AfricaMaliNouara

Nouara - Bamako

Nouara Travel Blog

 › entry 21 of 22 › view all entries
along the route to Bamako

MADE IT TO THE FINISH. :)

Daily Mileage 300

I really couldn’t sleep after the night before and was awake quite early and long before anybody else. I was hot and sweaty and felt really dirty from lying in the dirt the night before and still had hydraulic oil on me. The only thing I had to clean myself with were baby wet wipes. Not very effective.

I was keen to get into town, find what we could to fix the car and finally get on the road to Bamako.

It was a beautiful morning actually but I was so impatient. There wasn’t any point in going to town early as there wouldn’t be anybody around anyway.

Slowly the others started to rise and we discussed what would happen if we couldn’t fix our car.

view from road to bamako
Basically it came down to getting a bush taxi to Bamako. Not an option I wanted to take.

I was feeling very positive though. I really thought that we deserved a break and we would find a way of getting on the road.

Finally into town and to a shop that Steve had seen next to the petrol station where Krisztian sold his car. We were quite nervous about seeing the customs man from the day before as he would go crazy.

It was quite well stocked but didn’t have exactly what we wanted. We ended up with one of the locals driving all over the town to different shops. It was quite amazing really. All these buildings were very basic mud and brick structures but once you opened the iron doors they had lots of spares. We even found a lock up with about 10 engines of all sizes but still no luck.

We were struggling to find anything to help us though and it was hard work trying to translate exactly what we wanted.

We were after some rubber high pressure hose or some metal pipelines and jubilee clips.

After well over an hour we ended up back at the original store with only 6 jubilee clips to show for our efforts. Then the guy helping us disappeared for ages. I was starting to feel low again and getting impatient.

During our wait I needed to pee and asked where I could go. The garage owner told me go around the back. As I turned the corner all I could see was a wall, so over I went. Then I had a surprise. There was this donkey standing there tied up. It was another one of these surreal moments I was now getting used to. I was standing there going about my business with this dopey looking donkey staring me in the eye. I couldn’t help laughing out as I imagined what he was thinking. I’m sure he was looking at me and thinking “ha ha is that all you’ve got”. It was so funny but just a normal occurrence these days.

Finally our man turned up and I was amazed.

He had everything I needed and more.

We paid for all these items and headed straight back to our car.

I was really confident. Back on the floor and under the car yet again. I didn’t care anymore as I could not get any dirtier!

We now had a rusty piece of pipe about 10cm long but it had the correct banjo fitting. I connected this to the clutch selector. Step 1 successful. We had a great little piece of metal pipe that I was going to use to splice the existing rubber hose via a new piece of rubber hose to this pipe.  Now it went wrong again. The existing hose had a thinner inner diameter and I could not get the splice pipe to fit. I tried to cut out the middle of the hose with a small knife but it was just splitting the hose. After about 2 hours of trying we were all at a low ebb and very close to giving up. The others called me out from under the car and told me it was time to stop and get the bush taxis. I did agree with them as it was gone midday and we couldn’t go on like this.

shops along the route

I asked them to give me 10 more minutes as there was still a part of me that thought I could do something. I was just not seeing it.

Back under and I just lay there looking at the pipes and going through all the options one last time with all the bits and pieces I had.

Then all of a sudden I saw a way. I needed to cut the metal pipeline further up in the engine bay, which I did with a Swiss army knife saw attachment.  I then joined that to the rusty pipe I fitted earlier with the rubber hose and new jubilee clips. We bled the system and had no leaks. That was a good sign. I then started the car and was really nervous as I pressed the clutch pedal in. Into 1st gear and to everyone’s joy the jeep moved forward.

FANTASTIC. It was fixed.  Everyone was cheering and clapping.

bush taxi
  I felt great and could have cried with joy.

The problem was, how long would it last.  Every time we pulled away we would rev the engine high and go straight from 1st gear to 4th to save on the amount of times we had to press the clutch pedal.

It didn’t take us long to pack up and get on the road. We would get to Bamako.

It was a really happy atmosphere in the car with me, Steve and Krisztian talking and laughing a lot. We only had to change the battery once on the way to Bamako.

Amazingly we finally made it to the boarder of Bamako city. There was a big sign where we posed for pictures.

After 10000km and everything that had happened we had made it. I was ecstatic. 

As we pulled away the exhaust snapped in half !. This jeep was really trying our patience. Who cares, only 15km to go and I could handle the car sounding like a steam train!.

 

After some initial confusion with hotel reservations we were finally in our room.

Part of our entry fee was to include a room in a 5 star hotel on the last night. They had actually booked me and Steve in together. And it was a double bed !!  After all this time together I was so looking forward to a room to myself. It didn’t matter though. After the last 48hrs this was the least of our problem.

When Steve went for a shower all I could hear was him laughing his head off.

 It was because of the amount of dirt and sand coming off.

It was the same for me and I was amazed at how dirty I actually was. I had red dust in places I didn’t even know I had places!!.  It was the longest and best shower I have ever had in my life.

We all then met for a great meal and headed off to the finish party at a terribly name bar. “Club Ibiza” Not the sort of place I drove to Africa for.  So we all headed off to a bar around the corner called, “The Terrace Bar”.  It was ok. Very expensive drinks, but nobody cared.  To think, this morning we didn’t even think we would be here and now I was holding a cold beer, a gin and tonic and no more driving.

I was a very happy man. JJJ

 

jerseygirl67 says:
what, that's it???? don't leave us hanging....what happened when you got there?
Posted on: Feb 07, 2008
tvillingmarit says:
Look forward to read this blogs
Posted on: Nov 17, 2007
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along the route to Bamako
along the route to Bamako
view from road to bamako
view from road to bamako
shops along the route
shops along the route
bush taxi
bush taxi
Our very last battery change.
Our very last battery change.
state of the car on the final leg …
state of the car on the final leg…
Krisztian. Hitched a lift after se…
Krisztian. Hitched a lift after s…
Krisztian, our Hungarian passenger…
Krisztian, our Hungarian passenge…
very happy
very happy
Krisztian and steve
Krisztian and steve
Finally made it to Bamako city lim…
Finally made it to Bamako city li…
Krissztian and me
Krissztian and me
final few km
final few km
edge of Bamako city
edge of Bamako city
In Bamako
In Bamako
Finally into the hotel and showere…
Finally into the hotel and shower…
luxury at last
luxury at last
Steve outside club Ibiza
Steve outside club Ibiza
awful club Ibiza
awful club Ibiza
It was all too much for Ross, and …
It was all too much for Ross, and…
fellow competitors enjoying a cold…
fellow competitors enjoying a col…
Group phot. Terrace bar. That beer…
Group phot. Terrace bar. That bee…
9,078 km (5,641 miles) traveled
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photo by: johnyb66