Right, where were we...
Sunday night's dinner stop was just at the start of the 90 Mile Straight, an iconic piece of Australian highway. We have the luxury of 240V power on the road, running the Tough Power gear, provided by Intelliquip (thanks guys!). This meant we were able to blitz up a banana and Milo smoothie for the riders as one prepared to go, and then as the other recovered. Apparently this hits the spot.
Reid started the 90 Mile Straight just on dark and tagged in Andy somewhere along the line. Andy was keen to punch out a big distance overnight and allow as manfy of the crew as possible the chance to get a decent sleep (thanks man!). Hedgy and Laith supported Andy on the road, in 25km intervals. With only 2 in the car, they were able to fully recline the seats at each stop. Sammy and Alex set off to do some time lapse photography, with Kelvin bundled up to sleep in their car. The 5 of us remaining packed up camp, squished into the ute and set course for a rest-stop some 200+ km down the road. We found a decent pull in just past Cocklebiddy, where we quickly set up base camp and huddled down for the night.
El slept in her cycling gear, so when Andy made it to camp (183km, 7 hrs and 45 mins after he started), El rolled out of bed and was physically ready to ride. I say physically, as it's also a mental game and talking to El after her ride, she said:
"About 2 hours in, I got my mo-jo back. Actually I didn't have it to start with this morning - starting in the dark and freezing cold (that bit before dawn), is the worst".
At home, I'm someone who sets an alarm and hits snooze a couple of times to allow myself a gradual wakeup. On this event, there's no such thing. We need to be either fully asleep or fully functioning. At 4am this morning - Sarah and I had a quick planning session while shivering in our sleeping bags. We ran through multiple options and timing scenarios, doing that maths on distance, estimated timing, number of people in cars, etc. I think our thoughts were rational, as it turned out fine. Sorry folks, time to get up: we pumped a bit of 'Black Eyed Peas' as the wake up call and sprung to action. About 10mins later I was firing questions at Kelvin:
Where's your helmet?
Can you run this to the trailer?
Are you still drinking water?
His reply, "Ba Nat, I am just waking my brain up".
100km down the road we prepped for breakfast, hung out some washing (done in the shower yesterday) and let Andy get some sleep. El rolled in, closely followed by a new friend on a touring bike. Luke 'TJ' Thomas (check him out on Facebook) is currently riding Perth to Phillip Island for Beyond Blue. Today was 15 days since he left Perth, I think he was a bit surprised that this was our day 3. We were able to offer porridge, bacon, eggs and energy bars. It's fun meeting others on crazy adventures.
Monday saw us cross the WA/SA border and sight the Great Australian Bight. We took Kelvin for a look at the ocean and the cliffs - amazing! What an experience he is having... seeing the ocean for the first time, grasping the concept of tides, etc (Zambia is a land locked country), seeing parts of Australia that not too many of Aussies would been to.
One of the programs that Eagles Wings Zambia runs is the Annual Kids Camp. This camp takes 30 students with 15 leaders to Livingstone (the tourist capital of Zambia) for a week of adventure, sightseeing, team bonding and discipleship training. Kelvin attended this camp back when he was a student and has been a leader in the last few years. This is a once in a lifetime event for many of the students (and staff) who have never left Ndola in their life. Throughout the week, they see the wonders of Victoria Falls, visit a crocodile park, take a boat cruise on the Mighty Zambezi, see elephants and lions and compete in competitions to win the major prize experiences. These can include a Gorge swing, bungi jump or helicopter ride! The students who attend camp have their eyes opened to new possibilities, outside of their current circumstances, it helps them to dream big and have hope for what their future can be. One of the students from the 2016 camp told us:
"I have always been dreaming of travelling out to a far place. My dream has come true and it is just beginning. I want to work so hard in school, so that I may be able to bring my family for outings such as these. I enjoyed the morning devotions because I do not have such an opportunity at home, because every morning have to go and draw water for the day. I was so excited to fly in a helicopter, a thing that i'd never imagined. At first I was scared, but I got used to it and enjoyed the experience. I want to thank everyone who helped us have these experiences that we will never forget for the rest of our lives".
Maybe one day, they too can go for a massive bike ride like Kelvin :-)