As things in our lives changed our travel patterns also changed.  We went from travel as a family to travel as mom and daughter or maybe it is daughter and mom.  Anyways, we are dong women only trips these days.

For the moment we are making “safe” solo trips to discover the smaller towns of out beautiful country.  Some of these trips took us on some backroads to Rietbron in the Eastern Cape and Sutherland in the Northern Cape and Van Wykdsorp in the Western Cape.  All did not go without glitch though. 

On a leisurely round trip to Van Wyksdorp the little Zook’s battery decided to die on us when we stopped for the umpteenth time to snap something in the hope to get THAT perfect picture.  Now the roads to Van Wyksdorp are all gravel travel and big stretches are without cell phone reception that is not a problem for us as we have done this route many times.  However, on that Saturday our travel story unfolded differently. 

We parked at the lookout point with the Gourits river flowing down in the valley.  A beautiful spot.  This would be the last stop of the day before hitting tar at Herbertsdale and turning west, heading home.  It was about 4 o’clock and the shadows were getting longer and the air chillier.  Boom!  In Afrikaans they say “soos dood soos ‘n mossie” – that is how that battery played out on us.  Now plan A, B, C, D and maybe E was rattling through our heads. 

Shortly after our detrimental discovery a single elderly farming lady wizzed past us in her Suzuki Swift without even looking left or right, hurrying home, so no chance there to flag her down.  Over we went to plan B as the shadows got longer.  The young one decided to start walking back up the steep hill until wherever she gets a signal to try and get help.  We had no idea how far back the “wherever” would be so she started walking. The fault we made is that we did not state a time when she had to be back before we move on to plan C and D.

Our rule of thumb when we get bogged down in remote areas is that at least one person should stay at the vehicle in case help arrives. One hour passed by – no traffic, no young one – and the late afternoon chill is setting in.  So the mommy in me started calculating the sleeping arrangements in the Zook and what are we going to use to keep us warm and if there is still something to eat and drink before we settle in for the night.  As I was ruffling through our snack stash in the back of the Zook I heard some panting behind me.  The young one was back, sweating and puffing from her one kilometre jog to find that one bar reception on her cell phone …. and help.  This mommy was relieved to say the least!

Within in 20 minutes the help in the form of skinny girl with her white Hilux, loaded with some lucerne, arrived.  We were standing ready with jumper cables and within two ticks, each girl doing what is necessary,  the Zook was blown to life again.

The moral of the story? 

Travel prepared – extra food, water, something warm to wear even if the weather is sunny.  Luckily the mommy in me learnt this many years ago when we started out on our adventures.  This motto saved the day many a time.

Will we explore more on our own? 

For sure!  Some things you can avoid by going prepared; some things you cannot control like a battery that die on you.


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