Erin's Tour d'Afrique Bike of a Blog!
An 8,000 mile personal and philanthropic adventure across Africa…

Rockin the Southern Hemisphere

The paved road has continued along our approach to Nairobi, and finally, we have received a respite from the rain!!! As I sat in my tent a few mornings ago, waiting for the morning deluge to cease enough to pack up my stuff, I was convinced that the same cloud (and correspondingh stench of mildew), would follow us all the way to Cape Town.

Fortunately, the morning deluge stopped in time for an absolutely breathtaking ascent and descent flanking Mt. Kenya. After a challenging 30k climb, we enjoyed a special lunch of french toast overlooking the picturesque mountain. Gazing at a perfect view of its snow-capped summit, we were chilled by the wind and unseasonably cool weather. The afternoon was all downhill to a town called Nanyuki, and the entire day of riding was pure bliss.

Everyone was in good spirits after the Mt. Kenya ride and a great campsite, and the next morning we crossed the Equator! This is a significant landmark on this trip as we are approaching the half-way point, and the character and culture will change significantly as we move south. In true African style, there’s just one paltry sign marking the spot that says “the Equator is here.” In true immature TDA style, we all rushed to find the first toilet, to see if it flushes backwards in the Southern hemisphere. I think maybe this is just a quote from the movie “Wedding Crashers.”. My first glimpses south of the Equator were inspiring- rolling hills, lush green valleys, abundant agriculture and the raging rapids of the Tana River.

The Tana River looked so cool that when we got to our campsite along its shores, eight of us signed up for an impromptu three hour white water rafting trip. Leave it to us to get wet voluntarily on the only day of sunshine we’ve had in two weeks. I started having second thoughts when we got the “how to fend off crocodile and hippo attacks” briefing, but I was already in the boat and it was too late to be a wuss about things. The first two drops were spectacular and we made it through without any incident. On the second drop there was a big hole at the bottom, which our guide taught us how to “surf.”. Unfortunately, two of the guys in our boat decided to save themselves by throwing their weight to my side of the boat in the hole, and Sunil and I flew off the boat backwards straight into the water. I think I might have seen the boys giving each other a high five as Sunil and I floated downstream with the crocs :-). On our next run we sort of got our revenge, when the entire boat flipped and we all ended up in the water. After a few more rapids we just had one big one left, which for some unknown reason our guide decided to take backwards. As we hit the wave the wrong way and our entire boat started to flip, the guide said I had the most classic “oh no, this is not happening again” expression before hitting the water. Paddy and I found ourselves swept downstream to the next big rapid still in the water and when we gave each other the look of fear and what the heck do we do now, I screamed “feeettt firrrstt” before getting pummeled. Don’t worry Mom, we had helmets, lifejackets and loads of fun. We finally got pulled back in the boats, and enjoyed a rigorous paddle and beautiful sunset along the river. It was a treat to experience a different type of adrenaline rush in a natural setting, and to not think about biking for a few hours. The only drawback of course, is now my clothes are wet yet again!

Onward to Nairobi tomorrow, for a rest day and some civilization!


3 Responses to “Rockin the Southern Hemisphere”

  1. Yeah! Halfway done! Can you even believe how much you’ve accomplished already in such a short amount of time? As always, I’m incredibly inspired by you… so much so that I bought a bike this week! But I think I’ll probably stick to riding up and down the East River path 🙂

    Sending you big hugs and warm wishes for sunny but temperate biking weather… xoxo

  2. Er, I know that you are a bit sad that you have reached the half way mark of your trip, but as your worried mother I am not. I am very proud of you though – such a strong, determined child of mine. Thank Nurse Caro for me. I am so glad you are feeling better. Be careful and enjoy. Love you and miss you.

  3. Oh. My. God. And I thought the appearance of white caps on Garden Street for this nor’easter was bad…

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