10 December 2007

When I don't ride on Sunday what do I do?

Sometimes I just can't get on the bike and pedal all day.

At 4am the alarm beeped and I debated for 2 minutes and decided to sleep. The rest of the day I made excuses, procrastinated, dreamed, and schemed.

I lean towards being lazy. It is the Norwegian American protestant work ethic that makes me do anything.

I researched rocket stoves.

I researched brick kilns. Mostly vertical brick kilns.

Then the morning was gone.

I started to make another rocket stove, so I looked around the store for materials. Then I felt I needed organize my big store. Then I decided I needed more buildings. I schemed on building a brick wall with mesh openings in the old farm garage. All afternoon I wandered around the property planning.

In the end I took all the bikes out of the walled in store and hung them up in a row and restrung the clothes line. I only wheeled bikes around today.

03 December 2007

Hold that plane

Last week I had a tzNIC (no website although it controls all dot TZ names) board meeting in Dar on Tuesday afternoon. I had to stay overnight so I missed the Wednesday club ride. Bummer. But I did get to hold up a scheduled airline.

Getting the ticket this time was a bit of a mess, culminating on finding out 75 minutes before take off that the flight was from KIA airport, 50km away and not Arusha airport 10km away.

I had missed the bus shuttle.
Take off was 11am.
Last check in is 10:30.
It is 50 minutes normal drive.

I gave up but Esther in Customer support says, "You can make it". So I jumped in a taxi at the office 55 minutes before take off.

While in the taxi to the airport the operations manager of Precision Air calls me and asks where I am and when I will get there. (Esther had got on the phone to Precision Air. ) I say hopefully 1045. (For 11am take off). "hurry". I walk briskly to the check in and realize they are all waiting. The ops manager calls me again while I am checking in.

Everyone says hurry. When I walk out of the building the women on the apron says "can you run", so I run to the plane. As soon as I am in the door slams shut and the engines start roaring and we are away.

Jeez, am I a big shot or something. I held up the damn plane for a few minutes. And this is the guy who rides a bicycle to work and walks the stairs instead of the elevator. Hmmm they must of had the wrong guy in mind.

Dar is about 650 km by road. While flying I kept mulling over trying to ride my bike there in 1 1/2 days, rest 1 day and do the meeting. (Now I can keep this post in this blog).

LATER: I was telling Bernice about this and she told me of about 4 times she has held up the plane. Her brother is an air traffic controller and held an International flight once so she could catch it. I guess I am insignificant as I thought.

01 December 2007

Monduli Mountains and Plateau

During a Wednesday club ride Mike Peterson asked if I was still doing long rides on the weekends starting in the dark. He said he would join and before you know it we have a crowd. I think we were around 15. It was only 120km what I rode but it was about 7 hours of fairly hard riding and twice we climbed 2500', a numerous other rolling hills. Below is us heading toward Monduli mountain.

We agree to meet at 530 AM on Saturday on the road to Likamba. Everyone is late and it is getting a bit light when we all finally are together. We get treated to sunrise splendor.

We move up through dry farmland and through a valley after valley, ridge after ridge. You can see the riders at the bottom of this valley. The time it took me to stop, whip out my camera, turn it on and point my buddies were at the bottom.

Where is the picture of Wes riding out of this canyon?

I was thinking we would ride straight across to Monduli Town, but we took a right heading up a ridge and ended up going through Mondul Coffee estate. They have some of the best coffee grown in Tanzania. It was so green at this elevation and the farm is protected from cows and goats. Contrast this to the previous previous picture.

Right there we came across this xxxx chameleon. way cool.

View to the south from the rain forest.

From here on the riding got really cool and everyone was excited about riding down single track into Monduli town. There was one rocky section that some of us walked but most of it was screaming fast, teeth showing, fun downhill.

A view of the trail from above. I couldn't get the camera out quick enough to catch someone in the picture.

In Monduli town we stopped in a roadside hoteli to drink chai and eat whatever people had in their pockets. Some decided to head home from here and some decided to ride up to Monduli Juu and over the 7 corners, where the road drops down into the Engaruka basin at Mfereji. The young guys left us quickly on the climb and eventually Wes turned around too and i was on my own. The road is really good, could almost do this on a road bike.

Just a few kilometers before the steep drop into the basin i met Thomas under a tree and we waited for the rest who came by shortly.

We had a soda in Monduli after 30 minutes of coasting down and took the old road across to Kisongo. It is completely gone. You can see where the culverts and bridges were in places but the road is mostly erased. enlarge the picture and the red shows the big erosion in this area.

People started peeling off for trails to their homes and then it was Paulo and Richard and myself. 12 km only and then Paulo had flat troubles and we got to fix some flats on the side of the highway in the full sun.

That evening i was sick for awhile, think i had sunstroke slightly.