Daniel originally was going to put the car under his name and drive for a majority of the trip, but his stolen wallet had his license and credit card in it, so somehow the car became under my name. Lovely. Matt, thankfully, took over the driving to get us out of the city and to Citrusdale, a town just south of Cederburg, where we were staying at the Gekko Backpacker for the weekend. However before arriving at Gekko we may have hit a road bump on the way… About 30 km from our destination we hit a pothole and ended up with two flat tires (spelled tyres here). LESSON 1: Check car for a spare tire and repair kit before leaving. We had been driving in a pretty desolate area, so it was a miracle that the first car to pass us on the side of the road was a police officer. LESSON 2: Don’t expect miracles, come prepared with phone numbers and a flash light. We had one spare tire, so Matt had to drive into town with the police officer to find a replacement tire for the back wheel. Unfortunately it was getting dark quickly (accelerated by the fact that there were few lights), so very few auto-repair shops were still open and the drive for a wheel took a little longer than expected. LESSON 3: Leave with more than enough time to arrive before sunset! Matt left us (Daniel, Tiffany, and I) on the side of the road for a good two hours, which were a little nerve wrecking. We found a nice hill to sit on and watch the sunset and the stars illuminate like I have never seen before, but I would have much rather not had to have a flat tire (or two) to experience the awesomeness of the stars. After Matt and the police officer made their way back with the tire, we were on our way to the backpacker.
Saturday (2/20): Tiffany and I woke up earlier than the boys and checked out the backpacker. The hostel is in the middle of an orange farm! The oranges weren’t ripe but it was awesome walking through the fields. We woke the boys up to get an earlier start to the day (they could seriously sleep the day away if you let them). From Citrusdale to Cederburg it is only a 50km drive; unfortunately we soon discovered it was a 50 km drive on an unpaved road with a beat up car is rough. LESSON 5: Find out the terrain you will be driving on and get a car accordingly. Poor Alphie could only go 25km an hour, so our early morning departure ended up being necessary. By the time we reached Cederburg, it was at least 100 degrees and we were ready to get out of the car. Cederburg reminds me of the Grand Canyon, but with baboons on the side of the mountain. We literally drove through mountainsides and saw nothing until this winery came out of nowhere, like a little oasis. At the winery we were able to obtain permits and head on our hike to the Maltese Cross. The three-hour hike was a little intense in the heat. I think we were all seeing hallucinations by the time we made it to the giant rock in the sky. To get to the Maltese Cross, we started at ground level and hiked into a mountain pass and on top of the mountain the cross literally protrudes form the ground.
The hike back was ridiculous. Although there was one path to the cross, we struggled to stay on it and a few times found our selves at dead ends. LESSON 6: When you think you have too much water, bring another 2 liters. By the time we reached Alphie, we were dirty and dehydrated! We had some water left in the car, but it was on fire. When we went to start Alphie up, something may have died under hood because a TON of steam shot out. We used the lack of water to head back to the winery and freshen up, but more importantly to get some phone numbers in case Alphie did not make it. LESSON 7: Get phone numbers of places you plan to stay. Although we had some bread and peanut butter left, it was pretty yucky after sitting in Alphie all afternoon, so we decided to detour to find a restaurant and ended up in Clanwilliam. Alphie was really struggling on the drive home, so I was pretty nervous the entire ride. Thankfully, we found a radio station and rocked out. LESSON 8: A good song can make any situation better, especially if it’s “Man in the Mirror” by Micheal Jackson. Clanwilliam was bizarre. We must of come at a weird part of the day, because we were pretty much driving through a ghost town. Restaurants close in between lunch and dinner so we stopped at a burger stand on the side of the road called McClan. It was pretty disgusting, I’m not going to lie, but I sure ate everything on my paper plate. LESSON 9: Be prepared to eat only what you bring or at places like McClan. When we made it back to Gekko, we immediately jumped into the little pool they had in the back. So refreshing. After a shower, I was pretty much exhausted and fell asleep within 30 seconds of hitting the pillow.
Team Cederburg: Daniel, Tiffany, Matt, and myself
Sunday (2/21): Tiffany and I woke again pretty early, so we went on another orange farm adventure. I attempted to be like an Afrikaner and walk barefoot, but I ended up walking through thorns and Tiffany had to carry me back. Sad. We once again had peanut butter sandwiches for breakfast. I think everyone minded a lot more than me, I could and do eat PB sandwiches everyday and will probably never get sick of them.
We left for Cape Town soon after breakfast. We originally had planned to drive the Atlantic Coast home, which would be an extra 2 hour drive, but with Alphie sucking it up so bad, we decided we would rather break down closer to Cape Town than further.
All in all Cederburg was an adventure filled with a few misadventures. Although Alphie was a pain, each road bump was handled and was funny to talk over with a beer and the stars overhead. We are in Africa and Cederburg was in a rural area, so speed and efficacy is impossible, but patience and a relaxed attitude can make a world’s of difference to everyone’s happiness level. I learned some valuable “road trip” lessons: don’t sweat the small stuff.