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Cross country in the “plod mobile”

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Known for my precision and planning (must be the German heritage) this weekend was meant to be a piece of cake! Before I delve into the road-trip from hell let me give you some background.But before I start, I guess this would be an appropriate time to apologise to my lovely wife for dragging her along, had it not been for her, then this story would not have had such a happy ending!!!

I had lived in Smogville, also known as Johannesburg to some of you, for many years. Trading in big city life for a much simpler existence in Mozambique I was left with a dilemma of what to do with my belongings. The logical solution was to store it all in a container for a few months. Well a few months turned into two years, and so things came to a head at the beginning of this month. Having done a cost benefit analysis on the situation it was apparent that I needed to liberate my belongings from their prison. So what better day to choose for this auspicious occasion, than freedom day!

These types of plans don’t just happen! So I carefully crafted my plan. Having driven the distance between Smogville and Cape Town many times before, I was acutely aware of the time constraints of the task that lay ahead. The distance between these two cities was approximately 1500 km’s. I had planned to leave on Friday afternoon at about 2 p.m. and be in JHB by a respectable 5 a.m. This would allow me to have a little sleep at a friends house and then have a nice breakfast with my kids, before setting off to liberate my belongings. I had arranged for a rental car with unlimited mileage through 1st car rental. This was to be picked up at 2 p.m. then off to the trailer rental company and pick up a trailer. I guess in hindsight my plan was doomed due to a number of simple schoolboy errors… It was Friday afternoon and as such there was no way that I would leave Cape Town before 4 p.m. amidst the throng of cars that was leaving the city for the weekend! Sitting on the N1 Highway moving at 10kms per hour I was already frustrated as we had not even left the city and it was 4p.m. Now for a punctuality freak like me this was a disaster!!!

Meandering through the winelands I suddenly realized another shortcoming to my once brilliant plan! The traffic had cleared but the vehicle we were travelling in was not moving any faster! Amanda and I realized that the “plod Mobile” as it became affectionately know was maybe at best a 1600 liter engine. Given the weight of the trailer it was towing this translated into a moving average speed of about 78 km’s per hour … Need I say more ??? The realization of schoolboy error number two, was slowly sinking in (emphasis on the word slowly). In hindsight I should have hired a vehicle with at least double the engine capacity of what we had.

For those of you who have traveled this road before, you would know that Beaufort West is a small Karoo town that offers weary travelers a perfect break to refuel and freshen up. Our planned routine stop turned into something quite unexpected. I had noticed our fuel consumption to be rather high, not giving it too much thought we pressed on to our anticipated stop. Lo an behold, 500 km’s from civilization (not offending anyone from the aforementioned one-horse town!), I discovered to my horror that the petrol cap was missing. So the last 500 km’s my petrol was not only being used for towing a ridiculously heavy trailer, but it was also evaporating faster than you could say Jack Rabbit. A solution was quickly found and a rag inside a plastic bag was to serve as petrol cap for the duration of our trip. Needless to say our rental company could only be reached the following day.

This honestly goes down as the most ridiculous drive I have ever done in my entire life!!  I had trucks overtaking me, the whole way. What it did do however was highlight our beautiful country. My wife and I also noticed towns we had never heard of before, like rolbos. The type of town that you would miss in the blink of an eye if you were driving at 120km’s per hour, but let me assure you at 78 km’s per hour a whole new world opens up to you. We also noticed a tower near Parys oddly resembling the Eifel tower, which I thought was quite a nifty piece of info and which made “our” Parys a little more credible!  Even the residents of Parys are probably not aware of this …

Parys Tower

Having planned to arrive at the crack of dawn, I must admit I was was disappointed only being able to crawl into Smogville at 9:30 a.m. All thoughts of being able to rest and freshen up were gone. Suddenly everything changed into a mad rush. You may wonder why I refer to Johannesburg as Smogville but for those of you who have seen the city from afar would see that it truly resembles something from Dr. Seus and the Lorax!

In the mad rush of it all we managed to obtain a new petrol cap and pack an entire container of things onto a trailer. My wife made a very strategic decision to drive back right there and then. Even though I was tired this would turn out to be a brilliant decision in the long run. There we were driving the “plod mobile” all the way back down to Cape Town. I was hoping that as we were traveling down to sea level that there was a slim chance that the vehicle would travel slightly faster, but that alas was not to be. The night drive was terribly tiring and thank goodness my wife was able to take over the driving duties for a few hours. This way I got a little of the much needed rest my body was yearning for. I would like it to be noted that this crazy trip should not be tried by anyone at home!!! Never again that’s all I can say…

We did however have some fun along the way when we created this orb picture. Posted it to facebook and waited for the responses of our friends to come in. Those friends of ours that are reading this blog will now know the truth behind the orb pic! It was just a reflection of the flash of Amanda’s Iphone 🙂



I am happy to report that we made it safe and sound back home. Even though I had to drive like a maniac to drop off the trailer and car (before they penalized me for later returns) it was all worth it in the end. Until next time folks …


P.S. I had an afterthought I wish I could have used my magic to get us there and back instantly. Now that would be magic!!!


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