All's well that ends well

December 8th, 2017

For two hours now we have been on the road in the Valley of the Giants. The cacti are huge, the air is extremely dry and hot. The sun is burning down our necks and the fine sand dust has found its way everywhere.

During the last turning manoeuvre, a misunderstanding between me and Mathias leads to the left rear wheel getting stuck in the sand and the van can't be moved by an inch anymore.

With the jack (for a stable support we had to sacrifice our table unfortunately) we free the sunken wheel from the sand and lay underneath with the collected wooden branches a more stable basis, so that the wheel doesn't sink in again immediately. With a little momentum we want to release ourselves backwards from the loose sand. And it works! At least for the first one and a half meters until the right wheel digs itself into the sand. So deep that the engine is only a few centimetres above the sand. We look for more branches and stones and now we lay a stable foundation for all wheels. In the brooding hot sun a quite strenuous work. The water tank is visibly emptying. In the meantime we lifted the van five times and didn't get more than three meters.

It's now so dark out here that we can't see anything without flashlights. We are thinking about getting some help, but the fact that this would mean an hour's walk keeps us from getting there. We are exhausted and decide to spend the night on the spot.

The next morning we are already in the sand shortly after 5 a. m. and prepare the next attempt. This time the rear wheel washes away all the stones and branches underneath without even moving much, digging in deeper, so that the rear axle is now only a few centimetres above a wide cactus root. Now the nerves are running wild! If the next rescue attempt goes wrong, we can no longer free ourselves and are definitely dependent on third-party help. However, since yesterday at noon no one has driven past here. But the experiment succeeds! The van moves out of the extremely critical zone, but sinks in again after two metres.

After a total of 9 hours of digging we are slowly but surely at the end with our strength. We are just having a lunch break in the shade of the neighbouring giant cacti as a sudden engine noise penetrates through to us. This is our chance! A big truck drives in our direction and we immediately notice ourselves. The young family from Alberta pulls us out of the sand with their PS monster. Although we were secretly sure to make the last meter without any help, we are still very happy and grateful to be able to continue our journey.