Sunshine and Potholes
We have more students than days left to ride so I’m going to be doubling up on longer days. Today’s ride was for Twahire Joyce and Namata Agnes. I always put the kids’ photos right in my view for the day and when I feel like complaining, their pictures remind me what true heroes look like.
We started earlier than usual today because it rained last night but the sun was up and blazing early without a cloud in the sky and we had 53 miles to ride to get to Karuma Falls. The road was just riddled with massive potholes and although I tried to draft behind John as best I could, it was a little sketchy and I took a beating a few times as I would see the holes too late to avoid them. It’s tiring to be watching ahead to anticipate the holes but also watching behind to warn John and avoid getting creamed by a lorry or a bus. I don’t know how many times I have been distracted by waving at people and had a close call with a vehicle or hit a huge hole, which always makes people laugh.
We stopped for drinks as per our usual routine and I tried a pineapple and milk drink. Not recommended. The merchant was a little girl of about 10 and her mom or grandma (hard to tell). The woman was just spread out on the floor, laying on her stomach like little kids do when they watch TV. We had a great conversation about being tired and where our journey was taking us. She was delightful.
We are getting closer to where more wildlife is and the baboons and other monkeys made an unexpected appearance again today. I swear, one little baby clapped his hands when John rode by and then ran and jumped onto his mom’s back when he saw me. They just walk back and forth across the highway like nothing, sometimes plunking themselves down right in the middle to eat a snack or pick mites off their buddies.
At a second drink stop, we found a man with a scale and we were curious to weigh John’s bike. He had good humour about it and let us weigh it for free. They struggled to lift it up onto the hook and keep it balanced because it’s designed for hunks of meat and bags of rice. But John’s bike with all the gear and water is 125 pounds, a far cry from his usual skinny-tired, 17-pound road bike!
Karuma Falls was beautiful- well worth the ride but we were stopped by a military official with a rifle and told to delete the pictures as a matter of security. John pretended to do so. It was too beautiful not to capture and we have no plans of sharing the photos with anyone seeking to use them against the nation.
We stumbled upon another cheap hotel and we always check the rooms first to see if: 1. There is a fan.
2. There is a toilet.
3. There are no visible cockroaches.
4. There is something resembling a shower.
5. There is a mosquito net.
We have yet to find all five of these rewards together in one place. The trip has been so unpredictable as far as amenities. More often than not, we only have cold water so today I asked Godfrey (the hotel worker) if there was hot water. He assured me there was. So John enthusiastically got under the shower head and turned it on. Well, hot water was ALL there was and he let out a shriek. The shower only had one short gush of scalding water and then a continued drip drip drip out of the shower tap. So John asked me to find some other water because the sink was also bone dry. So I took the large water can out to Godfrey to get some cold water to mix with the hot drips that John was collecting in a plastic basin. After looking all over the place and finding no one, I finally saw Godfrey come out of his apartment with just a towel on, brushing his teeth and he had an exchange with Jackie (possibly the cleaning lady) to get us some cold water. I just sat and waited and felt content that all of our needs were being taken care of, no matter how weirdly it happened or how long it took. After 20 minutes, she brought back the 5 gallons of cold water and I hauled it back up the stairs to John who was still standing naked waiting for the water to add to the plastic wash tub. Then reminiscent of the ALS bucket challenge, he dumped the entire bucket over his head. By the time it was my turn to get cleaned up, the dripping had turned cold so I used the refreshing dribbles to clean off the grease, sweat and dirt from the day. This is a pretty typical routine of how we clean up each evening. Sourcing water is part of the chore and not always included in the price of the hotel room.