|Title:||"north of argo, part one" - "the short cut"|
|Location:||wawa, sudan (206 m)|
|Text:||54 794 kilometres on the road
we left the police station early in the morning and drove to kerma where we enjoyed yet another breakfast of fouul. swallowing mouthfuls of beans we went again over the map and the details of today's ride.
north of the kerma the main road follows the river which first turns slightly west and then bends sharply to the east, forming something like a nose of land. that whole stretch, until the village of ferrek, is full of deep sand; vincent and steve had told us about the nightmares they had had on this stretch.
from midhat we knew, however, that we could take a shortcut through the desert, leading straight from kerma to ferrek. this way we would avoid the sand and have a much shorter ride. many different tracks, he had told us, would go into the desert. but all would eventually rejoin the main road and there would be no danger of getting lost.
we left the sandy main road right after kerma and turned north-east. there were many tracks to choose from and we took one that seemed commonly used and leading far to the right. initially there were some deep sandy passages but soon the ground became quite firm and stony. our first attempt proved disappointing as we ended up on a huge rock, overlooking the desert and with no other access than the one we had arrived from.
after a fair bit of swearing we turned back and drove straight across an open plain where we found another, well-used, track of compact sand, which was leading straight north. the nile was nowhere to be seen, far to the west with its dreaded soft sand. the ride was very enjoyable and the bike handled beautifully in all situations. we had no doubt that we'd eventually find the main road again despite the many paths that constantly branched off and found together again like railway tracks before a big station.
we never reached ferrek. when the desert finally expelled us back onto the main road we were already a couple of kilometres north of the town. after this dusty and rough ride the nile, lined with its green, fertile belt of palms trees and fields looked like paradise. we drove along its banks and reached the town of delgo at noon.