If you didn’t already know, and were wondering what I am doing with myself now that I am back in the UK (I have been for a few months), then I thought I would tell you: I am writing a book about my Take On Africa bike trip.
That’s what I’m supposed to be doing and until a day or two ago it has been going well. But today, it hasn’t progressed much. Exceptional in the art of procrastination, my room is tidy, I’ve had plenty of exercise and drunk lots of tea. And with no other obvious excuses, I’ve somehow ended up writing a poem. I’d never written a poem until yesterday. Oh, the lengths I go to…
The Great Americas
I finally reached Cape Town and I wondered, ‘What next?’
But Lars sent a message, ‘I know what’s best,
Come with me and we’ll cycle the States
From Canada to Mexico, it’ll be great.’
So I went back to work to earn some cash
And was on a new continent quick as a flash.
We met friends in Vancouver and then from there
We cycled north through BC in search of some bears
‘You’re going the wrong way,’ you may well say,
But we soon turned around to bike the Icefields Parkway
From Jasper to Banff and over the Elk Pass,
It was beautiful biking but it wasn’t to last.
Across in Montana it started to rain
Camping in the wet just wasn’t the same.
We had planned to ride the Great Divide,
But the shitty weather made us change our minds.
So rather than Wyoming we headed to Idaho
And in Boise we stayed with Warmshowers hosts.
Rachel and Patrick were wonderful to us
And supplied Fat Tire beers, yeah that was a plus!
We travelled south through Nevada and on to Utah
By then it was November and folks said, ‘You are
Crazy for cycling when there’s snow on the ground’
But the ice in our water bottles we found
And freezing cold hands and feet weren’t bad
It was one of the best times of my life there I had.
And when the sun shone they were glorious days
of crisp fresh air; I loved it in so many ways.
To Calf Creek Falls, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park
The scenery was stunning and made me remark,
‘This is one hell of a place, I’ll come back some day
But for now we must go on, now show me the way.’
The way to Las Vegas was harder than we’d hoped
Because the rocky tracks on state lands were definitely no joke
And when we got back on the fast interstate
It was punctures and flat tyres by which we were plagued.
Vegas was crazy and I didn’t like it much
It seemed everyone there had simply lost touch
With the world I so wanted to see
Let’s get out of there and go, go and be free.
Now in the Mohave, the desert was hot
and was covered in sharp cacti, I kid you not.
They were beautiful to see although not to touch
But other than the cacti there wasn’t much,
Except for the Joshua trees the Mormons once named
Since they looked like Jesus, but to me, not the same.
After three months on the road we reached Mexico
Down Baja peninsula we were to go
And when we arrived in La Paz, the main town
We asked at the marina if there was a boat bound
for Mazatlan or somewhere over the Sea of Cortez
Cos we thought sailing to the mainland would maybe be best.
Kevan took us aboard his yacht Alex II
and a week later we arrived in the quaint town of La Cruz
The sailing was great and we’d seen lots of whales
and dolphins and turtles floating on their backs in the waves.
We cycled along the Mexican coast
but the hills there seemed harder than most
up til now; I was just tired and needed a break,
a few lazy days of rest for goodness sake.
Oaxaca seemed like a good place to stop
The cycling now was no fun so on a bus I did hop.
It was a good place to stay with plenty to see
and it wasn’t long before Lars caught up with me.
From there were went east through Chiapas to Palenque
and wandered round Mayan ruins and waterfalls for the day.
Through Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras we passed
Until we’d had enough cycling and could stop, at last.
But that wasn’t the end of the trip, no way.
We stored the bikes and took our packrafts to play.
We backpacked to Nicaragua, to raft Somoto Canyon
but that was just practise, although it was fun.
But with our packrafts we had a bigger plan
To raft the Rios Bocay and Coco if we can.
The BOSAWAS reserve is remote and we didn’t know much
So we bought ten days’ food and trusted to luck.
From Ayupal on the Bocay we launched and floated down
past crocodiles and turtles and Mayangna villages abound
And then on the Coco we had rapids to pass
It was thrilling and hair-raising, fun and fast.
After eight days we reached San Carlos and asked if we can
Take a motorized pipante downriver to Waspam
Of course we could and the next day we went.
They’d been a great ten days, time definitely well spent.
After all that, the travelling seemed tame
Lars continued to Panama and I returned the way I came
Or rather I went north, but now to Belize
And it’s laid-back Caribbean attitude really did please.
I finally reached Cancun and I wondered, ‘What next?’
But that was easy to answer, I just needed to rest.
So now I’m at home and I’m going nowhere,
I’ve decided to write my stories, to share.
Of course I have plans to travel again
But for now be patient, you’ll soon know where and when.