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Towed to Dakar

Sunday afternoon we got the news that the local mechanics were not going to be able to adequately repair the electrical system in the car to work with the new engine. The advice of our friends Billy and Mamadou (who know alot more about engines than I ever will) was to have the car towed back to Dakar and get the rest of the work done by the garage that sold me the engine, while it’s still under warranty. There was no question that this was the right course of action, the car simply needs to be fixed correctly before we can continue our work. We quickly packed our gear and Tomas arranged for us to be towed behind another car going to Dakar that evening. There are cars here called “sept places” (which means “seven places” in French), usually ancient Renault station wagons, that are basically bush taxis that provide inexpensive travel between towns and cities. So this was our best bet. My vision of a tow truck quickly vanished!

Towing involves a metal pole attached to the two cars, and someone to steer the dead car.  It’s a bit crazy because the driver of the second car (us) has steering and brakes, but the first car obviously controls the speed and most of the direction. So if he swerves around a corner, our driver (in this case Mamadou) has to follow. Several times it felt like we were on 2 wheels! Since our car was dead, there was no ability to close or open windows (luckily they were open) so we were blasted by dust and heat for the first several hours until night fell.

But most of the 6 hour trip went fine, and once the sun set and we reached the road along the coast, the cool night air was very refreshing. We got the car to the garage in Dakar around midnight, and now we are at home awaiting the repairs and planning our next steps back to the Senegal River.

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