38 km to Clocolan. The km flew by quite quickly but I felt overloaded with all my new Ned bank stuff and energy supplements from GU. Therefore, along the road a few lucky children had new hats, shirts and a water bottle.

Eventually with about 10km to go to Clocolan, I passed some road maintenance people. One of them, a youngster, Moswandile, a trainee I s suspect decided to abandon his job and tag along with me. He was full of questions and wonder and constantly probed me for info about my journey. He told me about his home in Bothebelo and his church. He also tried to paint the picture that he was the boss of the road maintenance crew and his leaving them was no worry at all. Just when I thought he was about to come all the way to Kili with me his cell phone rang , there was an animated discussion in Sotho and when he hung he sheepishly looked at me and told me that he had to go as that was his boss who was not too happy about him abandoning his job . We parted ways after a picture together.

Shortly thereafter, I entered Clocolan and found joy and Keith at the Clocolan Chalets where I was to stay. Joy seemed to enjoy the company and chatted away endlessly. She has Diabetes that seems to be out of control and she explained that she is losing weight at a rate that she cannot control.
I promised to send her a picture of me on top of Kili as that was important to her, as she wanted to hang it in the pub.

I left early the following day and headed for Ficksberg .tested my leg for about 1 km without problems and then decided to walk, I spent the next while getting angry with drivers for being selfish and for littering so much on the roads. You can tell when you are 10km from a town because that is where the drivers throw all the takeaway boxes and cool drink and alcohol bottles out their windows. The road cleaning crew who I met told me that what I was seeing was only for two months as that is how often they come past. It is flippin disgusting.

I met Pete when I was just about to enter Ficksberg; He is a roadside artist that specialises in Tombstones and garden ornaments made from sandstone. I shared my sandwiches with him and he showed me how to chip the sandstone into neat shapes .Very interesting indeed.

I found Fiona in Ficksberg and was surprised by the size of the town, I went with her to the Bellevue B&B, she is also a runner and we chatted about injuries and the effects of ice and heat. Fiona and Gerit have a stunning Sandstone Guest house that is fit for king. I had dinner with Gerrit and Fiona and enjoyed it thoroughly. Gerrit and I discussed his work and my work, this was a change, and the first time I had.

I was woken up at midnight with the sounds of someone in my room. I could see no one but after serious searching and investigation, I found the culprit, a frog. In the rubbish packet that I had left on the floor.

The next day was a long and hard day from Ficksberg to Fouriesberg, 50km, walking only took 9 hours. The day was broken by the presence of regular informal Cherry sellers along the side of the road, most of them had the cutest little straw stalls they had built themselves and others had occupied old farm stalls from days gone by. I eventually bought a small pack of cherries so that I did not have to discuss my lack of cherries at every seller I came to.

Later in the day I had another encounter that has led me to believe that I am being chased / shadowed across the by God . A silver 4x4 pulled up and Stephan Opperman , a regional sales guy for Nestle , got out , we chatted for a while and he then showed me his bible and specifically Joshua 30:18 which was to say that if i trust in God he will look after me . i quite liked that idea.
Thanks Stephan for the support and the donation.

The scenery has changed dramatically in the last couple of days and the majestic sandstone buttresses leave me in awe of what nature can produce . I spent the night outside Fouriesberg with Dermot and Yvette Obrien from Camelroc guesthouse. Yes, there is a rock that looks exactly like a Camel.

I Spent the evening on my own and decided this walking really sucks and that tomorrow I will run and see how the shin holds out.

I set out at 6 am and had a magnificent run to Clarens, The scenery was awesome, and the running was spectacular. I saw the road markings for the Surrender hill marathon. It is quite a hill. You should come run this race if you have not already, because as far as a spectacular view m it takes some beating.

I arrived in Clarens before lunch and was treated to a free coke and water from the person at the village grocer shop.

I am staying at the protea hotel tonight thanks to the marketing person from the hotel Christine.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Aliwal to Lady Brand

Aliwal to Vanstadenrus

On Arrival in Aliwal north I met a chap walking into town, Simon. Simon walked the last 2 km into town with me and showed me his Comrades badge from 2009, he runs for the correction services club. We started talking about times etc and when he mentioned 4 hours for Oceans I decided that I should just say nothing about my times and listened contently to his stories.

Aliwal was arrest day for me and I met up with Roelf Coetzee at his shop. I was promptly handed a coke and we headed up to Roelf’s home. I met Roelf's wife Louise and his daughter Lucinda. I dedicated my rest day to trying to resolve some PC problems that Roelf was having. Managed to sort out the one machine but the other machine had less success but it was a great break from the running. Louise packed me sandwiches and Powerade and I set of the next morning fairly early.

My day was mainly occupied by chasing my elusive pair of new Brooks Running Shoes. I eventually managed to track them to Bloem and having already passed Rouxville arranged to collect them from the Shoprite store in Lady Brand in few days time. Thanks Martin, Thanks Marc.

Shortly after this an old smoking car pulled off the road and a middle aged lady hoped out and inquired about my journey. She rushed back to her car, came back, thrust R100 buck into my hand, said good luck and headed of in her smoke mobile. Thanks Mrs Pokony .

The wind howled straight into my face for the last 18km, ok ok, maybe it was not howling but it was blowing hard so I took well over 2 hours to complete the 18 kms.

I arrived at my 4 Star B&B destination. Eugene and Alta welcomed me. I was expecting to be staying in a back room somewhere but I was shown to a luxury cottage with 4 bedrooms , sitting room , shower , bath room , full of interesting antiques and memorabilia of a time gone by . I had a swim, a great bobootie lunch.
I spotted some type of strange fluffy chickens in the garden.

The little cottage I stayed in was called the “Ou Huise “ . I had a good sleep until about 2 am when I was woken by the sound of some calling my name ,, “Ricky , Ricky” . I sat bolt upright and answered, “ yes “ .. …. Nothing . I quickly got up, turned on the light and did a quick check for ghosts,,,,, phew ,,,, none of those around .and went back to sleep.

Headed out the next morning towards Zaston aiming for Van Stadensrus . At the second stop / go road works disaster struck. I step off the high level of the new road to the low level of the old road and the pain that shot through my shin was incredible.
I could not run at all without pain but walking seemed ok. I walked the remaining 30 km to vanstadenrus and was relived to get there.

A lady stopped in a blue 4x4 and asked what I doing so I explained, she asked what time I leave in the mornings so I said about 6 and she went on her way. I stayed in the home of a policewomen Cor-marie Nel . She actually stays in the original house that Martinus van Staden lived in.

Vanstaden Rus to lady brand

I left at about 6 am the next morning and started on my +\- 30 km walk to Wepener as I could stillnot run .
As I came over a hill at about the 18km mark I could see a two vehicles and some people at the entrance to one of the farms .

Well my oh my , what a surprise . the lady from yesterday had set up a lovely “ water table “ on top of a quad bike and her and her two boys , Pieter –Schlak and Micauw were waiting to welcome me . I had rusks and coffee , Pieter and Micauw had drawn some pictures for me which I have in my journal . So I seems that Rolaine Grobberlaar was my angel of the day as I was thrilled by what she had done . While I was talking to her something was bothering me , then I realised what it was . How come were there two vechiles at the farm entrance , her 4x4 and a big blue quad bike . Her boys wereonly 5 and 6 , so I asked her how it got here . She just laughed and told me that farm boys are different from city boys and that Micauw had driven it down .

A while later her husband Schalk arrived in his 4x4 and we had a long talk about my trip . .

I headed on and and just before Wepener Rolaine reappeared with a coke and instructions that I should see the local doc in Wepener as she had organised it already . I did this and ended up with a voltaren injection and instructions to keep walking without running for foreseeable future ,which I have pegged as Clarens

I found my place to stay and headed to the local pub . Between Wynand , alex and James I had enough beers bought for me that I would not have to carbo load for quiet some time .

I stayed in the Lord Frazer guest house which Mrs Swanpoel the owner had donated a nights accommodation to me as well as some of there famous ox tail stew . I staggered out of Wepener at 5 am the next morning as it was going to be a long 37 km walk to Hobhouse . The news paper lady from Vanstadens rus passed me during the course of my walk and gave me her sons coke which was really tasty …heheheh….sorry dude .

I arrived in Hobhouse at lunch time and coming down the road hand in had were Cedric and his wife betty , they were on there way to meet me .
Cedric runs a coffeshop / Art gallery / leather works . they are both retired already .

I noticed that at every opportunity Betty mumbles instructions to Cedric under her breath whichhe appears not to hear and he at every opportunity Cedric shows little tender moments towards Betty , touching her hand , putting his arm around her , kissing hand after grace . I was very sweet to watch .

Betty is 64 and was born in Hobhouse , went to school there and knows most of what goes on in the town . She took me on a guided tour passed almost every house o intown and told me who lives there etc . Hers eyes slight up when she remembers the past , she shows me the house where a friend she went to school with still lives and then mentions that her friends husband shot himself 4 months ago .
The same thing happens when I stop to take a picture of an old blue stone house . She explains that the house belongs to the crazy women in town and will never be sold because that is the house where the crazy woman’s brother killed himself .
Sadly Hobhouse is a town in decline as everything is run down and decaying or old …well not every thing . I visited Annie Slabbert , whose house Is brightly painted , neat pretty garden , She has a semi precious stone collection of note ..

Left the follwing day at 4 am as it is a 57 km walk to Lady brand and the news said 30 degrees was in order for tomorrow .

Since Oudsthoorn , I have been passed by high powered motor cyles flying along on Fridays and then the opposite directions on Sundays . They must be heading to biker rallies around the country .

Well last Friday a big blue Yamaha and a Silver Bmw went flying past and gave the customary wave as they normally do . and then today the came flying back the in the opposite direction and gave the same wave ,
A few minutes later , the blue Yamaha returned and I met Anton Roets from Queens town , Just as I had been wondering where they were going he had been wondering where I was going . They were on there way back from the Rhino rally in Harrysmith . We we joined a short while later by his friend Stuart and the three of us chatted along side the road for some time and swapped details with promises to contact again in the future .

Then on to Lady brand . 11:30 minutes later , I was there