The Mission: 3 trucks in convoy to Carlos Pelligrin to view wildlife. Do we make it? Do we bollocks. Even just parking up outside the campsite one of the trucks parks at such an obtuse angle it's nigh on toppling over. It's unable to reverse and going forward would certainly tip it over. Hmm... OK, everybody off the truck!
All 3 crews mess around with ropes, winches and angles for an hour while we passengers crack open a few tinnies, sit down and enjoy the show in true British tradition. The event got even more exciting with the advent of traffic police turning up to direct traffic around the incident . The show climaxed with the other 2 very carefully positioned trucks dragging the stranded one back onto the road with ropes. One pulled it back and the other held it upright. All 3 drivers admitted they thought it'd go over at some point.
Excitement over with we hit the road and stop at a service station to ask about the condition of some notorious back roads we need to take. Our last known intelligence was from 3 days ago and claims it to be impassable. But hey, that was 3 days ago right!? Lets try it anyway! Still we have to drive down a highway first.
I'm in the middle convoy truck of 3, bombing along in the rain. Another lorry at the front (unrelated to us) brakes hard as it unexpectedly happens across some major pot holes - on coming traffic giving it no room to manoeuvre. The first truck follows suit. We brake harder and begin to swerve, avoiding traffic. We slide, we gain control back. The last truck throws out the anchors, gets a coating of mud on the windscreen obscuring it's view. Still under heavy breaking the driver flips on the windscreen wipers just in time to see our truck filling up his vision. The impact crumples his cabin and collapses the steering column in between his legs. His passengers are flung forward and feel the brutal force of a sudden stop. We get shunted violently forwards before coming to a standstill. Billiards with 5 tonne trucks isn't much fun when you're inside. Luckily it's cuts and bruises all round, no serious injuries. Police later inform us another lorry driver died in an accident at the same spot earlier that morning.
The convoy limps around the corner to survey the damage. The lead truck is unscathed, our truck has a crumpled back locker and a seriously buckled rear frame. The last truck: crumpled cabin, smashed windscreen, a sheared bull bar and a mangled radiator. The crew formulate a plan - we bush camp right there for the night whilst they work on the trucks. Salvaging parts from one truck they're able to rewire our rear lights to make it street legal. And only minor sledge hammer work is required to re-align crucial parts of the rear frame. Luckily most of the damage on the other truck is superficial and the engine is largely intact. With a nifty bit of Heath Robinson work they fashion a new water reservoir from a Jerry can and replace most of the hydraulic tubing to gain power steering back.
As for the passengers, the unscathed truck break out cook gear and get some brews going (how very English). All while the girls cry and down rum, neat from the bottle like there's no tomorrow, to "steady their nerves" and "give the bottle back right now you f*cker, we need it and aren't in the mood for jokes." The boys do what boys do best, crack sick jokes and act generally unsympathetic to the girls. Meanwhile I set about making dinner for my truck - I'm on cook duty! (Shame there weren't any fatalities I could have boiled up!) Being Chef I get everyone else to chop stuff up whilst I do the all important sampling and spicing. I muster up Sweet'n'Sour Chicken with a mild curry Butternut Squash mash - or as I told everyone else when they asked, "Chicken in red sauce with orange porridge." The flavours in both came out fantastic - I was extremely pleased with my taste creation. Though the mash was too soggy to cope with the runny red sauce. Something I didn't think through. Oh well. Dessert was pineapple slices marinated in Orange Vodka warmed with sugar. Boy'O'Boy did that work well! It even doubled up as us cocktail shots later!
A log fire gave the girls a chance to whinge about how a minor nic would ruin all their future holiday photos and the boys a chance to brag about whose injury was the worst. The title went to John who took out a table in the truck with his ribs, shearing off 4 of the 5 bolts that held it to the wall. And me? I was asleep at the time with my legs jammed up against the seat in front, cushioning the blow. I barley felt a thing but was somewhat disgruntled about being rudely awaken from my slumber. How inconsiderate!
Posted by Steve Eynon