Rosinante needs a recovery (June 2023)

Ani continued her journey and took the mountain pass we had taken before we met her.

Cindy and I wanted to go to a waterfall. On Google Maps the road leading there looked like a proper road. On Open Street Maps it looked different and a bit off-roady.

We decided to give it a try and quickly ended up in a famous off-road track. Rosinante did very well going up the small mountain on the very rocky track with a lot of stone steps.

Once we reached the upper part of the mountain, the track turned into a field of mud. Several cars already got stuck there and so did we with Rosinante. The first time, we managed to get her free on our own. The second time we asked somebody else to pull us out. After that we decided to park Rosinante at a nice spot and walk the rest of the way to the lake.

Suddenly while walking the track, Cindy recognized that she had lost her phone. We went back and looked hard for it. And we found it. It was just lying on a big metal pipe we had crossed before. And to both sides of the pipe there was water but the phone was just lying there in the only dry spot of the pipe. Several off-road cars must have crossed the pipe as well, but we just could pick it up again.

The lake was very beautiful and on the way there we saw one of the old UAZ Buchanka you can see often in Georgia. I love them.

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.