2 kids 2 cities 27 Hours
Trip Start Jan 22, 2008
49Trip End Nov 27, 2008
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We hit the road promptly at 0620 and were at our first of very many Police checkpoints within just a few minutes
However the benefits that the truck had to offer were to be completely obliterated by events to come (more on that later). The roads in CAR are, well, interesting. The paved parts have massive potholes that require deft maneuvering of the vehicle and occasional quick braking. The unpaved parts (overwhelming majority) are small (about 1.5 lanes) and treacherous in the best of conditions. I simply can't imagine what it must be like to traverse these "roads" when they are wet. Logging trucks do not, veer, stop, or slow down for oncoming traffic. No matter what YOU must get out of THEIR way. The sides of the roads are littered with carcasses of vehicles that did not survive to their destination for whatever reason. Along the way are small little villages with the frequent sight of fields being burned to clear the way for crops
So back to that ominous sentence earlier in the blog, 8 hours into the expected 9 hour trip we were excited because we were making good time and we would be at Doli Lodge with plenty of day remaining. Then the real fun started, we were told that there was a small problem with the truck. We would have to stop in Nola, the last semi big town before Bayanga, for a brief repair. Apparently there was a problem with an injector, and then the rear axel, and before we knew it the entire rear drive train was being rebuilt. I was especially excited when they had the rear differential taken apart and then proceeded to beat on the gears with a small sledgehammer. 6 hours, lots of frustration, hunger, and total darkness later we were on our way. Just 60 km to Bayanga, some dinner, a shower, and a bed we couldn't wait. Oh but wait there's more! Just 4km from our destination bang, grind, and stop. Every warning light on the dash is on and the transmission has eaten itself. There we are 10 at night in the middle of the road and we are going no further. Justin walked back to the police checkpoint and tried to raise WWF on the radio but everyone was asleep. So we did the same. Our driver and mechanic slept under the truck while Justin, Lesley, Aanae, and Evan slept in the truck with the windows rolled up
At Doli Lodge we had a fantastic, if rather expensive, breakfast, showers and some much needed rest. We met and American man and his Polish girlfriend/wife who are spending 7 months traveling all over Africa on ATVs. Lesley has been into the village and seen our new home. Some work is being done on the roof and we are having some furniture made so we should be moving in on Monday. Lesley says that the house is very nice and that it is better than she expected. I'm looking forward to the move but I'm sure that I'll miss the shower (cold as it is), flush toilet, and power outlets at Doli.