Sunday, 18 November 2012

Vehicle problems!


February 9 1953 Land Mileage 2006
We made an early start to try to get warm (see last post) and so that we could pack the vehicle up again and give it a good check over.     We filled up with petrol and again had to report to the Commandant.  We were led to believe that the worst part of the journey was ahead of us, but we were by now prepared for anything!  
After leaving Tamanrasset, we proceeded through areas of  stony landscape, dry river beds and into a rocky wilderness.  There was a strange mixture of flat topped hills, sharp peaks and rounded domes.    In some places there was gravel, in others, sand and we seemed to be heading from one valley into another.   We had to be very careful not to follow in the tracks of trucks which had  passed by earlier, as one could get stuck in these tracks if the ground was soft.   There were track marker points at various spots, but due to constant sand storms, the countryside kept changing and the markers at times were very difficult to see!  Thank goodness we had binoculars and a compass, as we knew that our route went more or less due South.   We eventually did what we had been warned about, and found ourselves stuck in heavy sand where a truck had driven through! 
Dad digging the sand out, so we could lay the sand-mats down; the latter you can see still rolled up on the front of the Land Rover.
We managed to push the vehicle out, aided by traction from the sand mats and then Mum, David and I had to roll up the mats and make a dash for the Land Rover, while Dad kept moving slowly forward.  If he had stopped, we would have had a repeat performance of trying to get free again.  The exercise was good for the three of us!  
The track surface then changed yet again and we found ourselves on an extremely corrugated section.   The Land Rover danced and bumped its way along, giving Mum the worst headache she had ever experienced.     She was so bad that at 14h00, Dad decided that we should make camp, to give her a chance to rest and recover.    Dad and David put up the camp bed and tried to put it in as much shade as possible; at this time of day, there was only a little shade from the vehicle, so this was not easy!  Mum found a pillow and after taking a couple of tablets with a cup of tea, tried to relax and shake off the hammering that was taking place in her head!
Me looking for interesting pebbles in the sand.
Given the early stop, Dad thought it prudent to do a mini service and change the oil on the Land Rover, which he did with David's help.    I washed a few clothes and generally kept myself amused.  Around 16h00, Dad noticed that there was some water dripping from the vehicle's water pump.   Back to work again, and the pump was taken off and stripped right there in the centre of the Sahara!    New parts (which luckily we were carrying, thanks to Dad's foresight) were installed, but due to the fact that it got dark quite early, Dad and David ended up working by torchlight only.    Neither wanted to leave the final adjustments until the following day, as although it would have been daylight then, firstly we did not want to waste travelling time and secondly, working next day once the sun was up would have also been extremely difficult in the much higher temperatures! 

Just as they managed to finish the job, a lorry came by and the crew asked if we were all right; they pulled off a bit further up the road, where they stayed the night.   Mum by then was feeling a little better and we managed to have a late meal and a fairly good night's sleep.



To be continued :-) 


I have put this section of my life story on Kindle if you should be interested:-
 THE GREAT 1953 TREK
See

18 comments:

  1. I'm so impressed with how the whole family is pulling forth, putting up with all the little and big discomforts! Just setting up a meal must have been a major headache. Had you all practiced with camping outdoors before this trip?
    I look at the pictures of you and your brother, and I can't stop marveling at your grit!

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    1. rosaria we had never been camping before. The only one with any experience was David in the Boy Scouts and he had done very little! We learnt very fast along the way what to do and what not to do :-) Keep well Diane

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  2. It is an amazing trip and story. Luckily you managed to get out of the sand . How good it was your dad was a mechanic and could foresee parts that may be needed. It must have been a great education for you and David.

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    1. diane b I do not think that my parents would have considered doing this trip without my Dad's mechanical skills, it would have been too dangerous. We were lucky there were odd trucks around, but one mistake on a turning and a car problem would have had us stranded. This was one of the reasons we had to report to the commandant at each village. If we went missing for too long a search party would have been sent out. David showed no mechanical skills before this trip but he turned out to be a top class mechanic. Diane

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  3. Ahead, against any difficulty. The steel of Your car would be more reliable than the steel (="Stalin") in the USSR, that just on those days was preparing to die.

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    1. Gio Ve, Yes the same year as he died, but at my age then it meant very little to me!

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  4. Hi Diane,

    You were brave ! In the middle of a stoney and sandy large area with hardly anyone around, with a truck stuck in the sand and a passenger in pain. It seems that you always manage to find the right solution to get on and move on to a better one. How was your state of mind at the time? Did you ever wonder whether you'll make it through? I guess that confidence and unity are key in these kind of situations.

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    1. Awena I don't think it ever crossed our minds that we may not make it. We had planned well and we knew pretty much what to expect; of course there is always the unknown! I am enjoying going back over the trip myself and I think I am enjoying it this time even more :-) Have a good weekend Diane

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  5. Nice blog you have...wanna follow each other?
    please follow with GFC, just leave me a comment and I'll follow u back!
    http://namelessfashionblog.blogspot.it/
    http://www.facebook.com/NamelessFashionBlog

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    1. Elisa you have a great blog. Thanks for the visit and the comment. Diane

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  6. It wouldn't be Africa if there were no car problems! :-)

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    1. You are right JM and under normal circumstances one would wait weeks for the replacement part !! Diane

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  7. sorry for the misunderstanding!followed back
    http://namelessfashionblog.blogspot.it/
    http://www.facebook.com/NamelessFashionBlog

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    1. Elisa No problem. Have a good weekend Diane

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  8. I must say that you have experience it all when I comes to traveling!

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    1. Chubskulit Rose thankfully my Dad was capable of handling the problems, Keep well. Diane

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  9. I so admire your family's sense of adventure, perseverence and ability to just get on with things. What a team you were Diane! As always, the wonderful photographs that accompany your story add so much to the tale. X Dolly

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    1. Dolly my Dad was always ready to tackle any problem that overcame us, but David is the one who surprised us all as he was anything but mechanical. Later he came out of his class as a mechanic with top marks! Diane xx

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