Two Wrongs Make a Wrong
With the Transhit now fixed we were good to go. Kaspars was waiting to be picked up from Gatwick and now we were running late and in danger of missing the ferry.
We had to limit ourselves to one pitstop for essential travel supplies and a nip to the bog. We arrived triumphantly in Dover with twenty minutes to spare. As we filtered into the port we got pulled over for a customs search.
Look straight ahead and smile
We were never likely to slip through unnoticed. The Transhit and trailer were about as inconspicuous as a Ford Mondeo being driven by a bear.
We suddenly had one of those panic moments where you all feel the need to just check no one brought an AK-47. Unless however there was a limit on how many empty Haribo packets you could take to France we felt more inconvenienced than concerned.
I hope he doesn't put on a glove
The sniffer dog did what sniffer dogs do. It sniffed in the back of the van and momentarily barked loudly before needing resuscitation. It had found Charles’ socks. The customs officer approached us.
“What is the purpose of your trip?” .
“Riding mopeds across the Sahara.”
Another officer joined. This could have gone either way. Either they would decide we’d consumed a good portion of the drugs we were obviously smuggling, or they might believe us and let us on our way. Since no one seemed to be slipping on a marigold we assumed it was the latter. They weren’t done though.
I hope he doesn't put on a glove
We all had to empty our pockets and walk through a scanner. This was largely drama-free until Kaspars’ went through. It made a few squeaking sounds like it had found something but was frightened to say.
One of the officers then wielded one of those wands like they have at airports. With a flurry of wrist movement he proceeded to scan Kaspars with his government issue light-sabre. It lit up and had definitely found something. Turned out Kaspars’ pink crocs had metal toe caps.
After a few shakes of the head we were let on our way to join the ferry queue. Bellend last obviously.
Nothing to Declare
For the next two days we were crammed in to the Transhit with all our luggage and a dashboard strewn with empty food packets and coffee cups.
Apart from getting the van and trailer stuck in a churchyard and ordering spaghetti bolognese for starter AND main course by accident, there was nothing to report until our first stopover.
Thanks to Roger Bruton, Plymouth – Dakar Rally veteran, for putting us up with dinner and wine at his gaff. It was a welcome retreat after 15 hours on the road.
Refreshed, we got back in the van and spent another 15 hours on the road. The campsite picked at random near Marbella was a welcome sight and it had a bar.
My tent smells funny
Gelert had kindly sponsored us with tents the size of a small wedge of cheese. Perfect for travelling with but to get in and out you had to lie down and wiggle sideways like a beached mermaid.
Once the tents were up, we gathered for a team talk in the bar. Kaspars spotted a bottle of “VAT 69” gathering dust on the top shelf. The next morning our camp looked like a twister had struck.
Oz had woken up in the night and got disorientated by the fact the tent didn’t have a zip at the front. Unable to find his way out he gave up and pissed himself.
Charles faired a little better. He at least got the zip undone but failed to get his manhood over the lip of the tent and so ended up in a puddle of his own piss.
Home sweet home
It’s bad enough putting away a wet tent. Worse still when it’s infused with urine and it’s your only home for the next few weeks. Fortunately the ferry to Ceuta wasn’t until after lunch so we packed up our soiled belongings and retired back to the bar. This time for strong coffee.
The day perked up when the campsite owner agreed to store the Transhit and trailer. He needed some persuading though since he assumed none of us would make it back from the Sahara alive and he’d have to pay to scrap the van. After a round of pastries washed down with another coffee we did our final checks on the bikes before heading to the port in Algeciras.
No clutch, no brakes
At this point Greg felt the need to remind us that he didn’t have a bike licence. We spent the next half hour drilling him with the important driving characteristics of a Yamaha Townmate. There is no clutch. There is a brake lever and a brake pedal. Neither of them work. The battery is 6V so the indicators will eventually glow but not flash.
Seeing that he was more than a little perturbed we attempted reassurance by telling him the bike was left hand drive and walked off before he had time to process that bit of information.
And then we were off knowing the bikes and us would never be the same again. We reached the port without drama. Nothing, and importantly no one, fell off.
There was a slight delay in obtaining our ferry tickets while Charles spent twenty minutes looking for his sunglasses which were in fact on his head, underneath his helmet…
It was definitely looking like two wrongs make a wrong.
Locked and (over) loaded
As usual Kaspars had already packed and left