Driving in the desert is always an adventure. It challenges you in ways you don’t see everyday and holds a mirror in front of you wether you like it or not. Only when you are in the desert you can feel The elements reminding you to stay focused. Every 30 seconds you get a dry mouth as if you have been chewing camel furr 🐪 for the last hours.
And although we are drinking like crazy, we don’t have to pee all day. Which is actually quite nice. There is just simply not enough fluids in our bodies when we drink 2,5L water. Us boys are slobbering away the most water 💦, so Dad made sure all tanks, jerrycans and extra jugs are filled for only 2 days in the desert. And still then we have to be on water saving mode, just to be sure.
I am using extra water for my cooling vest and coolingmat. They truly help me get through the day! Because the temperature in the desert is around our body temp. So it is difficult to cool it down. And although our car has airconditioning, Dad is too worried about the rising temperature of the engine. One endless soft sand mountain (not a dune but a mountain with an endless nasty slope) got the best of Dad. The car engine heated up to 75% and we had to compromise. Dad tried to grill us by turning up the heater to 💯 % to take away the heat of the engine. What are his intentions here… grilled Labrador?? Melting the chocolate one?? 🥵
Imagine you are in a desert in 38C with sandblasting wind of the same temperature! As if you are sitting in an airfryer all day like a chicken nugget. Nothing to lower your body temperature, and Dad turning full ‘Landcruiser heater’ on you… Sir, can I also choose to walk up the mountain while you zigzag your way up? Literally unbearable, because even in Dutch winter full heater on is like a sauna 🧖♂️…
It also then got the best of Mom. She is wrapped with guilt feelings every minute of the way. She can’t get over the thought that she’s the one that agreed to go to Morocco during the hottest months of the year. And why? She knew and studied the temperature charts, knowing it was gonna be too hot for us doggos. And yet she agreed to go because she wanted to go to Morocco soo bad for years now. But November was her plan. So now she’s fully responsible and to blame for our furr to be crispy like this. When she showered us and wetted our complete coat, Finley dried up within 15 minutes and even my old ass furr dried up in half an hour 🥵.
Why did she think this was a good choice as a responsible pawrent? We are the only doggos in the Sahara!! Lady… 👀open your eyes👀 … it’s an O•V•E•N out here! We are panting 😮💨 all day even when we get 5 minutes of airconditioning every hour. Our car is having a tough time driving through loose sand, with a full car and trailer… and also the airconditioning on…? It reminds Mom it’s not a modern model offroad car. It’s a 2001 model that drives like a tractor 🚜! Our speed is 30km/h generally and luckily the one thing we have is enough time on our hands 😝
And although Mom learned some skills in therapy and she understands it is not helpful in this situation to punish herself, it keeps consuming her thoughts ALL DAY long! She knows by now it touches an old feeling. And being angry is new for Mom! And sometimes she’s unsuccessful in expressing it or discussing it. Then it turns inside and she starts hating herself and thinks she doesn’t deserve it to live anymore… blablabla… all so not helpful, but an old mechanism that has been with her for years. This time she shut down and stopped talking and feeling and being in the present.
Us doggos can cut the tension in the car with a knife 🔪! Mom is silently crying and Dad is freaking out over his beloved car! Mom being angry at herself for putting us (her dearest kiddos) in this situation being fully responsible. And if Mom wants to stick up for us, how does that work? How do you do that?? She doesn’t know because she never did this before. Should she book a flight home for us three? To show Dad this is too much for us doggos and draw a line here??
Mom figured out after a day of resting that a plain ticket is maybe, just maybe, a step too far. She can also start smaller by talking to Dad and explaining her panic. Because the panic ladder for Mom and Dads ladder are very different. They look something like this:
Moms panic ladder:
- Nesto and Finley
- Nesto and Finley
- Moms sisters and nieces
- All other loved ones
Now Dads panic ladder:
- Toyota Landcruiser
Dad is always panicking over his car. And punishing himself if anything doesn’t work ‘the way it should’. Then, in his mind, he is responsible and has to make sure it works perfect again. He tells himself he didn’t prepard good enough for this trip. He is learning now to not listen to these voices and not panic over it. And trust his own believe he taught Mom:
There is always a solution!
Normally the engine heats up to 50% in standard Dutch conditions. Not weird when it is heating up in these Sahara conditions to 75%. But Dads comfort level is already at 65-70%. So when he sees the temperature rising, he freaks out.
In his panic he cannot handle helpful suggestions, comments or help. He has to prevent damage and fix the situation by himself. In his mind an overheated engine means no transportation back home, no more travelling, disappointing everyone including himself… And when we say freaking out we mean FREAK OUT! As if the love of his life is balancing between life and DEATH and he is responsible. Completely taken over by fear, stress, survival, worries… the whole shebam!!
Now us doggos are in the backseat looking at this like: guys… zoom out! What is the bigger picture here? We are all together and we are all HOT but also FINE! But Mom and Dad are both stuck in their own head, with both a different priority, so they seem to think. But when we doggos zoom out we all want the same. Let’s drive down the mountain and allow the driving wind to cool down the engine. At the bottom we can check together if we either have to go back, go over the mountain or maybe drive around it… it’s not we don’t have the time for it…?! Is it really worth it to become so invested in this?? Just hit the PAUSE button guys…
The next day Mom and Dad arrive in Merzouga and decide to head to a campsite and eat out. But first things first… cool down quite literally. Take a shower, dive in the pool and relax. Then head for higher grounds to get the temperature down for now (knowing in the back of their minds that every moroccan person said it is only getting hotter as of now. That there is no tourist seen during the summer because it is simply too hot). Should they alter the route and head to the coast where the temps are almost 10 degrees lower? Hmm maybe 🤔
Mom and Dad decided to plan their trip together as of now. Mom will check the temperatures too and if it gets too hot, we go into another direction. Dad has to get used to share planning the trip and Mom has to put more efford into showing interest into this topic. For now the plan is to go into the mountains to 1900 meters again and the forecast says its going to be 22C with cliuds and 12C at night. Sounds like a plan and a learning experience for the both of them! 😉
In the meantime us doggos only care about one thing: When is dinner finally served?? 🤤