Updated: Mar 3
Stage 42 (23): Arusha to Babati
A somewhat strange feeling to depart Masai Camp shortly after sunrise and pedal up the local hill thru the morning rush to town centre and then west out of town. Familiar sights and all too familiar crush of traffic weaving in and out; spiced up this morning with my braking situation. Once past the airport, traffic lessened although it remained moderate for remainder of the day. Tarmac pretty good, and usually a reasonable shoulder.
The overcast burned off about an hour into the ride, with the temperature rising accordingly. Light tail and crosswinds helped push me along at a reasonable rate, making the lunch truck about 10:30. The air is really dusty today, not conducive to photos although I try for a couple.
Lots of school kids along the roadside who generally call out a smile and/or wave, if not a greeting. I’m hours into the day before it really dawns on me that no one has thrown a rock! I hope I’ve not jinxed myself. Reports from the riders who came down from Nairobi to Arusha last week describe several unpleasant encounters. Maybe a different ethic west and south of Arusha - I can only hope it continues.
After lunch it just got hotter, and I suspect I let myself get a bit dehydrated. Temperature supposedly 32° but it had to be well above that out on the road. The last 30 km a struggle, and in the end I went right by camp, not seeing the obvious huge trucks right off the main road. The shouts and whistles from several local people penetrated my fog and I only wasted a hundred metres or so. Easy enough to turn around and return.
Jim greets me with concern; “…you look trashed, buddy…” I’ve been in the saddle for 8 hours, and that heat really did get to me. A few cups of tea, and a bowl of soup goes a long way, but no question, I’m tired. I really don't remember that ride being so hard, 3 years ago.
Jim fetches my duffel and helps get the tent up; rain starts to spit. No time to wash (no where to wash, anyway) and its time for the riders meeting followed by dinner. Big thunderstorms, rain cells visible all round in the fading light.
We locate the toilets (oh joy, eastern models) across the main road behind a petrol station / bar restaurant. Then back to camp (essentially a vacant construction lot beside the main highway), and crawl into bed. It’s stifling hot still, abd I leave tent fly half-off so I can get some air. The inevitable rain storm soon wakes me up, and I manage to get out and fasten the fly over the open mesh before it really starts to pour.
Another day tomorrow, but I’m already wondering about it and how I’ll fare.