Just when we think ‘woo-hoo.... the roads are improving’ we curve our way around a corner and there’s more delayed construction and we’re slap bang in the middle of a quagmire with a heavily loaded truck axle deep across our path. It looked as if it had been there a while as rocks had been placed underneath it in an attempt for it to get some traction but as of yet no luck. Kingsley and Roxy managed to get past but I slipped down over a rock but with assistance managed to continue. We were now almost knee deep in mud but still with humour intact. Roxy up front in a deep hole. Firmly planted on a rock. Nice n easy on a pikki pikki We set off once again onto a new stretch of tarred road...yippee!! We always try to avoid tar but at times it’s such a relief and you just want to get off your bike, onto your knees and embrace it. Picking up a bit of speed was a treat but also short lived as it only took us down the mountain, into a village and then back to mud as we rode out of town. As the morning passed we began to tire and Roxy slipped in the mud, so we took this opportunity for a rest as we had been slip sliding around now for over 3 hours. This was when Kingsley noticed that, to our horror, the nut from Roxy’s back axle had disappeared and the axle had started to slip out. Our ‘limp wristed’ mechanic, who had obviously forgotten to tighten the nut after adjusting the chain the previous day, made a wonderful temporary plan with the, must always have, cable ties. Blondie had no idea of the risk involved. We constantly had to keep an eye on this axle and it became quite stressful. In Njombe we spent a bit of time trying to find a take away coffee but they don’t cater for the coffee craving tourist and even with the help of one of the locals we came out empty handed so decided to continue on our way to Songea, 233km of wonderful tar and about another 4 hours of riding. Negotiating the busy street of Njombe. We stopped at little villages along the way to look for a nut for the axle. The chaps repairing bikes were very willing to help but also came up with nothing suitable as the size was always wrong. So between Kingsley and I, we kept a sharp eye on the axle. Reinforcing the cable ties. Rain and road....just a different surface. It was actually a pleasant ride, despite the intermittent rain and regular stops to check axle and a relief to arrive in Songea which was a busy town with lots more to offer than Njombe. Our first thought was to get to our accommodation as it was still raining and we were keen to find the Ruhuwiko Hunt Club which was a few kilometers out of town on the A19 road heading west towards the lake. We soon settled into our room with a mattress on the floor for Roxy. It was a pleasant spot but very quiet. While relaxing at the bar and restaurant I phoned my son in Indonesia as we hadn’t made contact for a few days now. He was in such a state and had already put out a missing persons report after contacting the embassies and various lodges that I had on our itinerary which changed after the second day of our trip. The Matema Lakeside Lodge reassured him that we had been there but left no forwarding address and that was the last he had heard about us. Panic stations. He firmly believed that we were very irresponsible doing this trip. If he had his own way he would have had us on a plane, out of there and back home. I prepared him for our next 3 days of no contact as once again we would probably have no network. He politely informed us that our next holiday was caravaning at Shelly Beach, south of Durban. We enjoyed a little chuckle over this.