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A Writer’s Journey!

For those of you who have recently joined my Reader’s Group, I send a weekly email trying to answer the question,

“Who is Spencer Hawke”.

A Writer’s Journey is my story. You are welcome to write me if you have questions here.

Talk about Culture Shock!!

Sahara Desert – North Africa 1975

I wasted no time breaking camp that morning. In fact, I was on the “road” in record time. I say “road”… In 1975 this “black top”  was a single lane, pot holed, pathway that I cursed frequently. Within the next hour I was going to eat my words. 

There was no “Lane Ends in 1/2/ Mile” sign..  One minute I was bumping along on a fairly civilized road (for Africa), the next I was in sand. Engine revving, the land rover now struggling to make forward progress. Within five miles I was stuck in the sand. I turned off the engine, walked around the vehicle to survey the situation. Up to the axle in soft soft sand.

Oh and did I mention that it was now over 100 degrees Fahrenheit?

I tried to stay positive, I hummed Gene Kelley’s “Singing in the rain”. At least the frequent beads of sweat cascading off my forehead made it almost feel like rain! Yeah Right! Not!

5 days earlier I was driving through Paris. What fond memories. I had spent one very expensive night at the Crazy Horse Saloon. The thoughts of those burlesque girls would comfort me for many a night.

“Time to stay calm”. I thought to myself.

“What would I do back home in England if I got stuck on a muddy road”?

I know. Great idea. I would get some wood from dead trees lying around, jam it under my tires and before you know it,

“Bob’s Your Uncle”.

Well he isn’t really. It’s an English expression, means the same as “tickety-boo”.

As it turns out, Bob is not my uncle and looking around for a good strong oak tree was fruitless, definitely not tickety-boo! I couldn’t even see the black top road. Some dunes, a calcified skeleton of a camel, and total solitude. The silence, so quiet, I could hear the sand scraping over and over as a light breeze caused the tiny rock fragments to cascade down the dune in front of me.

I thought back to my trip preparations. What did I have in the back? Then I remembered my father had insisted that I load army surplus tire tracks for just this purpose. God Bless him, I thought to myself. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a Dad, let alone have one who was so supportive of an insane desire to drive across Africa, hoping to reach Australia, sometime….. But Dad’s were young too and they also had dreams in their youth. He understood, even if he was worried to death about my safety.

After an hour trying to wedge the tracks under my truck, run around, start the engine and drive forward, I gave up. It was now over 110 degrees. I didn’t have a dry spot on me. But then I had an inspired thought, well two actually.

The first, if I kept up this pace, I would probably die of heatstroke.
The second, I had bought some whiskey from the “Duty-Free” shop on the ferry.

It was time to make camp, get a bottle of whiskey down from my “Emergency Supplies” hamper and wait for dusk.

In no time at all, I was feeling no pain. I tried my Gene Kelley imitation, by myself, in the middle of the desert. As dusk fell and a light meal had removed my melancholy I looked over at the dune in front of me. I saw something scampering down, it looked translucent. If I had been a little tipsy before, it soon vanished. My mind returned to the memory of waking up that very morning staring into the stingers of two scorpions.

That night, I decided to sleep in the truck. I would tackle the sand and dig my truck out in the morning……

Last Week, I left you with this question – Some busses and trucks do drive through the Sahara.  “Do you know which side they prefer to drive on”??

Ever present winds in the Sahara obliterate any trace of tire tracks, paths or even camel dung. Driver’s don’t watch the desert in front of them for any particular obstruction. They are constantly searching ahead for any sign of soft sand. Vehicles change direction more often than in a bumper car ride at the fair. The answer, “They drive anywhere the Sam Hill they want!!!!

Feel free to share. Your friends and family can download a FREE copy of Part 1 of The Arrows of Islam, here.

Thank you for joining our Readers Group!

Have a super weekend.

Best wishes,

Spencer
The Ari Cohen Box Set

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The Mystery of the Dead Sea Scrolls – Revealed
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