Monday, 10 June 2013

Machine vs Road

To describe the rough track that runs from our place to Oyugis, our nearest town, as a road would be an abuse of the English language. It is, currently, seven kilometres of potholes and ruts and is getting worse by the day. We are experiencing a hot dry spell at the moment with very little rain. If this continues it could be another threat to our farm but we are hoping for an improvement. During the unnaturally wet weather that we experienced earlier in the year the road to Oyugis became a boggy quagmire. Very deep ruts were formed as heavy lorries plied the route and the edges of the road became broken down leaving fairly large drop offs in some places. The hot weather has since baked these new features and they have become rock hard additions to the route.

At about eight pm. this evening I received a call from Mary, our manager, to say that she was 'stranded' in Oyugis because there were no vehicles available. It's incredible how quickly our area shuts down once it becomes dark. The only way to rescue Mary from Oyugis was to drive down in our trusty Landrover and pick her up. Since my last disastrous trip in the Landrover at night (which ended up with the vehicle stuck in a ditch and a damaged gearbox) I've been a bit reluctant to drive after dark. Fortunately this evening has been very dry so the only problem on the journey was the state of the road and the dust, which made it difficult to see very far after another vehicle had passed. I was accompanied by one of our night guards on the trip and we chatted about the usual stuff - the condition of the road, the threat of hijackers at night and other cheery topics. Lurching along in second gear was actually good fun - when the weather conditions are OK it's a good challenge to try and avoid the lumps, bumps and obstacles (dogs, bicycles and a lorry with only one headlight). We reached Oyugis safely, if somewhat slowly.

It's always been a mystery to me how a 'road' can look so different when you travel back along it in the opposite direction at night. The sections that seemed the worse on the way to Oyugis had miraculously smoothed out and the previously comfortable sections became more challenging. After dropping one of our staff members off close to her home we made it back to our place about an hour after starting out. I guess fourteen kilometres an hour at night is a decent enough average speed out here

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