We were up at 05:30 from our overnight stay outside the roadside temple.
After two morning walk sessions, we made it to the border with Andhra Pradesh at 09:30. We knew it was getting close as the queue of trucks lining the road had started some 2km back. It was very difficult to keep the bus with us without blocking all of the moving traffic so I sent Rahim on ahead while Satinder stayed back with us and scouted ahead to find a safe path through the parked trucks.
I had expected a large checkpoint with a lot of officials but instead found a hut resembling a bungalow with a huge queue outside. Luckily the queue was for the truck drivers and when I returned with Rahim and our papers we made it straight to the border official at the front. He was adamant that we should be charged even though I explained to him that no checkpoint or toll booth had charged us since we started. He was insistent so I told him to do whatever he needed to do and I would sort it out with the Government in Delhi when we finished the walk. He paused then relented and told us to be on our way without charge but warning us to expect similar hassle from the state border crossings we had yet to encounter. I was happy as this was our first border crossing and was therefore a significant milestone in Bobby’s Walk.
Bobby was as determined as ever and soldiered on. I on the other hand was excited knowing that we would be passing within 17km of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre
One of the things that distracted him was drinking ice-cold lassi and eating lovely sweet bharfi, all of which have been given to us the day before when we visited the Patel family at the Kailas Sawmill. The food we had most days tended to be very similar so drinking and eating this was a luxury and we savoured it.
The day was drawing to a close and I knew we had to find somewhere suitable to stop for the night. We hadn’t passed anything remotely suitable and I knew Bobby’s energy was flagging.
He had covered a total of 20 kilometres for the day by the time we found somewhere suitable. Bobby was happy for reaching this milestone and although I echoed his happiness, I was worried it would take its toll the next day.
I went to sleep dreaming of space city and rockets to the moon.