Crack of dawn I am up and packed. I clean a bit more dust off my bags. My jacket that I use as a pillow is covered in gray from my mop. I have a nice layer of ore dust over me. Water is for riding and I feel a little dehydrated from the train ride. I start drinking and it is time to ride. Road is dirt with drifts of sand in areas. Most sand drifts I can power through. Some require me off and pushing. GPS shows the track I am on turning to a major road 10k up. I like the mesquite trees in the area. See goats and camels feeding on the trees. I find my pace on the road at 10k from the sand traps and wash board in other areas. The wash board can be ridden but it is rouge with no suspension. I get to the main road and see no difference from the track I am on. It does have 4 to 6 lanes at times and the drivers are not slowed by the changing number of lanes. Traffic is minimal with big African trucks and Toyota truck. Many of the trucks taking other parallel tracks that merge and then divide. I try to take the track that has the least sand drifts. I stop for a quick brunch at some nice rocks. The wind starts around 10 and is a cross wind and some times it helps me. I brought 12 liters of water. The train ride took 2 and I am going though the water fast. At the current 10k speed and my water consumption I see that I will not have enough. I keep going and will start rationing when I get to the last 1 ½ liter bottle. I need to keep my energy up as long as possible and maybe I can get more water ahead. At noon it is 44C the wind feels like it is coming out of an oven. My mouth is always dry. My eye feel like sand paper is in there with them. I do not rub my eye as that would put more dirt and salt in them. Thoughts of recycling the salt from my shirt are dashed by the amount of dirt on it. The wind has created a haze over the area. I cycle on hoping for a better road. I take a couple of mouth full of water then eat a cookie. I need more water to wash the dry cookie paste from my mouth. Where are those nice ocean breezes? The water is very hot even the one bottle shaded by a bag. The water is not refreshing but I keep drinking it. The air is toasting everything. At 50k I am down to 2 ½ liters. I am thinking that I would prefer not adding my bleached bones to the Sahara. At 60k I am looking at rationing. Then I see a speed limit sign ahead and this makes me think that the road could be improving. It is a security check point. After having the officer ponder my passport for a while I am given tea. Nice and hot tea which my bottles of water are almost the same temperature. Finally he decides that he has looked at my passport enough and I get it back. I ask for a liter of water and get 3 liters. I am happy as I have enough to make some more distance and go through the first of the new liters quickly as it is not as hot and I need more fluid to keep up the slow grinding pace. At times the road improves a little with a stone base, but this has lots of wash boarding. Also there are still drifts of sand at times. As the sun starts to work its way down I come to one of the passes. It only 100m or so but it slows the pace down a little more. On top I need to use the brakes, which is sad as I want the speed but the wash board and sand cause me to keep the speed down so I have control. I come to a junction before the next pass and not sure which way to go as the route over the pass is on the map but the other is not on the GPS but looks like it would keep me Going over another pass. There was a hut there and a little old guy said hello. I asked directions to Atar. He point to both roads and indicates that they both go to Atar. Then he point to the non pass way and says direct. I am off as the light is fading. I have 15 to Atar as a bird flies so I push on. I lose the light and there is no moon or stars. The haze is blocking out the stars. Using the light attracts bugs. The glasses keep the bugs out of the eyes. It is tricky trying to read the road ahead and take a few bad bumps. I spend more time pushing. I see huts along the road and more as I go on. Then I see a shop and asked about water. They point onward and send a young lad to guide me. A quarter of a kilometer up I find a shop with a refrigerator. Cool water feels good and a liter goes down quickly. I push the bike on. What looks like a taxi stops and asks if I want a ride. I ask how much and he said free. I think I might be paying later. Bike is on the roof rack. Three kilometers up we are finally on tarmac. There is a bit of a hill and I am glad I have a ride for the last 9k. At campground I find camping is not available but the roof is. I take a shower and give the hair a number of rounds of shampoo. A bit more liquids in me and I am asleep.
90 Kilometers, 9:55 Moving Time, Max Speed 18.0 k, Moving Average 10.2 k,
Stop Time 3:22 Overall Average Speed 7.6 k, Start 07:00 end 22:00 Accent 324 meters.
Sunny with a northwest wind.
Love & Kisses
Beautiful photo's Steve, wish I was there with you, but I thought 'let me give you a break from me,' hope you appreciate that ; )
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