February 7 1953 Land Mileage 1585
All aboard and on our way again by 07h30. For the first 25 miles, we were travelling on soft or crusty sand and care was necessary to follow the right track; this scenery became rocky, interspersed with slate hillocks. After the previous very boring plateau country, the scenery changed day by day and almost hour by hour! We saw several gangs of workers, who were out repairing the track and they all waved a very cheery greeting to us as we went along the way. We passed two cairns which were marking wells, but according to our book the water was undrinkable! Next was the Tiguelgemine Well and this made a wonderful change to the scenery, as there was lots of vegetation. I have tried to do some research on this well, but apart from the fact it exists according to the Trans-African Highways book, that is where the story ends! We pulled up to have a look around, once again to find the trucks were on our route.
|This picture is in the correct order in the album for it to be the well, but Mum oddly only labelled as Oasis. I am wondering if the shadows on the bottom right were perhaps cast by the trucks that were there!|
The occupants came over and joined us and we found that they were combining their photography with hunting and discovering new roads, such as they were! The day was now getting very hot, but we needed to push on. The track dropped away into a pretty, but sandy gorge and here we made the mistake of missing our next stop for fuel, the 'village' of Arak in the Arak Gorges. Fuel was by this time a necessity, but luckily we realised before we had gone too far out of our way. No wonder we missed it; the map gave the impression of it being quite a good size village, but in fact it was one hotel with a petrol pump! The directions between the well and Arak read as follows: "Note monument to the east, keep ahead, road runs in on right. In 29 miles pass well. 9 miles further pass triangular cairn on left. Arak gorges terminate 4 miles beyond Arak. The latter is at 1770 ft."
We filled up tanks and cans with fuel once more and went into the S.A.T.T. hotel where we thoroughly enjoyed lovely, long, cool drinks. One forgets how good a cold drink can be, when everything has been luke warm for the previous week! We stopped there for an hour, trying to relax in a bit of shade while we could and we had already decided that we would not go much further that day. We drove up out of the gorge and found a secluded spot off to the side of the track. A good clean up was again the order of the day, as we were thickly coated in dirt and sand. Because of the tremendous heat that day, we had taken the windows off and stacked them on the roof carrier, so the dust had billowed in and all over us!
We were just about on the point of going to bed, when we suddenly had some excitement! I was terrified by a huge grasshopper (perhaps a locust) which suddenly jumped on me. I screamed, knocking it off and dived into the sleeping bag, covering myself up completely. David and Dad dashed up and down with torches, trying to catch it, which they eventually did. Another one then appeared, which also had to be caught and David remarked that one more and he was moving inside to sleep as well. Our first encounter with 'big game'! We finally managed to get off to sleep, only to be woken up in the middle of the night by a huge truck passing through, making a terrible racket. We did expect to get a bit of peace and quiet, sleeping in the middle of the Sahara Desert!
I apologise for the shortage of photos but there seems to be none taken in or around Arak!
To be continued :-)
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