Day 28: 124km to Dam View Chalets.
We woke up early and were planning to leave at 6:30 to miss some of the Lusaka morning traffic only to find my bike had a puncture before we started, and we were delayed thirty minutes while I repaired it. Lawrence drove ahead of us to show us out of Lusaka, and the first 15km of our day were just getting out of Lusaka as people started their days dropping kids at school or on their way to work. After leaving Lusaka we joined (the incorrectly used adjective) The Great East Road, which we follow for the next few days and will eventually get us to Chipata, the border between Zambia and Malawi. The only thing correct in the naming of the road, is that it does in fact head east. The riding today was around seven and half hours and I felt good on the bike despite it being our hilliest section we've ridden with just over 900m of accent over the 124km. The terrain is starting to change from the flat bushveld we had the whole way through Botswana, to more mountainous topography as we head toward the Zambian Eastern Highlands. Dam View Chalets, is simply a dam where we were permitted to camp, but has not electricity, running water or toilets, but did provide a picturesque place to set up camp for the evening. We spent the afternoon reading and fishing (we are better cyclists than we are fishermen) before dinner and some drinks around a fire next to the dam - another amazing location to spend the evening. One of the parts of this adventure that I am enjoying the most is how different each of our overnight stops are, bush camps, to formal camp sites and from farm houses to friends places in formal towns - it's been great. The planning and organisation of our gear has changed and improved numerous times since we got onto the road four weeks ago. We have: trailer crates numbered 1-6, the red crate and the grey crate, each with their own contents and applications, ammo boxes 1(a,b,c), 2(a,b,c), and 3(a,b,c), we have a rider's box which follows us in the vehicle behind us and other boxes with names like tools, spares, breakfast, drinks, misc and mozi. We also all have long term bags of things that we need to take with us but don't need to access every day. We have a "camp setup checklist", "things to do before leaving camp" checklist, a "minimum / staple" grocery list, "things to fix in the next town list"and an active shopping list that lives in box six. Despite all of these processes and checklists, stress is still caused from time to time when, things like tin foil, which are required for dinner often, are left off the list, or the shopping list we used last time in town wasn't the one from box five, or the eggs weren't packed properly and 12 out of a box of 24 are broken and have messed all over the rest of the contents in box 2c. It's not massive stuff but it's the kind of thing that lead to pressure between the team from time to time. I am having an absolute blast and loving every moment of this experience but I do feel a little claustrophobic some days stuck in tight living space with the five other people I'm with. I also realise that my tolerance for complaining and negativity is VERY low and work hard to make sure I don't let myself get anxious when people have a moan about something. Today I finished a book called The Kite Runner (my rating 3/5) and started Richard Dawkins' book "The God Delusion", audiobooks are a great way to get through books while on the bike for hours at a time.
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