Everyone is on the move. There is the scent of water in the air and so before I know it we are up and flying. We rise quickly and before long are heading towards the rising sun. The smell of water is thick in the air as the rising sun lifts it from the dew-laden grass. We bank sharply to one side and the entire swarm, as though controlled by a single mind, follows. Suddenly something large is right before me, slicing through the swarm just meters before me, and then its gone. I tumble downwards for a moment before I regain control and catch up with the rapidly vanishing swarm.
The alarm awakes me from a blissful sleep at 4am. Eish! We do the final car pack and are in the car, in the dark at 5am. And thus begins the long drive from Franschhoek to Eagles Lodge in the Central Drakensberg. It should be a relatively easy drive as the roads are good...except for our headlight issue. For some reason our lowbeam lights are set too high so every car we pass at night flashes us. I do not have many options. I can ignore them, which typically causes them to turn their bright lights on in revenge - a stupid response I don't quite get, as now you have both drivers who can't see - or I can flash back at them to show them I'm on lowbeam. This also elicits one of two responses. One they ignore me. Two they give me the same stupid response of revenge.
So the first part of the journey, of about 2 hours, is in the dark and I'm rewarded with every oncoming car flashing their lights at us because they think I have brights on. I try and assume they are saying a friendly "Good Morning Mate" and smile ingratiatingly back at them.
Once the sun rises at least this trouble will go with it. However driving in an easterly direction into the oncoming sun brings with it its own issues. I suppose being blinded by the sun now is revenge for my headlights. As I'm heading towards the light, thankfully not metaphorically, a swarm of crazed bees, or other bug things, flies across the road. I slice through them and end up with a nice buttery spread on my windscreen, where the oily film, combined with refracted light creates rainbows in my eyes....which would be fine if I didn't need to drive. Poor bees!
The journey continues and is fairly uneventful except for Pajey's insatiable thirst for fuel. We can only get about 450km on a tank at 15l/100km so we have to plan our fuel stops to satiate his need. Our first stop is some random petrol station for trucks with Nicky getting to enjoy a truck stop toilet. Our second stop is an Ultra City where we grab a small burger on the run. Our third stop is a close affair. We nearly run out and end up rolling in. We full up and the pump reads 79.8 liters in my 80l tank! That was close. There is one time when Pajey flashes some random light on his console at me, but in true Pajey style it vanishes again so I ignore it.
As it gets dark again we turn onto the ugly N5 which is filled with roadworks. This causes more stoppages and difficult driving, made even more fun as trucks turn their bright lights on in response to poor Pajey! Now I'm driving on really narrow roads, with no shoulder because of the roadworks, with huge trucks giving me their brights. I knew there was a good reason we had the philosophy of “going nowhere slowly”. I'm not enjoying this.
The journey down Van Reenen's Pass takes concentration as the hours take their toll and the irritation of the bright lights continues. Finally we turn off onto the peace of the road heading towards Winterton. I can truly sense the end of this long journey as we pass Thokasiza and enter the final stretch. The roads here are quiet and empty as we make the final dash towards the Berg and its tranquility. However, even in this final stretch I'm driving cautiously as I've often seen buck jump out of the long grass on the roadside.
With only a few kilometers to go we suddenly see flashing blue lights ahead. I slow down. We come upon a horrible accident. A small car has driven into a cow. We're unsure what happened to the driver but the warning of being careful is reinforced even so close to the end. Later we find out the driver survived, which is a miracle considering how demolished the car was. Yet what is even more powerfully reinforced is how God has cared of us on this journey. We've prayed for his care and by his grace he has give us a safe journey.
Finally we arrive at Eagles Lodge after 16 hours of traveling. A long journey but the lessons are “keep on keeping on” but do all in God's strength and safe keeping. It's the only way! It's certainly going to have to be our motto if we run the crazy 90km Comrades marathon in a few months time. It's the only way I can finish it.
We've arrived. Those girls had better enjoy that No Direction concert thing they are headed to. Hopefully we wont have to do any more of these long crazy drives in the future. Think of all the coffee shops I missed. Oh well, when we travel back this way in a few months time we will do it properly.