Nelson gets a cheer

Nelson gets a cheer, Tony’s heart in mouth

I have often been asked if it is necessary to have a capable 4*4 for a trip like the one we are doing, the answer is no, many people do these trips in small cars or vans and the locals whizz around in old Mercedes or Renaults faster than us, even on the rough stuff.

However very occasionally mud tyres, locked differentials and torque do come into their own today was one such day.

We approached a village to be greeted by a long line of trucks all neatly parked on one side of the road, after gently trundling past on the wrong side of the road for 2 solid kilometres we came upon the problem. A lorry had jackknifed right across the road at the bottom of a hollow ending up with cab 2m into the jungle on one side and trailer 2m Into the jungle on the other.

The truck was well and truly stuck a couple of meters into the jungle on each side

A policeman was busy walking the line making sure people parked up. He looked at our truck as said (in french) “the road is blocked there is a diversion but it’s very difficult, go and look, then choose perhaps you can make It”

So we trundled up to the top of the line, Tony clearing a way through the onlookers, there was an organised gang of burly mud covered chaps helping local 4WDs through manhandling them over the tree stumps, and charging reasonably about £3

We agreed to pay them, but I said to Tony “tell them to get out of the way, until I need them” as I could see a line avoiding the foot high tree stump that was catching most cars but the guys were standing too close.

Anyway in I went, low ratio 3rd, centre and rear diff lock taking a wide line past the stump and then gunned it up the 5foot slope of mud at 45 degrees wheels spinning sliding sideways into the jungle until the tyres caught and I popped up on to the road at some speed stomping on the brake to stop a few inches from the startled stationary que of cars…..phew all I could hear behind me was a ripple of cheers from the thankfully not squashed onlookers

Tony ran up to the truck and I said “ that was close, tell me you got that on camera”, “er no” was the reply “, I was so worried you were going to roll sideways into the bushes that I just looked with my heart in my mouth” ah well.

The rest of the day went well, had we waited in the queue until the lorry was cleared we would probably have lost a day as they were probably going to need a couple of lorries or a bulldozer to get the stuck lorry out and these had not yet been organised

Other than monsoon style rain the rest of the day ran smoothly

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So no you don’t need a good 4WD to do this trip, but on some days it sure does help….

Last day in Guinea tomorrow

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