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.