Belinda from the Coffee Shack was right. Tons of construction. But we finally get passed it when we come to a magnificent bridge. The Great Kei Bridge River Pass. We take the 63 into King William’s Town. All the sudden we’re in a nice neighborhood with plush green trees and elegant buildings. Dean had suggested staying here. It does seem like a swell place. But there’s more light on the pavement yet so we just gas up and make our exit. People are by the road holding signs with initials for the place they want a lift to. We don’t recognize any of them and we don’t actually know where we’re going. We’ve met our hitch-hiker quota for the day anyways.
Soon we’re at Great Fish Mouth River (Groot-keirivier, where Groot was born) and then it opens up into a vast green plateau. From rolling gold hills to this. Amazing landscape shift.
Down to only 2 lanes but people are pulling to the shoulder to let us pass. Seems everyone uses their 4 way flashers as a thank you when this happens. I noticed it as people passed trucks as well. We adopt the local courtesies and start giving the 4-ways a quick tap whenever someone obliges our Polo right-of-way.
Plink! Fuck we got a rock chip in the window. Is that covered by the insurance? Is the tire? Sheeeeeeetfff
Up in the hills we pass through a place called Humansdorp. Great name, Humansdorp. Where humans first learned to Dorp.
And then coming up on Port Elizabeth we see it, Welcome to Sunshine Coast!
We’re about 40 clicks outside PE and there is a large sand dune overlooking the road by the ocean. Spectacular. Port Elizabeth is a big place and from a distance you can tell that it’s worth a stop. But nope, we’re on a mission to make time towards Cape Town, so we cut the ring road around it and head for Jeffrey’s Bay.
Been driving for about 10 hours now, day break to dusk, and the grumblies are coming on. We take a small detour into Jeffrey’s Bay to see what kind of food options we got. There’s a little mall off the highway and we decide to make it quick since the sun is on it’s way out. Park up, walk in, blam – Biltong time!
The lady hands us some samples. So good. Not as good as the stuff Waldo gave us but still the best roadtrip snack on the continent. We grab a sack of the Biltong mix and the Traditional Bees. We should get some real food too though. Dip into the neighboring Wimpy Burger to fill that need. It barely qualifies as real food actually, but it’s quick and we’re back on the road in a jiff to finish off the drive.
It’s only been one day since we broke down on the side of the road in the dark, but here we are being idiots and driving into the night again. Breaking the rule we made just this morning. The highway is decent though and we’re the only ones on it so we decide to trek on to whatever the next town is. It has such a cool name that we feel it’s a win: Stormsriver.
Stormsriver is a tiny town that seems to just be 6 streets of accommodations, pizza and beer shops down by the water. This instantly qualifies it as an excellent place. We do a once over drive-by of the scene and decide on a nicely lit, wood and glass motel.
We enter the foyer and are greeted by an older lady and a cute doberman. “Howzit gentleman!” Older guy with a cane comes around the corner as well and he’s all smiles. We introduce ourselves and our purpose and settle into an easy back and forth. Their names are Burt and Cheryl. She looks at Peter’s shoes, “I like your tekkies”, “Tekkies? Ahh sneakers.” Peter relates a story from Joburg of him going into a place that he thought was for camera gear and electronics just to find out they only sell sneakers. He pantomimes holding a shoe up to his ear, “Wait…this thing doesn’t work.”
The lovely couple sets us up with a room and gives us a quick rundown of the place. Standard stuff. The rooms are great.
Whoever the housekeeper Gwen is, their attention to detail is commendable.
Alright, we’d better find some grub before places close for the night. We take a left down the quiet street. No one about. We pass by some other buildings with tourism signs. Segway tours? Another one says ‘Smoked Weed’. What does that mean, smoked weed? It’s already been smoked for you? They infuse it with with smoke flavor?
We get to the edge of town and there is a large resort complex. The Village Inn. Looks cool, we’re on the case. It has a fun pergola vine entrance way and a badass looking bar called Hunters Pub. May have to come back here later.
We backtrack to the bistro beside our hotel. There’s a sweet wheelbarrow fire outside and we walk up to a colorful room full of various teas and nicknacks. There is a table of Germans with a burly set of twins and another mixed table of other Euros in the restaurant area.
Yep, this will do nicely. Traditional South African dishes and a craft beer list.
Peter and I order up the Artisanal Pie Board and the Cape Malay Bobotie. There’s a locally brewery based out of… Knysna? How do you pronounce that? Our server says, “Nyes-na.”
It’s been a long drive so the Old Wobbly sounds like a good option. Nice finish.
Not bad. Goes down in seconds and we’re re-upping with the Bosuns and a Milk and Honey before the food hits.
The Germans are finishing up their meal and deciding on desert and coffee. The last to order are the lumberjack twins on the end. One of them says, “I’ll have a double espresso”, the server turns to the other twin and waits for his answer. Nothing. He just looks at her. “Oh, I thought you’d order a double?” Oh, that’s good. He smiles, shakes his head and looks up at her, “Too cliche.” Wow! That’s pure twin joke brilliance and everyone in the restaurant can’t help but crack a cackle overhearing this perfect gem. You can’t make this shit up. So good.
The food. Unreal. The bobotie is like an open faced shepard’s pie with a taste of spicy curry. There’s a sweet, hot chutney to go with it and the simple looking veggies are actually outstanding.
The artisanal pie plate has another portion of this, woot, a chicken pie and a kidney pie. Drench in the accompanying chutney and chili sauce and add some knock-out taters -1000% awesome meal.
We finish things off with a double espresso in appreciation of that fabulous joke from the German twins.
There’s a fridge full of the Mitchell’s brews so we grab a Knysna mixed collection to take back to the room with us. The bardar is cold and we’re not convinced this little town is gonna offer a blazing night life. Antsy from the road and half a buzz-on, we dare Stormsriver to prove us wrong…