My craziest offroad tour so far

This offroad route in Albania just started really easy but then it got fucking intense and in retrospective I think at especially one point Rosinante has been in real danger.

After the excitements of the Schatzi Racing offroad event the day before, I enjoyed the easy asphalt roads. After that the light and medium gravel started and everything was still easy. Then there were two easy riverside crossings and Rosinantes snorkel was crying for deeper water as always. I followed a sign leading to a waterfall, got into a village, didn’t find the waterfall and got back to the beautiful route.

From here onwards everything got more and more difficult. Like in a video game when from moment to moment things get harder and harder. The road got really muddy and soon the ruts got so deep that Rosinantes underbody armor got dragged on the mud from time to time. Having no experiences with real mud up to this point, I did as experienced offroaders are recommending: keeping the momentum, be aware of sliding everywhere. And that worked out really well. Rosinante digged her way through all the mud and had no problems getting up steep muddy inclines as well.

And then there was this tight, muddy corner! Because a lot of the road broke away this corner was really narrow. Especially at its apex. On the inside of the apex there was a steep slope. And the corner had an angle leading to the inside and this slope. Everything that slides on this angle to the inside of the corner falls down this slope and stays there. I thought about which type of car would be able to get to this point of the route and would be able to get Rosinante back on track in the case she slides down there. I came to the conclusion that in the muddy conditions there won’t be a chance. Of course I could have turned around but I didn’t want to and I thought that I can prepare the corner so that going around will be safe. So I started to dig gravel and mud from the outside and throw it to the inside of the corner. This made the corner wider and reduced the angle pointing to the inside. I searched for an anchor point to use the winch as a safety measure but couldn’t find one.

When I thought that everything is prepared well, I activated the low gears and the rear differential and started to go around the corner. I sticked to the outside of the corner as much and long as I could and when I had to turn the wheels around as far as possible and Rosinante got a bit around the corner I felt her rear drifting and sliding towards the slope. If I had stopped here, I think she would have slided down the slope. So I accelerated just a bit and turned the wheel in the best way I could think of. Rosinante made it around this corner. On the photos you can see how close the rear wheels passed the apex. After this corner I felt relieved and kind of bad at the same time. And in this moment it was clear to me that I couldn’t do this corner again. So there was no turning back. Now writing this, I think I would do it again.

After this special corner the mud only ended when there was the steepest rocky slope I did until then. And when I got down there and took a break at a nice lake newr a tiny village I thought that everything is fine and the rest of the tour would be easy.

So I started, drove into the village and had a chat with one local who said that the route ahead will be muddy and bumpy as hell and that it could be a problem driving it. Turning around was not an option because of the special corner I survived and I was not willing to this again at that point. When the guy asked me if I’d like to have a tea I kindly declined because it was already in the afternoon and driving the route ahead in darkness I could not imagine to do. Staying until the next day was no option as well because the weather report said that the next day it would be raining all day.

So I continued the route and the local guy was absolutely right. The route was even more muddy and bumpy then before and got narrow as well. I did not take any photos because at this point I was pretty exhausted and my only wish was to make it to the end of the route. But there was no extrem situation as the special corner and Rosinante and I got through everything.

As soon as the road got safe and easy driveable, I looked for a spot to stay. And the next day hanging around that spot it was really raining all day. I hope that no one tried to go that route on that rainy day with even more mud.

Companionship and solitude

This journey is my first real travel or journey I’m doing on my own. Before I never did even holidays alone. I always went with a girlfriend or friends.

Now that I’m on my way for quite some weeks, I must say, that I’m feeling really good in solitude. It feels like I don’t have to care as much as before. Like if a weight got lifted from me or something. Maybe I’ve got a ‘take care of others and feel bad if they are not happy traumata’ or something.

Before I started this journey, I often thought about having some time for myself and not to look what others are needing etc. And that’s exactly what’s happening right now: at the moment I’m just doing what I want. There are no appointments or other people that are wanting something from me. And there are very few worries and other topics of friends and family that I get confronted with. Sometimes that feels really unfamiliar and sometimes I recognise, that I’m searching for the next thing I have to do or worry about. It’s like a background process running and sometimes it gets into the foreground of my mind. When this happens, I need sometime to become clear again, that there is no next thing I have to do and nothing to really worry about.

But until now I didn’t do nothing for more than an hour or so. Most of the time I’m doing something: watching and experiencing these wonderful landscapes, listening to silence, driving, eating, thinking, writing, drawing, making music, messaging or talking with friends or locals, running, biking, cleaning, working on Rosinante, buying groceries etc. In the past I thought about going to an buddhist retreat of silence where you are not allowed to take anything with you and you are not allowed to talk to others. Just meditating, eating, sleeping, repeat. I never did this because it felt somehow not right for me. I thought, that finding a place in nature and staying there for a week or so and just doing my own retreat of silence, eating, sleeping, cooking, repeat would be a better fit for me. I’m wondering if this will ever happen.

Before I started this journey, I made the plan to start this blog to keep me sane. To communicate my thoughts, feeling etc. to some one or no one, just communicating. Until now, this seems to work pretty good.

Apart from my times of solitude I meet new people here and there. Especially here in Albania it’s crazy. Everywhere are super friendly people that start talking and showing stuff etc. More about that in another post.

In Croatia I meet Tino the smart and clever electricity guy from Germany I wrote about. It’s his offroad van you are seeing in the photos of this post. We meet again in Albania and spent some days together talking about all sorts of topics: cars, electricity, offroading, life, Germany, Albania, mindfulness and everything else and we did some crazy offroading tours together in which I learned a lot. This felt absolutely great too and I had a lot if fun. So it seems, that right now I did not become a crazy solitude guy that hates other people and wants to eat them or something like that. I hope, that I will meet more such nice, smart and friendly like Tino on my journey. And I think the chances are looking quite good.