Here we are once again with Cécile and Romain, our 4L Trophy team for the retrospective follow-up and narration of their second week of adventures. In addition to this, we invite you to read the 2015 results from the 4L, “School, it’s essential,” by the NGO Enfants du Désert to learn more about the 4L Rally initiative.
4L Trophy : week 2
Monday, February 23rd, 2015: after a short and cold night, here we are once again with another 186 mile trip to reach Merzouga, where there should be sun and more pleasant temperatures! The last 31 miles we left the road and took the trail: we are in the heart of the desert among the dunes and sand or rocks ways. We arrive at the Mergouza camp where we give school stationery to Enfants du Désert society. We send our car for a mechanical check-up to fix the protective metal sheet of the engine, and replace a pin on one of the wheels that broke on the trails.
Tuesday, February 24th, 2015: we make our first loop in the desert. For around 55 miles, we ride in the sand and rocks with the aid of a compass and our road-book. It is a sunny day! We go across wonderful landscapes and meet Berbers on mobylettes, even though the nearest village is at least 18 miles away. At noon, we settle down under a banana tree and set up camp to eat. At the end of the day, we come back to the bivouac and share good times with the other crews around us.
Wednesday, February 25th, 2015: we have been chosen from a drawing to spend a day with the Enfants du Désert organization members to see them in action, help, and meet the local people. In the morning, we went to Rissani where we took part in the construction of a play park for orphans. Cécile took part in painting murals on the walls, and I helped to dig holes and pour concrete/cement to fix the swings and turnstyles (tourniquet in French). At midday, we ate with the family, became friends, and exchanged stories about our culture and life styles. In the afternoon, we visited two schools built thanks to the previous 4L Trophy Rallys. It was an emotional half-day spent meeting the children and teachers.
In the evening, going back to camp we came to the chassis mechanic: one shock absorber was broken, and the other one had buckled. That would keep us from taking the trail with our friends, and we will have to reach Marrakech by the road. The disappointment is not so bad because we know that by road the landscape is even much more beautiful than by trail!
Thursday, February 26th, 2015: Departure for Marrakech. The crews hit the road at 11:30 am to take the trail, we took advantage of the extra time to ride camels in the dunes and talk with Berbers. We then departed ourselves and were amazed by the beautiful countryside. We broke our throttle cable in the middle of a group of 25 children who were trying to stop the 4L by throwing stones to rob us. It was very stressful, but fortunately a crew stopped to tow us 3 miles farther to allow us to repair it in peace. We took once more to the road and stopped in a Riad in the village of Agdz. The shower was the best moment of the night!
Friday, February 27th, 2015: we stopped at Ouarzazate for lunch and regained our strength before taking the Tichka pass, the most dangerous one in Morocco—with 15 miles of hairpin turns that go up and down on the mountainside without any protective barriers. Sometimes trucks that aren’t careful even try to pass you! Once we made it through, we reached Marrakech in the evening: that’s it, we did it, and we made it to the end! At the finish line, there was a guard of honour set up by the organization and families. We exchanged our road-books for hotel keys! After that we get together with our friends to celebrate our arrival at the end of this expedition…
Saturday, February 28th, 2015: Free day in Marrakech: we took advantage of the time and enjoyed the day with some shopping at the souk, seeing monkeys and cobras, eating in a typical restaurant etc… We ended the day by diving head first in the hotel swimming pool.
For the closing party, there were shows of riding Berbers, and after the dinner, a dance floor waited for guests. We came back to the hotel around 2 am because tomorrow we had to get on the road to reach the harbour and catch a ferry to Tangier.
Sunday, March 1st, 2015: It was hard to wake up after such a short night! We arrived at Tangier harbour around 4 pm for the ferry crossing. We reached Algésiras around 10 pm, and then we drove until 3 am before setting up camp ourselves because we could not find any hotels.
Monday, March 2nd, 2015: We took the highway to Bordeaux where we planned to spend the night: We did the 683 miles in one day and reached Bordeaux around midnight! There, we spent the night in a hotel to be in good form for tomorrow, our last road day.
Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015: Bordeaux-Rouen. We arrived at Rouen around 8 pm. That’s it, the adventure ends here!