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Sunday 7 May
Monday 8 May
Tuesday 9 May
Wednesday 10 May
Thursday 11 May
Friday 12 May
Saturday 13 May


Date: 07-may-2006
Stage: Ai-Ais to Vioolsdrift (Fiddlers Creek Camp)
Distance: 136km
Time: 9h 44m
GPS at destination: E 17°35'01" S 28°41'2504"
Country: Namibia/South Africa

We have reached the 10th country and only have 6 more days to cycle. For most of us this is unbelievable, the SA participants are exited to have entered their home country, we sympathize with them and would definitely fell the same entering Holland, still remember that feeling when we entered Holland on our trip from the Côte d'Azur to Amsterdam some years ago.

The clime to the road to Noordoewer was not too difficult; we left early and had a beautiful ride with nice panoramas as you can see.

The descent to the frontier was very nice, we had a 30km descent that was a nice compensation for the +1000mtr we climbed that day. We reached the frontier after having spend our last Namibian's during a lunch.

Seeing the sign of entering South Africa was almost emotional.

We got even more emotional watching the sunset over the Orange River from the campsite, a magnificent view indeed.

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Date: 08-may-2006
Stage: Vioolsdrift to Springbok
Distance: 131km
Time: 9h 04m
GPS at destination: E 17°53'57" S 29°40'23"
Country: South Africa

We have not arrived yet! That's what became clear today; the day started with a 35km gradual clime that was topped of with a nice headwind, so we went slow and as we started late (07:30) lunch was only reached around 12:30. The wind was a bit cold as well, it's clear it is autumn here on the southern hemisphere. Traffic was like on Sunday, but the cars that pass go very fast, what would you do on these straight roads with not too much traffic?

Apparently some fatal accidents are happening on these roads, as can been seen from the stones alongside the road. The text shows that the people here believe that it is an act of God (They answered the call of God).

At a downhill we got a warning to be extra careful with wind; we were glad they did so, a side wind game around a hill and put us almost to the middle of the road.

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Date: 09-may-2006
Stage: Springbok to Garies
Distance: 117km
Time: 6h 48m
GPS at destination: E 17°59'27" S 30°33'20"
Country: South Africa

We had the whole night storm in Garies, it was frightening from time to time as the big 4 persons tent we have since Linglongwe caught a lot of wind and blew the pegs out of the sandy ground. In the morning the wind started to diminish but we still felt that eating in the tent this morning was a better option than to try to eat out in the open. While we were eating, our friend Freek was packing his tent and removed the picks first, his tent was immediately blown away and we were down on our knees laughing of this slapstick scene we got so early in the morning.

We had only a 120km ride today, but with some climbing, the wind worried us, but it turned out that we had almost every time tail wind or no wind, so again a lucky day. All in all this trip only had a few days of headwind, the first major headwind we encountered in Sudan, after Khartoem, some in Ethiopia, a very difficult day on the 22nd of April towards Maun as some of you might remember and yesterday morning on the 35 km uphill. Not a bad score so far and we hope it will stay that way!

Many riders, especially the younger ones, are riding with an iPod or the alike. Actually, nothing has changed over the ages other than the technology, in the past armies were going to war with a band or the soldiers were signing their songs while marching. We decided not to take a music box with us, but occasionally have regretted that, the long roads in the last 3 countries, but also those in Sudan could have been less long with it. The alternative was that we were signing all kind of songs on our bike, from the lullaby's from our childhood to the songs from the Beatles and even the first chorus of the Matthews Passion of J.S. Back on Good Friday!

About 20km before Garies, we saw a tiny bit of the Atlantic Ocean, barely noticeable between the mountains, but it was there. It took almost 3 ½ month to get from the Red Sea to the other side. Not only we crossed the African continent North to South, but also East to West, at least for the southern part of it.

We arrived rather early in the town of Garies and decided to take a nice meal in town, buy some wine and other stuff to eat and go to camp.

In camp we were introduced to the parents of James, Jill and Dick, who were going to join us for 2 days till Lambert's Bay.

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Date: 10-may-2006
Stage: Garies to Vanrhijnsdorp
Distance: 149km
Time: 9h 33m
GPS at destination: E 18° 44' 05" S 31° 36' 55"
Country: South Africa

A little bit longer stage today, and again the wind was our major worry, but it all worked out allright, it rather smooth trip today with often tailwind.

The names of the town are amusing for us Dutchies, and sometimes it inspires to try to make a joke with the name. Like Vonk..fontein.

Most rivers that we have crossed are dry, but sometimes a little bit of water is left after the raining season. Apparently also in South Africa the rain has not given enough water this year. Strange as in Namibia we heard that too much rain had been delivered the last couple of months, and that is only next door.

The village of Vanrhijnsdorp gave us the impression to enter a town in Holland, with the church in the center of it. During the Riders Meeting, Randy explained us that unfortunately for some of us, but fortunately for others, we had to take a bit of dirt road again as the police did not wanted us to drive on the roads with heavy traffic. Well, we can do it and we hope that the dirt roads will have a lot less traffic than we experienced during the last couple of days.

A unfortunate step on a piece of metal while going to the toilet along the road today, hurt Jenny's foot, but with the professional help of Irmie (what would we have been without her!) the problem got solved quickly.

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Date: 11-may-2006
Stage: Vanrhijnsdorp to Elands Bay
Distance: 114km
Time: 9h 00m (2:30 lunchl)
GPS at destination: E 18° 20' 20" S 32° 18' 48"
Country: South Africa

From Vanrhijnsdorp we first took the normal road to Vredendal, in English this would translate to the Valley of the Peace. So our expectations were high about the place. Well peace you can forget, the place is almost unreal after the long empty roads we had experienced so far.

The valley is full of vineyards, and the traffic is horrendous, so the police was right not to let us drive on the even more busy roads. Peace must have been here, but it might have been a couple of decades ago! And btw the father of the winemaker Napoleon must have had a good vision of the future of his sons job as you can see on the sign that was posted at the entrance of one of the wine houses.

Just before entering the dirt road to Lambert's Bay, a police car pulled us over and told us that we should not ride on this road. He wanted to know who was organizing this event, apparently the communication between the different police forces in this area is not so good as Randy told us that he had permission to take the roads we had to take. Fortunately he let us continue, otherwise our lifetime experience would have ended there.

A big surprise a lunch, Wendy was making toasted cheese sandwiches. Some had another surprise, another puncture on the dirt road.

The landscapes were impressive, large spaces, occasionally a farm and in the distance dunes and mountains.

We saw the sea already from a distance, but soon we were very close as we decended to Lambert's Bay. It was time for a really nice meal, so we decided to take time to enjoy two grilled lobsters, joining the 3 Van Der Valk's, who already found this place before after a dip in the cold Atlantic Ocean. A nice bottle of nice South African white wine and we felt that we really were on holiday.

We delayed the apparently mandatory Ocean Dip will we had reached the campsite at Elands Bay, where we camped right on the beach.

Tomorrow the second last day and the last long stretch, we almost cannot believe it!

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Date: 12-may-2006
Stage: Elands Bay to Yzerfontein
Distance: 148km
Time: 8h 30m
GPS at destination: E 18° 09' 45" S 33° 20' 14"
Country: South Africa

First a bit of dirt road along a very nice stretch along the see out of Elands Bay and after that the highway to the town of Yzerfontein. We passed the 100km to Cape Town mark, and again could almost not believe it. Have we really started 4 months ago in Cairo thinking that we might one day end up down south 12.000km further, climbing 66.000 meters, and spending almost 750 hours sitting on the saddle? Yes, these Newsletters prove it, and all the numerous photo's as well, but still in our brains there is this disbelieve that we were able to do this. Well, we almost did it! 100km.

The last Riders Meeting was kind of special as was the food, the fridges needed to be emptied so we had a lot of barbequed sausages and really enjoyed the moment.

Randy read a page out of his dairy of 2004, when he was one of the riders himself, Huberte thanked Big Mike and Corrie for the organization of special events and food and Joan, with the help of Johnny and Ducan performed a song on this TdA that we hope to be able to see written up on one of the websites one day, as it was an excellent text that Joan composed.

And oh yes, we got our wonderful TdA2006 riding shirts, that we were asked to wear when we are going to ride into Cape Town tomorrow.

In short a perfect evening to finish the last camp and start the last night in the tent.

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Date: 13-may-2006
Stage: Yzerfontein to Cape Town
Distance: 62 + 26 km
Time: 3h 23m + 1h 35m
Country: South Africa

Well, how can you describe this day during which we thought to be the most important persons in Cape Town. The morning was and easy ride, although the numerous cars and trucks that passed us was from time to time tiring as it was yesterday as well, but we knew that this was only a prelude to the last 50km in convoy with police escort into town, so we took it as it was.

Our individual trip ended at the beach of Melkbosstrand, in the fog and mist, we had some rain before, but it was minimal and occasionally the sun started to peak through the clouds, so we briefly could see the Table Mountain in the distance and took a celebration photo on the beach there. Although we still had to do the last 30km most of us felt it was done.

The last stretch took place without any major difficulty, although Geert-Jan managed to collide with another rider a couple of hundred meters before the finish, and the police had difficulties finding the right road to the finish on the water front.

But around 13:30 we arrived and were welcomed by a large crowd of family, friends and spectators, often total strangers that came up to us and welcomed us saying that they had followed us on our website, making nice compliments about our achievement and the quality of the site.

This is the right moment to highlight that our webmaster Lucien van der Plaats (our son in law) has done a great job formatting our Newsletters and maintaining the site. Without the support of him, our two daughters and Michèle Marcos for translations, the communication with you all would not have been possible. Taking the photo's and writing the Newsletters is one thing, but getting that all to you is quite a bit of work. So thank you the 4 of you for the support we got during the months we were on the road (and during the preparation as well)!

Back to the afternoon, where drummers welcomed us and we had to put our bikes safely away in a tent, after which we had to form country groups and like with the Olympic Games marched into a amphitheater at the Waterfront where we all were given a medal and speeches were held. After that we again had champagne and then it was time to find our hotel. Difficult to describe how we felt, often we were told that many people become very emotional reaching Cape Town, we did not had that emotion, but later in the day, especially during the evening dinner, we realized that many of the very good friends we have made, would disappear from our day to day scene and become a good email contact and perhaps an occasional visitor to France. Our group was like a little village moving along through Africa, that village is soon going to be dismantled, the houses taken down and those living in it moving to other villages where they would wonder if it was a dream or a reality that once the had lived in the moving village called the TdA2006.

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