Friday, 27 December 2013

Day 63 - Tarfaya to Point 1 (170 - 180km)

I woke up fine at 6. There was a bit of a delay leaving as Chris needed to replace one of his tyres. He was rushing to do this and ended up exploding the inner tube on the rim of the wheel. He was frustrated with this so I took over and successfully fitted the new tyre. We took all the stuff down to a deserted reception area so just left our room key on the desk before leaving between 30-45 minutes late. We were once again lucky with the weather as it was overcast so not too hot. We exited the town on a different road from the one we came in on. There was a strong sidewind until we rejoined the M1, where the wind was behind us. I had pushed on ahead of Chris and Tom as was now the standard morning thing. Luckily for us the M1 had smooth tarmac on our side of the road (the other side was bumpy). The wind remained behind us but the road didn't continuously remain smooth - there were some fairly bad patches (one in particular was where there was resurfacing work going on). We arrived at Laayoune in good time and had the standard police check on the edge of town before going in and finding a shop to buy food. They had run out of the standard big round bread so I had to make do with some thin stuff which wasn't as nice. We were charged more than normal for the food which we could have done without with our lack of funds. We were, however, able to sit in a nice square in the middle of a road junction which had a nice shaded long marble bench ideal for getting the gas stove on the go. A friendly local guy came over and started talking to us. He told us a bit about the town and himself and we told him about the ride and where we were going. He pointed us in the right direction as unlike the other towns we had passed through Laayoune wasn't easy to navigate with several different roads branching out and no signposts. I had my standard big portion of slaggy tuna and when I had finished and washed up the mess tins in a fountain Chris and Tom had fallen asleep. I woke them up so we could get going and we pushed on. We decided we would camp in the middle of nowhere in the desert tonight and the remaining few nights until Dakhla rather than our original plan of staying in hotels wherever the towns were. The reason for this was that it would be much easier to cover each days increased distance equally and stop whenever we had cycled 170-180km. Also we didn't have any money left for staying in hotels. We bought enough food to sustain us for the next 24 hours or so until we would arrive in Cape Bojador (the next town). The next stretch of road turned into the most desolate relentless bit so far with nothing (not even the odd camel) around, just the occasional truck or car speeding past. The landscape and road too didn't really change with a continuous straight, flat Tarmac surrounded with nothing but rocky sand with small bushes everywhere and pylons to our left. We continued pedalling until around 7.15 when it started to get dark. Chris suggested we pitch up behind a wall surrounding a large antenna as this would act as a windbreak. Me and Tom agreed so we made our way to the south side of the wall, cleared a few rocks away and popped up the tents. Chris went to bed more or less straight away whilst me and Tom decided to cook some more slaggy tuna. We were well aware of the risk of scorpions being under rocks so were very careful when moving them to create a windbreak for the stove. It was now properly dark so we had to rely on the head torch to do anything. By this time a van had pulled over at the side of the road (50 metres away) which was slightly concerning. They eventually drove off after maybe half an hour or so by which time we were eating our slaggy tuna. About 15 minutes later we had finished, put the food in the tent, cleared up the worst of the stuff and were going to sleep. Alarm set for 6.30 tomorrow.

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