It all seems like a long time ago now

November 18, 2007

Almost seems like it didn’t happen, but just received the rough cut of Tim and Carl’s DVD and it all came flooding back. Sourced a car for a local all girl team leaving this December – a very tired LHD Range Rover… nice!

Isuzu Auction

April 30, 2007

Finally hear from the Gambia that the Trooper went for £1270 at auction! That was a bargain for someone – even with the noisy dif!


February 21, 2007

Just to remind people that we are still collection for Cancer Research. We are also still waiting for the auction results of the Isuzu from Banjul – there have been at least 3 auctions since we left but no sign of the Isuzu. Based on what we saw the truck should make good money, Graham and Brian’s £100 Peugeot fetched nearly £1200 and even the Fiat Tempra went for over £800 – hours of practical car maintainence for some Gambian! The car/equipment auctions have raised over £55,000 for the Gambian Charities so far.

Also a big “thank you” for all our sponsors: Coastal Cottages of Pembrokeshire, Haven Colourprint UK, Sigma Display Systems, The Old Lighthouse, Tom Goddard & Sons Ltd, DWJ Colourprint, Pembrokeshire College, Jon David @ Neyland Pharmacy, Crossroads Garage Subaru/Isuzu, Haven Sports, Newsurf and Paul Williams for all the welding! Plus John’s dad for the NATO rations!

Little Haven

January 24, 2007

Well that went quickly! Still waiting to hear the result of the auction of the Isuzu for the Gambian charities and still hoping to reach the £2000 for Cancer Research. Bit of a shock with the weather back here in Wales and the 9 hour flight home (should have been 6 hours) was not fun. What I’d give for a camp fire in the desert!

3 weeks, 8 countries, 4,100 miles and never a cross word!


January 16, 2007

Leave the Zebrabar in 15 car convoy with a local Customs Officer to ensure we don’t sell the cars in Senegal! So 6 hours drive turns into 9 hours with pee stops and cars getting lost.

The drive through Senegal for the border courtesy of the Sand Dodgers

Arrive at Gambia border which is a breeze and are told if we put our foot down we should catch the last ferry at 11pm from Barra to Banjul. The next half hour drive makes the Paris Dakar Rally look tame! The Latvian’s set the pace (as usual) and the main highway to the ferry is best described as a dirty track with potholes the size of baths!

Stopped by our final police check point 1 mile short of the ferry and they tell us there’s no way we’ll get on the last ferry – some lorries have been waiting 4 days to get on! They suggest we camp by the side of the road next to them for safety – as we break out the gin and army rations, others are not so happy with the facilities (or lack of) and drive down to Barra, returning swiftly with tales of no electric or water and ‘many bad men’

A 5am start sees lots of bad moods and Chris disappears to buy the ferry tickets – only to return 3 hours later. A sprint for the ferry and for once the organisers and police get us to the front and relative safety from the many ‘characters’ working the waiting cars. A Swiss couple have been waiting 2 days to get on – two ferries later and we arrive in Banjul!

Waiting for the Barra Ferry

On the Barra Ferry – with cows, goats, chickens and half of Africa!

On the Barra Ferry

Find hotel and Sam who isn’t sure about the unsavoury, smelly and unshaven character walking into the hotel reception! Beer, food, shower and sleep and the nerves are restored. Other groups arrive next day with only 4 cars not making it – a Toyota had to be left in the desert!

Official parade yesterday thru Banjul with 30+ cars blowing horns and free beer from the mayor, free meal last night courtesy of the Gambian Olympic Committee – only spoilt by two teams having hotel rooms ransacked and all cameras (with 3 weeks pictures), videos, laptops and phones stolen – some thank you!

Any buyers?

Fantastic experience, but would we do it again? – both agree – NO (mind you if anyone knows for a cheap left hand drive car…)

Mauritania & Senegal

January 14, 2007

Left Dakhla for Mauritania with horror stories of border crossing… breezed through in 4 hours, a challenge record and yes the Mauritania customs is still a shed in the desert and the mine field between the countries was interesting! Now in real desert amd made Nouadhibou by evening, this town is like a scene fron Mad Max and rumoured to be run by the local mafia, althouth the campsite was OK and secure but why the most expensive so far, in the poorest country? No MOT’s or tax on any cars, and as long as you don’t go above 20mph at night you don’t need car lights!

Gin and Pot Noddles in Nouadhibou

Next two nights under desert skies, without the Isuzu to pull them out of the sand most of our group’s cars would still be there, especially the Fiat! The scores on the door of the Isuzu are mounting up with nearly a dozen tows for the Tempra. Amazing sights, total silence at night but also utter poverty in the few villages we pass.

First night in desert

Wasn’t it left at that last dune?

The Scores on the Door!

Last night in Mauritania spent in ‘hotel’ at Nouakchott, again more expensive than UK! Very early start because of stories of huge hassles at the Mauritania/Senegal border but we sailed through in 3 hours (plus 8 hours driving along a dirt track) and quite a few euros changing hands.

Every police check point now asks for a ‘present’ – they seem happy with tins of fruit salad and biros!

Arrive tired and dusty in Senegal at very good campsite ‘Zebrabar’ and our first legal beers for over a week (it’s banned in Mauritania). Lots of other challenge groups now turning up at Zebrabar with horror stories of car problems during desert stage, sounds as if we got off lightly. Leading the challenge is the streched limo from Barry, but they did skip the desert!

‘Rest day’ and boat trip to facinating St Louise today before departing for final border into the Gambia tomorrow with the ‘ferry crossing from hell’ and only 350 miles left. It’s been a lot more driving than we thought but great experience and great crowd of people.


January 8, 2007

Left a very pleasant Agadir for Laayoune but failed to get there by dark so spent the night at Tan Tan plage in very nice French B and B. Long 10 hour, uneventful drive to Dakhla with last two hours in the dark, not fun. Police stops every town but no bribes yet, just a bottle of water and a can of beer.

Rod and Chris decide shall we have the lamb tagine or the lamb tagine for lunch?

Arrived at Dakhla campsite late and well deserved rest day. Most teams here now, off at 6 am tomorrow with Mohammed our local guide (costing 300 Euros!) and 5 other cars: Rod & Colin, Team Arty Hearties (Merc); Joe & Brian, Speedy & Gonzales (Golf); Rod & Ute, Team Magic Roundabout (Renault 5); Tim & Carl, The Scurvy Dogs (Fiat Tempra) and Graham & Brian, Team Luck and Judgement (Peugeot 405) – for 4 days of desert and camping by a sand dune. Surfed magic, unnamed point today with no one else in the water, air is hot but water still cool. Truck is still going really well, will try more complete update other side of the desert.

Doing a ‘deal’ with Mohammed the Unsteady


January 2, 2007

OK here we are in Morocco, made it through the customs at Tangiers, no problem, in 45 minutes with lots of bits of paper changing hands, even though we were warned that it could take up to 7 hours.

First night stop was meant to be in Sale but site was grim so we pushed on for Casablanca and as the light faded ended up in a lush hotel just north.

Nice hotel!

Long drive to Marrakesh next day and arrived in convoy with the three Latvian cars. Countryside is total contrasts, one moment rocks and sand the next lush valleys. Strange New Years Eve in Marrakesh, did the Djemma el Fna complete with snake charmers but ended up back at hotel with a dry bar by 11.30! Not as good as Little Haven! Off to coast on New Years Day and finally a surf at Mysteries, while Chris chats up 2 girls from South Pembs. First night under canvas (or rather tin) at another grim campsite at Taghazoute, with better waves next day at Panoramas and Banana Point.

Chris cruising at Panoramas

Arrive at Agadir burnt and tired and meet back up with Rod and Colin in the Africa Queen (a 20 year old Merc, Pushing south with them tomorrow to Llayoune. Truck is running like a watch, 500 miles to the Moroccan Sahara border in 2 days?… of course she’ll make it! PS the speaker is fixed!


December 29, 2006

We´ve made it to Tarifa in Spain without a map! 12 hours straight through France and overnight in Bilboa with tapas and beer. The truck is holding up really well, only problem so far is that the drivers door speaker has stopped working! Off to Morocco first thing tomorrow. First surf of the trip today, 2 foot and off shore with summer water temperatures. Morocco customs tomorrow so wish us luck!

In Tarifa locking down truck ready for Morocco!

We’re off

December 26, 2006

OK it’s lunchtme on Boxing Day and we’re on the ferry from Portsmouth tonight, the truck is packed and ready – a huge thank you to all our sponsors and supporters. We hope to be leaving Little Haven at 2pm and stopping in Haverforwest rugby club for a pint on the way – well start as you mean to carry on! Next stop will be somewhere in Spain… wish us luck!