(Day 38) Atbarah to Merowe – 7 May 2011
Distance for the day – 295 km
Odometer – 11 972 km
Hours on the Bike – 03:25
Donations up to date for Adelaide Hospital – R 103 797.00
Sudan is definitely not the place for people who cannot stand heat. We had the aircon on full blast last night and decided to hit the road early this morning before it gets too hot. The temperature at 06:00 am was 29°C.
The ride to Karima was very nice on a new tar road that takes you through the dessert. The software on Tracks for Africa is outdated and still indicates the road as gravel. The 300 km ride took us 3 ½ hours, which would have been a long day on a gravel/sand road. It was an amazing experience to just see sand around you and it was also a bit worrying to know that if something happened to one of the bikes, it could potentially become a big problem, being so isolated and exposed to the elements. There were very few vehicles that we saw on the road, and one or two villages.
The heat slowly started to rise as the hours clicked on and by 08:00 am it was sitting at 38°C. The wind also started to hit us from the side and soon we were experiencing the effects of a brewing sandstorm. Many places on the road, sand has blown dangerous heaps of sand onto it, which you preferably do not want to hit at speed. Richard then started having problems with the chain of his bike that kept jumping off the sprocket. The wear on it was evident and the tension setting was at its maximum. We decided to break the chain to take two links out to shorten the chain. The stretched chain was a result of the shock problem in Kenya. Thereafter it went better.
We planned to stop at Karima, but decided to book into a small, neat Hotel in Merowe, across the river. It definitely was worth the money, with clean rooms, fan and air conditioning for a much cheaper rate then what we planned for in Karima. It overlooks the River Nile, so we decided to go for a dip in the surprisingly cool waters of the Nile.
It was now 47°C outside. Tomorrow we plan to leave early to cover a long stretch to Wadi Halfa.