Day 9 – July 22
(CHRIS) The night was restless. Not only were we worried about our clothes in the washer at Ablutions central (Sam had used Palmolive to wash them), we were also worried about those drip-drops on the fragile vinyl roof. Yes, rain and wind had come once again to a T’weed tent. The tent held up nicely, tho, and we awoke DRY, scared to venture out into the damp morning.
Eventually we did, tho – we finished laundry and self-cleansing and hit the road to the beat of drizzle. It rained for miles and miles to our surprise. We thought we were beyond the reach of the region’s only winter rain. The landscape began to remind us of the American Southwest as we headed into the region known as Namaqualand. This region was famous for its VAST array of flowers – but we were out of season!
Also out of season were Asia Rocstas. Yes, this was out vehicle of rent. We tied up the loose bumper with string. We stored loose pieces of cheap plastic dashboard in the glove box. Yet, as I drove for the first time, we had our first REAL problem (besides when Sam was driving earlier in the day – a bungie broke and we lost our table and chairs – didn’t know how long they had been gone when we stopped for gas, so we didn’t go back for them.)
I hadn’t driven stick in a long time and had little experience YET I had no problems and no stallouts as we cruised north. I shifted on the fly like an old pro. As I passed a truck on a hill, there was a loud clangity clinkedy clunk and the car stopped. We had lost the drive train connecting pipe! Sam went to pick it up and burned his finger. The metal at one end was twisted and broken. There was a date on the piece 2-28-99. It was a recent repair job gone bad. Since the breakage affected only 2wd (rear), we switched to 4WD and moved on with our front wheel drive. However, the loose part hanging down under the car limited us to 10kph. We went 6 kms to Bitterfontein and I made the call.
Lynda arranged for a man to come help us in the morning. In the meantime, we were left in the care of the local hotel. They gave us a nice room with 2 beds and an extra mattress. The gave us dinner, drinks, and breakfast. We gave them $53US. We were out of rand. Mimi was our host, Very nice and accommodating. Paul spoke with some members of S.A.’s best rugby team at the bar. The Namaqualand Flowers were always in contention for the title despite their feminine logo. Sam was so in love with the wine because it was local and much better than last night’s. It went well with our Vienersnitsel.
I fell asleep that night to the sounds of Paul and Sam fighting over a woman. Yes, these lonely travelers had both taken a fancy to the painting in our room of a young (Spanish?) maiden.