Thursday, November 29, 2007

about that trip...

See photos from the Tour de Togo at

I'm very tired, so please excuse this post. I leave tomorrow for village and want to write a little about our trip - thanks again for all the encouragement and donations.

We biked for 10 days, although Dun and I took a break on Thanksgiving (only biked 17k from Waragni to Pagala). We had an amazing meal - turkey (I didn't have any of that), Stovetop stuffing, devilled eggs, jambalaya, salad, mashed potatoes, steamed veggies and lots of dessert. It's not Thanksgiving unless you eat yourself sick, and I gave myself a REAL Thanksgiving. Then I biked about 75k the next day (happy birthday to me) and had a warm coke. The Pagala folks did sing the birthday song to me on the 22nd, and then Dun and Connor sang it very quietly at 5:30 a.m. on Friday before we hit the road.

On Saturday, we biked from Seregbene to Badou. This was the casualty day (lots of blood, nothing serious, just scary, and the three uninjured bikers managed to bandage up our friend - although I was called the "worst health volunteer ever" - blood makes me nervous), and also the day my right knee decided it was finished with this trip. The day ended with an 8k stretch of paved road down a mountain. Very enjoyable, except the next day we had to go back up the mountain to get to the path to Amlame, Sunday's destination.

Sunday was by far the worst day of the entire trip. After pushing our bikes up 8k of mountain, we had a few little downhill spurts, then more mountain. It was basically mountain all day. At the end of the uphill part, around 2 p.m., we reached Elevagnon (sp?), which was very lovely... until we realized the only way to get there is a 20k path up (or down, in our case) a rotten sand and rock path. So... 20k down, braking the whole way. I felt bad for the people who joined up again after a Thanksgiving break in Sokode, but everyone survived.

Monday we went about 85 or 90k from Amlame to Agou. We had a lovely lunch in Kpalime, then raced to Agou Akoumawou, where Helen and I showered, washed clothes, then let the Peace Corps drive us to Nyogbo. I visited my host family. They were very disappointed that I was only staying about half an hour, but I promised to return. They gave me bananas.

Tuesday was a straight shot to Lome, 105k. By that point, my left knee decided it was finished too, so I rolled in with Ace bandages on both knees. We saw what was probably the best sight of the entire trip during that 105k - a grinning girl holding up a dead bush rat by its head. Sorry, I was going too fast to stop and take a picture.

When we got to Lome (very scary biking amongst the cars and motos), we stopped to have a quick drink, then rode to the beach bar, where the lovely Melissa O'Shaughnessy (Savanes volunteer) had organized lunch for us - sandwich makings, candy bars, little gift bags filled with dried fruit, Gatorade, Doritos... I love Melissa. And that was it. 10 days, over 900k (the national highway route is about 700, we added roughly 200k with our off-roading madness), and at least $5,000 raised for girls' education. Yay.

I'm going to go pack, go to bed and go back to village now. On a bus.