Tunisia 2010: Day 1 — Departure for Marseille

During the last few days leading up to our trip to Tunisia we spent our evenings making final checks and preparations. A few days before departure we learned that due to unforeseen circumstances the assistance truck would not be making the trip, so we had to make some last minute rearrangements to carry all the necessary equipment and supplies securely in the truck bed.

Fully loaded truck bed

The bed is 2.5m long and 2.3m wide, but the auxiliary fuel tank, spare tire and refrigerator take up a significant amount of space. We had originally intended to place the refrigerator in the shelter, but it was too bulky to install there without significantly reducing the comfort of the sleeping arrangements. This limitation was not a problem according to our original plan. Even with three 25 liter cans for extra fluids (transmission fluid, engine coolant and oil for the axles), we had room for a quad that we had agreed to transport from France to the edge of the desert for one of the members of our group. There was just enough place in the bed to hold the quad and still have space to move around.

Read more of this post

The Tatra is Back!

We’re just back from Kopřivnice with the Tatra (Erg Machine RS). The maintenance and painting are finished, and we picked it up at the factory on Monday. It was a 15-hour drive back, but this time the heater was working, so it was not as brutal as when we drove there in November!

The Tatra 815 (Erg Machine RS) at the Tatra Factory in Kopřivnice

The engineers did a thorough job, and the truck is almost like new, especially with the completely new paint design. We were impressed with the attention to detail the truck received, which included changing the Clearance/Marker lights for a more aesthetic look. Read more of this post

Tunisia: September 2010

As the 2011 Dakar Rally winds down after the closing ceremony on Sunday, this seems like a good time to share some of our experiences from our trip to The Grand Erg Oriental in Tunisia last September. It was our first voyage with the Erg Machine, and our first experience in the desert.

We were thoroughly delighted at having chosen Tunisia to make our first trip and are looking forward to returning as soon as it is possible to do so. We found the country’s arid beauty absolutely breathtaking, and with a few exceptions, the people we met were friendly and helpful. We did not spend much time in any of the populated areas, but we noted a stark contrast between the atmosphere in the few towns and villages we visited and the camps and oases of the southern desert regions.

The caravan on the road between Matamata and Ksar Ghilane

Read more of this post