Friday, April 29, 2011

TdA Stage 83. Must Have More Mud!

83km. Solitaire to Sesrium.

A 30km offroad time trial in the morning meant that we were free from the 'burden' of timing for the last half of the ride. After stopping for a roadside lunch, Carrie, Kim and I ditched our wheels in the bushes and climbed a hill near the roadside to take in the view.

Looking down the road from which we had come, it was a clear and perfect day. In the other direction, a storm was brewing. But, we were in no hurry. By now, the idea that riding through a storm causes excitement, rather than worry.

By the time we headed back to the road to finish the ride, the storm clouds up the road had turned from a light gray to almost black. There was still water on the road from the last storm and we figured we were going to get soaked soon anyhow, so we started the fun early and rode through every puddle and mud patch that we could find. It was a contest to see who could find the deepest, dirtiest, squishiest line.

Splaaaaat-t-t-t-t-t-t. Must have more mud!

The storm, in fact, never visited us. Still, when we rolled into camp our bodies and bikes were smothered in mud as though we had survived a monsoon. (Hmmm...maybe I could have at least wiped my chain before ditching it beside a tree tonight).

Though the campsite was reasonable tonight, I had heard that the hotels nearby were worth taking. We found a room at the Sossus Dunes Lodge. This place is normally over USD800/night, but our last minute rate of USD150/night (including meals) was right on the money. Set inside the park, each room is its own lodge with a totally unspoiled view of the landscape. No power lines. No roads. No unnatural light or noise. Just nature.

It is, by far, the most beautifully set lodge that I have ever stayed at. There is an open plain directly in front of our balcony with a perfectly clear sky above it. Along the horizon are foothills, over which there seems to be an infinite string of lightning storms. It's better than fireworks.


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