Roadside eye food!
Okay. So I’m a bit cranky. I haven’t had a fall or crash that caused me pain since tossing Doc on those railroad tracks outside Santa Cruz Bolivia in October 2006. My ankle and knee surely reminded me of that incident for more than 3 months. Crashing or eating it on a motorcycle simply sucks. Yeah when you’re out playing in the desert, dirt or sand you might expect to go down. That’s why motorcyclists dress to crash. Not that we want this. Nor do we ever fear this. But when it happens on a simple daily cruise when trying to make a destination, it’s simply downright humbling. A wake up call. Unlike weekend warrior trips or the quick weeklong jaunt to baja, when on a world riding journey for more than two years the consequences of falling are great. Your bike or your body could fail you and your trip ends. It’s that simple.
Riding the few hundred clicks to Arusha today my fingers ached as I twisted the throttle. Bad sprain I guess. But still no fun. When not operating at 100% the experience lessens.
Cruising west from Tanga along the Masai Steppe with a beautiful range of mountains flanking me to the north, the road was good, the scenery movie like and the few stops I still managed to make along the way made for a rewarding ride: watching a near infant gawk in awe at this alien and his spaceship while his mom just giggled roadside; getting mesmerized while three young boys struggled in the gale force winds to hang a billboard sized banner with nothing more than rope, a small ladder and a lot of gusto; at speed bumps myself mesmerizing road vendors pitching fruit, fish and live chickens but too curious about me and my bike to use the hard in-your-face sell tactics other motorists faced. It’s never the destination. It’s the journey. And despite the lingering pain, dampened spirit and forced change in itinerary, I rolled into Arusha with a huge smile.
The winds across the Masai Steppe are brutal and in some cases the custs compete with those from Patagonia. But even so these kids are determined to hang the CelTel billboard… there’s a third you can’t see on the middle cross bar trying to tame the flapping advert.