July 31 – Day 30 of the Old Legs Skeleton Coast Tour
-from the Messum Crater to Mile 108
Kilometers – 78 km
Time – 8 hrs 06 min
Av Heart Rate – 116 bpm
Max Heart Rate – 171 bpm
As I type, I can hear the Atlantic Ocean. We skinny dipped in the Atlantic when we reached Mile 108. Suffice to say if ever they feel the need to censor the photos, they will be able to get away with using very small stars.
Mile 108 is a fishing resort, although I’m not sure resort is the right word. Mile 108 quite the most dreary depressing place, like a Siberian gulag, but not as much fun. We are camping in the fishermen huts on the beach. They are the word basic personified, but way better than camping in tents. After 30 days of camping, I’ve hit my camping quota. Jenny hit hers about 29 days ago.
As per normal, it was bitterly cold first up when we pedalled out of our camp in the desert, especially with everything damp from the drizzle.
Extreme heat has been a factor every day in Namibia, but not today. The cold persisted and the wind kept it’s bite. But it is far much better to ride in a jacket than to die of heat stroke.
We rode through a lot of nothing today, as in a complete dearth of anything. That much nothing shouldn’t be memorable, but it was. I’ll remember today’s ride for ever.
We climbed up to a ridge to look down at the Messum Crater. We oohed and ahhed and said wow for 5 minutes, before Ryan’s Garmin worked out that we were still 5 kilometers short of the crater and that we were admiring some random, no name valley instead. I have deleted my photos accordingly.
The landscape we rode through was cut and pasted straight out of a Mad Max movie or Star Wars.
I saw my first welwitschia today. The welwitschia is Namibia’s national plant. It is quite the ugliest plant. It looks like a botanical bomb blast victim. Wow is an adjective that doesn’t come to mind, until you find out that some of them are hundreds of years old.
I have no idea how anything survives in that landscape. We saw animal spoor and droppings all day, we think either giraffe or oryx, but not a single bird, not a single blade of grass. Although we did see the one horribly lost grasshopper, plus a yellow and black striped bug that may or may not have been venomous, which gave me a hell of fright. We also saw the Usain Bolt of lizards, but only very briefly. He was lightning fast, literally a blur..Russell loves lizards and tried to catch him but didn’t stand a chance.
Al Watermeyer gave me a top tip on my first Blue Cross, always pack a good pair of walking shoes. And so it came to pass and I zimmerframed my bike through large swathes of Namibian desert today.
Impossibly the landscape grew more rugged as we neared the coast, with sand making way for just rocks. At least sand is soft when you fall. The road was pitted with corrugations and I found it easier to ride off road for most of the day. I am not sure how, but my bike coped just fine. If anything, it got faster. I ride a Trek Fuel Ex 8.
Touching wood as I type, my Trek has pedaled 12000 kilometers for charity in the last few years, to Mt Kilimanjaro, around the borders of Zimbabwe on the Lockdown Tour, to the Impenetrable Forest in Uganda, and now to Namibia without a single mechanical, not even a puncture. I love my Trek.
But I love Al Crundall’s bike more. Al is on the 2022 Trek Fuel Ex. I am planning on mugging Al when we get to Swakopmund..
Tomorrow is our penultimate day. We will ride south 108 kilometers to Hentie’s Bay. We will ride on the salt road and against the wind.
We are pedalling to raise money and awareness for Zimbabwe’s pensioners. Please help us help them.
Until my next blog from Hentie’s Bay, have fun, do good and skinny dip if you can – Eric Chicken Legs de Jong.