The road quickly deteriorates, just as I was told it would. I’m down to first gear for massive potholes, and most are full of water. At times the road is wide enough for two vehicles, though often it’s a single lane track. I’m driving through thick jungle, and in many, many places it has been smashed down and replaced by enormous palm tree plantations, at times stretching far to the horizon in all directions.
I begin to encounter massive mud pits on the road, severely chopped up by the dangerously overloaded transport trucks moving the palm, cocoa and rubber. They are no problem for the Jeep, especially with the front and rear lockers engaged, though the problem starts when I come across trucks stuck in the pits, completely blocking the road. When I say stuck, I really mean stuck. One crew has been in the mud for a week, and are attempting to unload their truck by hand to make it light enough to get out under it’s own power. There is a route to the side I’m tempted to try, though I sink up to my knees walking it, and the mud is severely sticky and strong, so I don’t love my chances.
As luck would have it a local guy tells me there is a road to bypass the mess, so he jumps in the Jeep and we set out on about 5 miles of track through the jungle. This tracks itself also has mud pits and a lot of standing water, though thankfully no struck trucks blocking the way forward. Returning back to the main road the man only asks for water, which I immediately give.
Dan Grec has set out to drive his Jeep Wrangler for 2 years and 80,000 miles in a circumnavigation of the African continent, solo.