08 July, 2013

Bike Ride 45 - Touring Mpumalanga - Day 4

Today the 3rd of July was to be our last day of touring Mpumalanga. In a way it was sad that it was over, but in another way we were glad we would be sleeping in our own beds again. I think this is the longest time Trish and I have spent together without the kids since 2006 when we both went to Europe.

Once we were awake we started packing, and lazily departed Troutways Family Retreat.
I was a little disappointed with the finishings in the place where we stayed but the bed and duvets were awesome. We again slept like babies, and with out a blanket on top either. I want one of those duvets at home.

First stop was in Machadodorp at the church for a BMW Club challenge photo. I also attempted a geocache at a church but could not find it. Then it was off in the direction of Carolina. On the way I saw a geocache pop up on the map and decided to attempt this one. It was next to the road next to an old stone bridge. Which from the geocache listing is a national monument, but now resides on private land.

Once we arrive in Carolina we looked for a place to eat, and while looking found an open parking area right in front of the post office so that is where we took our BMW Club challenge photo. On the GPS it said there was a "De oude Kerk Restaurant" which looked interesting, but it had closed down. So we settled for a small home converted into a shop in the main street.

They were not really serving breakfasts but they made a plan for us, and made some. While we were waiting for the drinks a very furry black cat came over and entertained us. We did remove home from the table once our breakfast arrived. Afterwards we browsed the shop for some small memorabilia of  visit, and Trish wanted one of the home made place mats. The shop owner made a call to her mom if we could buy one of the place mats which was OKed at R30.00 Bargain. Trish went around to each table, as we were the only once there, to find "just the right one. She settled on a "Good to drink coffee until its time to start drinking wine" (Or something like that). Both are her favourite drinks. Once we satisfied our hungers we headed towards Hendrina.
Hendrina had one traffic light in the centre of town. Riding around a few blocks exploring the town revealed a good photo location at the local gym.

Pullen's Hope was our next stop. I find it a very interesting name and wondered if the town was perhaps founded on gold. But arriving in town, it is one more of those very run down towns, with some glimpses of the old glory days. It seems to be a small coal mining town. All the houses run down, and very little going on.
Google also did not turn up much info about this little town.
We approached Pullen's Hope from the NE (going SW) and all was fine and dandy. Leaving town we were met with a sand road. I hoped that it would change to tar, but 500 meters further over the rise it was still dirt all the way. We turned around and tried another road, and again it was dirt. Using the GPS's there was a road not to far away, and in the hope that that was tar we persisted with the sand road. Riding down the sand road my spedomenter hit 42500 km. I stopped and took a photo of the mini mile stone.
Soon we were back on tar, but it was bumpy all the way to Komati, and we had to ride a relatively slow speed. There we took another town photo (Not a BMW Club challenge photo) and then onwards to Blinkpan.
We were a small, 2 people on a motorbike between big 18 wheel trucks. Had to be very careful in this area.
Took a photo at a "Supermarket" sign, and then left. This town was a little bit of a disappointment.

By this time both Trish and I were gatvol from riding and just wanted to get home. All these towns south of the N4 (Pullen's Hope, Blink Pan, Ogies) are not very interesting towns to visit. They are dirty coal mining dorpies, and quite a let down after the amzing dorpies like Pilgrims Rest, and Kaapsehoop we visited the previous few days.
With this in mind I did not want to make another special trip all the way out to Ogies some other day so we took the 20 minute detour to Ogies after sipping down coffee (Trish) and milkshake (Anton) in Witbank.
We rode a little through town to find a nice photo opertunity, and found one by the NG Kerk. Oh yes all the other towns did not have any Shell garages (that we saw) but Ogies had 2. Yes two, opposite each other on the same road.WOW.
From there it was abother 40 minutes or so all the way home to Edenvale, where  we arrived 15H45.

Total Distance for the day: 363 km
Geocaches completed: 1.
BMW Club challenges completed: 6

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