Arusha and 3 glorious days of rest
Well we finally crossed over the equator (pretty anti-climactic) and are now in Arusha where we have 3 rest days. Most of the riders have taken of on Safari and the staff are catching up on some work, some drinking, and some rest. Randy has left the tour as Tour Director and Shanny has replaced him. Shanny has a much more collaborative style of staff management and Sharita and I have taken more active roles in the running of the tour. Having more to do and more input has been great and both of use are much happier. Randy's knowledge of the route and his charisma are great assets to the tour but his management style was making every one grumpy and unmotivated. Mark and Alex have taken off on a 5 day safari so I am doing all the bike mechanic stuff as well for a few days. Not a bad job – set up bike stand, tell people to fix their bikes, help if necessary and they buy you beer for the service! We also change out our Over-lander crew in Nairobi. Very sad to see Vimpy, Yancey, Ronel and George go. They were awesome to hang out with and very good at their jobs. The new crew is also great though. 3 Kenyans and one South African. They've asked me to come back as tour director next year which is a no brainer for me. My big debate now is what to do in between. Some options:
1) Fly to France for the TdF and then Fly home.
2) Fly to AUS to work as a carpenter and stay at Jim Hsu's place. Jim was a sectional rider who just left the tour and offered me a place to stay. Apparently there is mad cash to be made by tradesman in Western AUS right now.
3) Bum around Africa for a while, visit Zambia, work for Arcifa, Visit Hnter in Dar, go to Natalie and Holo's wedding in Mozambique….
4) Go home and remodel my brother's bathroom
5) I'm sure I'll thing of a few more before the end.
Southern Ethiopia was incredible. Rolling hills, beautiful view, way fewer kids throwing stones. I'll miss Injera. That crap that passes for Injera in the states just won't cut it anymore. I'll stoked to be back in Ugali country. Been eating it every day I can. The other riders and staff aren't to amped about it but that's understandable.
Northern Kenya was hard riding. Easily the hardest riding I've ever done, and that includes the 20km of RR track we had to ride down in La Ruta. The road is absolute shit. Washboard corrugation, loose gravel, babyheads, sand, headwind, all in the middle of the Dida Galgalu desert. Hot. Trashed my armadillos on that section, ripped the tread right off the tire in 4 places front and rear. I'm pretty sure I've never said "fuck" that many times before in one day, or ever will again. It was retarded. But after that section we had 4 days of great campsites, pitching tents a old colonial hotels, white water rafting sites and overlander camps meant hot showers and cold beer every night – a real treat and good for the soul after the pounding we had taken. We even got to go night rafting, under a full moon on some class 2 and 3 rapids. Fun.
I've given up on uploading pictures, sorry. I've stopped taking as many as well. Kenya and TZ feel pretty familiar and there doesn't seem to be that much of interest to take photos of. The Samburu in N Kenya and Maasai in Kenya/TZ have colorful dress and weird jewelry but they don't really like to have their picture taken so…
SO that's about it for now. I'll try to think of something a bit more interesting for next time. Hope everyone is well.