I've been a bit quiet recently, so just checking in! Finding noteworthy and interesting content feels like a challenge sometimes.
Crossing the border into Tanzania was a breeze. No issues!
The luscious landscape was a good indicator that the climate has changed after the border. Within a few hours, it had rained on me three times whilst riding! OK—definitely rainy season! Pulling off the road quickly, I shared a corrugated-metal roof shelter with about fifteen local guys. Some were cool; some were crazy! Soon after, I pulled off the road again, but this time a young lady clearly expressed her desire for my babies. Time to hit the road again!
In Mbeya, I was knocked back by every bank because they would not exchange Malawian Kwacha currency to anything else. The toe strap on my cheap flip flops broke. There were shoe repairers on the roadside, but I wanted to experience what I had seen less-fortunate people doing—that is, walking bare foot. The sun's midday heat made the tarmac stifling, but the road's surface texture felt serrated and was more painful than the heat. Half a kilometer was too much. Resorting to wearing the flip flops again, I hobbled the final few hundred metres.
I planned a route from Mbeya that looked off the beaten track from to Njombe. Here's a video!
Arriving in Songea, I fell for the allure of £5 per night for a hotel room. Bit of a sweat box with intermittent running water and no toilet paper, but the price was too good. I finally finished sewing a new door onto my tent to replace the one where the final zip is close to breaking. This incredibly dull task has been outstanding since it started in Zambia a few weeks ago. This photo shows my tent laid on my bed whilst surgery the tent underwent surgery. I'm not too keen on yet another topless photo but it really was hot! I'm wearing my head torch because the room's lighting was poor.
Songea is surprisingly dry in rainy season. However, having completed my sewing chores, it was time to ride out. Feeling confident from the forecasted low chance of rain, I committed to a departure.
Whilst resting in Tunduru after refueling, a gentlemen approached me, welcomed me to Turundu, and we chatted about his tribe and their history. Here's Kapopo (middle), Jasper (right), and Jasper's mate in the background.
Time to leave town and find somewhere to camp in the bush. Riding into grey cloud is like running into a burning a building. I admit to not having tried the latter, but today I was running out of options for places to camp.
A 20-metre-wide, semi-covered stone provided cover of sight from the road. A gap in the stone was a convenient parking bay for my motorcycle and my tent would provide further cover. Clever, eh?!
Not so much. The grey clouds were no joke. A few drops teased out buckets from the clouds. That convenient parking bay was now channelling water directly at my tent.
Thankfully, I spotted it early. Loading stones under the groundsheet alleviated the problem. But only slightly.
By now, I'm drenched and my riding gear is completely soaked through. I grabbed the groundsheet and pulled the tent 10 metres across the ground. After frantically pegging in the tent, I lept inside.
The thunder felt very close. I usually enjoy the wrath of nature, but this thunder scared me. At the time I was crawling into my tent and I just froze.
Finally, inside my tent, stripped of wet clothes, and down to my undies. Relief... not quite! My tent was leaking water onto my forehead.
© 2018-2020 Stephen Matthews, Biking Over Yonder