I am now in Apui´ with an injured hamstring. I predict it will take more time than I have to heal so I will head out and try to take it easy on the bike for the next leg of the journey. I have trimmed some of my gear down by selling and giving away parts I don´t need. It´s not easy to be a salesman in a foreign language!
After leaving Resu back at his lonely farm the inside tendon behind my right knee was red and visibly swollen. The chaffing from the ACE was an even worse problem, but I could still turn the pedals over so on I went.
When I reached the Rio Abacaxis I waded into the water to wait for the dugout canoe to ferry me over. Larger vehicles used a barge anchored there, however I didn´t see anything to move the barge?
The ferry men were under a tree on the far side of the river downing beers. Nice work if you can get it.
The day proceeded with plumb sized loose rock jarring the bike every inch of the way. This was the case for the past 12-15 hours of cycling. Towards the end of the day I met my old friend the waffle packed dirt surface of construction.
I set up camp by a fazenda, using one of the fence posts to anchor my hammock. The bugs aren´t as bad by the fazendas as it´s drier and I had a decent night out. I even had a little bit of whiskey I´d been carrying for about 400 miles and I watched huge flashes of lightening in every direction around me, yet there were stars overhead.
The rain ended up blasting down on me in the middle of the night but the hammock held up fine… as did my duct tape repair job on the holes in my rain fly made by leaf cutting ants. Everyone should carry duct tape with them at all times.
The TransAm is being maintained and improved as you approach Apui´ from the east. On an uphill I stopped to talk to some working clearing growth from the banks of the road. They asked if I had seen and Onças on my trip and if I shot them.
You can just make out the workers in the orange suits. They are up on ladders using machetes to chop the growth. When I stopped the bike they were shouting questions but I couldn´t tell who was asking, they were all buried in the brush. The road is as steep as it appears in this photo. It´s difficult to capture the magnitude of these hills. Hill is such a weak word too. They´re ranges, ridges, summits! (Thanks thesaurus.)
A few miles down the road more workers stopped me. Before saying anything a man came over, covered my bike computer, and asked how many kilometers to Belem. It was as if they were in the middle of an argument and I had the answer on my bike computer. I didn´t tell them I had biked from Belem.
They promptly pulled me to the side of the road and gave me watermelon, Guarana´ cola (common as coke here), and bread. I rarely am assumed to be American. It´s always Argentinian, Bolivian, Spanish, German, or French… roughly in that order.
Apui´ is an honest to god gold rush town. “The city shot to fame in December 2006 when a Brazilian math teacher by the name of Ivani Valentim da Silva posted descriptions of miners scooping up thousands of dollars in gold in the area. In just three months, between 3,000 and 10,000 people poured into the area, cutting down trees, diverting streams and digging wildcat mines. The city was nicknamed Eldorado do Juma after the mythical El Dorado.”
In this picture you can see I´ve updated my outfit. Although the button up shirt looked very expedition like it was cumbersome in the sleeve area and caught the wind like a para-sail on the downhills when open. I am now sporting a synthetic soccer jersey I picked up in Jacare´.
I have also updated my handle bars. I had a decent pair of aluminum bars from back in the US but they were too low giving me neck and shoulder pains to beat the band. I now have a 10$ pair of high rise steel bars that are much more comfortable but will probably fold on the first ditch I hit.
I tried my salesman skills with some other gear I just don´t need. I was able to sell my lock and cable to a motorbike store for 15 Reals which pays for my room tonight. I tried selling my bar ends and old handle bars to three bike shops but they just weren´t interested. They´d never seen bar ends before and they all were stocked up on handle bars. I ended up giving the parts away to the last shop I visited. He in turn replaced the broken kickstand he sold me the day prior. That is my 4th kickstand.
I have whittled my gear down once again to what I consider the essentials. As the road progresses there are less and less essentials. Weight has become everything when I need to carry so much water. While testing my bars and some adjustments on my bike I rode a steep uphill with the bike unloaded. With the lack of extra weight I felt like I could hit the moon!