I am fast running out of superlatives like vast, immense, massive, immense etc for Tanzania

I am fast running out of superlatives like vast, immense, massive, immense etc for Tanzania. Far apart also works. We rode 135 km from our swanky accommodations in Chiona to our less swanky accommodations in Haneti, we’re camping in amongst school buildings that were unfinished long ago. I think the noisy Muslim guy from the Mosque next door in Chiona has followed us here. Either that or he’s got an equally loud brother working here. He’s just set the village dogs off with his call to prayers.

Most of the village came to watch us set up camp. The Mullah and his wife were quite keen to use our shower curtain as a background for a selfie. Adam had to chase them off because Linda was showering at the time.

The countryside in between early morning and late afternoon varied from lots of bleak to lots of pristine woodlands up on top of a large range of hills. Apologies if I’ve overused the words lots of and large in these Tanzanian blogs but they fit. We rode through some more wetlands but still no shoebills. I worry they are extinct. Ditto genets. I passed another ex-genet squashed on the road. Not long after, I heard a fish eagle crying.

We met the support cars 50 km into the ride on the edge of Dodoma for a breakfast of French toast as supplied by a Jen, Linda and Sue and chapatis as foraged by Alastair. Alastair is the best forager. Left on his own in the bush, he’d put on weight.

We worried about getting lost on our ride through Dodoma so bunched up and rode as a group. But as it turned out there was nothing to worry about and we found the ring road around town easily. But to say we rode around Dodoma isn’t as cool as saying we rode through it, so we turned back and diverted off the ring road and rode through the busy hustle and bustle yet spic and span city centre. Tanzanians don’t do litter. The fusions of cultures were fascinating; Swahili and English; Christian and Muslim. The churches were all doing a roaring trade with Sunday morning devotions and we rode alongside a huge Corpus Christi procession through the streets.

I struggled after Dodoma in the wind and on the hills, but not the down hill bits, and mostly rode alone, with Jack Johnson and the Chilli Peppers loud in my ears. The song Black Betty also works good on hills. My failing legs got a boost by way of a hundred dollar cash donation received from Johan Viljoen, a South African living in Arusha. Thank you, thank you, thank you Johan.

Ryan fell off the trailer spectacularly whilst getting chairs down for our lunch stop and sprained his ankle badly. To provide him comfort, Jenny and Linda defrosted our frozen chicken dinner on his swollen ankle. Ryan is stressing that his ankle will still be crock come time to walk up Mt Kilimanjaro.

The end of our adventure is now getting close. I overheard Hans finalizing flight arrangements out of Arusha. Mark Johnson stood up on his bike every 5 minutes, hoping for a first glimpse of Mt Kilimanjaro on the horizon. Silly boy.

When she started training for the Tour back in November last year, Carol Joy registered on a Strava women’s monthly kilometers and climb challenge. Normally she places about 23000. This month she’s bounced up to 14th, in the world.

With just 5 days to go, we’re getting to the business end of Dick of the Day and everyone is on their best behavior. Dave was the only nomination, on trumped up, scurrilous charges. So we all voted for him. He now joins me, Ryan, Alan and Carol Joy on 2 awards. Only Jaap, Lunda abs Sue have yet to get on the board.

Please support us as we ride to Mt Kilimanjaro to raise money and awareness for Zimbabwe’s pensioners. Help us to help them. Go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/oldlegstour. In Zimbabwe, transfer to Bulawayo Help Network via their CABS Platinum Account number 1124733450 or their
Ecocash merchant number 139149.

Until tomorrow’s blog from somewhere else in the middle of Tanzanian nowhere, survive, enjoy and pedal if you can- Eric Chicken Legs de Jong

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