I spent three more days on the road from Placas to reach Itaituba on the Tapajos river. The road did not improve of course and everyday seems to add a new element to my riding misery. It starts with heat, then dust, then hills, then washboard surface and potholes, then traffic, then immense road construction and angry road greedy drivers all mixed together into the beatiful mess that is the TransAm!
I have a ten second delay option on my camera that I used to take the above shot (actually about 5 attempts before something turned out). I give alot of credit to Survivor Man, it is not easy to do your own shooting. I had to frame the shot, push the button, run back to the bike, get the monster rolling and hope I am in the right spot after 10 seconds has passed. The next challenge will be the riding away shot! I have yet to be successful uploading any of the video I have taken to Youtube. The internet connections down here are as bad as the roads.
After Placas I reach the town of Ruropolis. I decide to wait at the junction of the road to Santarem, about 245km north, to see if I could hitch a ride for a side trip to this town on the Amazon. I saw a poster showing a nice beach and figure I have been making good time so far, maybe it´s worth checking out. I waited 4 hours with two other commuters before I give up and grab a hotel room which looks more like a cell with no windows and painted olive drab green. It smells like a zoo cage and my cycling clothes add to the musk!
After two X-Tudos and some ice cream (I´m still losing weight) I see my hitchhiking companions on a bench by the bus station. I guess they couldn´t get a ride that night.
Right in the middle of town there is a huge tree left over from the original jungle that was long ago burned down. Everyone once in awhile you´ll see some of the old growth still standing. You can see from my bike placed in front of it and the cyclist just to the left how big these guys are. Just beyond this tree I watched two kids start a brush fire in a field next to their huts while 4 horses ran around it jumping and kicking eachother in the face. I think they were after the one female horse in the group. The foursome ended up rampaging down one of the town streets bumping into fences and light posts. I was in the middle of a SAT phone call and didn´t get any pictures of course.
The next leg will bring me to Itaituba, but only after another night in the bush.