Trouble checks in! There’s a long stretch of road that is just a sand basin, pure deep sand. There are very few car tracks and absolutely no motorcycle tracks. Motorcycles don’t pass here. Riding slows down to a crawl. Looks smooth in the photos, but believe me, it’s a sandpit!
We are about 100 kilometres from Loiyangalani. For sure, we are not making it there. We change our target destination for the night to Gas town. This is the “highway” upon which we dreamt of cruising. All this time, no one passes by. Not a car. Not a motorbike. No one.
We stop to evaluate our situation. It’s about an hour and a half to darkness. We are hardly doing 15kph.
Discussing our options. It’s clear we are in deep shit!
I fall, but Akoth doesn’t see it, she keeps going. I have to take some bags off to lift the bike.
I finally meet Akoth, she is stopped after the crazy sandy section. She tells me that she also fell just a little after we parted. That was just comedic! 40 minutes to cover 5 kilometres!!
We keep going, but soon we have to stop again and figure out this shit. It’s getting dark. Akoth wants a plan. My plan is simple: we keep going. But she doesn’t have a headlight. The road is terrible, we have graduated from crazy sand to crazy gravel. It’s a difficult ride. We are slow. And another problem: we have not fuelled since Illeret. We are not sure we have enough fuel. We agree to keep going, and try to make it to Gas.
Another stop to confirm with each other that we are actually in deep shit, that this is reality, and not some bad dream we shall wake up out of. Yep, it’s shit. Deep. It’s hit the fan biggly. Monumental covfefe!
All this time, we have met absolutely no one. Not a single soul.
We find a sign and a junction. A very cute sign… Complete with a nice little cute gable roof over it. But nothing is written on it…
“Very useful sign!” quips Akoth, smarting with sarcastic frustration.
We check our maps. The road to the right looks less used, but it is the one to Gas. The road straight on goes to North Horr. We take the right. On my GPS, I loaded the track I used last time, and we are far from it. I’m a bit confused about that, wondering why we are on a different road.
Akoth goes ahead, to make use of the little remaining daylight. I take some photos before following along.
The road is still crazy, difficult to ride gravel, with two deep vehicle tyre tracks. One has to stick to the tyre ruts. If you touch the walls of the ruts you risk losing control on the gravel. Lighting such a road with artificial light doesn’t help matters, It’s even more difficult to read the road, and more so for Akoth who soon has to rely on my headlights.
Akoth says she sees better with the white light than the yellow one. I switch my main headlights on to the high beam, in addition to my yellow spotlights, to get the bright white light.
We are tired, but we plod on. We have to ride in a certain formation for my headlight to be useful to her. It makes things even harder. I need some momentum to ride the gravel well. Akoth is slower and coming down with fatigue too. She has been riding such gravel with ease, but is not doing so well now. The sudden stops throw me off my rhythm. It’s been kilometres upon kilometres of going up a long incline. We keep hoping we will reach the horizon, and on the other side, the gravel will end. We will be able to cruise faster. We consider camping out here, but we do not have enough water. We keep praying to happen by a settlement, a manyatta, people… But none appear. We are tired, but we plod on…
And all this time, we meet no one. Not a car. Not a motorbike. No one.
Suddenly, it hits me why we are not on the path I recorded on my GPS two years ago. I rode to Sibiloi with a friend, and now I remember that we left the main road and followed some motorcycle paths for many kilometres before coming back to this road. We did not pass through his section. The motorcycle path was way better. We should be on that motorcycle path!
I tell this to Akoth, and we check maps to see where that motorcyle path rejoins this road. Maybe the road will be better after that. It doesn’t. It runs kind of parallel to the road we are on for a long distance. Cofveve!
I look at my GPS and see that we are approaching where the motorcycle path joins this road. We reach it, and I notice that it doesn’t join, it crosses this road from the right and goes on to the left. I rush up to tell Akoth I think we should turn left and follow it. We stop and discuss it for a moment…
“Is my light getting dimmer?” I ask Akoth.
“Yeah, it is.”
I switch off my bike’s ignition in horror. I flip all my light switches off, switch the ignition back on, and try to start the bike…
My battery is flat.
Suddenly it’s quiet. As quiet as an expansive gravel-floored tomb.
And dark. Pitch black. Except for our phones’ screens.