Stage 59 – Chipata to Petauke

The scent of Zambia is mint. I will always remember Zambia that way…

And what a fabulous ride! I look at the profile and choose the afternoon, feeling a half day is safer with the surgical wound healing. Still 95 kms though…

Women and children at the village well…

This is Ida Zulu. We ‘chat’ with gestures and smiles for quite a while, she telling me about all her many grandchildren. She’s proud to be photographed

I come across working water buffalo again, reminds me of south east Asia. And then there are these guys – See what they’re making? It took me a minute to figure it out… dusters! In Asia there were always industrious people making one thing or another by the side of the road… the original gig economy.

I was flying along, delighting in a ride with energy restored, able to power through the dips and up the other side without even down shifting. Flying. Suddenly the road was filled with people and music and matching t-shirts. Ah, a political rally…

There were trucks with a band playing, loud speakers blaring, and a big entrance by the candidate arriving in a convoy of vehicles. And like political rallies everywhere… there was security for the candidate. A suit smiled and nodded and asked me what I was doing there – um, using the road? And eventually and condescendingly encouraged me to continue using it.

About half way through, the fast front four caught me and thought they were passing me. In fact they seemed to think I’d been plucked from the Road by the Rapture as soon as I left their peripheral vision – or maybe they just assumed I’d cede the road to them and slow down. Whatever.

The leader began to move back to the caboose position, slowing and sliding back in my lane – and almost backed right into me. Meanwhile, another was moving over into me from the right and only a foot ahead, again seemingly thinking I’d POOF! … gone. I had to call out that I was still in fact right there in the bike lane! “Nope, nope still here!”

As we moved along together, me in the bike lane, they beside me on the road edge, I regained the speed I’d had when they caught me – and I briefly left them behind. This went back and forth a time or two, the train working harder now, until two dropped off ‘for water’. Granted they had ridden the morning already, but on the other hand they’re taking turns being pulled by the train while I’m riding alone – much more work. 

When the leader lost half his train he also left me behind. But not far behind. The third train passenger was now working hard to stay maybe 200 yards behind the two leaders, and I stayed about about another hundred behind that. I rode in to camp maybe 30 seconds after them. 

Another win!

And to top off the day, I snag a lovely room with cool air and a hot shower. And turkeys! And goats who eat laundry! And beer…

I’m back!

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