WHERE IS NAKODOK?
|Kennedy "Wakili Timam" Marete .... Me .... The Author ☝|
My name is Kennedy. I am a Kenyan lawyer and adventure motorcycle rider commonly known by my nickname “Wakili Timam”. I have spent the last 37 months of my life touring Eastern Africa on motorcycle in trips that have seen me visit Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania, 45 out of Kenya’s 47 counties and as you are about to find out, “De Facto” South Sudan. Many Kenyans cannot pinpoint Nakodok on their beloved country’s map. I didn’t know about it either until the day I decided to find out which of Kenya’s border crossing points I hadn’t been to. Nakodok is supposed to be Kenya’s last town before one ventures into its neighboring country of South Sudan. I say “supposed to be” because I found out something rather peculiar when I decided to ride there in July, 2019.
|Please see Nakodok's location on the Map marked out for a better mental picture....|
It is the first week of April, 2019. I have done an outrageous overnight trip to Lokichar in Turkana County and back to Nairobi which saw me ride from afternoon, to dusk and thereafter to dawn. My friend Djo Thefu had earlier on done an even longer trip to Lodwar, some ninety kilometres beyond Lokichar. We are both itching for adventure. So much so that when I suggest that we ride to Nakodok, and upon explaining where that is, he unflinchingly buys into the idea…and just like that, one of the most EPIC trips of my adventurous life is ON!
|Meet Djo Thefu. His face is a private part... scratch that 😑|
A trip of this nature requires sufficient free time and a bit of money. The months of April, May and June are quite busy for me. I participate in three National Superbike Calendar racing events where I perform quite well. I also have a busy work schedule, family matters to attend to and other commitments which see me cover about 15,000kms within that three month period. I do three round trips to the Kenyan coast, numerous trips to the Rift Valley and several trips to Meru.
On one of those rides, I get to meet Tina. A cool, subtle tigress brilliantly camouflaged as a giraffe who happens to be Djo Thefu’s friend. She rides a 200cc Lifan dual sport bike. For those who know nothing about bikes, that’s a small displacement bike that is highly suitable for off-road riding but still quite capable on tarmac. Djo Thefu, Tina and I do several short on and off-road trips thereafter and just like that, our #TeamTimam is born.
|The birth of #TeamTimam. Djo & Tina's joint initiative.|
It’s 20th June, 2019. Djo and I have confirmed that we shall be traveling to Bungoma County for work on 1st July, 2019. Our legendary friend John Kimathi has announced a similar trip slated for 5th July, 2019. Theirs is a 10-day trip that’s meant to venture into South Sudan and Uganda. I feel that 10 days is not feasible for me and Djo doesn’t seem keen on the idea of riding at anyone else’s pace…He’s can be a snail at times. Snails would understand. We pitch our idea to Tina who’s recently helped us make #TeamTimam official and she undertakes to revert with her response soon thereafter.
I have a race event on the weekend of 22nd and 23rd June. Our bikes are in bad shape. We had imported some crucial spare parts and safety gear, delivery of which takes longer than expected. I end up racing with spent spark plugs, a clogged air filter and a borrowed chain which barely passes the scrutineering process. Djo Thefu gifts me his spare brake pads. He’s such a life saver. I race without taking any unnecessary risks. This culminates in the slowest race of my life wherein I deliberately but successfully do the bare minimums to earn my second place in the national championship standings. Djo Thefu, who’s my race director, at some point claims that I appeared to have been doing a random ride on the race track.
|A glimpse of what I look like when riding through a corner on the race track...|
Our bike parts and safety equipment arrive on 26th June. I am elated. I take my bike to Muthee’s home for installations on the same day. My bike is now ready for the trip but Djo is swamped with work and doesn’t have time to work on his bike. Djo is an engineer by profession, who prefers to fix his own bike. His deadlines overwhelm him and just two days before the trip, he relents to the pressure and takes his bike to Muthee for the necessary repairs and installations.
|Muthee's home based garage setup is humble. But his meticulous work ethic makes him one of the best in the business.|
Tina finally confirms that she’ll be joining us for the six-day long trip but will only be able to do so as from 3rd July. I am surprised that she wasn’t kidding in the first place. We’re all cool with that. Our planned trip is not suitable for the faint hearted. The initial riding schedule according to Djo Thefu is as follows:
Day One: Nairobi (Tina) and Bungoma (us) to Lokichar (515kms all tarmac)
Day Two: Lokichar to Kakuma (209 kms rough roads)
Day Three: Kakuma to Nakodok (130 kms rough roads)
Day Four: Nakodok to Nasiger (213kms kms rough roads)
Day Five: Nasiger to Kitale (wherever that is)
Day Six: Kitale to Nairobi (386 Kms all tarmac)
At first I don’t like the plan but I feel that it’s better than nothing. I have done enough rides with Djo in the past to know how unpredictable he can get when the going gets tough so I have every intention of spicing up my version of the trip, with or without the support of the team. It is a very bad approach to things which any experienced solo rider would understand. No two motorcyclists are the same. Everyone has got varying riding preferences, skills and endurance levels. This means that as much as the goals and intentions of a group of riders may seem similar, each one of them will have a different way of going about the ride in a bid to enjoy the riding experience.
During an off-road trip on 4th May, 2019 with #TeamTimam, which was meant to take us from Ngong to Duka Moja through Ewuaso Kedong, Djo and Tina gave up on the plan midway and changed their route to Maai Mahiu claiming that the planned route was not feasible for them. I proceeded without them and rode offroad to Suswa then rode further off-road from Maai Mahiu to Ngong with no pressure whatsoever as they took the tarmac road from Maai Mahiu back to Nairobi. We all got home safe and satisfied with our respective rides. We are a team that is comfortable with the notion of agreeing to disagree peacefully so I am mentally prepared for a similar situation on this trip…or so I presume.
I approach Tina to find out how much long distance riding she’s done up in the past. She’s been riding for over five years has never done an overnight trip. All of her long rides were below 400kms a day and were done on tarmac. I can see that she is determined to prove her mettle but I reiterate on the importance of preparing herself mentally. From my past riding experiences, I am aware of how such a long journey could easily break any rider’s resolve to keep going. She insists that she’s tougher than she looks and I chose to take her word for it… (hold that thought too)
We are all assigned our respective responsibilities for the trip. My objective is to cater for the transportation of spare fuel, oil and tow ropes. Deep down, I can tell that these guys don’t like me very much seeing that they think that the guy with a sportbike with track racing tyres is the most ideal to carry 30 liters of highly flammable substances on loose gravel, deep sand and other surfaces, preheated by Northern Kenya’s scorching sun, where any rider is highly susceptible to crashing…But y’all know who I am! Wakili Timam accepts the challenge. I device a plan as to how I am going to mount the fuel cans on my luggage. I have no intentions of ruining my flawless riding career so this means that dropping the bike on this trip is not an option…. (Please hold onto that thought with an evil smile).
It’s Monday, 1st July, 2019. We are all set to start the trip…or so I presume again. The plan is for us to start the journey at 11:00am and ride to Eldoret through the Kabarnet and Iten twisties. I have recently received some advanced cornering tips from Kenya's finest racers Altamont "Tafu" Tnomatla and Shaiman "Gogo" Mughal (google them) which I am eager to apply on that road. I even contact a couple of my friends in Eldoret notifying them that I would be passing by the town later that evening. Both of them invite me to join their families for dinner but I only accept the first invitation.
Djo requests that we push the departure time to 11:30, then 12:00 noon but ends up showing up at 01:41pm. I am glad that he is running late. I use that time to clear as much of my outstanding work as I possibly can in a bid to reduce my workload on while the trip. Being self-employed, I don’t get to apply for time off work and thus planning my working schedule is amongst my top priorities. Djo has his lunch as he waits for me at a nearby petrol station and we end up starting the journey at approximately 2:54pm…almost four hours behind schedule. I fill my tank at Shell, Sigona, initiate my preset music playlist for the trip and off we go!
7 minutes later….
Djo has been riding slowly since we started the trip. We’ve only got three hours of riding left before darkness sets in. Luckily, I am not in a hurry because the Western Province job is meant to be done all day on Tuesday and half day on Wednesday. I decide to ride at Djo’s snail pace as I enjoy the uninterrupted sounds of sweet music blasting into my ears courtesy of my new-ish Pace Mzooka earphones. My new helmet, a Schuberth S2 Sport is so silent that a monk could literally live in it. Djo finally passes me but rides to the side of the road. Something is wrong with his bike…SHIT!!!!
We are somewhere near Limuru…at the entrance of a petrol station approximately 400 meters to the Limuru fly over. Djo’s bike needs some roadside maintenance. Since we set off, it has been wielding less power than Kenya’s opposition leaders since the year 2002. Djo tells me that this has got something to do with the bike’s carburetor adjustments and spark plugs. He knows his bike very well and claims that the job is likely to take 40 minutes to an hour. He quickly converts me into a spanner boy during the two hours it takes to get the bike in the right shape. It’s a few minutes past five when we finally decide to proceed with the journey. Ian “Kijana Mweusi” stops by as we prepare to leave. We chat a little, take some snapshots and part ways.
|With Kijana Mweusi after the repairs and test rides|
We’re back on our bikes. Djo has added a whooping 25kms per hour on his average cruising speed. I am so excited… NO I Am NOT! But I am happy to be moving towards our destination. He seems happy now. We do one of the most uneventful non-stop rides to Nakuru. Despite riding slowly I still find myself forced to ride at the roadside on several occasions to let vehicles pass as I await Djo Thefu’s dinosaur. His bike is fully loaded with panniers, a full top-box and some extra luggage so I totally understand his cautious riding and I’m cool with it. I dance to my favorite songs as I ride in a bid to avoid dozing off.
At Nakuru, we stop at Shell, midtown to refuel. It costs Kshs.501/= to refill my tank to the brim. Someone whose identity I shall not disclose spends thrice as much to refuel their bike. It’s outrageous. He blames it on the technical issue that necessitated the roadside repairs. It’s 7:46 pm when I call my friends in Eldoret to notify them that I am running late. A driver approaches me asking about our destination. We have a brief but cheerful chat. He points out his car and mentions that I had overtaken him as I danced on my bike adding that he was amused by how free and unfazed I appeared to be while riding at the time.
Djo contemplates sleeping at Nakuru but we decide that we are going to spend the night at Eldoret. I take off my gloves and place them on Djo’s bike as I put on some extra warm clothes for the second phase of the trip. Djo rides off before I am able to retrieve the gloves. I get on my bike and follow him. I spot one glove that has fallen off his bike in the middle of the highway. I stop to pick it up well aware of the risk of being hit by approaching vehicles. I get back on my bike and ride on slowly, looking out for the other glove but I don’t see it.
I get to the end of Nakuru town where I spot Djo waiting for me but as soon as he notices my bike, he takes off again. AAAARRRRGGGGHHH!!!!! I notice the second glove hanging loosely on his right side pannier. I attempt to flag him off in vain. I decide to speed up in a bid to catch up and overtake him as I lean off my bike to retrieve the glove from his moving bike….With that, I wrap up my ninja moment of the day!
|Djo The Phu tography along the Nakuru - Eldoret Highway|
The ride from Nakuru to Eldoret is magical. It’s a combination of every possible night riding experience scenario. Some sections are dry, others are drizzling, some are busy and packed with traffic, others empty and blissful. I finally get to enjoy my secret night riding weapons. My recently well aimed headlights are finally accomplishing their mission with my new helmet teaching me everything I need to know about what money can buy.
Let me tell you something about a good helmet. It is very light. It feels so weightless that sometimes you forget that you are wearing one. Its aerodynamics are gold. You don’t experience much wind resistance or buffeting. This helmet cancels out wind noises leaving you with the pleasure of enjoying ambient sounds as you ride. I was able to ride while communicating clearly on a phone call that lasted well over an hour and it couldn’t have been any better if I had had it from the comfort of my office or in a tranquil garden.
|Onboard the Schuberth Experience.|
A pin-lock visor system ensures that fogging is a thing of the past. You get to ride through cold or rainy sections with your visor closed guaranteeing yourself a warm, clear and stress free riding experience. My visor is also anti-glare meaning that even the brightest oncoming headlights don’t faze me. The visor surface is so smooth that any muddy water droplets sprayed by trucks onto its surface flow down effortlessly. All these features culminated in the most memorable first long distance night riding experience in the Schuberth. I now understand why it costs as much as a brand new bodaboda motorcycle and I thank Djo for his priceless knowledge that enabled me buy this helmet at a very good bargain.
We get to Eldoret at 10:24pm. I call my friends to notify them of my arrival. I notify Djo about the dinner invitation and we head to meet my friend Liz who ushers us to their beautiful home for supper. Their kids are already asleep so we join Liz and her husband to watch Kenya lose to Senegal in the ongoing CAF games as we chat about our trip and enjoy a scrumptious meal of kienyeji chicken with ugali, veggies and some juice. Djo is clearly exhausted and already dozing off. Discussions about hotels with safe parking lots in Eldoret culminate in an offer to spend the night at their house which we gladly accept. We’re given a comfy mattress and bedding which see us through a rather short night on the floor of their living room.
We wake up late. Someone had reiterated on the importance of starting early to enable us meet our days objective. He is the morning person in this team but he is having problems waking up. Our hosts have several cats which appear to be displeased by our occupation of their territory. Djo is unfazed. I am tempted to remind him that we are camping on someone’s living room but I choose to lead by example. I take a shower and start preparing to leave.
We are served a rather nice breakfast which has me even more glad to have spent the night here. I have some really good friends and I always thank God for them. After breakfast, we take some group photos, bid everyone farewell and leave without even the smallest hints of urgency. I request Djo to let me meet and greet Rono, a friend who lives and runs a business in the area. We spend about 15 minutes chatting in what turns out to be a small crowd of my friends from back in my campus days in Eldoret with who I hadn’t met for almost ten years. I had missed these guys.
We proceed with our journey. We refuel again just past Eldoret town at which my bike has consumed exactly 500bob since we left Nakuru. I am pleased. We ride to Webuye then to Lugulu and thereafter Brigadier. At Brigadier, we pick up a village elder who happens to be a rider. He gets his fair chance to ride as my pillion passenger to Big Tree which he appears to enjoy. At one point, our investigations lead us to a chang’aa den where revelers flee the scene assuming that we are police officers. In all fairness, Djo Thefu does resemble a biker cop. We return to Brigadier and thereafter proceed to Naitiri where we (including our bikes) spend the night at Djo’s mother’s house.
It’s 3rd July. I wake up with an unusual vigor. Last evening, Djo Thefu’s mother fed us the way you would feed a hardworking Luhya man. With bottomless flasks of good tea with an endless supply of kangumus, chicken, ugali, vegetables and fruits. I wake up feeling like I do while at my parent’s home in Meru…like an overfed brat. We have a court attendance at Kimilili which is quite a distance away so I hurriedly iron my Suit and shirt then prepare to leave.
|Machines line up at Djo's Mom's Place. Ignore the partially visible private part...|
I call Tina who confirms or rather lies that she’s already on her way. Djo is already up. He’s already taken the bikes outside and has started parking his luggage. We are taken through another feast in the name of breakfast to remind me that indeed, we are in Western province. I call Tina again and she tells me that she is at Delamere in Naivasha. Good progress. She is expected to meet us at Kitale by 2:30pm latest. Djo’s mom prays for us and off we go.
We arrive at Kimilili, the matter has been postponed to November. It happens. I am glad that we are doing several other things on this trip. Can you imagine the feeling of travelling for almost 400kms one way in vain? We get to do some other work around the court premises. The cyber cafes around here don’t have internet… oh the irony! Djo mentions that his former school, Friends School, Kamusinga is just around the corner. He promises that he would show me around…a promise which he’ll have to keep in future. We leave Kimilili at a few minutes to 2pm.
|Doing some other work ... bush lawyer moments|
I stop along the way to call Tina. She confirms that she is about to leave Eldoret. I tell Djo that we appear to be slightly behind schedule. We agree to split to enable us save time. I am supposed to go back to Brigadier to have some documents signed while Djo proceeds to Kitale to do some shopping and wait for Tina. We agree that since I am doing a long detour, the two of them may start the journey in a bid to save time as I am capable of catching up. I speed to Brigadier. At some point, I ride through heavy rains for about five minutes. I stop to check whether the documents have been rained on. To my amazement, I am almost dry. It turns out that if you ride fast enough, the bike can create some sort of air bubble which diverts most of the rain water away from your body. I know that it sounds a bit far fetched but I will stick with my story.
From Brigadier, I use the Matunda to Kitale route hoping to catch up with Tina. I don’t. She must have gotten here already anyway. It’s 4:06pm when I all to ask about their whereabouts. Djo is alone at some mall. Tina is not answering her phone. If she’s not here yet it means she must be at least a half an hour behind, if my speed between Matunda and Kitale is anything to go by. I am disappointed. Djo has offered to buy me a specific meal of coconut fish which I had earlier on turned down in the interest of keeping to the schedule. We agree that he proceeds to order the food as I rush to buy myself some rain gear.
When I was hurriedly packing for the trip, I left out two important things. My rain gear and my GoPro camera’s USB cable. The GoPro’s battery is only 47% charged and I don’t wanna risk frying it by buying a random type c able on the way. I decide to preserve it to record the final part of the trip to Nakodok.
I ask bodaboda guys for directions to any place where I could buy some rain gear. They are quite helpful. I am directed to an open-air market at the end of town where I am spoilt for choice. The vendor brings some water to help test the permeability of various items. I settle for a red rain coat and a sky blue trouser which happens to be the only waterproof one that can fit on top of my riding leather suit. I know that I will be looking like a clown in that combination…hopefully my jokes will not be as dry as I expect to be in case it rains along the way.
I return to the mall to find Tina’s bike parked next to Djo’s dinosaur. She made it at last. She insists that she didn’t have any lengthy stopovers…that she genuinely took over two and half hours to over 65kms between Eldoret and Kitale on a motorcycle. She did not need to lie. We were all grossly behind schedule. But because she did, the thunder that would strike her was already doing endless push-ups at the roadside somewhere near Eldoret town, eagerly awaiting her return!
Djo and Tina are at Megabytes, an interesting restaurant inside the mall. I greet them as if we had just met. It is the first time that #TeamTimam has converged since the race day. The ride we have all been waiting for is about to begin. But something that smells even nicer than Tina catches my attention. It is the fish. It is presented beautifully and is served with veggies and chapati. When Djo brags about something, I can assure you that it is worthy of some attention. He had bragged about this coconut fish while at Kimilili when he offered to treat me to a meal. It hits me that this could be the last decent meal that I have for the next five days…and that I had almost turned it down. I eat all I can and pocket what I can’t! (Goes into hiding…with my dignity still intact).
It is almost 6:00pm. Our stomachs are full and so is my eagerness to ride. Tina doesn’t appear as tired as expected. Djo and I haven’t done much riding today so we are technically both fresh…or so I wrongly presume. We all agree that we shall be riding to Lokichar. It’s just over 200kms of tarmac roads but since we will be riding in the dark, we project that it could take us up to four hours. We even discuss how all that we’ll need to do is pith tent and sleep since we have already eaten to our fill. Djo threatens to ride slowly all the way and we set off, hoping that he is kidding.
Tina and I refuel our bikes at Shell near Kitale Club as Djo waits. We start that evening’s phase of the trip at 6:37pm. We ride in daylight for about 20 minutes. Djo has been riding slowly. Tina leads the way as I wait for Djo to pick up his pace which he doesn’t. I have spent the better part of the day listening to him showering praises to his bike’s performance since his roadside repairs. He even appeared to comfortably race and overtake me at some hill as we rode to court. I try to convince myself that it’s either the traffic, the periodic potholes or the few unmarked speed bumps that he’s warely of.
But wait a minute. We are riding at around 50-60kms per hour. It is not completely dark yet. Even so, Djo’s bike has got some serious aftermarket HID headlights which when compared to my stock LEDs, are easily dependable even when riding at 150kms per hour or much faster in the dark. At our snail pace, all these hazards are visible from a day away. We are riding so slow that the Japanese could use Djo’s headlights to spot a pothole, bring in their heavy machinery, path it up and leave before we get to the spot where the pothole used to be. The two of us haven’t done much riding today so that could only mean one thing. This buffoon is attempting to initiate an uprising in a bid to alter our plans!
I am pissed off. I accelerate, overtake Tina and keep going. I have decided that I shall not ride below 60kph for whatever reason. There are much easier ways to bore myself to death. Darkness finally sets in. It has been about half an hour since we left Kitale. The town of Kapenguria, which is 35kms from Kitale is just ten kilometres away. A consistent marathoner or cyclists could do better than this. This group ride is shit! I can’t ride like this anymore. That is how people fall asleep on their bikes and crash to death. I decide to stop by the side of the road to discuss this issue. I even pretend to be oiling my chain to ensure that the dinosaur doesn’t ride past me. It takes them about two minutes to catch up. They stop to assist. I raise my complaint in response to which Djo shocks me with some bullshit excuses. I loose it.
The nerve in this man! The man who only two nights ago had the power to ride from Naivasha to Eldoret in complete darkness and stop along the way for up to 20 minutes to take fancy photographs on his DSLR camera. The man who I have watched sleep for at least 8 hours for two consecutive nights. A man who has been fed like a king throughout the trip and has only been riding for approximately an hour and a half throughout the day. The same man who has spent the day pinpointing Tina’s potential fatigue issues and telling me how eager he is to see my Ninja attempt to get to Nakodok decides that he has only got enough steam to ride up to Kapenguria.
I am shocked and disappointed. We spent over half an hour discussing the evening’s logistics without his opposition. He’s been riding slowly on purpose. He is messing with our group’s team mentality on purpose. The thunder that will strike this man is waiting to shock him and his rear mono-shock absorber in the rough roads that lay ahead of us. We won’t make it to Nakodok with this attitude.
At one point, I contemplate returning to Nairobi and doing the trip alone in future. I am petty like that. I am leaving his stupid ass behind. Tina attempts to intervene but is caught in the crossfire. “Huyu msee amesema analala Kapenguria.” That is the last thing she tells me, clearly irritated, before she gets on her bike and zooms off. I am determined to teach Djo a lesson so I start my bike and follow Tina, leaving the dinosaur behind.
Before you get it all twisted, I rarely remain pissed off for long and I forgive easily. I like Djo. He’s one of my best friends. I know that leaving him behind is totally uncool but I appear to have ignited another flame with which I must deal. Tina is ahead, riding recklessly (in my opinion) hitting every pothole and speed bump along the way with extreme prejudice. You can see her anger written all over her riding. She’s still steaming furious. I tell myself that if we were riding in a clear sky at the time, she’d be leaving chem trails in her wake. I am lucky that she’s new to the area and riding a slower bike otherwise I’d have to hire a time machine to catch up with her.
I finally manage to catch up with her as she waits to overtake a slow lorry with oncoming traffic blinding her. At that point, we are three quarter way through Kapenguria town. I overtake her and after a few meters I stop by the side of the road. She rides right past me. I chase after her severally, pass her and signal her by hand to slow down but every time I slow down in a bid to stop, she overtakes me and keeps going. This plan of spending the night in Kapenguria as a group is toast.
We soon find ourselves ring down the 7km downhill Kamatira twisties in the dark. I am scared for her. I start riding by her side, right behind her to use my much brighter headlights to illuminate her way. I know that the area is a black spot and I don’t wanna risk her going down. I lead her into the sharp corners, deliberately slowing down to slow her down. At some point I even ride hands free to distract her… She overtakes me but signals me of a pothole by extending her leg in its direction…it is a biker thing. We are finally riding sober together. Phew!
At the end of the descent is the town of Chepareria. With Tina still leading, we ride past the town. I stop her immediately after the last speed bumps, less than a kilometre past the town center for a crucial update. I have been here before. The views from this point to Marich are to die for…but we are riding in the dark so we can’t really see for shit! I notify her as much. She agrees to turn around. We return to the town to look for a decent place to spend the night but for lack of a better word, this place is a dump. We spot an open shop selling plastic jerrycans prompting us to have a debate about my fuel transportation plans, albeit briefly.
A bodaboda guy takes us to what he believes is the best hotel in the town. When he stops, you can almost hear bedbugs shushing each other somewhere in there in a bid to avoid ruining their prospective meals in us. You can hear them mumbling about which squad is going to the lady’s room and the disgruntled ones that will have to settle for the dark fella. I can’t help it but burst out in a rather unkind laughter. It is some lodging right behind a hardware store and the best part is that you’ve got to walk through a rather shady looking corridor to access it.
It looks like a brothel. We turn it down as politely as we could from the without getting off our bikes. I tell Tina that Kapenguria is only 18 kms behind but our egos will have none of it. The bodaboda guys tells us that we will find better accommodation at Ortum and with insufficient gratitude, we proceed with our journey.
We are riding aimlessly. But I am glad that we are doing it slowly. We are in high spirits. We are passing vehicles so I can claim that despite the slow pace, we are on the fastest machines plying these streets on this night. And that gets me thinking. How the hell are we going to ride through the 80 kilometre bandit infested stretch between Marich and Lokichar in the dark without the unfair advantage of speed? I am tempted to stop. There is no way I am riding past Ortum which lies just 28 kilometres ahead. I need to find a way to convince Tina to stop at Ortum for the night even if it means spending the night in a manger. Maybe I should try my own version of Djo’s stunts.
The road is filled with sharp corners and steep descents and ascents. I lead most of the way, riding hands free at all descents. We ride so slow that my bike indicates my remaining fuel range as over 900kms. It’s a first. The most I have done on a single 14 liter full tank of fuel is 451kms from Bondo to Nairobi through Narok. I am even going through downhill corners hands free. I am expecting Tina to take the initiative and put an end to this nonsense but she doesn’t. So I decide to make it even more outrageous.
I approach and overtake an 18-wheeler hands free, on a sharp bend as we descend into Ortum town. It is the most reckless thing that I have ever done in my riding life and my last ninja moment of this day. I have to tell her that we can’t proceed beyond Marich simply because it is too dangerous. I even start structuring my presentation in my head and briefly get lost in my own thoughts. And then it happens. I notice that she is missing. I can still see the 18 wheelers headlights but I can’t see her bike. I panic. She was riding right behind me. She must have gone down. Oh SHIT!!! Oh Shit!!! Oh SHITTT!!!!
I make a U-Turn so fast and dash back. I pass the 18-wheeler and she’s not behind it. I mentally confirm my own fears. It’s no longer a matter of if she’s gone down but where? We were not speeding but the problem with bike accidents that if a bike falls on you even at a speed of 50kms per hour, it could inflict serious injuries or overwhelm you with its weight. I realize that I am speeding and that I have passed the last place where I had seen her. When in the lead, I had been regularly checking my rear view mirrors to confirm that she’s following and fine. I turn around again and ride at the edge of the road looking out for skid marks or debris.
There is nothing. Just as I am about to get a heart attack, I see something. It is a tiny petrol station some 50 meters or so off the road on my far-right hand side. Those petrol stations which have two fuel pumps with no structure around them. Two people are waving at me. It’s Tina and the fuel pump attendant. Oh, and Tina’s bike is there. She’s ok. Apparently, I zoomed by so fast, fixated on checking whether she was riding behind the 18-wheeler that I completely failed to notice the white fluorescent lights from the petrol station. I tell them about my mini ordeal and we laugh about it. The fuel pump attendant warns us not to ride beyond Ortum citing safety concerns. He even quotes several recent cases of bandit attacks for good measure. Tina is convinced. We are ending the day’s ride at Ortum.
Nothing beats the feeling of having a burden taken off your shoulders. The fuel pump attendant has rather effortlessly done what I have so stupidly been struggling to do. To use my words. Dr. Gicharu would still be disappointed in me. The kind attendant further directs us to a good guest house. We thank him and leave. Being a skeptic, I stop to ask for directions to the same guest house from some bodaboda riders. We get to the said place and stop. But there’s a nearby night club which is noisy. Tina notices some lights signifying another guest house down the road. We head there. It is much better and they’ve got clean rooms and ample gated parking within their facility.
You'll notice that I haven't shared any pictures from the moment when we left Kimilili. We have been in such a hurry to get things done that it simply cross my mind. The mood after the Kapenguria incident also ruined the experience. Anyway, It’s 9:26pm when I receive the M-pesa payment notification for my room. The network reception here is poor. I open my phone to notice a WhatsApp message from Djo confirming that he’s spending the night at Kapenguria town. I am glad that he’s fine. I notify him that we have stopped at Ortum for the night and that the road beyond Kapenguria is well marked and isn’t so bad. He replies with an emoji. We offload our bikes. I help Tina with some of her luggage. It turns out that she brought me a camelback…that is those fancy water bags which bikers and military personnel use to carry water on their backs. I love it.
Tina also gives me two tins of canned beans, some bottled water and some milk. I struggle to carry the stuff back to my room. I don’t remember thanking her for the goodies. All I am thinking about is how dramatic the evening had turned out to be and how much luggage these guys brought for the trip. The explosive thunder that will strike my ungrateful self finds its way into my luggage, camouflaged as a packet of long life milk. I take a hot shower and retire for the night.
|About to transition from Tarmac to Some Rough Roads...and get dirty while at it...|
I wake up to the sounds of birds chirping for the second morning in a row. My head feels so clear. It must have something to do with the freshness of the air in this place, the absence of air conditioning equipment notwithstanding. I have rested well. At this moment, I realize that I don’t miss the sham of living in Nairobi at all.
Most people living in the city wake up to the noise of alarm clocks, noisy neighbors, matatus hooting all over, mosques and churches conducting prayers that for some reason or the other need to be broadcasted to those who choose not to be in attendance and so much more depending on the part of the city where you live. If you look at the trouble most people go through just to live in the city, you would think that there’s no life outside the city. The truth is that school time and working hours are similar across the country…city people put in all that extra effort in a bid to beat traffic…nothing else. Yes. Witchcraft is real.
I hear people fidgeting with the bikes outside. Some of the guests have decided to take photographs on our bikes in our absence. It happens. I walk outside and greet them. Tina is probably still snoring in her room. Having covered some 468kms yesterday, I don’t feel inclined to disrupt her sleep. Something grabs my attention. The view from pretty much all directions is to die for. Ortum town is sandwiched between beautiful hills…hills so up high that clouds form at some of their peaks. I really enjoyed the views during my previous trip but the view makes the idea to spend the night in this tiny town feel so precious.
It’s 7:46am. I check my phone to see a few messages and a missed called. There is one WhatsApp message from Djo. He is already at Kainuk and adds that he will go on as he wishes to ride slow on the rough roads that await us beyond Lokichar. He has chosen to leave us behind so I acknowledge receipt of the message and tell him to proceed. It takes Tina another hour to finally show up. It’s 9:08am when Djo updates me that he is leaving Lokichar but riding terribly slow. He is over 130kms ahead of us. We haven’t left the guest house yet. I put a little pressure on Tina who is having none of it. This lady is not used to taking orders from anyone. As we leave the guest house, she insists on having a quick breakfast at Ortum so we stop at nearby restaurant.
I order fresh milk and a couple of chapatis. Tina wants tea, mandazi and scrambled eggs. She’s told that she might have to wait for the chicken to lay their morning eggs in response to which she clarifies that she’s not in a hurry. She’ll be having her tea and mandazis as she awaits the eggs. It takes about a quarter an hour for the waiter to serve Tina’s eggs. Their chickens are quite reliable. By this time, I have already given my second chapati to a kid who had been staring at us through the restaurant’s door. Tina also surrenders half her mandazi to another kid before someone flushes them away. Tina pays for our breakfast and ride off.
The ride from Ortum to Marich heavenly. Endless twists and turns through a sparsely populated, green, leafy set of hills in what any proper biker would be tempted to refer to as a mini biker heaven. I make the most of it by taking the opportunity to practice the new cornering tips which Tafu and Shaiman and taken time to teach me over the past weekend. It pays off. I am so lost I enjoying the twists that I forget that it is a group ride, leaving Tina far behind for a few minutes. I even forget to stop to take pictures of the hills as intended. It is 9:40am, while at the very end of the twisty bit when Tina stops at a bridge to take pictures. I am aware that it is the last proper bridge that we will be crossing on this day so I turn around and join her.
|First of Many Photographs With Tina on the Trip|
We are now approaching the infamous bandit zone. I tell Tina that we cannot risk ride slowly or stopping until we get to the Kainuk bridge. This area is no joke. I had read about a red cross driver who had been shot by bandits less than a week ago. The area is so unsafe that there is a direct road from Nakuru to Sigor/Marich pass (mostly tarmac but with some rough road sections) which is more than 50kms shorter than the route which we have taken on this trip but no one in their right mind would dare venture through it, all thanks to gun trotting bandits who have earned a reputation by shooting passersby indiscriminately. We dash through the area at what I believe to be Tina’s bike’s top speed making our next stop at the Kainuk bridge and Kainuk town for some photographs.
|At the Infamous Kainuk Bridge|
|Just past the Kainuk Shopping Center|
We proceed nonstop to the Kalemgorok police roadblock hoping to greet Arun, my friend from the previous trip but I am told that he’s on duty elsewhere. I tell Tina to look out from multiple dry riverbed crossings, locally referred to as “Lugga” before we ride onward. It is at this point where we are met by a long convoy oil tankers, the ones which transport crude oil from the Turkana oil fields which lie ahead just past the Lokichar town. I will later find out that Djo came across the same convoy as he left Lokichar, some two hours before. We arrive at Lokichar at 11:22am. We take our sweet time to refuel our bikes courtesy of Tina, refill our camelbacks with cold water and glucose, interact with some local motorcycle enthusiasts then get back on with our ride just before midday.
|Kapese Petrol Station in Lokichar|
The tarmac road ends unceremoniously at Lokichar. We are ushered into a rough road which bears a forgettable combination of rocks, gravel, sand and rumble strips. Djo had mentioned this horrible road to me after his previous trip to Lodwar but I wasn’t ready. We have to ride through this hellish surface for at least 90 kilometres after which we have to proceed further North through unknown terrains towards Kakuma, Lokichoggio and Nakodok. I start to see what Djo meant when he said that he was eager to see my Ninja make it all the way to Nakodok. It is the first time that a rider on a sportbike is venturing into these parts of the world. I am riding against a lot of odds. To make matters worse, Tina’s bike just ventured into its most ideal terrain and she is hauling ass!
The struggle has begun. My systems are so disoriented that I find myself unable to cope with the terrain. There is a proper way to ride on such terrains but I simply can’t seem to figure it out. The over 700kms that we’ve covered on tarmac for the past three days have ruined me. The rough road sections in the Brigadier and Naitiri areas on which I dominated like a boss didn’t help orient me enough for this riding surface. Tina is so far ahead that I can neither see her bike nor the dust which she’s been leaving on her wake. I come across a few vehicles, mainly Toyota Probox and 4x4s struggling towards the direction of Lokichar further compounding my worries. I didn’t think this through. People are a rare sight on these parts. If the bike breaks down here, with Djo, our only engineer, probably two or more hours ahead, we are F*****D!
Fortunately, I am a do or die kinda guy. So, I do what any unreasonable human being would do under the circumstances. I pull the throttle to accelerate my bike! And to my amazement, it works, like a charm! Now let me tell you something about my bike…it comes with a very interesting suspension system...you know, the new bike technology kind. It is currently adjusted to the second softest setup. This enables the bike to float comfortably over the unkind terrain as I hit the sweet spot in terms of my riding speed. Soon thereafter, I am cruising! I catch up with Tina and notice how violently her bike’s rear suspension is bouncing off the surface. I know that dirt bikes do that but I stop and warn her about the repercussions of breaking her bike so far away from home, help and modern civilization.
I speed onward feeling like Tina might think that I only told her to be easy on her bike in a bid to stop her from leaving me behind. But it turns out that she has chosen to heed to my advice and has started riding slowly. I am glad to have cancelled a potential subsequent episode of roadside repairs but from that point onward, I am forced to stop after every five minutes or so to let her catch up. Our progress is unbelievably slow. I keep looking at my odometer which reads that I am less than 30 kilometres shy of the 27,000km mark throughout the hour which it takes us to get to the 26,999 mark. I stop to take pictures of the bike. “Hii safari sio mchezo 😊” I post on our WhatsApp group as I wait for Tina.
Tina passes me then stops some hundred meters ahead in a bid to give herself some much needed privacy. She gets off her bike and rushes into some thicket to pee. The area is dry and significantly see through… and so I keep my distance. I find myself mumbling a prayer for her safety from animal attacks or something sinister. Our surroundings bring a combined sense of danger and loneliness. The area is extremely hot with air temperatures clearly surpassing those of our bodies. Stopping here makes the heat unbearable. It must be at least 40 degrees Celsius out here. I am tempted to start cheering Tina on for a go at the fastest “adventure rider pee break” record but she gets back on her bike in no time. Well… That was fast. Did it all evaporate or something? I can only wonder to myself as we ride on.
Tina is leading when Sonic clocks 27,000kms. It's a huge Milestone for me. You won't come across many riders who cover that kind of mileage safely within a period of six months. It's a special moment for me and to have it happen at a place where no other sport bike has been to before makes it even bigger. I usually take pictures of my odometer at such points for my archives.
|Sonic Clocks 27,000kms at last|
Tina has vanished ahead of me. The silence in this place place is deafening, in a really calming way. I can see some pyramid looking physical features on the right side of the road. I take pictures from several angles. The silence is interrupted by the sound of an approaching engine noise. Tina has turned around to come check on me. We convert the moment into a photo shoot stopover that last about 15 minutes. During this time, a bodaboda type bike passes with all on board donning trading Turkana attire... It's a sight that can only be explained by a picture. I hesitate to snap away in fear of a negative reaction on their part.
|At the Lokichar - Lodwar Road Pyramids|
We soon get company from Sammy. A local goat herder who has been watching us unnoticed from the nearby bushes. He's a 16 year old boy who's hopes for getting education have been sacrificed by his father who has assigned him the 41 goats herding responsibility...that's what he tells us. He's wearing an Arsenal football club jersey and listening to music from a flip up phone with fancy earphones... He's now officially my favorite goat herder in the universe. And yes, Arsenal FC is a big Club with fans all over the world including remote areas with no network reception. If you don't like this fact, kiss my tooshie...
|Arsenal FC's leading goat herder - Sammy and two of his fans|
I check my phone to see our progress on Google maps. We're 45kms away from Lodwar, which means that we're only halfway through this section of our trip. I update our position on the team's WhatsApp group. Djo is at Lodwar but he's contemplating proceeding to Kakuma. We've cut down his lead by a whooping 90kms. We're catching up. I tell Tina as much before we resume our ride in what turns out to be a spirited and significantly much faster, 48 minutes long ride to Lodwar. There is a Chinese road construction company on the ground as you approach Lodwar and they seem to be doing a good job. The last 16 kilometres of the road as we approach Lodwar is mostly good tarmac.
We stop at Turkana University at 2:15pm for a few photographs before we proceed into Lodwar town. Coincidentally, we have covered about 215kms between the towns of Ortum and Lodwar. Djo tells us that he is only 40kms but as tempting as the need to catch up is, we need to rest. Soon after riding into Lodwar,we meet Wilson; A Kenyan Christian missionary based in Lodwar town. He suggests a place where we can enjoy good ready meals. He later joins us and initiates a very resourceful chat which paints a clear picture of the rest of our day’s journey. He states that there are several sections paved with tarmac between Lodwar and Kakuma.
|Outside the Turkana University main gate in Lodwar|
Wilson claims that the rest of the road is well graded adding that he takes anywhere between an hour and a half to two hours to drive from Lodwar to Kakuma. He however discourages us from attempting to proceed to Lokichoggio by stating that it would be wise for us to spend the night at Kakuma citing that Lokichoggio is simply too far. That's when Tina decides that she's not going anywhere until 4pm. Our initial plan to catch up with Djo and to spend the night in the same place no longer sounds doable. We end up spending over two hours in Lodwar during which time we eat, drink, bet, rest, chat, refill our camelbacks and fill up our fuel tank. It’s 3:56pm when I pay for our lunch via M-pesa.
I avoid raising the issue of carrying fuel on jerrycans simply because I do not want to go through with the idea. I know that in case anyone runs out of fuel, it'll be up to me to arrange for their refueling logistics and I am OK with the idea. Our bikes have been consuming low amounts of fuel so far. At one-point Tina mentions the outrageous cooking gas prices in the area. She claims that she has spotted a sign that says that 6kg gas goes for kshs.3,000/=. I tell her that happened to have spotted the same sign but the price of 6kgs is only Kshs.1,200/= while 6kg gas cylinders sell for Kshs.3,000/= but this stubborn lady will have none of it. She even describes the area where she had seen the sign and it turns out that we are talking about the same sign. We both insist that we are right. This culminates in a bet wherein the loser is supposed to pay for the refuel of the winner’s motorcycle on two different occasions. I win the bet with photographic evidence. It is unwise to challenge my good memory especially during an interesting activity.
|It pays to be observant|
Tina is a lady of her word. She honors the bet by offering to pay for my fuel at Kobil petrol station which lies midway between the River Turkwel and River Kawalasee bridges. My bike has consumed Kshs.436/= worth of fuel which is low considering that the fuel pump price here is Kshs.121/- per liter. Something amazing happens. Tina erroneously pays twice via M-pesa. She realizes that and alerts the fuel attendant who unflinchingly refunds the balance. WOW! To have such trust for a travelling stranger is remarkable in my books. It reminds me of how far away we are from Nairobi where such a mistake would take at least 72 hours to resolve courtesy of Safaricom because people in and around Nairobi just can’t be trusted. Some of you are already contemplating a reversal of the second Mpesa transaction as you read this and the fire that will burn you in hell will never run out of gas.
We seek directions to Kakuma and head off once again. It’s approximately 4:30pm. We turn left immediately after the River Kawalasee Lugga and ride for a couple of minutes before we are met by a fresh wide stretch of tarmac that spans at least 25kms. Tina is flying until a certain government SUV overtakes us. I watch helplessly as she tries to give chase in vain. Bikers don’t like to be embarrassed by cagers. Yes, we refer to people who travel in those motorized cages as cagers. I decide to avenge Tina. I let the car get to some significant distance ahead to give me sufficient space to accelerate and zoom past them at a few kms per hour shy of my bike’s top speed. I stop by the road side when I realize that I can no longer see the SUV on my rear-view mirror. I must have made a lasting impression if their l crawling speed and the unforgettable looks on the faces of the two occupants who stare at me as the SUV passes by is anything to go by.
The tarmac road ends ushering us into a hot, dry and dusty arid area which comprises of well paved roads which run alongside the main highway which is evidently under construction. Tina rides slowly, clearly tired and demoralized. The toll of her second day of serious riding is beginning to overwhelm her. At Nasiger, some 38kms from Lodwar, she stops, appearing to have given up. Her camelback had leaked between Lokichar and Lodwar losing most of her 3 liters of glucose laced water. This had prompted her to find new ways of carrying this highly precious commodity as we left Lodwar. Unfortunately, her solution turns out to be quite uncomfortable. We joke about being at Nowhere, the home of Courage the cowardly dog, as I help her adjust the position of her camelback. I make a video to mock her but my juvenile efforts don’t break her. She rides on Westwards towards the scorching sun.
|Tina struggling to adjust her camelback...|
I develop a splitting headache that doesn’t seem to relent. I attempt to increase the pace of the ride in a bid to shorten our time on the road. Just when it begins to feel like have picked up a good pace, Tina stops again. I am almost a half a kilometer ahead when I notice it. I turn around and ride back to her position. It turns out that her bike has just clocked 4,000kms. She is elated. I congratulate her on the milestone and she resumes the ride. I remain behind to call Djo. He is already at Kakuma. He asks about our position to find out whether we have gotten to the second tarmac road section. At this point, we are approaching a certain hilly area near Nadwat. Djo tells me that we shall ride through a section with some black-ish gravel after which we shall find tarmac. He adds that he has had to book a room at Kakuma for the owners to let him pitch his tent there. He concludes by clarifying that I am not welcome into his tent. LOL.
I resume the ride. Tina is already too far ahead. As I speed to catch up, I have a near miss to a head on collision with a pick-up truck whose driver appears to notice my bike too late, thanks to all the dust that Tina’s bike leaves in its wake. In the driver’s defence, I panic brake in the deep sand and momentarily lose control of my bike, appearing to be veering into the path of the vehicle, a move which prompts the driver to swerve into my side of the road before I swerve to back to the end of my side the road missing the skidding vehicle by a whisker. Phew… I catch up with Tina as she struggles through the dark gravel section. A KPLC vehicle passes us with extreme prejudice moments before we get to the tarmac road at Nadwat!
It’s 6:10pm and the sun is beginning to set. I am happy to be on tarmac again. You can see me celebrate as I usually do at the end of my superbike races. But the headache is killing me so when I spot a nice flat picturesque site a few minutes later, I turn off and park my bike to take a well deserved break which quickly escalates into one of the best sunset photo shoots of my entire life. Tina, who follows me into the spot parks her bike and lays herself on the ground motionless for almost 10 minutes. She finally rises up and helps me with the photography. Below are some of our best shots.
|Tina had outdone herself. She took a much needed nap under her bike's shadow|
|After the nap, she could afford to slay a little|
|Then I noticed this magnificent Sunset|
|Which inspired our little photo shoot|
|We decided to milk it with some goofy poses|
|This was probably the furthest a Kenyan lady biker had ever ventured in North West Kenya|
|I love and appreciate Sonic. Kenya's Toughest sportbike💗|
We resume the ride and soon find ourselves on yet another fresh and wide stretch of tarmac due West directly into the sunset. We literally get to ride into the sunset until the sun finally disappears behind the hills that lie far ahead. It is a memorable experience which I'd love to experience again. My persistent headache ruins my riding experience for the final section of the day as we ride approach and get to Kakuma especially on the last bit which comprises of some rough diversions. The pain makes the journey feel endless. Djo calls severally for our progress updates and notifies me that he's waiting for us at the roadside in Kakuma. Time stamp, 7:26pm.
|The Legendary town - KAKUMA|
As we ride into this well-known town, we're flagged down by a tall man with short dreadlocks and glasses, donning a modern looking white vest on his top half and a shiny new bright colored Kikoi wrapped around his waist. It's Djo Thefu. As we slow down to exit the road, I can't help it but smile about the thought behind his spirited effort to blend in with the locals, his success rate or failure thereof notwithstanding. He's got an interesting sense of humor.
We heartily greet each other as Djothefu laughs about how miserable we look. I am so spent that I couldn’t have proceeded to Lokichoggio if I so wished. This is unusual for me. “I arrived here at 4:15pm" Djo brags. We are too tired to care less. He tells us that Tarach Guest house where we'll be spending the night is a few meters off the highway. He attempts to direct us there but neither of our heads seems capable of grasping anything serious at this point. A small crowd of locals forms around us but we have no energy left to entertain them. I request Djothefu to ride my bike to the guest house but he declines. I end up untying my luggage to clear my pillion seat for him. He gets on and starts giving me directions as one would instruct an unfamiliar bodaboda guy. He ends up taking us for a wild goose chase through dead ends and some displeased locals' homesteads. I take the initiative and ask some locals for directions. We are shown a shortcut which leads us straight to the guest house. These modern adventurers can’t seem to get anywhere without their fancy GPS gadgets.
I feel like this has been my hardest day of riding. The splitting headache is getting worse. I am proud to have brought my bike this far…I believe that Sonic is equally proud of this breakthrough. I announce our destination and our progress on social media platforms for the first time since we started the trip. Djo Thefu has treated us with a fantastic meal of chicken and rice which he claims has taken three hours to prepare since he placed the order. We discuss tomorrows plan which entail riding to Lokichoggio and finding out how we shall proceed to Nakodok from there. Tina insinuates that she might opt to end her trip at Kakuma where she is willing to await our return from wherever we choose to go. When the food is served, I try to stuff myself but the headache overwhelms me forcing me to abandon the remaining food and retire to bed where I sleep like a dead baby.
It's Friday, 5th July, 2019. I am awakened by some ruckus in the room. Djo is fidgeting with his luggage in a manner which can neither be equaled nor surpassed by a two-year-old. I would have loved to wake up to another episode of birds chirping but it appears that if I hope to meet my expectations today, I might have to do the chirping all by myself. I grab my phone and realize that it’s 2:00am. Neither of us speaks a word. I can hear that it is noisy it is outside. It turns out that someone’s idea of camping in a parking lot under the pretext that it’s going to be cooler outside wasn’t exactly a stroke of genius. At first, I am pissed but my anger is interrupted by the realization that I am still alive and my headache is gone. When Djo exits the room to return to his glorious, out of bounds tent, I spend a while on the phone responding to online messages and inquiries about our trip. The last thing that I remember doing before I doze off is writing the following message on our whatsapp group at 2:41am… “Man’s not dead!”.
|I am all for hardcore adventure and s*** but I ain't cold enough to sleep on the rocks|
I wake up to the sound of my alarm. I can hear an airplane landing or taking off from a distance and that naturally makes me smile. I take a much-needed shower then head out to Djo’s tent to disturb the peace, something I end up doing with remarkable proficiency. Djo is used my moments of idiocy. He seems to handle it well, mostly. On a good day, I can light up anyone’s spirits with my questionable sense of humor but then there are days when I can see people visibly wishing me away. It is in my nature and I consider myself a mentally free spirit. Today seems like a good day. We find ourselves chatting happily and mocking each other as usual. Djo even lets me take pictures of his little fortress moments before Tina shows up asking about breakfast. I may not know much about women but I can clearly tell that this particular lady has got a serious appetite.
|Seems Cool though...|
As we park our luggage, we agree that we shall have breakfast at Lokichoggio. Tina brings up the issue of remaining at Kakuma but we are able to convince her otherwise. We have been told that the road to Lokichoggio is mostly tarmac…seeing that we were prepared to ride on rough roads from Lokichar to Nakodok, we use this information to urge Tina on and that fact compared to the mention of food in Lokichoggio seals the deal. They even leave me behind and proceed to fuel their bikes without me. I decide to make a quick detour to meet and greet Brian. He is my friend from campus and a lawyer who works at an N.G.O based in Kakuma. I am glad to see him after so many years. It turns out that he knows about the road ahead but tells me that he’s only sure about the information from Kakuma to Nadapal. He recommends that we should consider obtaining armed escorts from Lokichoggio onward. We snap away and part ways.
|With Brian outside their security checkpoint|
It is 10:30am when I try to reunite with the team only to find out that they have left me behind. There is a government cabinet secretary in the area whose convoy prompts some temporary road closure. I ask some of the police officers manning the way whether they had seen two big motorcycles pass by. They tell me that only saw one big green bike adding that mine was bigger and they have never seen one like it in the area. They bombard me with questions about bikes and my trip for a few minutes before I excuse myself to return to the town for some fuel and water. I ensure that the glucose added to my water is not excessive as I suspect that my headaches were as a result of high blood sugar or an elevated blood pressure. I leave Kakuma at a few minutes to 11 and speed towards Lokichoggio, determined to enjoy the tarmac road before catching up with the snails that left me behind.
I receive a call while riding from Tina. It is 11:00am sharp. She confirms that they are ahead of me but have chosen to wait for me…as if they needed to. I catch us with them moment later as they await me at a diversion which has got a Lugga that looks like an upside-down bridge. We reunite and proceed with the group ride at their pace. The road is mostly tarmac but there are several rough diversions which are not so bad. I lead most of the way but slow down from time to time to let them pass and kill the monotony of our slow ride. The scenery is beautiful and so are the people. I enjoy the endless vies of hills and green vegetation filled plateaus, making a point of waving at anybody who looks our way. As we approach Lokichogio, I trespass into a road section which is still under construction and make it through before the surprised road workers are able to react. I can see them turning the other two away on my rear view mirror as I enjoy the tarmac road alone while the are forced to work their adventure bikes on murram.
The distance between Kakuma and Lokichoggio is 93kms. We arrive at 12:29pm, well over an hour and a half since I left Kakuma. We stop at a signpost to take some photographs. Some locals soon surround us, something which we are used to. I am surprised when a Toyota Hilux double cabin vehicle stops near us and it’s occupants request to take pictures with us. Cagers rarely do that. People around here are friendly and talkative. As we take more and more photographs, the locals insist that we look for the National Police Reservist officers and pay them to escort us to Nadapal. We tell them that we are headed to Nakodok in response to which they add that the NPS officers will leave us at Nadapal with Sudanese People Rebelation Army (SPLA) officers taking over from there to Nakodok. They tell us that the road to the border is closed at 4pm so we must hurry. We leave a bit confused and head to a petrol station where Djo and Tina refuel at Kshs.130/= a liter. My fuel tank is still almost full.
|When at Kenya's final town, you only get directions to foreign locations...|
After refueling, we stop at the Lokichiggio Airport signpost for a quick photo moment. A local man attempts to harass me as I gear up to join the rest of the team who left me behind as I was putting away my phone. The man, who refuses to identify himself after I did, is attempting to extort me for taking a photograph at the said signage. I explain myself for almost five minutes but he insists that plain words won’t change anything. Two local boys who had been looking at our bikes attempt to intervene in vain. The altercations almost escalate into a fist fight. He quickly backs off when I decide that I am having none of it, after telling him that I am prepared to defend myself physically if need be.
I proceed towards the middle of town where I am flagged by a huge crowd. Djo and Tina have parked their bikes outside a restaurant but it’s impossible to spot their bikes which are surrounded by at least 50 people. Some members of the crowd direct me to park my bike next to the other two, which I do before squeezing my way through the crowd to get into the restaurant. As we enjoy our meals, a man who is eating an adjacent table authoritatively shouts at us telling us to remove the bikes from the location as they are attracting too much attention. It turns out that he is not attempting to initiate a confrontation. We ignore him and continue eating away. The hotel staff are quite reassuring with the manager telling us to look out for their Nakodok branch once we get there. I pay for our meals at the cashier’s dock and rejoin the team at the table for some final chitchat.
The crowd is staring at us through the restaurant’s front door. When we wrap up and exit, the people are particularly amazed by the presence of a female rider in our midst. Tina is probably the first black/Kenyan woman to venture into this area on a random motorcycle adventure. They tell us as much. They add that they have never seen a “racing bike” in the area. The sheer size of Djo’s bike which dwarfs the rest of our bikes also seems like a crowd pleaser. We gear up outside the restaurant as we prepare to proceed to Nakodok.
A local man in the crowd who seems a little off asks me the most disturbing question. It has something to do with whether the camera is mounted on my helmet to record my own death…he rephrases the statement severally as I stare at him, unable to conjure an appropriate response. Some men push him away and he disappears into the crowd. I look at Djo and Tina who cluelessly continue to enjoy the overwhelming attention from the crowd, with Tina taking selfies. I also notice that there is a green promotion van, probably a Safaricom vehicle, blasting music less than 20 meters away but there is not a single person paying attention to it. We proceed with my mind clearly unsettled by the weird man’s stinging words. I decide that I am not going beyond Lokichoggio without the escort of armed policemen.
As we exit Lokichoggio town, I spot an armed man with a camo jacket. I stop to to talk to him. His name is Loki, a National Police Reservist officer. He claims that he can escort us to Nadapal but that we needs to pass through the Lokichoggio Police station. A crowd gathers around us as I speak to officer Loki. When the crowd overhears that we are headed to Nakodok, most of the men begin to shout their opinions on how we should go about it. It quickly turns into a mini commotion. We hire a bodaboda to carry Loki to the police station and follow them there through a sandy backroute. At the station, Loki walks in to speak to an officer while we wait outside. I can’t help but panic, with the thoughts of my near tragic adventure ride to the Al Shabaab infested bushes of Nyongoro in Lamu county giving me sufficient grounds to turn around and go back home.
We are ushered into the OCS’s office. He identifies himself as Hudson and requests to see our national identity cards. He jots down our details as we explain the purpose of the trip. He seems skeptical about our reason for the visit…curiosity and adventure.
“First of all, the official Kenyan border point is at Nadapal, not Nakodok. At the moment Nakodok is controlled by South Sudan but we are working on moving our temporary border point to Nakodok in due course. As it stands, our officers can only escort you to Nadapal where you would be expected to clear with the customs officials before crossing the border towards Nakodok. The SPLA people are very strict on paperwork from foreigners and there is a threat from the Toposa bandits between here and Nakodok. They can come out of nowhere and shoot you. Does anyone here speak either the Turkana or Toposa language? Hmmm? That is why I have written down your details in case you disappear, never to be seen or heard of again” Says Hudson.
“There is absolutely no need for you to go beyond Lokichoggio if your only mission is to get to the border. Lokichoggia as it is counts as the border town. There is nothing beyond here. You won’t see any building along the way expect the two police camps near the border. There is an army camp to but you won’t be able to see it from the road. I don’t know what you want to go and see. Only armed cattle herders will be seen in the bushes that lie ahead. The road is also quite rocky. If I were you, I’d leave the bikes here and hire a Probox to take you through the 27kms between here and Nadapal for a chance to enjoy the scenery. I know how fast these things of your go so you won’t be able to see much” He adds.
I am convinced that I have come far enough. Hudson has just confirmed that we cannot ride to Nakodok as none of us brought our logbooks. We will need to produce our passports to cross the official border at Nadapal. Djo had mentioned that he doesn’t have his passport and neither do I. I didn’t bother to ask Tina about it knowing well that she’s not here by choice and she wouldn’t dare go anywhere so unsafe without us. It hits me that we have come all the way but cannot get to our destination because the area is under the control of a neighboring country. I am ready to turn around at this point. Tina also looks worried but Djo has got the excitement of a kid inside a candy story printed all over his face. He takes over most of the conversation with Hudson. They agree that we must take two armed officers to escort us to and fro. I only intervene when it comes to negotiating the fees payable to the officer and the bodaboda guys who will carry the for the trip.
An idea hits my shaken head. I can have one of the two armed escorts riding on my bike so that in case anything happens, we won’t have to worry about all our armed escorts bailing on us. Also, in case someone fires at us from behind, someone will literally be there to have my back. I float this idea to Djo who is unwilling to leave his luggage or to ferry any extra weight on his bike. It is decided that Loki will ride with me so I leave my luggage at the police station to enable me carry him. Another officer will ride on the Brian’s bodaboda which ferried officer Loki to the station. We agree on the fee payable and set off towards the border. Approximately 3 minutes later, we stop at a barrier manned by some armed NPS officers and a lady who is writing down information about all who pass through that checkpoint. It’s the last checkpoint as one ventures beyond Lokichogio towards the official border with South Sudan. We give our personal and motorcycle details to a lady who writes them down.
Loki introduces us to the second NPS officer who is to escort us to Nadapal. His name is Lotoong. We are shown the riding formation for the trip where Brian’s bike will lead with Lotoong as his armed pillion passenger, Tina and Djo will ride in between us as I sweep from behind with Loki as my armed pillion passenger. I turn on my GoPro to record a video of this trip. Loki unwittingly does some interesting commentary at various points along the way. The trip takes 48 minutes of riding through a scenic bushland surrounded by beautiful hills in a slow, tense, nerve wrecking ride through a doable, partially graded rough road. I shall upload a video of the trip on YouTube and share a link at the bottom of this post.
We arrive at the Nadapal border control post at 3:09pm. I am glad to have gotten this far with no incident. You can feel a sense of pride in the team’s achievement if the looks that we share the moment we all remove our helmets is anything to go by. But the police officers and border officials look an easy. An armed officer immediately approaches us and starts questioning us about our identities and mission. I do all the talking on behalf of the team. He walks away a few minutes later, clearly dissatisfied by our reason for the visit. As our team happily take photos to capture the moment for our records, I can see the security officers and the customs officials who are converged outside the building discussing something as they give us numerous side eyes. I am not worried.
They summon Loki and question him. Soon thereafter, one of the customs officials calls me by my name and requests me to join them briefly. They seem to have agreed on a set of questions which they wish to have us answer, something we are able to go through in a matter of five minutes. I use the opportunity to ask a few questions of my own. I am curious about the requirements that a rider with his/her motorcycle require to enable them be cleared to venture across the border into South Sudan. It happens to be just the usual: a valid passport, a logbook and the yellow fever inoculation card. I ask them why the border seems to be 11 kms off the actual border point according to the official map and they tell me that the matter shall be resolved in due course, citing that their offices are sitting there temporarily.
|Nadapal Border Point Offices|
When you visit google maps and search Nadapal, you’ll realize that it is approximately 9 kilometers from the South Sudan border with Kenya. Nakodok is supposed to be the last town before one crosses the border into South Sudan. But that’s not the case on the ground. The Kenyan official border point is lies somewhere, 2kms from Nadapal town and 11kms from the border. The government of South Sudan occupies and runs the territory between the customs border point and the actual border point. It looked to me that we have either relinquished or been kicked out of a whole 11kms of territory which probably stretches about 40kms West to the Ugandan border and 200kms East to the Ethiopian boarder. I am the kind of person who believes in open borders so I wasn’t happy to hear that I would need to submit to a foreign army, at the risk of going missing, if I wished to ride through the remainder of Kenya’s territory to the actual Nakodok border point.
|Crossing the Chain at the literal border "posts"|
|Bikers and goofing = Same whatsapp group|
|But the SPLA phobia wouldn't let us goof on "their side of the border".|
Having had enough of the politics, we regroup for some more photos in front of the customs building and at the “De Facto” border point. Tina, visibly exhausted, claims that she is not confident about riding back to Lokichoggio. She requests Loki, a self-acclaimed qualified rider to ride her bike back, against the advise of pretty much everyone else, which Loki gladly agrees to do. Tina opts to ride back as my pillion and I promise her that she’ll regret the ride I have no intentions of crawling back through the bandit zone…I intend to SEND IIIITTTT!!!! She appears unfazed. We gear up, thank and bid everyone at the border post farewell, mount our bikes in a formation in which Joe and Loki ride behind me as Brian/Lotoong lead and we start our journey back.
I love controlled speed and I am quite capable of riding fast as long as I am well within my limits/comfort zone both on tarmac and on rough roads. That comfort zone is significantly faster than the average rider but I keep it safe. It doesn’t always look safe from the public eye but I rarely do anything on the bike which I am not comfortable with. That would explain the reason why I am celebrating over 80,000kms of safe/harmless riding as I complete two years of riding at the end of July, 2019. As a staunch believer, I confess that God assigned me some NO-NONSENSE Guardian Angels who have never slept at their job. I say that at this point because the truth is that I ride so fast on our way back that I complete the return trip in under 20 minutes…The rest of the team doesn’t keep up. In fact, we happen to leave Nadapal at the same time with two NGO land cruisers which only catch up with me as I stop near the Lokichoggio checkpoint to wait for the other riders. I really enjoy that bit of the ride but I am not sure that Tina would share my sentiments…Riding pillion on a speeding sportbike offroad is not exactly the most comfortable experience.
We get back to the Lokichoggio Police Station where we regroup. Dues are paid as agreed and we thank OCS Hudson for his kind assistance. We request to pitch the tent at the station and our request is approved. Tina lays her yoga mat on one corner of the police station’s compound and requests for a 45-minute uninterrupted siesta which she proceeds to enjoy in peace. Djo and I chat happily discussing our current progress and the plans for the rest of the trip. I remember hearing an aircraft land and subsequently take off as we chat. Lokichoggio is quite hot so I am forced to move around with my top half naked. We agree to ride on to Kakuma for the night to enable us proceed to Lodwar the following day in time to plan and make our way to the shores of Lake Turkana, a detour which was not included in our initial plan. The idea is to hire a vehicle at Lodwar which should take us to Eliye springs where we can camp and rest for a night and start our journey back the following day.
|I honestly thought that she'd given up|
Tina rejoins us. The two gear up and leave me behind as usual simply because I take a little longer to squeeze into my leather suit and tie my backpack on my bike’s pillion seat. I don’t know what outrageous thing they do as they ride through Lokichoggio town because a phone call is made to the station reporting about their “two big bikes” in response to which the officer clarifies that they have been at the station ad that a third bike is at the station, preparing to leave. I leave and catch up with them a couple of kilometers from Lokichoggio towards Kakuma. We ride calmly without incident until the two are once again forced off a road section that is under construction by the construction workers as they trespass behind me hehehe.
At some point, Djo appears to be flashing his headlights hysterically from behind. We are on the somewhat bumpy bit of tarmac some 40kms from Kakuma. I slow down to see what the issue is only for him to zoom past me waving his hands up and down like American rappers used to do while psyching up their fans at hiphop concerts in the late 90s. His bike is also swinging up and down in synch with his hand in a manner similar to Californian Cholo Lowriders with their unforgettable hydraulics systems. We will later find out that his rear shock absorber had given up on him…much later. We arrive at Kakuma at a few minutes past 7pm, book ourselves into the same hotel, eat and sleep.
I am awoken by the most ridiculous and sarcastic comments of our trip. We have been keeping all our luggage together for safety. Tina calls me to come check on my bag claiming that it smells like I had carried some evidence from a murder case in it. She is exaggerating but it does give us all a good morning laugh. I had avoided parking perishables for the trip so I wonder what could be the issue. It turns out that the “long life” tetrapack milk which Tina had given me at Ortum two days prior had somehow gone bad and exploded in my bag. Djo also has a similar situation in his topbox. I decide to clean my bag and a couple of clothes on which the milk had been spilt. The two leave me behind as usual and head out to refuel the bikes. The plan is to have the first meal of the day at Lodwar.
(I take a year long break from typing this story because I felt like one of my friends was displeased with the events that occur within the rest of the story)
After using a hotel towel to wring-dry my two wet garments and the bag high school style (may God forgive me for this), I pack my stuff hurriedly and leave. I find the two clowns enjoying the endless attention of the locals. I refuel, refill my camelback with water and then set off to look for glucose around Kakuma town. Tina joins me as Djo leaves us behind. We take our sweet time to pour some generous amounts of glucose into our respective camel backs as the shop owner and his assistant strive to protect us from the rather intrusive crowd of curious onlookers who have been milling around us. Tina is a crowd magnate in these parts of the country as it is clear that she has been pulling off a first of its kind feat for Kenyan ladies during the course of this ride. We all enjoy the attention as we wrap it up at Kakuma and almost ceremoniously ride off from Kakuma towards Lodwar.
It is well past 8:00am at this point. We catch up with Djo Thefu shortly afterwards. All three of us appear to be energetic this morning. The pace of the group ride is significantly high and rising. It takes us approximately an hour to clear the on and off tarmac road section which ends at Nadwat, approximately 55kms away from Kakuma. We have only stopped once up to this point as Djo takes a picture near our sunset photoshoot scene from a few days prior. We pass a conspicuously colorful small displacement motorcycle with a rider and a pillion passenger heading in the same direction as our team but we leave them behind without paying much attention. As we brace to re enter the forgettable black murram section of the road which unceremoniously awaits us, we stop and discuss the prospects of turning left at a junction which heads towards Lokitaung only to dismiss the idea quickly after seeing where it lies on the map, some 144kms due North from our location. I will later come to realize how that detour would have a bad idea. It seems that our past days’ achievements have given us a bloated sense of badassery and the team’s inexplicable energy levels are drawing us towards the realms of making bad decisions. Such moods rarely end well.
We proceed towards Lodwar which is just over 120kms ahead. At 9:45am, I notice a tall anthill and stop to take a few pictures of my bike next to it. I realize that I have fallen behind and hurriedly resume the ride. I can neither hear the sounds of the other two bikes nor see any signs of dust that should be left in their wake. My little sport bike is not kitted to speed through the rocky section which I clear painfully slow. I am relieved to see Tina’s bike parked by the roadside with her phone in hand taking a video of me as I finally catch up with her. We are now well past the nasty murram section and it doesn’t take long to pick up our pace and catch up with Djo. We are all in the zone. We literally fly through the remainder of the graded diversions and within no time, we find ourselves joining the crisp tarmac section as we approach Lodwar. The road is so good, wide and empty that I find myself doing a brief top speed run which goes well.
|The peculiar anthill|
At some point, we notice a mbuzi choma joint and are tempted to stop for a bite but Djo convinces us to proceed to Lodwar for lunch. Our spirits are high. I even stop to call my new friend from our Lodwar stop over hotel to notify her that we are inbound and to request her to inquire about the possibility of securing a safe parking spot for our bikes as we had contemplated leaving them behind and hiring a vehicle to take us for an overnight camping spree at Eliye which is at the shores of Lake Turkana. We arrive at Lodwar shortly before midday and head straight to the Greenpark hotel where I buy lunch for the still jubilant team. At the hotel, we find a large group of American tourists having a great time. We watch as two of them do a pushups competition right next to our gazebo with the elder one easily outdoing his enthusiastic younger counterpart. Some of them approach us to inquire about our trip. It turns out that we are all headed towards the shores of Lake Turkana.
After lunch, I tell the team that I wish to ride to lake Turkana as opposed to hiring a vehicle for that bit of the trip. My reasons are straight forward. I don’t feel like being at the mercy of a random driver in the middle of nowhere with a team that is fixated on the idea of leisurely camping at the beaches of the lake for what has been touted ambiguously as a period of one or two days. Djo and Tina had come well prepared with camping equipment while I on the other hand brought basic needs and money to pay for whatever I may need for the trip. At this point of my life, camping is a foreign myth and I am fixated on the idea of riding around and scouting for a suitable hotel within the vicinity of the lake to spend the night. Having been a taxi driver during my campus days, I am not receptive of the idea of a chauffeured group car hire. Tina also seems to be in support of the idea of riding to the lake so Djo reluctantly agrees to ride with us citing that he will turn around at the first sight of deep sand. This decision will turn out to be the trips game changer.
I pay for lunch via M-pesa at 12:42pm, refill our camelbacks with free cold drinking water courtesy of the hotel, gear up and leave the hotel towards the river Turkwel bridge direction where we refuel all our bikes. We have a rough idea of where we are headed but we ask for directions at the petrol station. Djo has been to Eliye but he was driven there in a proper offroader. He told me that Eliye looks like a beautiful beach town complete with green palm trees and a lot of beach sand. This is the main reason why we are taking this detour in the first place. He had described the experience as less of driving and more of surfing the deep sand like a boat at outrageous speeds with the trip estimated to take approximately one hour. At this point, my objective is to see lake Turkana for the first time in my life. I haven’t thought about the hows or the wheres provided we get there.
The guys give us two sets of directions to the lake. There is a 75km long “smoother” option which they say is partly tarmacked and busy with both commuter and cargo traffic to and from the lake. The second option is a “difficult” 50km sandy option which Djo shoots down at the mention of sand. 25 extra kilometers doesn’t seem like much based on the teams energy levels and enthusiasm so we all opt for the longer route. We ride due North back out of Lodwar but instead of turning left after the Kawalasee Lugga as we did on our way to Kakuma, we follow the road and ride straight. As directed, we find bits of fresh looking, poor quality tarmac which spans approximately 15kms upon which we venture into shallow bits of sand for the first time in the trip. Sand is an unforgiving surface to ride on as the front wheel of the bike develops a mind of its own as soon as contact is made. It is a very sudden and unforgettable experience which catches you off guard and takes some getting used to before you learn how to do it confidently. Needless to say, I undergo some massive slides which compel me to use my feet to prevent the bike from going down. Luckily, I wasn’t speeding.
The road gets worse. The afternoon feels as hot as a bonfire. The road is reduced to traces of badly damaged tarmac and seemingly endless stretches of bumpy murram. We encounter all manner of traffic including small displacement motorcycles, 18 wheelers, Toyota probox taxis and several 4x4s. We are able to see the lake from a distance after riding for an hour. This part of the trip is from Lodwar turns out to be the most forgettable riding experience of our trip so far. Even I hate it. As we approach the lake, the road surface gets better. I notice that Djo and Tina have stopped under the shade of a tree to take a breather. I turn back and join them. We have been riding for at least an hour and a half. Tina takes off her helmet and lies down on the ground in a wedged surface with her bike lights on. This is a clear sign of fatigue. Djo takes off his helmet and he also looks drained. I take a picture of the scene at 2:33pm. This marks the official end of our energetic run which I believe was happiest period for all three of us on our bikes during the entire trip.
|Batteries Low, System Failures Loading...|
We spend at least a half an hour at this rest stop. The colourful bike which we had passed earlier on near Nadwat finds us here. The rider recognizes us and stops to engage us in a conversation. He had dropped of his passenger at Lodwar and was headed to the nearby fishing town of Kalokol which he says is just a few minutes away. He tells us that if we knew, wed have taken a shortcut which would have saved us from riding all the way to Lodwar before diverting towards Kalokol on this road. As soon as he rides away, the team gears up and resumes the ride. We are now only 8 kilometers from the lake but generally riding along it as opposed to directly towards it. The road is getting sandier and we Djo’s threats to turn around start lingering in my mind. Every time Tina and I ride through a stretch of deep sand, I stop to wait for Djo who is now lagging behind as a sign of support. On two occasions, he seemingly struggles through the sandy bits in what turns out to be some much-needed comic relief. He is not pleased by my laughter. We arrive at the fishing town of Kalokol at a few minutes past three.
The fishing town of Kalokol is approximately 5kms away from the shores of lake Turkana. The objective of our day is to spend the night at the beautiful lake shores so we ride past Kalokol town center without giving it much attention. My bike begins to feel wobbly barely half a kilometer past the town center. Unfortunately, I have run over a nail and earned myself a flat rear tyre. It is the first puncture of the entire trip. I am running on tubeless racing tyres. The nail has made a hole so big that my rear tyre is left completely flat within a few seconds. I request Djo to assist me with his ai compressor but he is unwilling to undo his luggage. I believe that he does this in spite because I laughed during his wobbly ride through a sandy stretch as we approached the town, something I consider petty and unreasonable under the circumstances. This pisses me off since we are over 650kms from the nearest source of a spare tyre for my bike.
I am forced to take the unnecessary risk of riding the completely flat tyre to Kalokol in search of a tyre repair center with a compressor which I do. All three of us converge at the tyre repair shop. The puncture is plugged within 10 minutes, thank God for tubeless tyres. I am so lucky that the puncture was sustained in the most strategic possible place. I buy a puncture repair kit and plugs from the repair shop and pack them in my luggage. We immediately proceed with the ride towards the beach. After getting lost once, locals point us towards a road that takes us to the beach via some museum. As we ride through some really green palm tree bushes, my thoughts are diverted to Djo’s description of Eliye which rekindle my psyche as I look forward to a fantastic beachside experience. The road is mostly made of murram but I expect the last bits to be quite sandy.
I am shocked to find myself riding towards a stinky, swampy forgettable shoreline of the lake with the greenest things being the algae on the swampy sections. We all take off our helmets and look at each other in disbelief. The are a few boats and flamingoes on the lake but the place just feels absolutely anticlimax. I ask Djo if this compares with his description of Eliye and he dismisses the place with unflinchingly. He tells me that Eliye is genuinely scenic and adds that any place where flamingoes dwell is likely to have a foul smell. I immediately ask locals for directions to Eliye which they quickly describe as a 30 to 45 minute trip on a motorcycle. It is 4:09p when I take pictures of the Kalokol beach. The team discusses the prospects riding to Eliye and quickly reach the decision to leave Kalokol and head to Eliye for the night.
|This Kalokol Beach is the "ka local" version of what I was hoping to see|
Kalokol is 45kms due North of Eliye on the shores of Lake Turkana. We had earlier refused to take the 50km ride from Lodwar directly to Eliye because it was described by Djo and the locals as a tough ride through deep sand but for some reason, we don’t hesitate to take 45km lakeside ride to Eliye, all thanks to this particularly forgettable beach. Please note that at this point, we are tired and kinda pissed at each other. We verify the directions to Eliye and leave the beach hurriedly. The plan is to arrive at Eliye within an hour or so and enjoy the sunset at the beach. Big dreams driven by the spirit of adventure. We ride back to Kalokol town where we turn left and head due South as directed through a bumpy murram road. About 15 minutes into the ride, the murram section ends and we venture into sections of proper sand for the first time. I lead the way and cross the first sandy lugga with significant front wheel drifting and excessive throttling. Tina follows then Djo literally walks his bike as I help by giving him a push through it.
The second sandy lugga is much longer. I cross it first and stop at the end to walk back and help Djo push his bike through it as he is visibly struggling. As soon as I help Djo across, my attention is caught by the sound of Tina’s bike accelerating wildly ahead of us. She has crashed at a short bit of sand just ahead of us. I rush to help her from under her bike which I quickly switch of. It has leaked fuel so I quickly toss several handfuls of sand on the bike and the leaked fuel afraid that the fuel might come into contact with the exhaust pipe or some other hot surface and catch fire. Djo is understandably unable to help as he is busy struggling to keeping his heavy bike upright. Tina gets back on her bike, visibly shaken, and starts it. I walk back to my bike, start it, struggle past Tina and Djo through a 60 meter long sandy stretch and stop for a breather below a tree. Running on sand in full racing leather gear, a helmet and boots to push Djo’s heavy bike and thereafter to lift Tina’s bikes under the unbearable heat drains me within less than 15 minutes. I take pictures to mark this memorable moment of the trip.
|The heat and the exhaustion didn't auger well|
|Even under that shade, I was cooking in my leather...they had to go...|
|Sonic was unfazed as it waited for the adventure bikes to catch up...|
It’s 5pm. Djo and Tina take about 5 minutes to cover the 60 meter long stretch to my location. I can’t stand the heat anymore so I decide to take off my leather suit and strap it onto my luggage for the rest of the trip. Some much needed comic relief comes through when I realize that the slices of chapati which I had stashed into my leather suit pockets at Kitale were still there. We all laugh about it for almost ten minutes. We realize that we have been riding for over 45 minutes but we have only covered 8kms during that time. All over a sudden, these guys who are clearly gifted at formulating puns turn into roadside stand up comedians, something which significantly improves our moods amidst the visibly high levels of fatigue. We contemplate giving up and returning to Kalokol for the night but no one has got the will or the energy to back track at this point. At this point, I have drunk at least two of the three liters of water in my camel back so we refill it from the water bottle reserves.
We spend approximately 40 minutes resting under that tree. I can see that there is a general fear of riding amongst my team mates as neither of them seem scared of the fact that we are not making any progress as we run out of daylight. It hits me that we could end up pitching and sharing Djo’s three man tent in the middleof the road but when I raise the issue, Djo jokes that I am not welcome into his tent. Three local riders stop at different intervals to talk to us about our ride. Two of the have pillion passengers. They tell us that the secret to riding in the sand is to accelerate the bike and be gentle with our inputs on the handlebars. The first two also make it look quite easy with a quick demonstration as they leave us behind. The third one psyche’s Tina up and even waits to watch as Tina rides off in a bid to see whether his student has gotten the drift. Here is my recollection of how that went:
Djo and I take longer than Tina to gear up. The local rider (Tina’s sand riding instructor) and his female pillion passenger who is an elderly Turkana woman are both dressed in colorful traditional regalia. They are both watching as their first lady riding student is demonstrating what she’s just been taught (theoretically) as Djo follows suit close behind. All over a sudden, I hear the two locals busting out in laughter. It is so hilarious that that it takes me almost 5 seconds to realize that the reason why they are laughing is not a meant to be a laughing matter. So apparently, Tina who is gassed up with confidence by the local sets off with her throttle wide open under the belief that giving generous amounts of gas will solve all her sand riding problems and get her to Eliye within a few minutes. It appears to be working perfectly as she sets off from the not so sandy rest stop but needless to say, she crashes spectacularly in the nearby first stretch of deep sand.
The sight of the elderly Turkana woman running out of breath in laughter does it for me. I can’t help it but laugh hysterically. It takes me almost one minute to reach the scene of the accident where I find Djo helping “Sandy” lift up her bike. I don’t really know how this accident came to happen but I find “Sandy” pouring sand from her helmet, spitting out what seemed like a mouthful of sand and thereafter shake off heaps of sand from the rest of her body like a wet dog. I approach her, still dying with laughter and restrain myself from patting down the remaining sand from her. She looks pissed and does not speak a single word for a while. Djo straightens her bike’s handlebars which are clearly misaligned and after a spirited self-pat down, “Sandy” resumes being Tina. We all silently get back on our bikes and resume the ride albeit at a painfully slow speed. They say that when you go to Rome, do what the Romans do but I dare say that according to the book of Sandy, chapter Fall verse Two, when you go to the beaches of lake Turkana, do not rush into doing what the Turkana people tell you to do.
|This is fine sand on a hill. Riding a sportbike on this stuff is not easy.|
We venture into several other sandy stretches which we strive through successfully. I have been getting the drift of riding within this environment and it shows. Djo has a couple of bike drops at a standstill when he is unable to find solid ground to step into for support while walking his bike through the deep fine sand. I help him lift the memorably heavy bike on both occasions as it also leaks fuel during one of the falls. I am feeling great without the leather suit and my sport bike appears to have some sort of unfair advantage over the other two. This effectively renders me the handy man since when compared to my team, I seem to be thriving in this sandy environment. I feel great about it and I am happy to help the team.
|They were struggling but I was always happy to walk back and push their bikes through it|
At 06:16pm we venture into a significantly sandy stretch which unlike the previous ones is on a long hilly section of the road. I speed through it with my bike drifting dangerously until I get to the top. This hill proves to be a serious challenge to my partners especially Djo who’s bike begins to show signs of burning the clutch. I literally walk back to help push his bike up as he struggles to ride it up the hill. It takes us about 15 minutes to conquer that section. As soon as we are done, I feel like I am about to pass out so I lay down and rehydrate. We all stop and rest for what ends up being another lengthy rest stop. I take pictures of the sunset and some camels which are grazing nearby. As we rest, we can hear the sound of a motorcycle struggling up the hill. They take a while to get to the top. A local woman who is a passenger on the said motorcycle walks towards us holding some keys which turn out to be my bike keys. I had dropped them somewhere on the hill as I helped push Djo’s bike up. Tina gives her a token of appreciation on my behalf.
|To be honest, I was super proud of their resolve. Most people would have given up by then|
|They took another much needed breather|
|The sunset looked good though|
|But we were in trouble in the middle of a sparsely populated part of Northern Kenya|
|I was now doing much better without the leather suit|
|Djo's Super Tenere is a beautiful Dinosaur|
|I contemplated milking those camels|
|But the sunset altered my priorities|
|The leather suit became part of my luggage...I hate luggage|
Darkness sets in as we resume the ride. Tina leads the way leaving us behind. I remain at the back to help Djo through the tricky bits. We come across the first two way junction and I momentarily take the wrong turn, misguided by google maps, which my team quickly correct by clarifying that it’s advisable to ride towards the lake and not away from it. The going gets much tougher for us all from here. We encounter the trickiest and longest stretches of deep fine sand. It is dark and even I am struggling through some sections. At one point, Djo goes down but he’s too far behind so he is forced to lift his heavy and loaded bike on his own. Don’t get me started on the sheer strength which was required to pull that solo move off in view of our fatigue levels. I actually feel guilty when he catches up and shares about his misery after Tina and I stopped to wait for him. It is at this point when our trip takes yet another dramatic turn.
A motorcycle with three young boys approaches. I stop them to ask for directions and the approximate distance left to Eliye as none of our maps have the information about the road which we followed after the left turn at the two way junction. Only one of the three boys appears to understand Swahili. He tells us that we are on the right road to Eliye. He adds that the other road which we left behind is a longer route which joins the main road from Lodwar to Eliye. He tells us that they are also going to a place near Eliye and if we can keep up, they’d guide us through some shortcuts which will help us avoid some extremely sandy stretches. Tina asks whether they can take us all the way to Eliye for a small fee. They deliberate amongst themselves in their local dialect and agree to guide us for Kshs.500/-.
In the most bizarre turn of events, Tina asks the boy if he can ride her bike to Eliye as she is too tired to do it. Please note that these are complete strangers and that two of the boys had been underage looking pillion passengers whose capacity to ride a bike was still unknown to us. I try to raise my concerns with Tina who at this point is too tired to care. This lady will accept an alternative ride from anyone or anything at this point. She has simply run out of energy and the will to move on. You wouldn’t understand but in view of my two burnouts since we left Kalokol, I can almost see why she would be willing to surrender her bike to strangers who I was convinced would ride off with her bike, never to be seen or heard from again.
Now let me tell you the true story of how I ended up learning how to properly ride a sportbike on deep fine sand.
As if the bike surrender idea wasn’t bad outrageous enough for Tina, the young Turks offered to carry her as a pillion passenger on their smaller bike citing that that way, she could keep a close eye on her bike as their comrade rode it…AND SHE AGREED! I couldn’t believe it. Picture this….a lady meets three male strangers, at night, literally in the middle of nowhere (or nowhere according to google maps) and she elects to leave her two male riding partners behind to ride away into the darkness with the three strangers, two of who couldn’t understand a single word from what she’d been saying. What could go wrong?
At this point, I have completely lost track of time. As I offered to strap my luggage on Tina’s bike so that I could carry her as my pillion passenger, she handed over her bike, boarded the smaller bike sitted in between the two boys who couldn’t speak a word in Swahili and then she waved a two finger bikers salute as they left us dumbfounded. The Swahili speaking Turkana boy who’s name I never got to ask was left behind with us but he was on Tina’s bike which was still running on neutral with Djo somewhere behind us. Forget the bike, Tina I can’t let Tina leave with a bunch of strangers into the dark. I instantly started my bike and zoomed towards them leaving Djo and the Swahili speaking Turk behind.
Experience is a good thing. I am chasing some strangers on a small displacement bike probably 100 or 125cc with my 400cc sportbike which at the time was leading in the East African Superbike Championship’s Supersport 300 category. Guess what…. they lost me in less that two minutes. In fact, the Swahili speaking Turk also overtook me with Tina’s bike soon thereafter on a lengthy stretch of deep sand and I found myself chasing their two taillights for the better part of five minutes. I am forced by circumstances to learn how to speed on sand like the local riders at the risk of falling and getting badly hurt. I have no choice but to do this the hard way.
I can see the two bikes from a distance of over half a kilometer ahead as they are meandering through the roadside shortcuts with Djo’s bike completely out of the picture. I helplessly keep racing against myself into the dark well aware that Tina and her bike had just been taken away from us and that I don’t seem to be good enough to save her. The number of curse words which I shout to myself every time I come close to crashing is quite high. I am more nervous at this point than I was earlier this year when I rode in a convoy of vehicles through the bandit ridden Kainuk and Marich pass road at high speeds, at night, in the rain.
No words can express the amount of relief I felt when I arrived to the place where the two bikes parked waiting for us at the end of the longest and trickiest lugga in the entire trip with Tina towering over the three boys with joy written all over her face. Up until then, I wasn’t aware that the three boys had good intentions. As I joined them to wait for the ages which Djo took to catch up with us, I remember being grateful that we were in a remote area where people were not as malicious as the bunch who were are used to in the so called developed and unmarginalized parts of the country in the southern half of Kenya. I told the Swahili speaking Turk to be waiting for Djo and I for the rest of the trip so that he could guide us through the roadside shortcuts to save time and he gladly obliged.
Half an hour and several regrouping stops later, we join the main road that goes from Lodwar to Eliye. It is much better than the road from Kalokol as it appears to have been graded. We ride due East for a few minutes until we start seeing lights from a distance. It is 8:02pm when we stop at the outskirts of Eliye to regroup for the last time. I know this because I take a roadside picture of the small bike which the boys and Tina were riding on. The Swahili Turk suggests that we should report our arrival to the area chief as is the protocol for non-local guests. The lead us into Eliye through a extremely sandy road. We stop at the chief’s place but are not able to see him. Djo asks whether he is allowed to camp at the beach and the response is affirmative. We are told to follow the young Turks to some camp by the beach. And then there was sand…lots and lots of sand.
|The Young Turk's Sand Blaster...as we entered Eliye|
I don’t know if I will be to explain how and why it is going to take us over an hour to wrestle all three bikes through the last kilometer between the chief’s base and the beach but let me try. So the young Turks and Tina disappear with the two bikes down a straight path to the beach. It takes me about ten grueling minutes to arrive at the beachside camp whose name I have since forgotten. We are happy to finally get to Eliye which even in the dark js as beautiful and extremely sand as described by Djo. The camp has a club house which is playing some gengetone hit song over and over again...It goes something like....WAMLAMBEEEZZZ!!!! WANYONYEEEZZZ!!!! I admit that it's captivating..... We even forget to notice that Djo has not arrived yet for the 20 or 30 minutes it takes him to call me for help.
The young Turks and I leave Tina behind with the three bikes and walk back up the road in search of Djo. Walking on the foot-deep beach sand on my riding boots proves to be harder than riding on it. It takes a while to get to the location of Djo’s distressed bike. The young turks who are much quicker than I am get to Djo before I do. I can tell that Djo is in trouble because his hazard indicators are blinking vertically, indicating that the bike is down. I see them gradually turn to their natural horizontal position as he boys manage to lift the bike as I arrive. Djo tells me that he fell a couple of times and was too tired to lift the bike. Seeing that no help was forthcoming, he turned on his bike’s hard indicators and took a power nap by the roadside.
We lift the bike again and Djo sits on the saddle and we all take turn to help push his bike all the way to the beach. That final ride by Djo takes at least 15 more minutes. At this point, we are exhausted, severely dehydrated and famished. Tina shows up with a basket full of drinks and water which we make easy work of within minutes. We ask about meal options from the joint and since it is a bit late we are informed that they have nothing ready. We are told that they can source for some chicken but we would have to wait for them to go hunting, slaughter and cook it. They have no idea as to how long that is going to take but they tell us that we would have to part with Kshs.3,000/- for their efforts. That’s how we end up happily eating canned food by the beach courtesy of my team.
At some point, I excuse myself to wander around the area and upon my return, Djo tells me that some local guy attempted to harass or extort them in my absence but our young Turks intervene and help sort out the matter. ` The water is warmer than the air at the lake side since it’s been cooking all day under the scorching heat in the area. We have been advised that there are no crocodiles or hippos in the area so we enjoy the swim for at least one hour. The area has little or no pollution so the view of the night sky is unbelievably amazing. The sight of the moon and the stars is indescribable. We can see the milky way clearly together with a good number of well known constellations. This area would make a very good place for scientific field trips. I now understand why my great uncle Richard has been hell bent on a mission to set up an observatory station in these parts of the country.
As the team retires to sleep for the night, I remember looking back at that evening as the highlight of my entire trip and declaring that night as my favourite night of the entire trip. I end up falling asleep on the beach like a wild animal. It gets a bit too windy and cold at some point in the night so I wake up to dress a bit warmer. I have some fine sand lodged in my nostrils and ears which I shake off, I get the privilege of experiencing the feeling of being able to walk around in the night courtesy of some unbelievable clear and natural human night vision all thanks to the absence of light pollution in the area. I could see better than I do during my night rides with my lights on. The clear skies and the full moon played a huge role in this. I end up falling asleep next to my bike until the following morning.
|Dawn at our Campsite|
It's Sunday. I have lost track of time. My biological clock must have been reset like two or three days ago. I wake up at the break of dawn. Djo and Tina are still asleep. I walk around our campsite for the night and take a few underwhelming photographs. I am bored so I wake the rest of the team up after which we all walk to the nearby shore for a morning swim as we await what turns out to be the most beautiful sunrise that I have ever watched up to this day. We take a myriad of amazing photographs which despite looking the part do not qualify as a fair representation of the actual experience. Djo is looking unhappy and upon some prodding by yours truly, he chooses to keep to himself. After the sunrise and the morning swim, we elect to take beachside walks. I notice that the boundary between Marsabit county and Turkana county is just a few meters away according to google maps so I decide to venture there for the heck of it. We spend the rest of the morning enjoying the scenery.
|Tina Poses, Djo is in another world|
|So I crop him out hehehe...|
|I goof around to cheer Djo up....it doesn't work like a charm...he's simply not in the mood|
|Lakini mimi ni nani?|
|My stupidity is limitless|
|And so is my happiness|
|Does that stupid dab thing....side A and side B like the old man that I am...|
|Guess where the sun is?|
|Voila!!!! At Last!!!!|
|....and it was magnificent...|
|Saluting the experience|
|My favorite photo of the entire trip...|
|We live in a beautiful world....|
|Tulioga btw...the swim was tranquil|
|Show me a better wallpaper...Lake Turkana is magnificent.|
One thing I notice is that a large number of people, presumably a majority of the locals come to the lake to take their morning bath/swim in groups divided by age/gender at different parts of the beach. It is quite an interesting observation. The Turkana heat starts to set in quite rapidly and as a result, we agree to leave. We make our own breakfast at the beach by starting a fire using dry pines. We eat as much of all the remaining canned food which includes baked beans, pineapples, milk and Weetabix. Tina makes fun of my portions as I literally down the lion’s share of the Weetabix simply because I don’t like beans. We give out the remaining foodstuff to the locals, pack up and prepare to leave. I get a chance to ride Tina’s bike on the beach and it’s so easy and such a joy to ride as compared to my Ninja with its anti-beach sand tyres.
|Djo lights a fire to make breakfast....notice my Bridgestone's Battlax S21R courtesy of Bike Tyres Kenya.|
|Djo's Description of Eliye was Spot On!|
Tina decides to negotiate a deal whereby the two young turks from the previous night are to escort her and ride her bike all the way to Lodwar at a fee. One of them is supposed to ride Tina’s bike while the other one Pillions her. They’ll bring an extra bike so that they can pillion each other thereafter on the way back to Eliye. Djo, Tina and the young turks refuel their bikes at a fuel point that operates from under a tree. They buy bottled fuel at Kshs.150 per liter. I refill my camel back with drinking water and off we go towards Lodwar. The road from Eliye to Lodwar is a bit sandy but is nothing compared to the one from Lodwars to Kalokol and our beachside route from Kalokol to Eliye. Our practice from the previous day’s ride is also paying off. Everyone is fresh so the pace is good. The young turks take us through a maze of shortcuts to keep us off most of the sandy bits so the ride is generally fast and enjoyable. Even Djo isn’t struggling as much on his monster.
|The young Turks...One is Elvundu. I don't remember the other one's name.|
|The Kid in the pink Team Timam Tshirt rides like a pro on sand.|
I really enjoy this bit of the trip. The confidence of the young turks inspires me to overcome my fear and push through the sand. It works like a charm. In a weird turn of events, the elder turk crashes on Tina’s bike while he appears to race against me. The bike isn’t damaged much save for a few scratches…crashing on sand is inexpensive as the landing is quite soft. The other turk crashes soon thereafter and hurts his leg. I am miles ahead at the time. I stop to wait for the rest of the team but only Djo arrives. I urge him to keep forging ahead as I turn around to go look for the rest of the team. I find Tina dressing the young turk’s wounds at the edge of a lugga. We joke about it and share light moments with the Turkana boys. One of the boys goes to the dry riverbed, digs a little and voila, we see him drinking water. It’s quite an interesting sight.
|Somewhere between Eliye and Lodwar|
|Tina found love iin Turkana...even if I have to say it myself hihihi...|
|A bodaboda rider took this photograph of the entire team near Lodwar....we were all distracted|
The rest of the ride to Lodwar is mostly smooth. Djo drops his bike a couple of times under tricky deep sand which is understandable. The elder turk loses control of Tina’s bike and rides into a bush to avoid ramming my bike from behind as I stop to give way to an oncoming motorcyclist at a narrow shortcut that passes through a thicket. We arrive at Lodwar at around 1:00pm. We stop near the Catholic church where we part ways with the young turks after a brief photo session. We proceed to our usual hotel for lunch where we are joined by a Lodwar based rider, Mr. Julius Gogong. He had been following updates on our trip and requested to come meet us when we return to Lodwar. We enjoy lunch as we happily recount the experiences from our not so well thought through detour to Eliye. We take photos with Julius and inspect our bikes one last time. It turns out that I left my bike keys on the ignition with the lights on for almost two hours and my battery has since gone flat out of charge. Julius helps me push to jumpstart my bike shortly before we part ways. Thank you bro.
|Julius Gogong, our new Lodwar Based Biker friend.|
|He arrived on this little monster...get yourself a Kuga...he did...|
The team agrees that we shall be riding separately back to Nairobi as I have run out of time on the road and had court matters at Nairobi in two days time. Djo and Tina intend to take two more days to get back to Nairobi, a luxury that I can not afford. We all fuel our bikes at the National Oil Petrol station, our last stop as a group. They leave me behind as I struggle to get into my annoying one-piece leather suit. I have approximately 90kms of rough roads left before I get to the tarmac at Lokichar but my contemplated speeds don’t allow me to risk riding without the full gear beyond that point. Once ready, I leave Lodwar at approcimately 3:40pm. I zoom past my friends shortly thereafter and wave goodbye. They catch up with me soon thereafter and sarcastically wave goodbye again after I stop just past them to fasten my luggage. I sort out the luggage issue and zoom past them, waving goodbye for the final time after which they quickly disappear within the plume of dust in my wake.
I am literally flying. I only have just over two hours of daylight left and approximately 700kms left between me and my dearly missed bed. The crazy mode of Wakili Timam is officially engaged and I am deeply inside the zone. I do my most remarkable rough road riding run which sees me get to Lokichar just before 5pm…. A trip that had taken us over two hours in the first place. I overtake land cruisers and proboxes with so much ease. I take the sand filled diversions to avoid the rocky sections. One vehicle appears to attempt to speed as I approach it from behind, probably scared by the prospects of the insecurity in such areas but I catch up and overtake at a safe distance across the road after which they also disappear behind me within a minute or so.
|Fuel Stop at Kapese Petrol Station - Lokichar|
I refuel at Lokichar and send a message to the group updating them of my progress. I speed onwards towards Kapenguria. I notice two large convoys with police vehicle escorts both at the front and at the rear near Kainuk. I stop briefly at Kainuk to advise my team to reconsider not venturing beyond Lokichar for the night citing security concerns. I speed on amidst several scary encounters with locals and arrive at the Sigor junction past the Marich Pass at 6pm.
|Quick stop at Kainuk|
|Another Quick Stop at the Marich Road Block|
|That road goes to Nakuru via Kabarak, Mogotio and lakes baringo & bogoria....See your map for details|
|Dusk at Kapenguria...bad weather coming right up...|
I am forced to stop to unpack and wear my rain gear by the roadside. I ride slowly to Kitale amidst poor visibility and soaking wet gloves and boots. It’s really cold. I stop near Moi’s Bridge at 08:06pm to take a picture of my odometer…Sonic just clocked 28,004kms. I miss the 28,000km as I am busy dealing with the difficulties of riding at night in the rain. The rains stop almost instantly at Moi’s bridge and I am able to speed the rest of the way to Eldoret where I arrive all warm and dry at 08:58pm. I take a photograph while refueling at the Total petrol station opposite the Eldoret Police Station.
|Ignore the check engine light just as you ignore the prevalence of corruption in Kenya.|
|Final Fuel Stop at Eldoret|
Determined to get home fast, I leave Eldoret immediately and forge ahead. I stop at Kondoo at 09:52pm to take a picture of the sign post for a friend. I encounter lots of fog at the Timboroa forest area but I am able to sail through effortlessly as I trail a couple of fast vehicles ahead of me which help me to navigate safely. I literally ride nonstop all the way to my house where I arrive shortly after 1pm quite tired. The final part of the journey is calm and uneventful. At that hour, I encounter minimal traffic and luckily, no animals or crazy people go out of their way to make my night harder. I send a message to the team announcing my arrival, take a quick shower and retire to bed.
|Yes, there's a place in Kenya called Kondoo (Sheep)|
|Yes, this little beast sleeps in the house.|
|Final Mileage Marker|
My team mates arrived two days later after Tina had an accident on the evening of 08th July, 2019 at Eldoret. She wasn’t badly injured and they were able to do some repairs on the bike to enable her ride it to Nairobi on the 09th. I was happy with the outcome of the adventure. This trip was my first serious group ride. It came with several lesson on preparations, necessities, choice of riding partners and various dos and don’ts which I shall list and share in a future article. Thanks for joining me on this journey. May God bless you abundantly.
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