23-December-1992 5:45 PM

This has been a day like the tides. The emotions rolled from low to high. It started early in the day. We had eaten another breakfast of oatmeal and finished packing up camp. All was ready to leave. Except my jeep. Seems like it had other plans in mind, like staying. The engine cranked and turned, but would not start. Turn and turn and turn. but no ignition. Turn a little more and then stop: dead battery. A jump from Mario’s pickup solves that problem. We checked everything: the fuel going to the filter; the fuel coming out of the filter; the fuel coming out of the carburetor jets; spark from the distributor; air filter…

Then the thought occurred that the gas might not be that great. A little camping white gas down the throat of the carburetor and the jeep starts. It stalls right away, but it started. Bad gas. We keep trying the white gas till it keeps running. No problem. Once it was wanned up, it ran fine.

I realize that real negative emotions were pouring from me at the time the jeep wouldn’t start. I snapped at Mario and cursed at nothing. That was a bad thing. I have to keep better control. I offer Mario my apologies, I didn’t mean to offend him.

Off we go back to Gueren-o Negro. We top off the cars and I buy some octane booster. We hope it will help starting in the morning. Tomorrow will tell.

We stop at a phone. Bibi wants to call her daughter, Leah, to make sure that everything is OK at home. Mario stops in the liquor store for some tequila. I go to the pharmacy looking for another notebook. This one is filling up fast. Bibi cannot get through to an international operator. That will have to wait. Perhaps the next large town will have a phone.

One more stop for some purified water. So far we’ve only used about 6 gallons of the fresh water we brought along. And that includes the showers.

In the next little town, we top off the tanks again. Now we’re heading into the desert and there won’t be another station for a couple of hundred miles.

We turn off the trans-penninsula highway onto a small paved road. A few miles later and it turns into a dirt road. A dirt road with lots of washboard. Very, very bumpy washboard. But if we keep the speed above 55, it smoothes out. Just have to watch out for those car eating potholes…

A couple of stops along the way yield 2 or 3 nights of firewood. Some of the rather large pieces are strapped to the top of the jeep. It looks like antlers have grown. Interesting sight.

We turn off the main dirt road heading into a village. Civilization is the last thing we want just now. Even a simple fishing village. After driving through the desert on a bumpy dirt road, we reach the pacific ocean.

Stopping at some sand dunes let’s us scout the trail ahead on foot. The top of the dunes show us a blue ocean. The sand under foot is oh so fine and the air around is a warm temperature. The sky above is clear and blue. Breath-taking.

We decide that the dunes would be too tough to climb with the vehicles. Besides, it is too pristine a scene to disturb with tire tracks. Doubling back a bit and taking another trail shows an easy way down to the beach.

Stopping again to scout about reveals a beach not of sand, but of shells’ Dunes, hills and flat stretches of land all covered with shells. Digging a hole about a foot deep shows nothing but shells. Little ones, big ones; whole, broken, smooth and rough. Nothing but shells. Amazing. Never before have I seen such a sight. Along the water in both directions, nothing but shells.

We drive past one potential spot for camp. It’s close to the beach and protected from the wind by some small dunes. It even has the remains of a file ring.

Mario is slowly traveling the trail and I follow cautiously behind. He rounds a bend over small hill and gets stuck. The shells we were driving on give way and the pickup sinks. Some quick digging and he is free.

The trail ahead is nothing but shells. Lots of places to get stuck. We’re going to head back to the first site we saw and Mario is stuck again. This time digging doesn’t help very much. Letting some air out of the tires increases the traction, but not enough to get out. The pickup moves forward a bit more and sinks once again. Time to winch it out. We set up an anchor in the shells hoping that it will grab and hold. Nothing doing. The winch just pulls it free and drags it through the shells. Digging a hole about 1 1/2 feet shows some sand. Bury it there and try again. All we do is dig up more shells. I think that these dunes are nothing but shells.

Since the jeep is on fairly solid ground, we try using it as an anchor point. Move it slightly to bring it in line with the pickup and place wheel chokes to keep it there. Mario’s winch line is too short to make it all the way so we use mine to make up the difference. At last, a stable anchor and the pickup is moving. It gets to a point of solid level ground and Mario is able to drive the rest of the way out.

Dinner is now ready, Mario just called. I must break away from the sounds of the waves to feed. I wonder what it will be tonight.

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