Daily Archives: April 9, 2019

23 March: Makongolosi to Mbeya

The music went on until 2:30am, accompanied by laughter and motor bikes Then a rooster started crowing – I think I slept less than an hour the entire night.

Tallis, who took Clint into Mbeya to the hospital, said the first 45 km of road was shocking. After the hard ride yesterday and the lack of sleep, plus facing a 120 km ride 45 km of it on a horrid road, then 2099 meters climbing all in the last 40 km I decided to do what any sensible person would do and caught a ride to camp with Tallis. I decided to try and get a room at the next place.

Shirley and Dan, and Veronica and Phil asked me to try and get them a room as well.

The first 45 km of road was terrible, it was so bumpy and the truck was swaying around so much I got car sick. Fiona from Canada (first TDA ride) and Bldra from Netherlands (first TDA) were also in the truck. Bldra was the rider who fell a couple weeks of days ago and needed stitches and lost his EFI status.  Bldra was talking with Fiona about the Ngorongro crater.  Bldra said it was great seeing all the animals, but every 5 km there was a shop and a toilet with a shelter with charging facilities, and it seemed all very plastic.Untitled1We stopped at the lunch spot and helped with preparing lunch. There is a serious head wind that the riders are going to have to contend with as well. At least this is the last of the gravel until Namibia.

A serious climb after lunch also very bleak, looks like it may rain and is very misty up on the top.

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Back on the tar, drop down into Mbeya

We are staying at the Mbeya Hotel where I managed to get three rooms.

The room we are staying in has a random dining room attached to it, I can’t imagine we will be eating there but a perfect spot to park two bikes.

Outside some young girls are hovering around wanting to do our laundry, after seven days riding in a row there is a lot.

The room has air conditioning and the shower has hot water, I feel like a new woman.

While I am waiting for Brett I spend my time sorting out my iPhone which needs to be set up. This is not my strength, but with persistence and some choice words I managed to set up Messenger, Facebook, Gmail and Google. I was pretty pleased with myself.

Once Brett arrived and had had a shower we headed to the bar for a nice cold beer. Yay beer that has actually been in fridge.

I spent the rest of the afternoon catching up on emails, photos and the blog.

The Hotel has restaurant so like most of the riders we decided to eat in. For dinner I had Chicken Tikka Masla but no roti or naan as the kitchen doesn’t start making roti or naan until 7pm and we were there for dinner at 5:30.

Clint has been seen by the hospital and they can’t see anything major but his right leg is numb and he is walking with a walking frame, not looking good for him to be back riding anytime soon.

After dinner off to bed – 7 nights with little sleep and 6 days of pretty hard riding, I was asleep before my head hit the pillow.

Yay a rest day tomorrow.

Categories: Tour d'Afrique | 2 Comments

22 March: Biti Manyanga to Makongolosi (soccer camp three)

Today we have to ride 129 km, with 1130 meters of climbing but 1260 down.

The motorbikes continued racing up and down road until about 10:30 pm but after that it was thankfully quiet for the rest of the night.

The riding was good in the morning, apart from one sandy stretch where we had to walk for about 800 meters.

There are some decent downhills following the uphill’s today which always make the day seem faster and is certainly easier.

The children are already heading to school at 6:30 when we generally leave camp. Stevie, the driver of the big truck who comes from Tanzania, says lots of schools have two sessions a day so children can go to one session and still help on the farm.

As usual so many small children and the locals are generally friendly.

The road has become more narrow and now we have to get out of the way of motorbikes frequently, as well as the occasional trucks and buses.IMG_7653Clint, the rider who fell the first day out of Nairobi, is still not getting any better and is going ahead to Mbeya to be seen by the hospital.

After lunch the road was pretty shitty most of the 50 km to camp. There were long sandy sections where you had to get off and walk, plus uneven surfaces where you were constantly slipping against the rock, and constantly changing the side of road to try and find a better path. I nearly came off numerous times.

We stopped at a town 22 km before camp to have a cold drink. Brett left his sun glasses in his helmet while we were having the drink. The loud friendly locals distracted us and we took our eyes off our bikes, which we think was the ploy as when we got back to our bikes Brett’s riding glasses were gone.

The last 20 km was ugly. It was very hot, I was tired, and there was a very uneven surface with hills and at times sand. It took two hours with an average speed of about 8 Km, with some faster down hills.

I was very pleased to get to camp. There must have been about 250 children and locals lined up around the camp mostly keeping behind the string barrier.IMG_7663One of the locals was selling warm beer and another was selling buckets of water. I got my bucket of water and sat outside my tent and washed my hair, arms, and legs – no more showers over long drops for me. Baby wipes for the rest.

I went behind the barrier to talk to the children and nearly got mobbed. I had them trying to climb onto me and one boy was even trying to kiss my neck. IMG_7667.jpgDinner tonight is white rice, tomatoes and onion salad, and tough beef. I have told Errol the chef that I am a vegetarian from now on, so will see how that goes. After dinner one of the riders Ashley, who is a geologist, gave a talk on the geological history of the place and the rift valleys which was interesting.

Not a good sign: it’s Friday night and there is really loud music playing on the road outside the camp, plus motorbikes racing up and down. I feel this does not bode well.

Categories: Tour d'Afrique | 2 Comments