Pearston - The tenth step ... SISA Episode II - CycleBlaze

March 14, 2021

Pearston

We have had a good rest in our comfortable digs in Somerset East but today we get going again, this time on a road I can't recall being on since 1984!

I had contacted a Warmshowers host who lives in Pearston.  He wasn't going to be in town but he very kindly arranged for a neighbour to look after us.  This will be the first time we will ever be making use of a Warmshowers host's hospitality.

Our digs for three past three nights have been excellent value for money. This isn't always the case in country towns in South Africa.
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Yesterday's heat was somewhat tempered by a big thunderstorm in the evening and the weather was still quite unsettled this morning when we set off at about eight o'clock.  With thunder and lightning away to the south-west (far enough away for us not to be concerned) it wasn't long before it started raining lightly.  It wasn't enough for us to don our rain jackets and we carried on in the gentle rain for about ten kilometers or so.  The western half of the Eastern Cape is still in the grips of a prolonged drought and any rain is welcome.

The road has been upgraded significantly since I last was on it and we had a good surface and a wide shoulder all the way until Bruintjies Hoogte, about twenty five kilometers from Somerset East.  It was a bit of a slog to the top of the pass and we took it quite slowly.  Although we climbed the whole way, the pass itself is only about four kilometers long.

A great shoulder for the first half of the ride.
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Mostly a long slog to the top of the pass.
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End of the shoulder.
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The rain had stopped as we approached the pass and it was starting to get a bit warmer.  Once we crested the top of the pass we took a long and early lunch break at a picnic spot on the side of the road which gave us lovely views across the hills between Bruintjies Hoogte and Jansenville in the south-west.

Wonderful views to the south from the top of Bruintjies Hoogte.
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When we got going again we enjoyed a lovely downhill run for most of the way to Pearston.  We still had more lunch to eat and wanted to enjoy it along the road so about ten kilometers short of Pearston we stopped to enjoy the second half of the curried mutton sandwiches into which last night's leftovers had morphed.  From the top of the pass we could see a storm developing in the direction of Pearston but we thought that it was moving off into the mountains in the north.  Not ! While munching our lunch the lightning and thunder got closer and closer and we started getting a bit worried.  We wolfed down the sandwiches and leapt back on the bicycles.  By now it was raining again and soon it became a torrent.  We had sensibly pulled on our rain jackets but our gloves, shoes and socks were soaked within minutes.

Storm clouds gathering ...
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And almost about to break !
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Windmill revving up in the wind before the storm.
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And it's upon us.
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In the Karoo water seems as if it has nowhere to go after a storm.
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A few kilometers from Pearston the rain stopped and the sun came out.  Once in the little town we stopped to call our substitute Warmshowers host and were soon warmly greeted by Wilma and her four greyhounds.  We have been kindly given the use of a comfortable little cottage, something that would have been difficult without Warmshowers.  As I type up today's journal entry, another storm of lighting and thunder has passed through and the rain is chucking down.  So it is great to be able to shelter here while the parched earth gets a break from the drought.

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Today's ride: 51 km (32 miles)
Total: 218 km (135 miles)

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