In Nairobi, I met Chris, from Jungle Junction, who had toured the world for 11 years by motorcycle. Chris is very down to earth and good fun to talk to. He showed me how to remove dents from my front rim using a small jack and large press. The smoothness of the ride from the front end is ow slightly better!
The route avoided the traffic around Mount Kenya. I emerged from a corner to find an awesome viewpoint of mountains and Lake Baringo. There was a cafe on a rickety wooden platform where I rested with a cup of masala tea and mandazi. The owner's prompt warning of bandits in the area soon became clear that only cows were stolen any I was likely to be safe.
The twisty road down the mountain was good fun. Here's a video of the scenery whilst riding down the mountains and an off-road section around the north of Lake Baringo and onwards to Maralal.
Just before Maralal, I was on small, remote track with three steep ascents that where littered with large rocks between the size of a tennis ball and football. Bit of a struggle because first gear was too low, causing high revs, and second gear was too high, causing low revs. Very pleased with myself that there were no issues because it was quite technical and a challenge for me!
Whilst eating Ugali—a staple in East Africa—and beef in Maralal, a gentleman called Mike in a sporty tracksuit introduced himself and invited me to visit his gym. It was a small gym that seemed to have a bit of everything with weights, boxing, and aerobics. It was a great example of the resourcefulness and positivity of African people.
En route to Loiyangalani, I saw a large grey cat on the gravel road about two hundred metres ahead. I reckon it was about two foot high. The beast elegantly sprung across the road and vanished into the bush.
That morning, my first sip of water was whilst riding with my hydration bag. Big mistake! The water that I had filtered from the hotel sink didn't taste good. I couldn't figure out whether it was salty. That sounds odd, but it just didn't taste right.
I rode to the next town, Baragoi, where I refueled and purchased bottled water, which is very rare for me because I prefer to filter water for free. A crowd of twenty boys and young men had gathered around me. Few Mzungu pass through here. Gifting my empty water bottles caused a minor fracas as two men quarrelled over the empty water bottles.
Continuing north to Loiyangalani, there were hundreds of yellow locusts for half a kilometer. East Africa is experiencing the worst outbreak of desert locusts in 70 years. Some were resting on the road and shot up into the air as my motorcycle approached. The locusts were splattering me all over my body. One managed to fly under my helmet to explore my chin and beard before rejoining the swarm. I found this one still alive and lodged in a spoke.
Here's a video from Maralal to Loiyangalani. If you look closely at 41 seconds, you'll see the locusts.
The highlight of this route was the volcano near Lake Turkana. Unfortunately, I had drained my camera's battery from recording lots of video—d'oh!
The vicinity of the Mount Kulal volcano is scattered with volcanic rocks. These are known to be difficult to ride on, and their sharpness can shred tyres, apparently. Rain made this rocky section even more tricky as the moving rocks were now slippery. Suddenly, an unplanned detour took me off the two track and I was bouncing on much rougher rocks. Miraculously, I stayed up right and returned to the track.
Whilst rising over a slight brow of this rocky, rubble section, I caught a breath to celebrate what would have been the birthday of my late mum. A special moment with a truly beautiful view of the volcanic rock against Lake Turkana!