The #tda2014 gets back in touch.
The weary TDA travelers are back in cell phone reception after the epic open desert crossing! We still have a couple days until our rest day in Gedaref but the sketchiest parts are behind us. We had 3 days of sand riding which was tough on everyone. We didn’t ease into it either as the the first day in the desert was 103km. There were a lot of flats and slow speed spills. The navigation was tricky as the “road” didn’t often resemble anything you would drive a vehicle through. The first day we had power lines to use as a guide but after that we had to rely on our own navigational skills. There were many spots that had several “roads” intersecting with tire tracks in all directions and you just hoped you picked the right sandy area that looked the most traveled.
We used flagging tape and arrows to help mark the route which is all well and good until villagers move the flagging tape because they think the flags are a sign that we are coming to kill all their women. Yep, that happened. The arrows proved to be tricky as well since we made them out of energy drink powder and the goat herds decided to take advantage of the sweet treat.
By the 4th day the roads were a little more packed which just added an extra element of surprise when you hit a deep sand pit. The packed area of the road was severely corrugated so you just bumped and rattled your way through, doing a number on your hands, forearms and shoulders. Luckily, there were plenty of goats and camels to distract me from the stress I was putting my body (and my bike) through. Speaking of my bike, it is kicking ass and I have been using the same tires on both the roads, sand and dirt. Shout out to my dad for building me the versatile, all-terrain ‘le petite graveleur’.
Our second night in the desert we had a nice surprise when we arrived at camp. The closest village was selling bucket baths for 10 Sudanese pounds. Best 10 pounds I ever spent. Especially since the temps were hitting over 100F. Justin did have to show the bucket bath entrepreneurs his wedding ring before they would let him come with me. Our 4th night in the desert we camped by a canal so we were able to dunk ourselves and have yet another awesome bucket bath. I had planned on 6 days without any kind of shower so I was quite pleased with my clean hair. Things are looking up! Although, there are rumors of a bunk house that sleeps 12 per room for the rest day accommodations…..We are about to really get to know each other.
Sound like fun? Join us for section and find out for yourself. Perhaps the gorgeous Masai Steppe route from Nairobi, Kenya to Mbeya, Tanzania?