Not so cold as the previous night, but still cool enough to sleep as well as the noise of the village would allow – and to need my sleeping bag again.
First it was bad drumming and singing from the church, then it was the disco at the corner store, and then at just before 0100 it was Australian Kevin’s Garmin complaining that the battery it was being charged from had gone flat – he was managing to sleep though but those of us in nearby tents were all having a chat trying to work out what it was – in the end I got up, went and stood right by his tent and said his name till he woke up!
I’d switched from porridge to muesli for breakfast when it started getting really hot, but this morning that was replaced switched to cornflakes – not my idea of an ideal breakfast for a riding day (or ever to be honest).
On the road it didn’t take me long to catch up with others, have a chat as I passed, and continue on my way.
At 25km I made a very lucky decision and stopped off on the left hand side of the road for my morning tea banana. Just as I stopped a motorcycle came over the hill I was about to descend heading towards me – it was being overtaken by a truck, which in turn was being overtaken my a semi-trailer.
Unfortunately there really wasn’t room for this manoeuvre, so the semi-trailer was well into the bushes on what should have been my side of the road – thankfully I wasn’t there because there was nowhere to go!
Around 40km Doug came flying by on one climb, and a little while later Canadian Kevin also caught up with me – he was keen to see if he could catch Doug again on the next descent so powered off (I knew I had no hope ;-).
I caught Kevin again as we were coming into the city proper – he’d not caught Doug mostly because there hadn’t been another descent of note – and we made our way through quite a decent sized city.
As is often the way the hotel we’re out is way out on the edge of town, with not much around, but on this occasion it doesn’t really matter because it’s a ‘riding’ day so we don’t have to worry about where meals are going to come from.
The lunch truck was already in and getting sorted, and I’d not been there long when the dinner truck came in too. Rather than having lunch straight away I figured out a good spot, got my tent up, had a shower and then had some lunch.
Next chore was to get some washing done and drying – by now it was plenty hot enough that it wasn’t going to take long!
I’ve spent most of the afternoon sitting in the shade writing up the details of the last few days – in an attempt to conserve laptop battery I’ve just been making notes each day rather than writing things up fully.
Because the ride this morning was so short today’s felt much more like a Silk Route day, in that we’ve done the riding, got in to camp and had plenty of time to wash, relax, dry things, and even charge things!
I’d been hoping for both electricity and WiFi at this hotel, but neither exist – the length of time we’ve been here though means that the lack of electricity hasn’t been an issue because I’ve been able to charge my laptop from my solar panels for only the third time on the tour.
Tomorrow’s looking like an entirely different kettle of fish! It was always going to be a tough day, but knowing what we do now about how slowly the vehicles manage the gravel I just don’t see how it’s going to end well – there’s 42km of pavement, then 25 – 30km of gravel before lunch, another 10 – 15km of gravel before a border crossing, and finally 35km more gravel to camp!
From my perspective the worst aspect is that we’ll invariably be expected to wait at the border until the dinner truck gets across which will guarantee those 35km after the border are ridden in the middle of the afternoon and consequently the heat of the day!
We’ll also be in a new country and need to go through the SIM card shuffle again to get re-connected with the world.