Friday, October 5, 2012

The great train ride.

We are taking the longest train in world today.  Get there early and sit and wait.  Three o’clock shows up and we find out the train arrives at 4.  More and more people show up.  The train has only one passenger car.  Another car has berths, but we booked as just regular passengers.  All the other cars are ore cars, free to ride, but you will cover in dust inside and out.  Train arrives and people jam the door climbing in and are passing stuff through the windows.  We don’t stand a chance of getting in with bikes and gear.  So we stand back and ponder the situation.  Train will be leaving soon and we have no chance to get our gear on board.
  Up comes a young man and tells us we can get our gear on board.  The crowd has thinned to a half dozen by the door so we are go for it.  There turns out to be a gear room that can hold our bags.  The bikes are shoved into the front of the compartment around a water barrel.  I try to keep my helper from smashing anything critical on the bike.  As the train starts an older man wants the bikes moved.  I help him to protect the bike as they are then pried from there present location and shoved in the toilet.  Not sure how we pulled off the turn into the small room but my bike is standing on end.
 I find a bit of space in front of the gear closet and Cindy in front of the toilet.  Glad I packed one bag as a padded seat as I sit in the hallway.  Stand when the butt needs a rest.  The train ride is only twelve hours.  The double window in front of me is filled with dirt that looks like an ant farm.  I get a few pictures out the door which has no window while there is daylight.  The door is held shut with a length of rope.  The other passengers around me tell those seeking the toilet to use the one at the other end of the car.  I wish the toilet is available so I don’t drink much water.  At 10 the train stops and I find relief.
 As the night goes on other around me go to sleep and try to spread out into my space.  I push back as I would not have any space without pushing back.  I can not sleep as I need to make sure no one borrows our gear.  At 2am we are finally at Choum.  We are help by many people getting our gear off.  I try to keep damage to our bikes from happening from our helpers.  One bottle holder on my bike is broken and Cindy’s bike compass is smashed.  The bikes are still working.  I have lots of people holding my bike as I load it.  Cindy is taking a truck to Atar.  I wish Cindy luck and she tells me the same.
 A little ways down the tracks near Choum I repack some gear as the bags were rigged for train travel and not riding.  In Choum I come across Cindy as they are repacking the Toyota trucks for the ride to Atar.  I have Cindy hold my bike as I finish readjusting my gear.  GPS shows me the track out of town so I head out.  A couple of kilometers further the trucks pass me carrying Cindy.  I go for a couple of more kilometers and then see a nice tree to camp under.  Tent is up quickly under the moon lit night.  I use no light as I don’t want to attract attention.  My shirt and pants could stand up on there own.

   Glad I choose to wear shoe for the first time in months.  Clean some of the dirt off my face and I am asleep.  

29.7 Kilometers, 1:05 Moving Time, Max Speed 27, 9 k, Moving Average 13.2 k, 
 Stop Time 1:01 Overall Average Speed 8.0 k,   Start 13:00 end 02:30 Accent 42 meters.
Sunny with a northern wind.

Love & Kisses

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