04-Sep-2004 -- Saturday afternoon – our destination is confluence 9N 8E which is situated near Keffi. It is not the first time we tried to visit this Confluence. Several weeks before, Helmut was in the area but had to turn back because of bad weather. A month ago, it was the last possible bike outing before my holiday started. Helmut and myself got as close as 570 meters but had to abandon the visit as it was 5:15 pm and Helmut insisted that we had to go back and out of the bush before darkness sets in. What a disappointment this was at the time! I was really eager to carry on and get there. This time around we left Abuja just after 1 pm. We followed the A234 to Keffi. On the way I encountered a few problems with the GPS, but I was under the impression having managed to solve them. What a mistake this was, as I later found out!
6 km after Keffi we stopped at the same scenic site as on our previous attempt. Matthew, the driver assisted us with the offloading of our bikes. We changed into our biking gear, mounted the GPS which reflected 23 km to the Confluence, and off we went. It took me a couple of kilometres of riding my bike before I got used to it and felt reasonably comfortable again and I was able to enjoy this incredible scenery. It is hard for me to describe how overwhelmed I felt to see this lush green, the abundance of vegetation and the red soil.
We managed to ride as close as 70 metres to the Confluence, the rest we walked. Earlier in the car I had programmed some landmarks and now it constantly gave me the coordinates of Abuja and tried to send me back from where we came without being able to locate the Confluence. At this point Helmut took over setting the GPS. I was still convinced that I set the GPS correctly, and grumbling, "Not my fault... Somebody else must have..." and so on. A few minutes later, we had all zeros of the confluence 9N 8E and finally had reached our destination.
Our presence attracted some locals who worked in the fields and had been gathering around our bikes on our return. We wanted to take some pictures of both of us with our bikes. Helmut tried very patiently to explain some of them to take a picture from us. This task proved not to be so easy since nobody understood, nor spoke any English. However, after several attempts and a lot of pictures taken, we managed to get the wanted result.
We tried to find a different route back but did not succeed and eventually we took the same way that we came. On our way back we stopped at the village Ashuwi. It was market-day and we were received from a large crowd and had a very warm welcome from the local chief. We walked through the market and enjoyed the action of this colourful and busy place. In the late afternoon sun, we had a very pleasant ride back to the car. At Keffi we stopped at the branch office of the "Bushriders Abuja", which is only a local "bush bar" and occasionally frequented by them, and ordered an "Alaska-cold" Star beer, which is in this area of the world around 20°C, and tasted wonderful.