28 December 2012

Meru Hike

this was to be a day climb of Mnt Meru. It is complicated. We had a permit for the forest part but it was forgotten in the 4am departure from Mike's house. So the vehicle that dropped us off was stopped and held. We thought it was held by the national parks instead of the forest. So we had to turn around. In the end we walked down while the permit was being driven up to the car. found a new trail for the bicycle along a deep canyon. So i can post this walk in a bike blog.

18 December 2012

Too good to turn around

Just about here was my planned turn around place.  It was so great I went " a bit " further.

Sekiji, our bike touring visitor, has another week to kill and he was invited to visit our friends in Ketumbeine.  He planned on leaving Sunday and I planned on riding with him a couple of hours.  

(Edit note:  Originally I had said MY visitor, but at this stage he is OUR visitor.  He has cooked many meals for us.  )

He had a funny noise in the front hub so first we took that apart and found the bearings on one side bad. there was lots of iron filings.  This is what his bearings looked like.  the second from left really shows the pitting.

We started about 10 am riding west  then up and over Monduli Juu plateau.  I carried his rear panniers and we made good time .

  We had lunch in Monduli, another soda in Monduli Juu.  Originally I was thinking of returning about here but riding was great so i opted to go a bit further.  The top came quickly 1930meters elevation so I rode a bit more.  I pointed out ketumbeine and other mountains.  I rode to the edge of the plateau and that was very fun, so I committed at 3pm to make the circle around Monduli mtn.  We parted ways when it looked like this, dry.

We went down seven corners switchback and at the bottom I gave him his saddle bags.  He was hoping to make ketumbeine that night .  I was sceptical.

(the next morning i found out he came up 20 km short and ran out of water in the morning)

It was bone dry and dusty in this area.  I coasted to the village of Mfereji, crossed two very dusty canyons and started up the cattle track to climb the escarpment.  this is hard to carry and walk a bike down.  To go up was just shy of hell.  I started by pushing, then three times i had to carry on my back.  I could do that for about 5 minutes before i had to put the bike down and rest.  I started doubting making it home by dark.  I think it must of been about 30-45 minutes to the top.  I leaned the bike against a tree and drank water.  I fest nauseated and tired.  I forced myself to eat some dates, despite not feeling like eating.  I drank more water while watching a herd of grant gazelle on the open plains.  It is an open plain all the way to the sealed highway 20 km away.  It was 530pm.

I started riding into a headwind, and the dates kicked in and i felt fine.  I picked up speed and made good time on the flat open plain.  the trail was mostly hard.  thirty minutes or so and I started climbing for another 3o minutes and then I was at the top and contoured over to the road.  640pm.  No way i could make it by dark and no lights.

I called mother but she didn't answer.  I began the fast descent of 20km to arusha and she called back and agreed to meet.  I rode fast and just before Ngaremtoni i got a flat on the rear tyre and it got dark.  I t was a good time to move across the road and wait ten minutes for Bernice.

Hmm, except for the steep rocky trail up the escarpment a much better way to circle the mountain.  But then you miss the coast down the wide open plains with a tail wind.  Better time than last time and i carried a load 1/2 way.

All these picture above and below courtesy of Sekiji.
 The Friberg family he went to visit.

07 December 2012


What goes around comes around.  I want to introduce my new friend Sekiji

The Monday after I graduated from college in May 1977 my roommate Dan Miller and I were dropped off on the highway by friends with our big rucksacks and we hitch hiked for 2 months around the USA and me ending in Montreal to fly to stay with may parents in Tanzania.

One of the good experiences was when we were invited "home" and we accepted.
I was amazed and enjoyed most of those experiences.

I have had family and friends come and visit, but about 15 years ago I started "picking up"  long range bicyclists as they rode around the world and inviting them home.  First this started with meeting by chance on the road, then by the website warm showers, and some by word of mouth.  Only one visit was outright negative (a couple that said they were bike touring but were actually hitching and could only talk about themselves and their own beliefs).  Another one was too long and he was sick.

Sekiji is the latest, he emailed a week before he thought he would arrive, then we SMS back and forth.  By the time he came I had checked his website and maybe he had checked me out.  He came on Tuesday evening and has left Friday for four days around Kilimanjaro and then he will come back for a night or two.

I enjoyed watching his movies of his trip.  He learnt Spanish and his Spanish is better than his English.