My, What Sharp Teeth you have

Heading out again and toward Windhoek, I once again kept to the small gravel roads- sure it takes longer, but the rewards are fantastic views that most travelers don’t get.

As well as the frequent need for a break.  After the wonderful climate in South Africa my body was just not prepared for hard desert riding anymore and I found myself looking for excuses for a break- i.e. This would be a good place for a self-pic since I’ve gotten some comments on the dirth of pics featuring yours truly.  Must have be from those ‘active seniors’…

Heading back down into the lower desert the bike started feeling very loose, almost like I was riding on sand, but not quite.  I stopped and checked the wheels and looked for anything amiss, but once again all was well.  I decided to let a bit more air out of my tyres, but the road still just didn’t feel right.  I kept riding and just decided that it was my mind- the further away from help I am, the more of a bike hypochondriac I become.  That was until I saw an oncoming plume of dust materialize into a car that started to take a gentle corner before flipping up onto its nose, doing a pirouette, and then flipping onto its roof.  I quickly stopped, and knowing the general rate of seatbelt use in Africa, jogged into the dust of the accident with images of bloody carnage swimming in my head.  I needn’t have worried- the Spanish tourist had all been wearing their seatbelts and were already unsteadily getting themselves out of the car.  After confirming that they really were uninjured, I got them to give me their info- rental car agreement, Lodge reservation, etc.  Then, for the first time on my trip, my satellite phone did what nothing else could.  I called their rental company, gave them the location of the wreck and which Lodge to send a replacement car.  I then called the Lodge and had them send someone to take the family to the lodge.  By the time they had calmed down I was able to tell them that everything had been sorted, The lodge was on its way to pick them up, a new car would be dropped off at the lodge around 8pm, and a truck was coming for the wrecked car.  In less than 45 minutes from flipping their car they were back on their holiday.

It felt great to be able to help, but for me it felt more like payback.  I remembered the help I got in Ethiopia when I had my off and it seemed like I was simply keeping the spirit of independent travel alive.  Even if they were silly tourists that had no business on that road in a normal rental car!

The stop also explained why the road fet so strange to ride on.  The guy from the lodge told me that the road was extremely dangerous since they made it by just pouring gravel on the sand and when the gravel started to sink in, they just added more!  The surface looked like a decent gravel road, but was really just gravel floating on sand.  Lovely.


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