Camp, Home Sweet moving Home
Camping outside for 2 weeks, we got into a routine, and wildlife, was a big part of this, being in Zambia, Botswana and Namibia.
One of the thieving vervets in Livingstone looking for his very own tube of sunscreen/chamois tube after the theft of others.
We got into a regular groove, cycling in the first thing you did was grab a protein shake (this was protein powder in water or milk-calories matter, taste less) grab your bag, and tent and set your area, toss said bag and sleeping pad in, pull sleeping bag out of duffle but don't unstuff till you climb in (scorpions), grab towel and head to bucket shower or ablutions. Wash laundry near shower or in shower so it might dry before dark. Pass out near food.
As we found our way, we pitched in and helped with the amazing Savage Wilderness support crew, who not only drove our two vehicles with gear (so we didn't have to carry it-miracle) but also gave us our water stop, first lunch (like hobbits on long days, second lunch) and last water stop, all spaced out 40 km, and swept at the rear lest anyone fall apart or get lost.
Food was great, and coffee was real. Well the food was distinctly Kenyan British so the Americans had some learning but they kept us super hydrated and fed. We became eating machines.
Creating morning routines as well so we could eat, break everything down and get out of camp at dawn.
Evening briefings covered the next days route, which was on the whiteboard (as the truck drove through Maun one day we laughed at this-anyone could call Vince or James) which you took a photo of before heading out for directions and km points. But generally the route was simple. Turn left out of camp, go 157 km, turn right at ____ look for Danny, go into ___ camp. Botswana is not a land of many intersections or roads.
Elephant Sands camp was a place of powerful beauty, a man made desert watering hole that elephants had learned and added to their routes over the years. After a fiery African sunset we sat and watched the gray ghosts literally appear silently out of the dark and drink before coming very very close. Tents had to be place intentionally out of their routes to the water.
At our wildcamp under a Baobab Tree, as usual I spent a lot of time taking photos of Jen for a commissioned photostory, as well as the whole camp and African Spokes crew for sponsor shots and other pieces Jen and I are writing. (photo - Vince Smith)
My excitement at Planet Boabab camp was huge. I had put 46, 63, and 94 miles under my belt (the latter breaking distance records for me) and was freshly showered with a hard cider in hand! And ancient historic trees all around us. They are too amazing to express, less plant, more being.
I then passed out pretty hard with a bit of heat stroke. One thing I didnt think about in the months of envisioning this trip was the lack of shade. On my first century, Roz and I discussed drinks or food we wanted and I finally settled on a chair in the shade. Hours in the unrelenting African sun, even in late autumn is intense. It also makes for bizarre tan lines when combined with cycling clothing. (photo - Vince Smith)
Although we stayed at many beautiful lodge campsites (a new treat for the long term African Spokes riders) this wildcamp at the Baobab with a full moon remains the most the most amazing night of all.
Sunrise in Africa is also something to behold. We woke up before the sun to cycle as long as we could in the morning cool, and then in the evening went to bed not long after the sun dropped below the horizon, with African night setting in so fast it was like a light switch turned off. An adamant non morning person, I came to love this routine quickly, and sleeping outdoors in sync with things almost immediately.
Two inch long acacia thorns, and devils thorns (a pyramid so you always got stuck), and generally all the things with thorns, or bites, or stings, those kept us from getting too romantic or spacey. One of our African team members said Africa is not a place for the weak or foolish, but it is beautiful if you pay attention.