Friday, April 25, 2014

Heads, Tails and the Trans-Kalahari

The road from Maun to Windhoek is more or less flat and straight. The scenery is scrubby and ordinary. It challenges one's imagination as the distances are daunting. In fact, we had six centuries during this past section. Unless you listen to tunes or podcasts, there is ample time for reflection. It helps to avoid thoughts of aching quadriceps and hamstrings. 

One diversion is the ubiquitous presence of a bug on the highway. It may indeed be a cricket. Whatever species it is, the insect moves slowly and is vulnerable to being crushed. When the tire runs over it, the guts, a yellowish colour, spray on one's legs. This irksome insect also inhabits our campsites, sometimes joining us in our tents.

The elephant highway section finished yesterday with a stiff headwind as we pulled into the Namibian capital of Windhoek, a modern city surrounded by some low-lying hills which we climbed from the east. Headwinds have been a recurring source of lament during this year's TDA. We struggled north of Khartoum and the trend has been for any wind to be in our face rather than at our back. The one notable and fortuitous exception was the epic 200 km. plus day when we copped a tail wind in western Botswana that was a blessing.

The campsites have been off the road in the "bush". We set up our tents and cots among acacia trees. Thorns are a nuisance to both the body and the bicycle. The vegetation in the deserts is prickly indeed.

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