Day 55 Northam to Thabazimbi MzansiBride

Winona Griggs

Day 55: Northam to Thabazimbi

My day started off with a bit of panic. I had a long way to go today, and my body was a bit sore from covering such a big distance yesterday. On top of that, I knew it was going to be a hot day, and the road ahead was narrow and in bad shape. It was clear that I wouldn’t be able to make my usual progress.

After enjoying a delicious breakfast and picking up a packed lunch from Grob’s Lodge, I set off through Northam. But just as I was leaving town, disaster struck – I got a flat tire only 3 km into my journey. It wasn’t a good sign for the rest of the day.

By 10 am, I had already finished my lunch and the heat was getting to me. I quickly drank the can of cool refreshment that came with my lunch. Phew! I was thankful that I had put my DromLite bag in the freezer, so I had a backup block of ice weighing 4 kg. This would slowly melt throughout the day, providing some relief.

Hey there, guess what? The damn Fairy got me again, and let me tell you, I was not a happy boy. But hey, I managed to find some shade behind this massive road sign and fixed the issue. Can you believe it? The new tube I bought the other day was a whopping 24 inches, even though the box clearly said 20 inches. Grrrr! So now, I’m left without any brand-new tubes. All I have are the ones I patched up myself, and let me tell you, they’ve been patched up a few times already.

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My progress on foot was pretty good, but I kept encountering all sorts of little problems along the way. It was frustrating, to say the least. I just couldn’t find my rhythm, which was made even worse by the scorching heat. Trust me, there was no breeze in sight, and the humidity was through the roof. I was sweating and losing fluids and salts like there was no tomorrow. And to make matters worse, I made a bad call and overpacked on my food supplies. I ran out of my usual drink mix and had to settle for this funky cranberry concoction that wreaked havoc on my poor stomach.

It was an unexpected surprise when a kind driver stopped and handed me a can of ice-cold refreshment, along with well wishes. It was just what I needed in that moment, and I was grateful. A little later, luck smiled upon me once again. Pieter, a local miner, spotted me and asked if I had eaten. Before I could respond, he handed me a foam box filled with steak, fries, and salad, saying “enjoy” before driving away. I sat down right there and devoured the delicious meal, washing it down with the refreshing cold drink he had given me.

Not even a kilometer further, I found myself being pulled over by the Limpopo Traffic Department. “Uh-oh,” I thought. “What now?” To my surprise, they had read about my journey in the local newspaper and wanted to have a chat and wish me luck for the rest of my trip. They even went on to compliment me on my visibility on the road, expressing their wish that all pedestrians took such good care of themselves.

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So, get this! I was trucking along, feeling completely worn out, when out of the blue, this incredible dude pulled up and handed me a refreshing can of Coke. I was beyond grateful, let me tell you. And wouldn’t you know it, just down the road, there was a roadside stall. I figured I’d swing by and grab another can as a backup. But get this, there was this person sitting there who offered to buy it for me! Can you believe it? It had been one heck of a day, but the kindness of strangers made it all worthwhile!

Now, here’s the thing. When it came to finding a place to stay in Thabazimbi, things got a little tricky. I had a few offers, but they all came through different channels and methods, causing a major headache. So, you can imagine my relief when Casper pulled over and offered us a place right then and there. It was a lifesaver.

The final leg of the journey into town was a struggle, my friend. I’m talking about the toughest day I’ve had so far. But you know what made it bearable? The incredible people I encountered along the way. They made all the difference.

When I arrived in town, Casper and I caught up, and I gotta say, it was quite the welcome. Two lovely ladies even stopped and handed me a cold bottle of water. Can you believe the hospitality? Anyway, I’m staying at this guesthouse that’s almost finished – they’re opening up in late March. And get this, I’m in the honeymoon suite all by myself. Gotta give my body a chance to rest up before taking on the last 500 kilometers.

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