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Alright, so I understand that I am a bit behind the ball in seeing wildlife so far on this tour. Most everyone took the opportunity in Arusha to do a safari, but since I am going to be meeting my Mom in Cape Town to do a Safari with her I elected to make it as special as possible by not intentionally seeking a cacophony of animals beforehand. That being said, we are on the Elephant Highway and sighting these beautiful animals is clearly impossible. Yesterday, our first day in Botswana, most of the Td’A riders elected to take a Chobe River cruise… I was amongst them. Within 40 minutes of boarding the boat I spotted the first wild elephant of my life. It was a grey, lump of elephant ass moving about 600m away up a hill. My heart skipped a beat, I was enraptured. Shortly thereafter we came upon a massive bull grazing in the shallow water bank and our captain navigated the boat to within a stones throw of him. We watched as he scratched himself on a massive tree, grabbed floating grasses, thrash them against the water and gorge himself. It was awesome.
Today I was on lunch duty, meaning that I was on one of the trucks racing ahead of the riders to get their lunch ready before heading out on the afternoon sweep. Within the first 10 minutes of the drive our mechanic Mark began yelping like a startled puppy: “ELEPHANTS! ELEPHANTS! 1! 2! 4! 7! ELEPHANTS!!!”. Right along the side of the road was a herd of 10 elephants, including babies and the old bull we had seen the night before. I believe that I can now say with authority that without a doubt elephants are the coolest things ever.
The riding today was pretty awesome as well. A long, hard day with some strong early headwinds along the flat, long and well maintained Botswanan roads. Some of our team even elected to ride a double day, 310km. It is incredible the level of fitness that the riders have developed in these three short months. It’s pretty cool… but not as cool as elephants.
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