We had a very long night last night. After our grueling 163 kilometer day yesterday (a feat we will likely never repeat on loaded bicycles), all we wanted to do was go to bed. Having a mild case of heat exhaustion, and since the only place that we could do route planning and blogging was in the non-air conditioned restaurant, we hung out for several hours trying to keep cool and hydrated.
Surprisingly early, though, the restaurant closed. We presumed it a good as time as ever to make dinner, and since our sour cream wouldn’t last through the night and another hot day on the road, I helped Bree to make creamy cabbage and potato soup. (I’m not sure why we decided on hot soup for dinner when we were already so warm…) Before we got too far into the process of boiling the potatoes and cabbage, the first mosquito came. And then another. Then came the swarm. I have seriously never seen mosquitoes like we had last night – I was able to kill 3 at a time with a single slap on the leg, and pretty much no matter where you swung you were bound to hit at least one. The battle became fiercer as I tried to fend off the mosquitoes while not letting the sour cream in the simmering pot burn. It wasn’t long before we decided to call for reinforcements and apply a hefty coat of bug spray; the bug spray helped a little bit, but before long we were once again swarmed. At the first sign of the potatoes being soft enough to choke down, we called it quits and retreated into our hot tent, leaving the soup (covered, of course) to cool down outside. In the tent we still had 5 or 10 mosquitoes to finish off that had made it inside, but eventually our space was clear and mosquito free, leaving us in to eat in peace.
Mosquitoes gone and dinner finished, we called it a night. That is when the wind picked up. While not the strongest we have seen, the hot wind kept whipping through our tent making all kinds of noise. Thankfully it kept it slightly cool, but it was loud enough to keep us up. It also didn’t last forever, though, and we were able to try again to get some sleep.
Around 2:00 AM vice we were woken up yet again. Bree heard some rustling in our bag of garbage which we left carelessly on the ground outside or tent when we fled the mosquitoes. Thinking it was just the wind, we ignored it and tried to get some sleep. Then the noise came again – this time more loudly and more consistently. Usually, when something gets near the tent, usually a bird, we just whack the side of the tent and the noise scares it away. That same tactic was applied here, but every time I would hit the tent wall it would stop for about 30 seconds, and then start up again. On the last hit, I felt a big, solid mass next to the tent. Definitely an animal.
I crawled cautiously out of the tent in order to scare off the creature and move our trash to a less accessible location. I found this little guy!
He either was paralyzed in fear or not very well suited for defense, since he just sat there as I watched him. I had Bree grab the camera, and was able to snap a few pictures. As far as I can tell, it is an honest to goodness hedgehog. The way his nose moved and his eyes blinked actually reminded me of a pig. Go figure.
Back to bed again. Not for long though, as the once starry-night turned into rain. Again, it wasn’t the most impressive storm that we have seen but it did require that we get out and secure our rain fly as it came down more and more heavily. Thanks to Bree’s light sleeping and radar for rain (and flat roads, of course), we were spared from getting wet.