Satinder had slept on the roof of the Walkmobile for the past few days and awoke to a covering of dew on his blanket. Still, he was up and making sure things were prepped before we set off.
Although there was a lot of construction at various sections, the parts of the highway that had been completed were excellent.
The downside was that we didn’t pass through th lively villages we were so used to from the start of the walk.
Instead it was now kilometre after kilometre of seemingly endless road that snaked its way toward the horizon.
The sun was hot and I would pour cold water on the back of Bobby’s neck in an effort to cool him down.
After each rest, a little pain would still be present and this would slowly increase throughout that walk session.
I was getting increasingly worried and needed to calculate variations of a drop in daily target with the subsequent difference it would make to overall distance we could travel in the time we had left.
In the meantime I was also worrying about our supplies.
The scarcity of villages meant that shopping markets were also as scarce. We were increasing the amount of produce we bought but could not bulk this up to much as certain items would spoil before we had a chance to buy more.
I was also getting creative in foraging by sending Satinder under a flyover as we avoided the traffic below. Sometimes Satinder would return with a fruitful bounty but more often he would meed us on the other side of the flyover empty handed.
We carried on and spotted a distant herd of buffalo grazing in the field to our left. The herdsman proceeded to direct his slow moving herd across all six lanes and the central reservation of the highway forcing all traffic to take avoiding action. This would have seemed strange back home but we passed by as we watched a few of the buffalo who had stopped for a while on the central reservation to eat some of the decorative bushes.
Further up the road I saw a distant sign for a Hindustan Petroleum petrol station on our right and ran ahead to see if it was suitable. It was old and lacking. The manager told us about another one a short distance up the highway and we told him we would return if the other was not suitable for any reason.
I told Satinder to walk with Bobby while we travelled the half to what seemed like a suitable location.
It was clean, large and seemed newly refurbished. It did however seem eerily quiet but here were a couple of motorbikes outside the main office to I wandered up.
The office was abandoned although it still had all the office items within. There was a shelf outside with a receipt book and other items. The storeroom was closed but through the glass you could see that it too had items within. I circled around to the back looking for a possible office but there was none, just a large wall that encircled the forecourt. I walked up to the pumps and noticed that they were not powered but otherwise looked fine.
This was all very strange and seemed like some petrol station version of the Mary Celeste. I waited for Bobby and Satinder to catch up before heading back to the location we had passed earlier.
Bobby was happy that he had hit his target of 24km in one day but we were both aware that this had not come easy as Bobby had grown increasingly tired toward the end with the pain and swelling returning.
Bobby freshened up with a shower and we after dinner, Satinder massaged his legs with oil. He seemed relaxed and we went to bed at 21:30.
I went to sleep dreaming of a big food market.