This is one of those moments in a relationship when we both know that this question requires no response. So we switch off comms and keep riding. After about 4 hours of rain, yes it took us 6 hours JUST to get to Polokwane from Jozi in those conditions.
As a side note when riding on a bike, even the smallest amount of water on your clothes quickly turns into a wind trap and can quickly move from cooling to freezing. Now repeat over 4 hours and you get a taste of how cold and wet we are.
As we enter Polokwane we spot a Protea Hotel, and we pull in. It’s still raining. We are soaked from the top of our heads right down to the last item of clothing. There’s water running literally out of every crevice and skin fold. Everything we are carrying with us is wet. EVERY. SINGLE. THING! I climb off the fat pig (the bike literally sounds like a wild boar, thanks to the ‘BRAAAAP’ noise emitted by the massive exhaust pipe howling behind us) and walk into the reception area. I ask if they have any open rooms given its 3 days before New Year’s Eve. The kind lady behind the desk types furiously on her keyboard and says
“You’re in luck, we do!”
Without a second thought about cost I reply that we’ll take it! As soon as the transaction is done I look down and see that I have created a wading puddle with a 15m stream of water that leads out the reception door. Drenched isn’t even the word.
That night Makgotso and I unpack every clothing item we have and ask the reception desk to please dry them in the laundry room. We hang the rest of our soggy riding kit on the old school built-in oil heater in our room and jump in the shower.
NEVER have I ever had such an amazing hot shower. We order room service and sit patiently waiting in bed. The meal arrives and we sit and eat while watching tellie. We call no-one, we text no-one and we hardly speak until we have eaten and thawed out.
I turn to Makgotso and before I can even mouth a word, we both instinctively ask ourselves…
“How the FUCK did we get to this point?”
We both agree to get a good night sleep and we’ll decide on what we do early the next morning.
It’s 5am and the reception desk gives us our wake up call. We wake up, check the windows and see that it’s STILL raining. We shower, kit up and go fetch our clothes on the way out the hotel. The staff is kind enough to wrap our brekkie into a take away road pack, and they wish us well on the next leg of the journey.
As we mount everything back on the bike we make eye contact and she flashes me a smile. I tell her that we are still in SA and my cousin has already said we are more than welcome to come back, and without a hesitation she kisses me and says:
“The GPS says we can make the border in just under 3 hours.”
As always I am immediately reminded of how much strength I draw from this beautiful and powerful being. I turn the bike on and we share another kiss as we point the bike towards the SA-Botswana border! The journey to Mapenzi, the elusive long walk to Black Love has indeed begun and we are sitting in first class seats with nothing obstructing our view, except ourselves.
As we ride through the darkness of early morning, I’m reminded of what mountains, love can move…
Writer: Mnikelo Qubu