Day 14 — Gonja to Same

Today’s blog entry is written by John.  Thanks John…

Distance 53 km. Elevation varied between ~ 475 m and 600 m. The morning had us awake in Nick’s Resort with breakfast served on a spotless table setting on the rather garish blue,green and red bricked patio/driveway. Pancakes with either sugar or jam, omelettes, fresh fruit and juice along with coffee were served. Eva, the Danish manager has been managing this motel for about two weeks, and is doing a fine job. She finds the power interruptions most annoying as there is really not a utility company to call upon loss when power is lost.

At least three of us rode the sag wagon as illness struck two more overnight. A rain shower accompanied us down the driveway and out on the road south toward Same. We enjoyed a bit of pavement as we rode among fresh scrubbed school children heading to school in their respective uniforms. No doubt others before me have discussed the cheery nature of these kids. Big eyes. Big smiles. Lovely they are. The road suddenly became dirt yielding a profile not touched by a grader blade for months. Ross quipped that it brought to mind “High Blade Harry” back in Saskatchewan. Today, unlike much of our trip, the road is as much sand and rock as clay, making travel most difficult. Surprisingly, I had a gentle fall onto a rock surface when attempting to avoid Ross; a wee scrape on one knee was the outcome. Later Dan wore a mask of sand after trying to escape the tug of a sand trap. Recent rains have turned some of the ruts into mud thus we were back with sand gathering on both tires and fenders. We used water bottle spray to clean the derailleurs, however precious water could not be used to clean sand from Patty’s fenders, thus by noon her rear wheel was was rubbing badly.

Lunch was prepared by chef Stewart who served salad, fruit, juice and pancakes on wooden tables and benches adjacent to what appeared to be a “cafe”. I was greeted by “hello, how are you” from a 74 year old who learned his English many years ago in school. He introduced me to his sister-in-law who was busy counting money no doubt earned from her small store. Two more riders decided to ride in whatever vehicle was available rather than fight the humidity, and rough roads. Today our guides located a motorcycle with a trailer. The bikes were strapped aboard, and the passengers stood or sat as best they could as they bumped along toward Same. Dan, but an hour later, decided he preferred the bike to the trailer. He was worried that it was either going to roll over, or he would be thrown out.

We soon entered Mkomazi National Park where we hoped to see some “wildlife”. Dawn spotted a monkey crossing the road, but a giraffe’s neck amongst the Acacia was not to be seen. Somebody, at one of our frequent breaks heard a noise in the bush. Excited we were; all straining to catch a glimpse of —— a cow. And why not we were now in Masai country. Mid afternoon had us ogling Masai people who’d seen us on the road eyeing their cattle and houses. These people are tall, brightly garbed, but initially a little wary of this strange looking crew on bicycles trying to converse with them. We soon had the children close by looking at pictures of themselves on our camera screens. Nearing Same a farmer with a bit of stomach (most of these folks work too hard to develop such girth) and a reasonable ability with English asked where we were going and from where. When told he just couldn’t understand why we’d make such a journey on bicycles. Our reply was simple, “to meet and talk to folks such as he”. He gently laughed and shook his head. Later Michael and Lydia came to the roadside from their corn crop to introduce themselves. Each were dressed impeccably, Lydia in a bright pink blouse, colourful head wrap and dress; Michael in slacks and shirt. They looked prosperous, as did their neighbours. We were now on the outskirts of Same and on paved road; we’re now finished with clay, rocks, ruts, mud-holes and sand. The road carried us downhill into the busy town; our lodging located and showers quickly taken; bikes were then cleaned and tuned. Supper was for 1800 h prepared “by the best chef in these parts”; a Masai. His handsome assistant in western-style clothing was from another tribe. They would not have looked out of place in Vancouver. Good night. John

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