Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Driving to Dahkla - part two, the bad part...

Jay hit save on his previous post moments before catastrophe...our first break down.

We stopped somewhere between Bougador and Dahkla to refuel. Immediately after fuelling up, Thomas started acting funny. We pulled over to check things out and cleaned out our fuel filter, thinking perhaps we got some bad diesel. He started up after a period of re-priming the pump and we were off. 5km down the road the bus just shut down - nothing...we glided to a stop and the reality of our first breakdown in the middle of nowhere set in. We were going nowhere and there was NOTHING on the horizon but sand and rocks...

After a few minutes of trying to figure out what was going on, a posse of merry Moroccans stopped to see how we were doing. With a little French, and a little English we decided to try to bleed the tank of fuel and see if we could refuel with one of our reserve jerry cans. Lacking wrenches and other materials within an hour or so we were convinced we were indeed stuck...and stuck for a while. Talk of tow trucks, a little soccer in the desert with our new friends, and some last ditch attempt by our highly unmechanical team to try jump starting the bus from our friends 1976 Mercedes ate up another hour until we saw some familiar cars driving down the road - fellow PBCers! and lots of them caravaning to Dahkla!

Soon we had a festival like atmosphere around the bus - between the teams and our new friends, there were close to 30 people at work on the bus. The Moroccans left and returned with lunch for the team and we all sort of hung out and had a the best time we could due to the circumstances. Thanks to the Recycled Teenagers and a few other teams expertise, we decided to try to rig a can fuel directly to the fuel filter and bypass the fuel lines - serious MacGyver stuff here.

A few more hours and we all came to the conclusion that we had to tow the bus to Dahkla - about 90 miles. Kara, Scott, Mike and Jenna set off with other teams while Jay and Eddie stayed behind, alone in the desert, with nothing for miles.

Upon arriving, we got to work trying to sort out a depanage - tow truck. After a hairy few hours, a truck was on the way to our boys in the desert, who were apparently cookng food, hanging out with the Moroccans, and generally having a good time.

While the other team settled into a nice hotel in Dahkla, Eddie and Jay began a very hairy night time tow through the desert. The truck arrived, piloted by a semi-inebriated mechanic, and they hooked it up to a four foot long pole. The boys had to steer the bus at night, riding on a hard line behind the truck, crawling through the desert for more than three hours.

They arrived shortly after midnight, looking ragged with lots of stories from the experience.

We are currently stuck in Dahkla - the hotel has arranged a mechanic to look at the bus today. We will know later today what the prognosis is. We are all hopeful, but we have also discussed the possibility of Thomas becoming a permanent resident of Dahkla if there is something seriously wrong. Hopes are high though, and the mechanic who is looking at it is crack guy. This town is full of mechanics and diesel trucks - a good combination for six stuck Yanks.

While the rest of the teams have set off for the desert today, we remain. But at least the hotel is posh, and in a town of windsurfing and beaches, there are worst places to be stuck.

Stay tuned. Hopefully well be on the road soon...Inshallah...

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