A routine came into play during daylight hours as well. Most fellows got their shit together and headed for breakfast.
Freshly percolated coffee brotheled over the camp stove whilst cookies and tarts made up for a sweet breakfast.
I had already been up before sunrise to make the most of an amazing early morning color spectrum and fixed myself a ‘café pronto’.
Instant coffee sounds so much better in Italian. Pronto, pronto. Quick and easy. Pronto is actually the word used to answer your phone in Italy.
Early mornings also was the only time I knew, that I had time to fly Rick.
Long shadows cast over waves of sand, an ocean of a different kind.
Random trees gave some point off orientation and cast their branch shadows over the desert sand.
Untouched ripples collapsed under light movement, leaving bizarre impressions behind.
I only saw Agostino and Loredana exploring with the camera in hand early mornings.
Thanks to Loredana, I managed to fold the pop-up tent swiftly like her. Ready to go, pronto.
It took a while for all nine cars to get moving, for at least 10 meters. More often than not, someone’s engine had lost water, or tires were deflated and needed air.
Only to move for another 50 meters, when something similar happened. Claudio himself lead the breakdown championship over this voyage, I hope i didn’t bring any bad luck.
But he always knew how to fix any issues too. Which took some time, which equals waiting.
The strange noise that came out of the engine room eventuated one morning to be a broken transfer case. We were very lucky in a way, that the bang happened as we crossed the last elevated dune.
We had no chance to get it out of a hole and we would have to work on the engine on soft sand.
With a little help from Georgio’s Landrover and Loredana’s strap service, we were able to pull Claudio’s heavy vehicle onto harder ground.
It’s an anxious feeling to see any car being pulled for repairs, but had faith in Claudio’s abilities.
The vehicle was placed over a small sand dune to enable easier access to the lower chassis. Desert mechanics on the meant. All other vehicles drove off to the nearby spring, called Lake Carlos. I was invited to join, but opted to stay with Georgio and help Claudio as much as we could.
Both of us don’t know much about cars and mechanics, but it was better than no help at all.
Fortunately for us, the cavalry arrived shortly after. Is it a Fata Morgana?
Young Nicolai and Davide arrived in his trophy Landrover out of the searing Sahara sun.
Georgio and I had already taken camp in the shade, it was a hot day in the sun.
Whilst all three mechanics were dismantling parts of the motor, I couldn’t help but wonder, what I would have done in this situation? There wasn’t much I could have done, but hope someone comes by. Therefore, I would have had a proactive approach to the strange noise coming from the engine room before we got into the sand.
Claudio and I have many similarities as we both love the adventure and the excitement in countries far, far away. The off-the-beaten-track tranquillity and peace of the land. But there is a huge difference in our angle of attack. It’s all about the angle.
I have no other choice but to be proactive because I travel alone. My risk assessment for trouble that may appear is configured differently than his. I don’t have the security of other cars to winch me out of trouble. Nor do I have the knowledge and skill to fix an engine. The shite can hit the fan at any time from so many different angles, that I reduce the risk of problems as much as I can. Knock, knock, knock on wood, it served me well so far.
Apart from that one time, in the Kalahari. At least this time no lions were around. What an amazing experience that was.
Davide and Nicolai proved themselves as worthy car mechanics. All three knew what the problem was and how to fix it. One major issue was the sand.
Again, we were extremely lucky, that slight winds didn’t pick up. If sand was blown into moving parts or oiled mechanics, we wouldn’t be getting any further.
Nicolai in particular was eager to mend this issue, this goes right down his alley.
He studies engineering on Italy’s famous southern island Sicily.
Davide finished his studies a long time ago and now produces tougher and sturdier auto parts for tuned-up Landrovers. It looks impressive.
But even he got stuck a few times, which means that all your extra gear doesn’t help if you’re overestimating the car’s ability. This is a phenomenon I witness all around the world. It keeps amazing me.
Proud boys and their puffed-up toys, invincible to tackle any terrain, may not get stuck as often. But when they do, it’s twice as bad.
The reason for that appears to be a chemical reaction in the brain. ‘I can’t get stuck with this car, that’s impossible. ’ Let’s go in low-range 4 wheel-drive mode and see if we can track forward. Nope. Let’s try backward and work the clutch a bit harder. Still no movement. The chassis meanwhile held the car up, not to dig any deeper into soft, evading sand.
The problem then is, that another car needs to make the tricky journey to winch this heavy car out of the sand. Which includes the risk, of both being stuck, and so on, and so on. Anyhoozle, what do I know?
I know that Georgio, Nicolai and Davide were a grande help to Claudio. We would have struggled otherwise. It took most of the afternoon to be mobile again, which was a relief for everyone. Well done, fellas.
The comradeship within in this group throughout this desert adventure was outstanding, there is no other way to say it.
Whenever a car got stuck or showed signs of wear and tear, others happily joined to help.
And that’s all that matters within any equip.
It was part of this adventure and everyone accepted that with a smile.
I was happy to be part of it. Thank you Claudio.
A shower at Lake Carlos was a relief for all, particularly for me. It isn’t much of a lake, but is a very popular spot and visited by everyone passing by. Water is ‘the’ magnet in the desert.