Countdown was on. Five days to go. The plan had been in the works for months, if you could call it a plan. I’d studied Google’s Earth for tracks. Bikers from days past had booked tickets. Bikes had been brought up to passable states of readiness (by local standards). All that remained was to change rubber. Faceplant delivered parts and a special compressed pizza, and Mr. Bean brought tyres aplenty for the changing. Mousses are a hellovathing to install on tyres that have been around for several years in the tropics, but it’s worth it to have 100% assurance that at least punctures won’t be what slows us down...
Above: A pizza mixta, Mr Bean on the job
The day upon us, we hit the airport bar at noon (well, it was noon somewhere). It was Bean and I plus two bums from early Dar Biker days; PubQuiz - the eternal fountain of useless knowledge and PhatBilly – apparently a slightly plumper version than last time he was around (pun intended); and Mr. Bean’s francophone-only buddy FundiPhil coming to ride the tracks at 58 years young. He didn’t have a clue what was coming.
Above: In transit (donation can could just as well had a pic of the average Dar biker on it)
Ajax and GilleMonster were half way to Mbeya with bikes atop trailers, and the rest of us hopped a bird. Somehow or other, we arrived at the airport within 30 minutes of each other (the car and the plane) and managed have a beer in the parking lot before setting off for the lovely and comfortable (if hyper-colonial and stuffily managed) Utengule lodge overlooking the dusty valley below from its coffee estate vantage.
Above: Mbeya Intnl Airport, Utengule arrival
It took nothing to unload, settle in, open some bottles and relax. Bikes were ready after we installed spanking-new airfilters on the XRs and our bellies were full of boot-tough beef.
Around the table, it was an intellectual's dream:
, out of the blue] So, anyone know the origin of the term “board meeting”?
[Ajax to PhatBilly
] Use your inside voice!
[Bean, GilleMonster and FundiPhil
] "Vous, loo, woo" and other French noises.
The sun snuffed itself out on the purple hills in the distance and we stumbled to our racks.
Above: 5/7ths of the group and a postcard sunset
We would ride come the morn.
Stay tuned, 'cause its going to get dusty.
Link to day 1