Stage 52 (33): Mzuzu to Luviri School
An early start this morning; bags on truck at 5:30, breakfast by 6:00 and away shortly after that. Back-tracking through Mzuzu which at least was relatively quiet compared to yesterday afternoon’s mayhem, then picking up the M1 southbound. This is a main arterial route so constant heavy truck traffic throughout the day; the heavy trucks lumbering by one thing, the light trucks, 4x4’s and sedans hurtling by at speed another. Mostly a reasonable shoulder, however.
The route description states there’s going to be lots of hills, and that proved correct. One after another in fact. Only two of these short-ish climbs amounted to more than 200 m on their own, but the collective definitely totalled over 2,000 m so the legs felt the day.
We’re passing through the Viphya Plateau, essentially the highland region of northern Malawi. Dotted with small isolated granitic hills called inselbergs, it forms the spine of North Malawi. No settlements to speak of (so almost no kids yelling greetings) the land is dominated by pine and mixed eucalyptus forest, although mixed (especially in the first hours of cycling) with rolling grassland hills, and Rift Valley escarpments descending to Lake Malawi way out to the east.
Fortunately, most of the hills are over by the time I reach the lunch truck; the ones that remain are done with the sun now fully out and decidedly warmer as the afternoon progresses.
After lunch I start seeing ladies proffering trays of something orange-looking. I finally stop at one of these, and find that they’re some sort of forest-mushroom. Sulfur shelf mushrooms? … but I’ll need to confirm.
The speed bumps take their toll today; my tool bag strap which holds it under the saddle breaks; I got that bag in 1986 and it's been a mainstay for me ever since. I'm sure I can get it patched up in Lilongwe.
I almost miss the turn-off to camp; the soccer field of the Luviri School; some people wave and point in the correct direction. About 100 m in on a dirt track, and my welcoming committee rush to greet.
The circus again has come to town!
Camping in these school yards isn't exactly relaxing, at least until it gets dark or starts raining to send the kids home, but on the other hand, we really must be a strange sight. But as darkness settles in, all quiet.
Another day done.