In a wonderfully bright morning I headed off. The road was still in terrible condition, but it wasn’t getting worse. And the clouds kept on clearing! For most of the morning the road stayed okay- I even hit a strange 50km stretch of new tar out in the middle of nowhere.
Then I hit the construction again. The gravel was fine, but the dirt deviations had dried just enough for the mud to keep its form, but not enough that it provided any traction at all.
In the above pic I wipedout twice just carrying my luggage to the side of the road. Why was I lumping my luggage around? Well, I had just finished 2 hours of making 1km/hr and had decided that I needed to turn around and either find another road, or backtrack until I could cross back over to the tar road I had come down on. I was beat- done. The road had won and I rode back to the last junction where the construction met the road and started to examine my map for a possible way out of my nightmare.
Then a little bit of luck rode my way…
Two riders came riding down the other way. They were riding on the newly raised roadbed that I had already checked and found to be about as bad as the deviation since it was just an uncompressed dirt layer. When their slipping and sliding tracks finally met mine I got the news. The next 500 meters were terrible, but after that the roadbed had a gravel layer and was decent until you rejoined the old gravel road.
I was saved!
We spent more than a few minutes helping each other clean our bikes; mine had the mud under the front fender problem, while theirs had the chain bringing the mud straight into the engine problem. Bikes cleaned, they were off on their way and I on mine. As reported, the first bit was terrible, but then I hit the ungraded gravel and was off. Like some bat out of hell I was speeding along at 30, even 35km/hr!
As night started to fall I made it to a gas station/grocery store/restaurant/hotel. It was about as basic as a place gets, but they had gas, food, and a hot shower- anything more and I wouldn’t have had a clue what to do with it.
All the one road sign was missing was a tumbleweed rolling past it.
The morning started early again with a quick inspection of the bike. Hmmm… A little muddy, wouldn’t you say?