The past few days have been filled with problems, fortunately, none of which have been mine. The five of us, Tom, Fran, Dennis, Jackie and myself in set off from Essaouira, heading along the coast to Souiria, only a hundred kilometres further north. It was beautiful day and we set off in high spirits. We expected to arrive in Souiria around lunchtime, giving us plenty of time to relax in the afternoon or move on to another stopover if it wasn’t very nice.
We’d covered about 50 kilometres or so when Dennis pulled over, he could smell diesel. Opening his bonnet, diesel was everywhere, the engine bay was covered in it. Without seeing an obvious leak, we started the engine and found one of the injector pipes had split, pumping out diesel at high pressure. We’d only just passed through a small town, a matter of a few hundred metres. Dennis, without much choice, reversed back to a mechanic on the edge of town. Moroccans are past masters when it comes to keeping anything mechanical going, and within minutes the split pipe had been removed. Getting a new injector pipe for an American Dodge Ram truck in the middle of Morocco was out of the question, an alternative had to be found. The mechanic took the pipe away and had it brazed to cover the split. Putting everything back together, the repair seemed okay, we set off once again. Twenty kilometres further on the pipe split again, and once again by sheer luck we were within a hundred metres of another mechanic. This time a much better and stronger braze fixed the problem. The total cost of the two mechanics, €35.
It was gone five when we finally reached Souiria and could relax, glad that the days problems were over. We enjoyed a coffee and some crepes in the small restaurant close to where we parked up.
With the sun shining from a clear blue sky we set off for El Jadida, further along the coast. The coastal road was in poor condition, as are most in Morocco, and we were bucked and bounced about as we covered the kilometres. We were driving in a mini convoy, Tom in front, me in the middle and Dennis bringing up the rear. Not far from El Jadida I looked in my rear view mirror to find Dennis missing, I drove more slowly thinking he might have been held up by traffic, but after a few minutes and no sign of him, I flashed Tom to stop, which we managed to do on the forecourt of a newly built petrol station. Dennis turned up ten minutes later to say he had been flashed down by a local to tell him his trailer wire was hanging loose and had stopped to fix it. When he showed us the wire we noticed a small dent on the rear lefthand side of his caravan and a light lens missing and a piece of trim bent on the righthand side. It was strange as Dennis assured us that he had not hit anything and that nothing had hit him. On closer inspection we noticed that the caravan rear panel seemed to detached from the chassis, a major problem, probably as a result of all the rough roads we had travelled on. With little choice we carried on to El Jadida, with me taking the rear to keep an eye on things, should they get worse.
Parking up on the beachfront in El Jadida we had a closer look at Dennis’s trailer, it was obvious he had a major problem. We couldn’t tell if the chassis had broken, but it was obvious that the trailer floor had become detached from the rear panel, allowing it to move sideways. The trailer, an American built 5th wheeler, has three slide out sections, two on the lefthand side and one on the right. The righthand one was jammed and would not open, the whole trailer body seemed out of alignment. We jacked up the rear of the trailer to get a better look, but apart from speculation really didn’t know exactly what was wrong or it’s cause. It was getting dark by then and we decided to sleep on it and have another think in the morning.
It was a noisy night, but we must have slept well as when Tom got up to take the dog for a walk he noticed that the straps he has securing the things in his trailer we cut, a bag had been tossed over a nearby wall, fortunately most of the contents were also there, and that one of his front tyres was flat. We could only assume that whoever had cut the straps had let down the tyre, maybe because they couldn’t find anything of value. Our luck, or at least Dennis’s and Tom’s were at rock bottom. We managed to pump up Tom’s tyre and discussed Dennis’s problem, a fix of some sort was needed to get him back, if not to the UK, then at least back into Europe.
I had to leave as I’d arranged to meet a good friend further northeast in Morocco. There was little I could do to help Dennis and I set off after saying my goodbyes around 10:30. It seemed strange to be on my own again after four months travelling with others. I had made good friends with Tom & Fran as well as Dennis & Jackie and know I will miss them, they are all wonderful people.
To save some time I picked up the motorway not far from El Jadida and drove to Fes where I’m parked up alongside the ancient Medina walls. It’s noisy, but it’s only for one night, tomorrow I head for the El Jebha on the Mediterranean coast.
It seems I've been travelling for most of my life.
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