Day 82, 123km to Solitaire

Wow! Amazing views today. The desert landscapes without trees and low barren hills make for spectacular vistas.
Around each bend and over each hill there is something different to see. The roads varied and occasionally had
soft sand, so this also made for a challenging ride.

We started with an 8km ride back to the junction with D1265. We had ridden on “B” roads from Botswana and “C” roads so far. Fortunately, the “D” roads weren’t much different. There was soft sand in parts though. We cycled past our
first set of low hills and then skirted along a longer range. This made for constantly changing views. We passed some farm ranches and occasionally a pickup would go past to kick up a cloud of dust.

Without much difficulty, I was at lunch at 62km. This was at a junction in the road. The trucks would take the left
fork. We took the right fork and passed a sign warning of steep grades, and also forbid trucks or caravans. We were
going the scenic route over Spreetshoogte Pass. The next 13km to top of the pass was straightforward without much more climbing. However there were a few short ravines to cross and at bottom of one of those my water bottle rattled off the bike. Turned back and picked it up again.

Once on the top, the view was amazing (reminded me a little of the views in Southern CA looking down on Borrego Springs). We could see far across the valley below. The top parts of Spreetshoogte Pass had were some of the steepest road I’ve been on. Rather than gravel, they had fortunately put paving stones. Rather than ride pumping my brakes down the entire route, I elected to walk down the steepest bits and not much difficulty reaching the bottom.

At this point we had 31km left with plenty of soft sand and it was getting warm. Fortunately mostly flat cycling.
At 111km was a road junction back onto C16 and not much later made my way into the small gas station/roadhouse named
Solitaire. There was a bakery here with excellent brownies and apple pie and good camp sites. Overall a spectacular day.

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