I am back in Africa again, my second home… back to the bush, and the dust, and people who have made a significant impact in my life. I love it here because love is here. But I don’t love the wind so much, and the night wind on thatch was like a threat whispered low, “headwinds are waiting – get ready to suffer.”

The wind also foretold a change. This morning that change was evident in a warm and steady breeze. Though we are at the end of the South African winter, the temperatures suddenly turned warm – unseasonably warm! Our plans and preventative preparations for cold morning riding are out the window. We stopped just short of ninety degrees this afternoon. It’s going to be hot when we take leave of the Waterberg Mountains – hotter when we cross the Chobe in Botswana – hotter still crossing the Caprivi Neck in Namibia – and Zambia could be a smoker if the weather doesn’t shift.

Our day followed a practiced pattern for Hope Ride teams. Breakfast at sunrise was followed by a drive out into the farm (game reserve) where we spotted impala, nyala, eland, giraffe, warthogs, sable, waterbuck, blesbok, wildebeest, kudu, baboon, and ostrich. Strangely absent were the zebra that roam these 2500 acres in substantial numbers. We then organized our team in assembling bicycles, sent a shopping team into the nearest town for supplies, organized the bike and cargo trailers, mixed NBS hydration formula (thanks Breakthrough Nutrition), prepared our daily ready-bags, connected with new and old friends, and enjoyed a wonderful braai (cookout) around a roaring fire after sunset.

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Contact Nancy McLaughlin at 336-373-7049 and follow @nmclaughlinNR on Twitter.

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