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After my physical examination I healthily made my way to Magaliesburg, it is not all that far and the weather is quite nice. I like Magaliesburg, there are a lot of hiking and cycling trails, and many activities that bring a lot of weekend travellers to the little mountainous town. And it is the home of one of next years Charity Beneficiaries that will be benefiting from my travels – Happy Yappers Animal Shelter.

I got into town around midday, and turned in at Barnies Road Café to refill water bottles and have a short rest, I ended up having a jaffle, some coffee and a four day long rest. Barnies has the best coffee in town. Definitely a pit stop I will make every time I head to Magaliesburg.

After the afternoon at Barnies, I was loaded onto a bakkie that was already loaded with a lounge suite, so the bike was strapped to the side of a couch and I sat on the couch. If a traffic officer found us, it would have been an interesting conversation to get out of this one.

After my couch-surfing drive back into Magalies, I was loaded onto another bakkie and taken back out of town to a farm where I would spend the next few days resting and getting to know a few dogs. I did not mind being driven back and forth, besides the fact that I do not have to pedal up and down, the scenery is quite pretty and I enjoyed the views of the mountains and green countryside.

Dogs, and animals in general, have definitely been a big part of my trip, they chase me, bark at me, lick me to death and slobber all over me. Some have scared me senseless and others have crept into my heart. I have a soft spot for animals, which is why I will be helping Happy Yappers to raise money for them and create awareness for the amazing work they do. But nothing stopping me from starting this straight away, right?

On my second day at the farm, I offered to help with a jumble sale in the local township to help raise funds for the shelter. The jumble sale nearly blew away, but it was a good day in the end. I am full of hope that the next sale days will be even greater in success. And I cannot wait to come back to help some more.

After the morning of work and chasing after things blowing away in the wind, we relaxed on the patio for a braai overlooking the Magaliesberg Mountains. The house is right on top of the hill and has a breathtaking view of the area. Right beneath me are bougainvillea trees in three different shades. I did not even know there was an orange bougainvillea. Never too old to learn something new I guess.

Did you know that Magaliesburg (The town) is situated below the Witwatersrand Mountain Range, The Magaliesberg Mountain Range is North of town and visible from Town… So no, I did not make a spelling mistake.

After the braai and visit with the sun setting behind the mountain, it was an early night. Tomorrow I have a hike to do up the mountain and around the farm.

In the morning it was overcast and the rain was threatening, so I postponed the hike and had a relaxing day at the house. Basically the most I moved was to make space for another dog that wanted to join me on the couch for a nap. It is tough being a dog.

All in all, Magaliesburg was a great stay and I left after a few days feeling like I have a new home away from home, and a whole pack of new four-legged friends. I headed off toward Hartebeespoort Dam via Hekpoort. I never got to go on the hike, but that is a valid excuse to come visit as soon as possible.

The road to Hekpoort was pretty and very quiet. I got to Hartebeespoort Dam quickly, with only one strange and difficult situation along the way. I have survived a bit on the road, less than I thought I would have too, and I must admit – I have had a very easy trip to date. I have only had to pitch my tent a handful of times. I have been invited to more braais and dinners than I can count and I have been blessed with a warm bed at almost every stop. I have not even had to bath in a farm dam. But this is going to be a tough one to survive…

I stopped at a shop to ask if I could use their bathroom, and their bathroom, believe it or not, is a porter potty. I do not like porter potties. They smell funny and the seat is always warm, like someone just got off it. But nature calls, and sometimes natures calls at the most inopportune time. I had to bravely enter the plastic throne and answer the call…

I survived it, and thank goodness I remembered to take my roll of parchment, I have been hauling this roll with me for almost six months and never had to use it. Like I say, I have been very lucky to always have facilities at my disposal. Finally I get to use my well travelled roll of toilet paper. And thank heavens I had a padlock in my bag, so I could lock myself in the potty for my visit. I can only imagine one thing worse than using a porter potty, and that is someone walking in on me, using a porter potty…

I know talking about porter potties and the call of nature is well, bathroom humour, but I had to share my awkward experience. I would rather hold a spider than use a porter potty. But I guess the trip is about conquering fears and experiencing new things. So never let it be said that I did not go all out.

The funny thing is that about 500m down the road, I drove past a brand new Total garage that has, I imagine, bathrooms and hand soap.

The last time I went over the dam wall at Harties, it was a public holiday and the roads were bumper to bumper traffic and town was packed with tourists. This time I have the place to myself, SO I could enjoy the scenery a bit more.

The dam is very empty, but not nearly as empty as the pictures I saw of the Vaal Dam. Apparently the Vaal is at 25% capacity with most of that being the sludge at the bottom.

I missed my friends at the vetkoek stall and headed straight up the road toward Pretoria. I want to get as close to the city as I can today, so that I can get miss the traffic tomorrow as I head through Pretoria. I stopped at the first place I stopped when I left Pretoria a few weeks ago, and ended up spending the night, pretty cool that my first and last pit stops are the same place.

I learnt a bit about cement casting and snakes, not casting snakes into cement, or making cement snakes, or cement spitting snakes that cast you into blocks of frozen terror, Just Cement Casting and snakes. I know it is a very random combination, but I do not make the rules.

My last stretch of road went pretty easy, I made a few wrong turns when I got into Pretoria, but I ended up going through Daspoort Tunnel and a few older areas that were quite scenic. And I passed the Voortrekker Monument. I probably did about a 20km detour from my planned route through the city, but I was still in time to miss the traffic as I head home for a rest after an amazing journey the last few weeks.

This is not goodbye for good, I am going to be sorting out some other interests of mine, and preparing for next year as I start taking on bigger challenges and more involvement with organizations. My adventure is branching out a bit and developing into a few new dreams.

I am also going to be doing a few shorter trips while in Gauteng, I want to start working on cycling all the Mountain Passes in South Africa. Did you know there are more than 660 Passes in the country? I have done one or two, so I will be working through that list, starting with the nine in Gauteng and then a bit farther out. Until I take on the next long distance route through the country.

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