Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I wonder what Namibian sand tastes like?

So, fast forward about two hours from our last meeting at the gas station. We rode north along the coast to Henties Bay, then cut east on a secondary, gravel road. We'd heard from other travelers that the gravel roads here are good, so we figured we'd give it a go. It started out as smooth, packed sand and gravel, but after several miles changed to larger stone and loose, dusty sand in drifts. We'd been riding at a fair clip (about 30-35mph) on the smooth stuff, slowed down for the loose stuff, then picked up speed again once the road surface permitted. It was a nice ride at this point, getting warmer and sunnier, and I started feeling more confident and started to look around. BIG mistake. I had been riding in the packed sand, but drifted into some deep and very loose sand. Before I knew it, my handlebars were swapping from side to side, and then, “FUUUUUUUUU (whump) CK!” The next thing I knew, I lay face down in the sand, with my bike on my legs. I was fully aware of where I was and what happened, but I did not want to open my eyes.

I wiggled all my fingers and toes and took in a breath to replace the one I had just knocked slam out of my chest. Then I cackled maniacally in my helmet. Colin ran up and asked if I was okay because I was just lying there doing nothing, and I said yes. He lifted the bike up so I could get out, I stood up, didn't know what I was doing, so we picked up the bike and Colin directed me to gather all the things that had flown off and were now strewn across the desert, after he again made sure I was alright. The bike was okay, just a couple of bent and scraped parts, no major damage. 

Once the adrenalin started to wear off, and Colin again asked if I was okay, I noticed that my right pinky finger, inside of my right elbow, and my right shoulder all hurt. They all moved fine but with pain, and upon inspection, my elbow is contused (it's a helluva good bruise!). We repacked the bike, Colin straightened out a few parts, and after I again told Colin I was okay, continued on. We went about 15 more miles down this same gravel road before Colin saw that my spare tire had apparently gone walkies without permission (this was actually the SECOND time it went AWOL today. The first time I saw it rolling down the road behind me), so he rode back to try to locate it while I took a break. He came riding back about a half hour later with my tire around his neck. Nice necklace, Fabio. 

Colin pulled out the map to look at our route and realized that we weren't going to make it anywhere near to our destination at the rate we were going. It was then that I suggested, fully aware of just how much Colin hates to backtrack, that we go back to Swakopmund for the night and take the paved road the next day. And that's what we did. We returned to Swakop slowly, riding into a massive, freezing headwind the entire way. When we got into town, we were both frozen and decided that we'd like to sleep indoors tonight. Unfortunately, this being a weekend, most everything was full. We did find a room, slightly over our usual budget, that was a well-needed splurge after a really sucky day. 
PS- I am fine. My shoulder works fine, my elbow works fine but is turning a lovely shade of purple, and my pinky is also fine. And Namibian sand tastes like American sand. No need to try it for yourselves.


  1. Glad to hear the health report. I'd read of the "lay down" over at ADV. Sending lots of good thoughts your way.

  2. What, no MRI to check your shoulder? I fell behind in reading your blog, so enjoyed catching up with your adventure. Playing any cribbage? Ruth

  3. Nope, no MRI. I do them, don't get them! In all seriousness, my shoulder is fine. I was a bit concerned about my rotator cuff when I couldn't raise my arm, but it got better and better with each passing day, and now I have full range of motion. My bruise is even gone :( I liked the surprise every morning when I looked at it in the mirror and saw how the colors changed.