Tropic of Cancer
Latitude 23.43668 degrees
Stage 9: Aswan to Desert Camp
Another early and chilly start, but luckily(?) a good climb ~7 km into the day got the blood flowing. Although I’ll confess to a bit of a sinking feeling as we crested and encountered cross- to head winds, which fortunately persisted for less than 50 km. Once we angled left to a more southerly direction, we picked up those same winds as a great tailwind, and we truly sailed along for the remainder of the day’s ride. A mark for today was crossing the Tropic of Cancer; it’ll be something if I can last to cross the Southern equivalent.
Tonight we’re in our first true desert camp, lovely and warm at ~24° this afternoon, but dropping to less than 10° overnight. I’m wearing tights and thermal shirt, plus a toque for this first bit. Our evening routine here is riders’ meeting at 5:15, dinner at 5:30 (more or less being coincident with sunset), washing up... some quick good-nights and then most of us retire to respective tents and sleeping bags if only to stay warm to write or text home, blog or just relax.
I’ll have to better describe just what a desert or bush camp entails, but that’ll be for another night. Apart from being within earshot of a highway, these are pretty good. The stars and the solitude are more than adequate recompense for lack of water.
Egyptian police maintain a close watch overnight with a squad of men patrolling about. Our camp is a short distance from the highway, actually behind a coke stop. I’m told that traffic is very restricted on the highway after Sunset, but we’ll see about that; I can still hear the occasional vehicle passing. Sounds travel far out here. I’ll be keeping the earplugs handy.