A Car Ride During The Cold, Dark Night – Holiday Day 1/2

I hate the cold.  I think that I would rather resort to eating my own toenails and leg hair for sustenance and then inevitably starve to death before I would enjoy living any where cold.  I’m the type that will place my toe in snow and immediately get frostbite so badly that they would have to amputate my leg up to my hip.  I quite literally sleep rolled up in a fleecy blanket underneath our thick duvet, with 2 tops and a hoody up over my ears.  Why is this important?  Well, it’s not really, but I think it will give sufficient back ground to how I might have reacted to this:

Yes.  Besides that time being the most awful hours of the MORNING, please note that little number under the time…  That is in fact the temperature, but more about that a bit later.

When we were invited by our special friends to come and stay over at their holiday house for the weekend of Kyla’s birthday I was really excited.  I had been longing for a weekend away as a family, to just be together without getting caught up in the chores and “must do” things that inevitably take up the weekends.  I even managed to get Seth to take a day off work (the Friday) so we could really make full use of driving close to 6 hours to our destination. So we packed up what seemed like our entire house in preparation for a holiday with 2 toddlers.

The destination was Glentana – which is just before George on the N2 in the Western Cape of South Africa.  Although other people swear that it is a shorter trip than 6 hours, bear in mind that it’s Winter here at the moment, and Cape Townians forget how to drive in the rain, plus we have 2 toddlers, loads of luggage and a preggy tummy to consider.  Driving slowly was obviously the necessary and sensible thing to do.  So was stopping at pretty much every petrol station along the way for Seth to wake up.

We intended to leave at 5/6 on the Thursday evening, after we’d all eaten supper and the girls were good and tired.  But, as usual, we only left after 7.  This is mostly because Seth only left work at around 6.30.  Because of this we stopped off at one of our favourite “local” vacation spots – Houw Hoek Inn.  We have had quite a few experiences here, but the most memorable was the worst holiday ever – luckily this time turned out to be better, sort of.

We arrived at about 9.30 and put our tots into bed with 50 blankets over them – it was roughly 5 degrees when we arrived.  We lit the fire, and then had to get it re-lit by the hotel staff, and then I had a bath that got cold so quickly that my teeth did most of the chattering as we chatted until we eventually fell asleep around 11.

Riya woke up at around 2 and joined us in our bed, entwining her little fingers in my hair and passing out again.  At roughly 3.15 Kyla woke up and Seth went to go and put her back to sleep and reassure her that this was not a scary new place and that she was ok.  Then at about 3.30 there was a loud crash and a cry because, yet again, Riya had managed to fall off the bed.  Déjà-vu I tell you.  Obviously we were all up and awake then so thought it was probably best to make use of the time by driving the rest of the way to Glentana.  We made a fire and got everything together to leave.  The girls couldn’t believe their luck being awake so early and with us being so happy with it – besides my eyes that felt like sand paper was scraping them open every time I closed them, it was really quite enjoyable.

Finally at 4.30 we had made the girls a bottle and gotten everything back into the car to get going.  As we were standing there waiting for Daddy to load everything into the car, there was a loud howling noise emanating from outside.  The girls were so excited because, thankfully to them it was an owl.  Seth was not as excited, because to him, it was obviously the wolf that wonders the woods of the Houw Hoek Pass.  Once we were all safely inside the car, with the heat cranked up to sweltering, we started the rest of the trip in the freezing cold, pitch black darkness.  I would have taken a photo of exactly how dark it was, but it would have looked a bit like this:

This was when the temperature went down, down, down to 0.  When we stopped at Riviersonderend, keen for a super Steers meal, we were greeted with 2 degrees and only the petrol station to feed us.  We ended up with pizza and heartburn at 5am in the morning.

Finally the sun came up, which made driving a lot easier for Seth, because despite my attempts I just could not keep my eyes open to keep him company all the way.  The girls woke up just before Mossel Bay at around 8am – they really did so very well.  And only 20-30 minutes later we were getting out greeting all our friends at the awesome holiday place, before most of them left for their travels up to Knysna to run the Knysna race on the Saturday morning.

Thankfully we got there safe and sound – much thanks to Seth for doing all the driving and not falling asleep.

Here’s a taster of what we experienced for most of the weekend…   Bliss…

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