[ Koidu Town, Sierra Leone ]
I spend a day drinking palm wine with my new friends in Mogo-Bendugu, then head south—at long last moving toward Liberia. A death-defying motorcycle trip to visit a morally ambiguous immigration official at the Guinea border had been successful–my new deadline to exit Salone was now September 4th–plenty of time.
As I ride, I find the road still horrible, but long stretches are rideable and my daily progress rebounds to pre-malaria off-road distances—about 40+km, or 25 miles. At that rate, the trip to Koidu Town is possible in three days, but the skies open up the morning of the third day and force me to spend two hours sitting under a tarp, in a ditch on the side of the road. It doesn’t abate, so I give up and ride-push through the downpour until I find a village where I can shelter. The already-bad roads have become gushing streams and waterfalls, and small crossings in the low spots are rising–knee-deep in places. I sit under a thatched roof with a local family, sharing my biscuits and snacks and waiting for a lull in the weather. Similar scenes repeat throughout the day.
Even with the lost time, I make it to Koidu early the next afternoon—after a delicious eight-mile ride on butter-smooth pavement: the first I’ve seen in weeks (and the last I’ll see in Salone, if my intel is correct.)
My bike is now repaired and readjusted (four new brakes: $1.40US). I am well-fed and relatively well-rested. My clothes have been washed, no longer reeking of sickly malaria-body. I’ve been dry for three days in a row and still I’m going to linger, against my better judgment and budgetary concerns, because what lies ahead looks an awful lot like what I just completed, and it’s much more demanding than I expected or can easily convey.
One way or the other, though, we’re about to have another round of Big Fun.
Wish me well, folks,