Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Home Coming

And then it was Tuesday morning and the time had come for me to hit the road. I had a quiet word with the Lord early, before I had even had my first cup of coffee, asking Him to travel with me on my way home and to give me peace on the way. This was his answer: "And you, Jacob my servant, have no fear; despair not, O Israel, says the Lord. For I will bring you back safe from afar." Jeremiah 30 verse 10.
Well what can I say more than that? God does answer me when I pray and in this case he did indeed fulfil what he had said. I got home safe and sound, no doubt about it. Thank you Lord, not only for bringing me home but for allowing me to come into your presence to ask for your favour and encouragement.
It had been my intention to get going at 6am  but with the goodbyes and hugs and all those little things that take up so much time at the last minute I was only able to get going at 6.30. First onto the highway headed west and then onto the N1 south. Next stop, Bloemfontein 400km away.

Map source

In Southern Africa only the Western Cape has winter rainfall and since this is the Southern Hemisphere we, at this time, are still only just coming out of winter. Snow is rare here, only the mountains really get snow of any worth. The rest of the country just gets very dry and dusty. The interior of South Africa is relatively flat, most of the mountains are closer to the coast, Lesotho and Swaziland are very mountainous.
The N1 however doesn't come anywhere near these mountains so the road is flat and monotonous. Quite boring actually.Travelling through these flat agricultural lands where in summer fields of maize stretch to the horizon and everything is green and lush can be very tiring in winter. Brown and dusty and since I hate road noise and drive with the windows closed, hot, no air-con in this little car I'm afraid. This is why I had decided to travel by day, I was just a little nervous of falling asleep behind the wheel. When my children were young we always travelled at night so they were able to sleep, it made going places a lot easier that way. Now however I was alone with no one to talk to so I was going to have to be awake by myself, daytime travel was my answer to this.
Traffic was relatively light, mostly trucks with just a few small vehicles. At one point I came across a huge truck lying on it's side burnt out. At first I didn't know what it was, there were no flashing lights or anything just things in the road with a whole lot of vehicles by the side of the road. They waved me through without stopping. I'm one of those people who pass out at the sight of anything that has caused pain so tend to avert my eyes when passing an accident scene. In retrospect, I should have taken a picture but in a way I'm glad I didn't.
I did come across another one almost the same without being burned out and this one I did take pictures of so you could see what I was talking about but this was much later in the journey.
Anyway about half an hour later my daughter called me on my cell to warn me that there was a huge accident just a little way before Bloemfontein. I assured her I was OK and that I had already passed it. It is such a blessing to know that your children love you and worry about your safety. I'm a very blessed man to have such loving children and such a fantastic relationship with them, not everyone does.
Fortunately there were lots of road-works on the way down so even though this may seem like a rather bizarre  thing to say at least there were lots of stops.
What they would do is stop all the traffic in one direction and allow the oncoming vehicles to go through and then the process would be reversed. Stops were about ten to twenty minutes at each section and since there were lots of them this probably added 3 hours to the trip but at least there was no time to get too bored and fall asleep.
One thing that I noticed was how on a long trip like this you pick up fellow travellers on the way, there was one car in particular being driven by a woman. I found myself following her for most of the journey which was a blessing because she was a rather good driver. When her husband eventually took over about an hour out of Cape Town I realized just how much better a driver she was, He was an idiot and more than once nearly drove me right off the road. Stupid man, let your wife drive. Anyway it is interesting how you land up with the same people almost all the way.
Going through the Karoo just before Beaufort west was interesting, I could see the mountains that enclose the Western Cape in the distance. I knew that on the other side of those majestic mountains lay home. I also know that it would take hours for me to reach them but there they were.
The Great Karoo is an area in the interior of South Africa that receives very little rainfall because of these mountains but enough to support a thriving sheep farming community. In the old days people in this area travelled vast distances by ox wagon, it would take months to get to where I had come from in just a few hours. Thank you Lord for good roads and my little car. The little towns here are very strict when it comes to speed limits, this is a way to bring money into their towns that at the best of times are not exactly thriving business centres. Kind of isolated actually. The woman driver in front of me saved me quite a few fines actually, thanks for that.
This picture I took in Beaufort West because I was working for a company called De Vries Interiors and found it quite amusing. There isn't really much to these small towns, just a few streets and maybe a traffic light or two but the people who live here find it to be exactly what they want, that's cool.
Well the sun was on it's graceful way towards the horizon and soon I would be reaching those mountains and then through the tunnel and finally the lights of Cape Town would be spread out before me like a welcoming carpet of colour. It had been a good trip and interesting to be driving for such a long time again. I love long drives and find that if I have

someone with me we always manage to form a bond that goes beyond that which is possible in everyday life. Maybe that is one of the reasons my children and I have such a good relationship. We went all over Southern Africa together. From Botswana to Cape Town, from Durban to Pretoria.
This trip however, had been shared with the Lord and He blessed me as He always does. He brought me home safely and for that I'm grateful to say the least. My little car behaved like a princess never a problem and no complaining.
Bless you Lord and once again, thank you.

So there you have it, there isn't really a lot to write about when it comes to a long drive undertaken in one go but at least you now have a map of South Africa so next time I go somewhere you can at least see where on earth I'm talking about. The whole trip took 18 hours and was 1585km in length. (1000 miles).
God bless all of you and I hope you enjoyed this latest portion of Geoff's holiday. All my love, Geoff.

2 comments:

  1. Ahhhh... Chapter 2. I am glad you had no mishaps on your long journey home, Geoff. Mighty barren looking land... the Lord blessed and took care of you. Your family was so happy to see you. Glad things are working out.

    I am only part way into my trip, I will be home soon if my car does not misbehave--that sort of thing frightens me.

    I added a few pics of my current adventure on my blog.

    Take care Mighty Geoff.

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  2. Thanks Joy, as always, I will. Hurry home at a leisurely pace my friend and have lots of fun, Geoff.

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