Love Is A Journey: Love and Tar (Part 6)

2nd Jan 2017.

After two solid days of amazing live performances; making new friends, bungee jumping, micro lighting, sundowner boat cruises while croc and hippo spotting, we bid Meli adieu and pack all our belongings back on the bike. We strap into our riding gear, charge helmet comms, check tyre pressure, oil and other vital liquids. We study the route plans and make sure we haven’t lost any important travel documents.

The first leg of the ride sees us pass over the Zambezi River into Zambia, the land of the talented Black Stars national soccer team. Our plan is to leave the border town, gun it through the Victorian feeling town of Livingstone and head through to Lusaka, the capital of Zambia for lunch before we lay our heads down in Kabwe, about 160 odd kilometers further north of Lusaka.

As soon as we get onto the bike, in all this heat, and we are yet again reminded that our party spirit knows no bounds and we clearly don’t learn. We are yet again hung-over, extremely tired and full of if’s and but’s. Either way, a soldier must do what a soldier does. So we march on.

We zip past Livingstone and are firmly en route to Lusaka. We arrive in Lusaka just before sunset and decide to call it a night. We are yet again caught by the rain as we approach Lusaka, at this point the rain is no longer something to be feared, but seen as an adversary to be conquered. Lusaka is a big city with lots of growth; skyscrapers everywhere, malls there, shopping centers here, and construction as far as the eye can see. The city seems to have a buzz. We like it.

Originally on this journey we were supposed to have had a second bike accompanying us, however due to the unforeseen, our good friend Andy couldn’t join. With that said, Andy is still so central to the journey in that as we fight to catch-up to our original schedule, he is continuously finding out where we are and changing our Air BnB bookings as we go. It’s an intricate game of tag between him and Makgotso, who is the planning, research & logistics manager of the trip. I on the other hand, focus on all things mechanical and road related.

We check-in. We then go out in Lusaka and hit a few spots. It’s cold and rainy but we realize that we are just over the halfway mark. We are about 2400km into the journey now. The point where it would have made sense to turn back has been passed. If we were to turn back now it would take us longer to get home that it would to get to Kenya. So the only logical choice at this stage is to continue charging forward!

We enjoy the night in Lusaka; we hit some popular spots, party it up, people watch, dance and act the fool. Even when we are alone we enjoy each other’s company immensely, so we party like it ain’t a thang! We can’t believe how far we are without any real harm. There’s much to celebrate.

The next day we wake up early, eat brekkie and shoot out again. The routine has now started to settle in;

Wake up early.

Ride hard.

Absorb the sights, sounds & smells around us.

Sleep.

Repeat.

We are riding roughly 550-700km per day weather and border dependent. The only thing is…we are now in unexplored territory. Although we have been to Palapye, Francistown, Vic Falls Town and even Livingstone in previous years, this is our first time biking this far together. Now as we head out of Lusaka and head towards Kabwe, our next milestone, we are chartering on unknown paths. We are the furthest we have been from home via road and we keep going further.

The calls home start to mean more. The loved ones who message and check up on us begin to matter more deeply. The decisions we make on how fast we ride, how long the days should be, what routes do we take begin to matter more as uncertainty sets in. Uncertainty on a journey is a given, but our commitment to each other and to our shared goal remains unwavering. So with the throttle on full gas, wind blowing and eyes wide open (Well at least mine – I later learn someone was comfortable enough to take naps behind me while riding) we ride back to chest to go meet the rest of this adventure together. No family. Few friends. No idea what lies ahead!

Oh…just when we thought we were beginning to get the hang of this whole thing….trouble brews ahead. Yet again…

Writer: Mnikelo Qubu      Photo by Dawid Zawiła on Unsplash

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