Bad Weather: a day in the tent. - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

August 3, 2013

Bad Weather: a day in the tent.

I didn't sleep much as the bottom of the sleeping-bag was somehow wet through keeping my feet cold. Then this morning the constant patter of rain on the the tent. The plan was to leave today but I couldn't face leaving in this weather. So, I remained put and curled up inside my sleeping-bag, to keep as warm as possible. Outside, I heard the click of tent-poles and shuffle of tents being taken down and slam of car-doors and hurried voices in French and German, and starting up and ticking over of the jeeps and then slow driving away. Around ten, all the noise died and there just remained the persistent patter of rain. And when I peeked out a little later, all the people had gone; so too had the cyclist whom I didn't envy as it'd be a cold miserably wet day of it, perhaps running low on provisions and the need to reach a place to buy food meant it was imperative to keep riding.

By one o'clock, I'd had enough of lying still and so got out of the sleeping-bag and prepared breakfast which was cheering. The ranger said too, that this weather is to last until Wednesday, when the wind will change to the south. I hoped that didn't mean it'd rain until then.

It was an afternoon for catching up with writing the diary and reading. I was finally reaching the penultimate chapters in Bruce Chatwins' "Songlines" about the first people of Australia's traditional way of life until the European came along and messed them around. This book is good in part until Arkady, the Aboriginal Commission's man goes away and leaves Chatwin on his own going through his notebooks, much of which are reproduced in the book and is a drag to read at this point. I've read the autor's "In Patagonia" five times. Traveling in 1975, shortly after the brutal Chilean coup de stat and before the same happened over the Andes in Argentina, he got around by hitch-hiking. It's got great lines showing the writers ability to draw a picture in few words; such as, "I got a lift with a Chilean truck-driver. He liked Pinochet. And his feet smelt like cheese."

From two o'clock onwards, there were the laboured whines of jeeps arriving out of the desert; doors opening, hurried cowered chatter in the rain and clicking poles as tents went up. I heard the crunch of a bike wheel pass my tent and deep breathing and numb shivering and mumbled talking to themself of a cyclist while setting up camp.

Later, around six, the rain had just eased and I heard commotion; a bike being pushed and the sound of velco; so I peeked out and saw the other cyclist with bike leant against the picnic table while he put on waterproof overshoes. I remarked on the weather and he replied "my English no so good". He was very tall and a young fair haired face looked out from the hooded jacket. He said today he'd cycled from Herdubreid and tomorrow he was setting off down the F910 track towards Nyidalur. I thought, in this weather. At lease I'd reasonable Summer weather in 2000 when I cycled that way. But then Is thirteen years younger and being younger would've faced the challenge by continuing on too, no matter what the weather.

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