Monday, January 28, 2008

The Nubian Desert-Jan. 24-27th

Beautiful, colorful, dusty, bumpy, sandy, rocky, hilly, inviting at times, and always foreboding. This has been the toughest part of the Tour d'Afrique so far. The first day was a wake-up call. First part of the day was encouraging as we did some off-road riding and then we hit the tarmac where we cruised to speeds of 30 k. Lunch was a nourishing blend of tuna, tomatoes/onions, cheese, in a pita bread with apples and oranges for desert. After filling up with 2 liters of water and 1.5 liters of Fast Fuel (an energy replacement drink), we took off expecting to find more of the same. Nope! It was a slow grind as we had sandy hills to climb, some all out sand sections which were nigh impossible to spin through unless you put the bike into your easiest gear and crank the heck out with your legs. Lots of falls happened on that day: thank god for the soft landing. Despite this, it was pretty as the colors change as the sunlight makes some parts of the hills come to life and leaves others in the shade. Although there are only a few green trees to be found, I found shades of yellow, brown, and blacks that I had never seen before. At mile 60 we were seriously wondering where camp was as the sandy "road" was wiping us out. A few more miles ahead we saw the finish flag that signals our camp site. This was a great camp site: we were nestled into this concave valley of sand and protected by granite sand peaks around us. My fellow riding partner, Joachim Loeffel, shot a great pic as the sun went down which captured the pink hue above the hills. We had an hour long bike maintenance clinic which started at 4:30 pm. Gosh, we had biked from 8:00-4:00 pm. That is a day's of work. Dinner was a big pot of spaghetti and salad which consists not of greens but of onions and tomatoes in a creamy sauce. I had seconds.

Next day was tougher. We tried leaving a little earlier to make it to camp sooner to have more daylight: it gets dark around 6:30 pm. Ok-I am going to get a little graphic. My butt was so dang sore from enduring all those bumps from the corrugations in the road. Needless to say I did an "inspection" and it is NOT pretty. Bumpy, red, and inflamed. I have been using a diaper cream to help it heal: no wonder babies cry when they have diaper rash, it hurts! After a while your butt does get used to the grinding and you get semi-comfortable in your saddle. I have been reapplying the chamois cream laboriously too! It has been helping. The highlight of this day was going through some small Nubian villages along the Nile. The kids lined the streets to slap our hands and towards the end of the day it got a little obnoxious with some of the teenage girls trying to hold onto your "high five" a little too long so you would loose balance and fall. Our yoga practice of balance has come into play! I gave away some NCMC pencils for which I received a "shukran" (thank-you in Arabic) and we got cute pics with kids. People always ask you where you are headed. We would answer with Dongala and Khartoum.

Passing through a town that never ended "Farka" was a treat for the eyes. Yes, it was still sandy but what caught your eyes were their brightly painted doors. Amongst the mud brick homes which are smoothed out to make a swirly pattern on their homes, you have pink and blue, green and yellow, and even purple doors. I wonder where they get the paint from? Blue seems to be the dominant color and I wonder what the symbolism is? In every village is a mosque which is surrounded by a mud-brick gate. We also saw many cemeteries which are marked with a pile of stones, a small headmarker made of painted wood with the person's name on it, on top of a small mound. Camp was by the Nile. We washed our bikes in it and I shaved my legs, all without thinking about shistosomiasis. Hopefully, I didn't contract anything. I did have a dream about a rabid cat who dug its claws into me, cutting my skin, and I had to be transported out of Africa to get rabies shots.

Day 3 in the Nubian desert: the toughest riding so far. I almost reached my breaking point. Thank god I switched biking shorts. My butt was very, very sore again but at least I had some more padding. Very corrugated semi-hard packed road: if you weren't giggling before you have a lot of loose skin now. Also, it feels like you constantly have to go to the bathroom! Your forearms also get a special workout as they are contracting to keep you on the bike as your tires are being bounced around to and fro! We climbed 541 meters and 1500 m for the week so far. The best part of the day was passing four women. We haven't had too much contact with the women and I told Joachim, whom I was riding with, that this would be a perfect photo op. As it turns out in exchange for an apple and some hard candies they obliged to having their picture taken. They were carrying kilos of rice on their heads and all wore colorful clothing against their dark black skin. The other interesting thing is that when we went through this village we were talking to the some children, some with flies on their face: the typical picture of Africa. And, she said in English: food for the children. She motioned to my camelback and my bike bag and I shook my head as I didn't have food in there. However, I was eating an energy bar but it was almost eaten. I offered it to her anyway and immediately she grabbed it, split it with her sister, and ate it with my teeth marks on there and all. She must have been starving, not the children. To conclude with this day, there wasn't much to eat at lunch as we got there so late, it was beginning to get hot, and we hit sand patch after sand patch, where you had to get off your bike and push it. It was annoying and frustrating and I had to let out a few expletives. It was a 10 hour riding day.

The last day before reaching Dongola and our rest day was finally a good day. I decided to teach my legs a lesson and pushed myself as fast as I could. I managed my nutrition better and ate more often and drank a lot. We had a variety of terrain but it got increasingly better and eventually we hit the tarmac for the last 20 k before crossing the Nile to Dongala via a ferry. The highlight of this day was asking in my best Arabic if I could see inside this house. A lot of us stopped for lunch and hung out on this mud-brick step that surrounded the large house. Since there were women around I felt comfortable asking them if I could have a look inside. I took the trouble to tell them that I was a teacher and I wanted to share Nubian life with my students. I poked here and there and they led me to this courtyard and around a mud-brick wall to their toilet. They thought I wanted/needed to go to the bathroom! I wasn't sure what they were thinking so I motioned to them that I didn't know what to do. Well, one woman came over, got on top of the pit toilet and started pulling up her dress to show me how. It was hilarious and I heard a lot of chuckling afterward!

Now we are in Dongala, staying at the old zoo. I had my first shower in 5 days-yeah clean hair! We managed to have chicken last night for a lot of money: they don't have chicken farms here. And, today was spent doing bike maintainance, organzing for our 5 day stretch to Khartoum (Tanya you would love it!), and exploring Dongala a bit.

You do have to obey Muslim custom and someone from the town complained about some of our females not covering their elbows. I have a head scarf that I bought, a long sleeve shirt on, as well as my sarong!

So far, I am healthy and happy! I will not lie though: it is tough!

I'll post some more from the capital of Sudan: Khartoum!

Wadi Halfa, Sudan-Jan. 22-24th

After the overall enjoyable experience of the 18 hour ferry ride, we landed in Wadi Halfa, Sudan. Because of the construction of the Aswan Dam several villages were "relocated" to Wadi Halfa, which used to be an oasis of sorts and very pretty. Needless to say, Lake Nasser is pretty but there aren't many trees to speak of, mostly mud-brick homes and sand and dust. The people fought the government fiercly but guess who won!

I was super surprised at the efficiency of "processing" our bags: inspection was no more than us opening our bags and them putting a sticker on them. We were told to "hide" our electronics and anything valuable. Well, there was no need to worry. In the meantime I went to the falafel stand and managed to procure one for our 4k bike ride to our camp at the soccer stadium.

We set up camp outside of the soccer field amongst the sand. It was blowing like usual so you definitely need two people to help you. Getting to Wadi around 4:00 and setting up camp by 6:00 we decided to walk to town. It was a moonlit night and you really see the stars unlike even in northern Michigan. Once we got into town, people started offering to pay for our meal and tea. Sudanese people are known for their hospitality and wanting to pay for your food. We graciously accepted and sat down to a meal of fried fish and tea! The town is fairly small (although larger than Petoskey) and the men congregate around 3 TV's which are placed outside of restaurants to watch FOOTBALL (Soccer). It seems like a great way to bring community together.

As it turned out our support trucks which were on a different ferry didn't get to our camp in time so the next day was declared an official rest day. That means that camp meals are not provided and we have to fend for ourselves! We were all over the town that day: shopping for toilet paper and assorted sundries, having turkish coffees or tea, eating lots of falafel and/or fish, and going to the market. In the market we saw the obligatory fresh cow legs hanging from hooks with flies buzzing around, bananas, onions, tomatoes, okra, and grapes. Some guy wanted to try out my bike so I let him. Right as he got on another guy said to me in English, "he biggest thief in town." Thank god it was a joke and I got my bike back.

Wadi Halfa seems a town out of time. In fact, time itself moves slow. Everbody says "welcome" to you in English, tuk-tuks (ricksaws) and moto-taxis are buzzing around as well as donkey carts loaded with various things being prodded by their drivers, and men stopping to talk and eat. We don't see too many women outside as they are probably taking care of their kids.

After a day of relaxing, we returned to camp for some bike maintenance and the changing of tires. I am proud to say that I managed to change my tires mostly by myself. We were told the next 4 days would be comprised of a variety of terrain: some tarmac, some hard-packed dirt, and some loose sand. I went to bed that night anxiously awaiting the day.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Leaving for Sudan

Ring, riinngg! "Who's calling me so early this morning?" I thought to myself as I answered the phone at 7 am this morning.
"MOM, mom, it's Kerri", was the reply I heard on the other end. Needless to say I was no longer grumpy at being awakened out of a deep sleep! "I'm on a boat and we're on our way to Sudan, the Wadi Halfa entrance from Lake Nasser." She proceeded to tell me that she and the other bicyclists had climbed up a hill to the Aswan Dam Ferry Boat, climbed aboard and watched as all 70 of their bikes were loaded onto the top of the boat. She said it was completed with much organized chaos. Sudanese people were everywhere playing card games and/or using their iPods. She, happily, explained that she was able to have a room on the boat, as the "younger" bikers were to sleep on deck. This is really important as the trip takes between 18 and 24 hours!
Once they get into Sudan, they will be without having the luxury of internet cafes, and so will not be able to post a blog for a week or two. So, she asked her mother if I would post a blog for her! I'm not as eloquent as she is in describing her adventures, but I said yes. And just as I began to take notes, the phone call dropped! So this is all of the news I have. She did mention that she's doing well, having fun, enduring the daily aches and pains, and having some discomfort on her right foot due to a "bunion" of some sort. But is checking with the nurse for help in curing that ailment! (yea!! they have a nurse--oops, that's the mother coming out in me!)
Thanks for all of her friends and family support. I enjoy reading your comments just as much as I expect she does! Pray she stays strong.
Mom Fin
(alias Sue Finlayson)

Friday, January 18, 2008

Some Pics from the Trip!!!

Luxor, Egypt

The ride through the limestone mountains was a lot better than I thought. It was a steady climb for 40k. My riding companions for the day were Joachim, Maxime Allard (French Canadian) and Connor (the Irish bloke). We rode steadily through rather spectacular scenery: denuded mountains that poked out of a completely blue sky. If you have seen the 10 Commandments you can imagine the bare rocky mountain formations where hardly a tree grows. No wonder why the burning bush was such a big deal! The lunch truck was welcome and several people are already ditching the riding and stashing themselves and their bikes in the trucks due to hurt knees, ilial-tibial bands, and sore bums. The day ended with a strong headwind but it was only the last 15k's. The other thing of notice were these two young women with their flocks of sheep. There is nothing for the sheep to eat but they are hardy creatures. Once we got to camp we were told not to "use the bathroom" in a certain part of our camp as there are lots of snakes and scorpions. Apparently, they sprayed some poison to kill them. I haven't seen a snake or scorpion yet. In fact, I haven't even begun to take my malaria pills as we aren't in a malarial area yet. We had time to wash some clothes in camp and enjoy a beer at sunset. Sudan is a dry country so it is nice to enjoy a post-ride beer while we can. At dinner there is plentiful food and great conversation. My friend Natalia crashed today because her front tire hit Josh's and she totally got road rash. When I got to camp she was covered in iodine but has good spirits. I am sure she will be sore tomorrow.

It was cold during the night so it was hard to get out of the sleeping bag. January 17th was the most eventful riding of all. We rode only 54 miles from our desert camp to Luxor, the ancient capital of Thebes. We passed through rural villages where people are farming their narrow strip of fertile land with donkeys and lots of manual labor. We passed fields of large cabbages, radishes, alfalfa, and lettuce. This time we had a fan club and it felt like we were in the Tour d'France: kids would run along us cheering us on, wanting to give a high-five, saying hello, hello, hello, practicing their English. Sometimes it was too much because the odd teenager would try and slap your hard as hard as he could and it hurt. We also had the odd young child spitting at us but they didn't have the propulsion to hit us! I don't think it was done maliciously just out of being a young kid.

A funny point is when you are passing these military check points only to see it spelled "chick point." Seeing several of these misspellings makes me wonder if it was spelled this way on purpose!

Once finishing the ride and setting up camp at Camp Reziky we had a chance to take our first warm shower. feel human again. The rest of the day was spent exploring Luxor, eating falafel for 2 Egyptian pounds-40 cents, walking along the Nile, and seeing the light show at the Karnak Temple. It was well done. You walk throughout the enormous columns and humongous stone carvings of gods to the sounds of two voices narrating a story of ancient Egypt. It really is hard to believe that I am here experiencing this for real what I only once read in textbooks and seen in documentaries. The largeness of everything is what has impacted me. You are completely dwarfed by the columns and temples. I can readily see how whomever lived here had the power and respect of the commoners.

Today, Jan. 18th was our official first rest day. It was spent doing laundry, buying water for our upcoming ferry ride across the Aswan Dam into Sudan. We also went on a tour to the West Nile and visited the Valley of the Kings, Valley of the Queens, and Ramesseum Temple. These seem to be located in the middle of nowhere; not even that close to the Nile. It is remarkable that Howard Carter among others even found these tombs. Everyone is allowed to see three tombs. The hieroglyphics are impressive in the depth of the carvings and the colors that have still persisted through time. Way down the shaft one always finds a heavy stone sarcophagus which workers had to slide on logs and ropes in order to get it deep in these shafts.

Tomorrow begins our ride to Edfu and then to the Aswan Dam. I probably won't have internet access for at least a week while we cross into Sudan and ride through the northern part. Entering Sudan, I think we will find who the true riders are: I heard that this is when the going gets tough. I am trying to rest a lot and I always seem to be tired. But, the body is holding up and other than a sore bum I have no complaints except for this lingering cold.

Take care!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Safaga, Egypt-on the Red Sea

Today marked our 4th day on the road and 530 km or 318 miles so far. The first day was the toughest. We had a headwind of about 24 m/hour. It was all I could do to pedal into camp that day. The sides of my knees were aching, the "bunion" on my right foot was throbbing, and I was just spent. Luckily, I was in good company. We started the day out under the Tour d'Afrique banner next to the pyramids. Before I arrived to our starting point, I played dumb tourist and got cajoled into taking a camel ride from this Egyptian camel driver. It was thrilling to be on a camel walking alongside these ancient pyramids much like the ancient Egyptians would have but I didn't realize until I was up high on the rider platform that he probably wanted money! It was an amazing start to the day. After a quick rider briefing, we followed the police convoy until our desert camp. Biking alongside the highway for about 30 miles was not as bad as a thought. You just need to be wary of buses that pull off to the side to pick up people and then start again. Every Egyptian driver has been very friendly with cheers and lots of encouraging honks. They also honk their horns to let you know they are coming. Once we got out of the city that is when the headwind appeared. All I can say is tough, tough, tough.

I road with a bunch of different people the first day including the tour doctor, Dr. Luke. It is good to "get in good with the doc" I figured! We pushed up the last incline into camp and had about 10 minutes to set up my new tent before it turned dark. I had never set it up before, not good, but luckily I had lots of help from my new friends. Everyone has been so helpful and friendly. We are all interdependent so far and I hope that it stays this way.

The second day we biked along the Red Sea and we had an amazing tailwind. That tailwind made all the difference. Who would have known we could have covered the longest distance that I have ever biked without too much pain. We biked 168 km the second day which is approx. 100 miles. On a mountain bike nonetheless! We took pictures along the way and I got to know fellow rider Joachim Loeffel, a German, a little better. Lunch is always about half-way through the ride and is full of tuna fish, pita bread, some fruit, cheese, sometimes sandwich meat and refills of water and energy fuel. I have begun to eat the energy bars that PMV, a South African company has generously provided.

By the third day, about 8 of us have formed a peloton of riders who all go about the same speed. It consists of Joachim, Alex, Ashleigh, Harrison, Josh, Maxime, Natalia and me. We were "bad" cyclists and practically took over the road (there was hardly any traffic) and with the wind at our backs we all had Titanic moments! We have been working well as a team; they have been some issues-bloody noses and 3 flat tires. We all wait for one another and encourage one another when the going gets tough!

Yesterday we got into camp early-we camped besides an abandoned building. The Red Sea was a 10 minute walk away and since I had never been swimming in it, I just had to. It was as cold as Lake Superior but has beautiful greens and blues and the bottom was sandy. I got to wash myself off a bit in the salt water. Some of the young guys tossed a soccer ball around and some riders were like polar bears and stayed in the sea forever.

We had a fabulous meal last night for dinner: mashed potatoes, green beans, and beef with onions-all cooked in a spicy sauce. First time I went back for seconds. After dinner it is pretty cold in the desert so we pretty much return to our tents to snuggle into our sleeping bags. The alarm (aka "truck horn") goes off at 6:00 am and breakfast is ready by 6:15 am. There are bigs vats of porridge, Nutella and bread, jam, eggs, and tea/coffee. I am working on my system to make things a little quicker and become more organized but I figure I will get faster with time.

We usually take off about 7:30 am to start our day. Tomorrow is going to be another challenge as we start biking through the mountains to make our way into the Nile Valley and head for Luxor. I plan on going to bed early tonight. My tent looks out to the Red Sea as we are camping on a hotel beach tonight. Not too bad, eh?

I'll try and report the happenings in a couple of days. For now, know that I am well-fed, surrounding by like-minded active people, making astute observations, and suffering/enjoying the challenge!

Thursday, January 10, 2008


Cairo is a busy, dirty, loud, friendly, and amazing city. I arrived at 4:00 am to my hotel. All went well and all pieces of my luggage has arrived. The next morning I met two of the riders that I have been communicating with by Facebook and we have bonded. A group of us toured the pyramids of Giza, and Sakkara yesterday. Very impressive and amazing that these marvels have withstood the test of time. The Sphinx had the most pull over me as you can get up fairly close and see the detail of the eyes, tail, and body. No wonder it's name in Arabic translates to "Beholder of Power."

We had an Egyptian lunch of goat meet, chicken, eggplant with baba ganoosh (sp?), pickled vegetable (yuck), fried dough balls and yummy bread. The bread is the best. I even got to hold a small lion cub for a photo. For a price, of course, but it was so cute I couldn't resist.

I have met a lot of riders so far. All are very nice, excited to ride, and worried about the same things (water, traffic, food, their bike, will they have the stamina, etc.) Good to know I am in good company. Tomorrow is our rider briefing where we will learn more of what to expect.

Once again, I must say how much I appreciate everyone's support, especially the community of Petoskey. This sabbatical is a little daunting for me. I am sure with time I will feel more comfortable. Biking through the traffic will be the first thing to overcome come Saturday morning. There are still some riders who haven't received their bikes and I do feel very bad for them. Hopefully, this will be resolved by Saturday. In Shallah or God Willing.

Take care everyone and I'll try to update in a few days.
Kerri Finlayson

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Donations for the Tour d'Afrique Foundation

Yeah! I achieved my goal of raising enough money to buy 30 bikes for African health care workers! Thank you family and friends for helping me out with this endeavor! I am so happy to be able to give something back to the people whose lands I will bike through.

To recap, this means that 30 health care workers will receive bikes that will allow them to reach rural malarial and AIDS victims that otherwise wouldn’t have received treatment. I appreciate your contribution that potentially creates a huge difference in the lives of one of the poorest peoples of this continent. Who knows if our donations will help one person become healthy enough to invent something that would increase agricultural yields, or promote peace among ethnic groups that are in conflict, or help to dismantle slum areas. All because of the aid from a health care worker that is able to reach them by a bike provided by your donation!

In case anyone who is reading this wants to "buy a bike" for an African health care worker, please go to

It costs $100 to buy a bike but you don't have to donate the whole $100 in order to help! Even buying a 1/4 of a bike would be great!

Group Dynamics of TDA 2008

Here is a breakdown of the group of riders.

There are 55 full-tour riders.
39 Men
16 Women

Nationalities represented: 15
21 Canadians
10 Dutch
6 Americans
4 South Africans
3 British
2 Swiss
1 Pole
1 New Zealander
1 Irish
1 French
1 Dane
1 German
1 Belgian
1 Australian
1 Austrian

Another thing that is interesting is that several of the riders (mainly 4 of mixed nationalities) have been communicating via Facebook over the past two months sharing wisdom, asking questions, joking around with each other, and generally wishing each other well in our packing, training, and travels. We have formed a sort of electronic primary group (for all my students reading this hopefully this will click with you!-if not, you will be tested again when I return!). What I am wondering is if this electronic primary group will actualize into a face-to-face primary group for the duration of the trip. Hmmmm...what is the hypothesis here, students? :)

One more observation to share. For months, I have been looking at the profiles of the full-tour riders and gathering information from their biography for my research. In my mind then, I have been imagining riding with these people and only these people (besides the staff members and occasional section riders). Just recently four more people have added their profiles and I have kind of had a weird reaction. For longer than a second, I thought "hey, what are these outsiders doing adding to our group?" Hmmm...I find that very odd because this is a gut-level reaction. To me, this type of feeling may shed light on the discussion of in-groups and out-groups and how powerful they are in our minds. To any of the new riders that recently added and who may read my blog, please don't take this as a personal offense! I will welcome you in Cairo!

In another blog, I will address the sectional riders and 10 support staff that will also be riding with us every day (well, at least most of them...hopefully not the cook though because I hope "Mad Dog" Miles will be preparing our food instead of riding!).

Going to Cairo...

I have a few last minute things to do before my flight leaves from Traverse City, MI to Detroit, to Amsterdam, lay-over in Amsterdam for 9 hours (hope to spend time in a NW lounge learning a little Arabic via my iPod lessons and all my electronic gadgets - helmet cam, AlphaSmart Neo, etc.-bad girl...I didn't practice before I left!), and then onto Cairo where I arrive at 2:15 AM. I don't really like the idea of arriving all by myself that late but I do have an airport pick-up! I'll have bike in tow, 2 70 litre duffel bags and my Jansport 3 litre hydration unit. I will manage!

I am getting very excited now. Last night my parents and I watched J.J. Hilsinger's DVD that he made of his 2005 Tour d'Afrique expedition. It is filled with pictures he took of the trip mostly from the seat of his bicycle. He overlaid his voice during the entrance to each country giving an overview of what to expect of the roads, the people, and the scenery. African music played throughout. It was a fun, exciting, and also a little nerve-wracking overview of what to expect on this biking adventure!

Bon Voyage!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Packing List for Tour d'Afrique

Ok-I know this is a little anal and usually I am not an anal person but I got the idea from Joachim Loeffel, another participant of the tour. Just in case you wanted to know exactly what I am bringing, here is the list. I followed the guidelines set by the tour in terms of how many shirts to bring along with pants, socks, bike clothing, etc. Where I took some personal freedom is what type of toiletries, first aid, and electronic gadgets to bring. And, of course, I chose what brands of clothing to bring. This may help you in planning your own expedition or it might not but I thought, what the heck, why not post it!

Travel Clothing: clothing packed in Eagle Sport travel packs to keep things separated (i.e. all non-bike clothing in one pack; all bike shorts and jerseys in another pack)
1 fleece jacket: Red Rose jacket
1 long sleeve shirt-pink; from the Sol umbra company; treated to 45 spf
1 long North Face Convertible Pants (I have hiked in these repeatedly) Kinda ugly but functional
4 t-shirts-white, off-white or pink
2 pairs of board shorts
6 pairs of underwear
5 pairs of socks-mostly smartwool cycling socks (keeps you cool and prevents smell)
1 sarong (doubles as a towel, beach towel, skirt, and sleepwear)
1 bra
1 pair of running shoes (Asics Gel Kayano)
1 pair of sandals-Orange Keen sandals
1 pair of thermal underwear (top and pants)
1 Headsweats hat with neck protector
1 Solumbra wide-brimmed hat

Biking Clothing
5 pairs of bike shorts-1 Nike, 1 $100 pair of Pearl Izumi, 1 $100 pair of Descente, 1 Cannondale, and 1 cheaper pair of Pearl Izumi
4 Sports Bras (2 Adidas, 1 Isis, 1 Under Armour)
1 pair of Nike cycling shoes (new but very comfortable)
1 Pink Helmet –a Giro Pneumo
1 long sleeve Icebreaker Biking Jersey
3 short sleeve biking jerseys-1 NCMC, 1 Pink Specialized, 1 Lt. Blue Pearl Izumi
1 Short Sleeve Ultralite 150 G/M2
1 pair of sweet Specialized Glasses (I can’t remember the kind but the lenses adjust according to the dark or light)
1 pair of awesome blue Oakleys-I can’t remember the exact kind either
1 pair large short biking gloves (Cannondale)
1 pair Louis Garneau full-fingered gloves
1 yellow Novara light jacket with zip off sleeves
2 ponchos in case of rain
1 pair leg warmers
1 pair of Specialized arm warmers

1 large pack towel
1 small pack towel specifically for face
4 bungee cords
1 pair of Velcro straps
Assorted batteries for camera, head lamp,
3 small journals that my friend Shanna gave me
Assorted pencils for children-200 or so
2 pencils
2 pens
Lonely Planet Guide to Africa-published 2007
A Biography of the Continent of Africa-by John Reader
Small Arabic Phrasebook-Lonely Planet
1 Tikka Petzl Headlamp
1 70 liter waterproof North Face Duffel (very good quality)
1 medium size REI waterproof duffel-4270 cubic inches
2 hydroseal pack sacks 6 litres, and 9.6 litres
Mini-sewing kit
Several large and small Ziploc bags

Nutrition for biking
9 Cliff Shots
3 Recoverite Packs
3 Perpeteum Packs
Fish Oil Gel Caps
Mito Caps-40 caps
Premium Insurance Caps-100 caps

Alien Multi-tool for bike repairs
4 Bike Tire Levers
Small knife
Chain Tool
1 swiss army knife

Dana Alpha Smart Neo-full-size keyboard to be used as my journal
Vio-sport helmet camera P.O.V. 1
Classic 80 GB Ipod
Sony Earphones
1 Sunlinq 12 Volt Solar Charger
Kodak EasyShare Z885 8.1 mega pixels camera
16 2 Gig Memory Cards
2 1 Gig Memory Cards

Camping Gear
Sierra Designs Orion AST Two-person tent with footprint
Thermarest ProLite 4 Regular
Icicle Creek Sleeping (15 degrees Fahrenheit) bag with medium Granite Gear pack compressor
Silk Bag liner-mummy size
1 spork, 1 double-walled titanium mug, 1 titanium bowl-all
Repair kits for thermarest and tent
Rope + clothes pegs to dry clothing
Duct tape

Bike Gear
Rear Bike Mount
Arkel Tailwind Bike Bag
Wet lube
Chain brush
Bike computer
Extra Bike computer + assorted batteries
5m Bike Lock
4 White Water Bottles with covered tops to protect the spigot from sand and mud
Jansport 3 litre hydration system-also doubling as my daypack and pack I am bringing on the plane

Malarone Malaria Tablets
2 Chamois Butter tubes; 1 Beljum Budder 8 oz.
1 Dr. Bronner’s soap
5 Hand Sanitizer Sprays
1 Cutter Advanced Bug Spray; 1 Jungle Juice Insect Repellant 2 fl. oz.
1 Crystal Roll-On Deodorant; Crystal Stick Body Deodorant (very small)
6 Hair ties
1 Trowel
1 pack Olay Daily Facials Express wet cleansing cloths
1 toothbrush
2 small tubes of toothpaste
1 floss
1 eyeliners
1 pack of tissue
3 stridex face wipes
1 nail clipper
30 tampons
1 tweezer
3 spf 15 lip protector
1 pocket soap (individual leaves of dried soap)
1 razor blade with 3 blades
1 small case of 30 Q-tips
1 4 oz of Mandarin and Myrrh Body Powder to put on top of chamois cream
Sunscreen: Solumbra Active 30 SPF, 3 fl. oz. ; 1 REI 50 SPF 8 fl. Oz.; 2 Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock, 3 fl. oz.; Hempz SPF 30 4.5 fl oz.; Dermatone SPF 45+ 2.5 fl.oz.; 1 small REI 50 spf, 1.5 fl.oz. goes in my bike bag
Moisturizer: 2 SPF 30 Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer; 1 SPF 45 Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer
1 Pantene Frizz Control Shampoo and 1 Pantene Frizz Control Conditioner
1 Bb Leave-in Conditioner
1 Dove Ultimate Clear Anti-perspirant
1 tinted lip balm
Burt’s Bees After Sun Soother, 6 fl oz
Lollia Relax Hand Creme

First Aid
One tube of Electrolyte Replacement Tablets
1 small tube of Gold Bond Powder
1 hydrocortisone cream
Pepto Bismal Tablets
2 instant cold packs
4 Slaonpas-Hot Capsicum patch for backache, strains, sprains
28 pills of Cipro (for infection and diarrhea)
1 Brave Soldier Antiseptic Healing Ointment
Tiger Balm
Assorted of blister remedies
Small flashlight
Alka-seltzer cold medicine

Spare Bike Parts
Assorted nuts and bolts
2 chain rings (small and middle chain ring)
3 chains
6 patch kits
13 spare tubes
Spokes for Mavic Tires
Brake and shift cables
Cable housing
3 sets of tires: 1 Continental Explorer Protection 2.25 x 26; 1 Continental; 1 Michelin 26 x 2.0; 1 set of slicks, 26 x 1.75-I can’t remember the exact brand
1 WTB Speed She Saddle
2 sets of brake pads
Collar and clamp for seat post
Seat Post
1 Cassette
Assorted spare parts that Jeff Nofts gave me free: derailleur (front and back), sprocket, etc.

Bike for the tour
2000 HomeGrown Schwinn-it was top of the line at one point
Mostly Shimano XT components
XTR Rear Derailleur
Mavic Cross-Max Wheels
Ergon Handle Bars
RX Women’s Specific Seat RX-922L
Time Clipless Pedals (I love them!)
Rock Shox Judy Fork