That, in one word, sums up the last four days. As in, ouch, my crotch has never hurt so much. Ouch, my shoulders tense up after about 20 kilometers and ouch, by the end of the day, my legs are so tired it's hard to get off the bike.
Here is a simple break down of our schedule: wake up around 5. Eat breakfast (bread or oatmeal). Bike. Take short breaks and one longer lunch break (eat more bread). Bike. Arrive at destination. Complain alot. Shower and wash clothes. Eat dinner. Sleep. Repeat until next Tuesday.
Actually, we've decided to take a break on Thanksgiving, since we're biking an average of 85km a day. A little more detail about the trip so far:
Saturday morning, Dun, Amanda and I caught a car to Cinkasse, on the Togo-Burkina Faso border. Took a picture, biked back to Dapaong, gathered bags, volunteers and a second breakfast, then biked to Mango. Total of 105k. Cliff made us delicious curry pasta.
Sunday morning, Cliff rode with us to a river (I don't pay attention to names anymore), where a pirogue shuttled our bikes and then us across (pictures to come later). Then we biked forever on junky sand, gravel and dirt paths through savannahs. Periodically, we passed women going to the field or carrying wood piles on their heads, but for the most part, it was very lonely. Yet every time we stopped for a break, small crowds appeared from somewhere. 85k total.
We spent Sunday night in Guerin-Kouka, at their maison du passage. Yesterday and today were "easyt" days - 55k and 50k, respectively. From Guerin-Kouka to Kabou is about 35k, but the hills are long and numerous, so it felt longer. We took a long break in Kabou and visited the volunteer there, then finished the 20k to Bassar. Amy hosted us in her almost-American house, complete with running water, electricity, a refrigerator and flush toilet. Amy is wonderful.
This morning, after more bread - there are other things to eat here, but I feel safe with bread and shortbread biscuits - we biked from Bassar to Sokode. This ride took us along the edge of a national park (again, it will remain nameless), which only means gorgeous views, not animals. Gorgeous views and hills that make you cry for your mom - or just push your bike for several kilometers. There are skull and crossbones road signs along this road, which should give you an idea of the steepness.
Now we're enjoying our afternoon off in a "big" city. We're leaving the majority of our group here in Sokode for Thanksgiving. Dun and I will continue tomorrow (and will also be the only two who biked the whole country), but others will join up again, or for the first time, in the next few days. If you're still interested in giving anywhere from $5 to support our ride AND girls' education, it's not too late to email me and tell me so.
I have to go find some bananas now, before my entire body goes into a spasm.