The end of any road trip is tinged with a measure of sadness at the prospect of leaving friends and fellow riders and a mixture of excitement at returning to familiar surroundings at home, and leaving Katse Lodge certainly had its fair share of both!
After yet another glorious breakfast, we left Katse Lodge for our trip back. Again, the weather was clear, crisp and full of potential as we traveled across the dam for the last time and headed back to the pass. We enjoyed a leisurely ride through what had by now become familiar territory before we reached the summit and began our ride down to Leribe along a road that at times seems to defy gravity. There aren't enough superlatives to describe the road, the curves, the sights or the breathtaking beauty of this route and anyone that needs reminding about just how small and insignificant we are as a species needs only to come here to get some perspective.
We exited the Kingdom in short-order and survived the usual arrogance and indifference that as South African's we have come to expect from our border officials. But, we were through safely and on our way to Bethlehem where we stopped for lunch and sad farewells for those in more of a rush to get home. Riding the Free State can be a total bore at times, but the good company and warm glow of a remarkable weekend helped make what seemed like an endless trip into a short suburban hop.
We tend to forget the incredible country that we share and just taking time to get onto the saddle and explore our own back-yard at a less frenetic pace brings a sense of absolute peace in my mind. South Africa and Lesotho have incredible routes and some of the most hospitable people you could find anywhere at triple the price. Whether you like to ride as a group or are a dyed-in-the-wool lone wolf, get onto you bike and experience the Eastern Free State and Lesotho. You owe it to yourself and believe me, you will come back refreshed and with a greater appreciation of what this region has to offer.