The chaos of last night continued this morning - Dogo slept at the petrol station to get fuel first thing in the morning. It was an early morning to bed for some of the team and the Boyz managed through doubling up, with Raph sharing his room with three others. Stephen from Didi’s MD team eventually got the hotel management focused on a bit of service and actually got coffee, eggs and a bun for most of the team. Once we had sorted out the re-fueling, had breakfast and packed up, it was 7.30 when we left the hotel lead by the hotel manager to the outskirts of town.
Mark was struggling with the after effects of his multiple falls the previous day and the whole team was apprehensive about what sort of road lay ahead, armed only with the knowledge that we had dirt and sand for the first 240km and around 129km of tar. The first 50 odd kilometres was like the beach - the team stepped on the gas led by Mike and ploughed through with surprisingly only two pinks! This was followed by a firmer thinner road with intermittent sections of deep grooved sand with no options but to take it head on! Then we got on to a road under construction - again there were nice easy sections and then real tough ones, not necessarily in that sequence!
Suddenly we hit a section of tar - about 20km - and a Chinese roadworks company. The road was great whilst it lasted, then back onto sand and that’s how it continued until we had about 140km to go and Rolfe had a “head over heels” trying to manoeuvre a speed-hump! A spectacular spill - he really earned his pink!!
Apart from the driving we saw some amazing sights regarding transport and exactly how much a set of wheels can take whether a bicycle, car or truck! The photos speak for themselves.
The road deteriorated suddenly exactly where Rolfe had spilled and then on to the greatest tar road we have ever driven on - I must say it was a real deal construction effort. Rob re-joined the team, which is great, and in we went to Kikwit - not the sort of town you would decide to book a vacation, although the scenery driving along the Kwilu River was amazing if one could block out the poverty! We were escorted to the Marinnelle Hotel which, unlike last night’s hotel that looked great from the outside and not so great inside, this looked rather shabby from the outside but reasonably comfortable in the inside!
After the customary round of beers, we were off to shower - this time running water, Some of the team had a short sleep, like Mark! Then the customary DRC dinner with a lot better wine!
A great ending to a tough but successful day and another early start tomorrow and Kinshasa and a rest day!!
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