1/10/89

The scene at dawn. We had freed the truck from the first bog, and parked it on a less muddy rise, then had slept for a few hours sitting upright in our seats. Now, we faced the prospect of trying to get through the next boggy section of road…

DAY FORTY The stillness of the forest was shattered at 5:30 AM by the roar of a chain-saw as Mike chopped up 5-foot lengths of wood to fill some of the worst holes. Scotty was going to try to drive along the very edge of the road rather than risk the watery mud at the centre. It wasn’t going to be easy though, and after an hour and a half, we had only gained 50 metres.

Sand-mats, timber baulks and branches. Trying to make our way along the edge of the bog.

It was then that our luck changed. An official of some sort came along in a Land Rover and told us that a 12-ton,  two-wheel-drive truck went through every day without trouble and if we went straight through the middle we would get through.

So in low, low range, Scotty put the Fox into the first 3-foot deep pool of mud and through she went, followed by the next pool and the next. We were out!!

Free at last! Scotty drives the Silver Fox through the bog and out onto solid ground.

Our spirits were even higher as we drove away from that quagmire and about an hour later we stopped beside a wide river for a wash and some breakfast.

A full day’s travelling took us to Gbadolite on the border, the town where president Mobutu comes from. In typical African form, the town has been lavished with money for big flash buildings, tar seal roads, streetlights and hotels. The whole effect is ludicrously funny as the smart buildings are empty, the flash service stations have no petrol and the roads before and after the tar sealed section are the roughest of any in Zaire!! The market only yielded bread and we camped the night in a quarry just out of town.

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