It is always nice to hear or read about a survival story with a good ending, but this story has a little edge to it. It is about one man's complete awareness and calm acceptance of his situation after he suddenly changed from an adventurer to a survivor in the Moroccan Desert.
Rewind to 1993 and meet Emile Leray, the Frenchman who drove into the desert with a Citroen 2CV, and drove out of it on a "Mad Max" style survival motorcycle.
Exactly how did the French adventurer come to find himself in such a situation?
I wanted to do it off road because I had travelled round Africa about 10 times, so I knew the region well and therefore had no concerns.
I decided to do it in a 2CV because, although it is not a 4x4, it is tough. In Africa they call it the ‘Steel Camel’ because it goes everywhere — provided you drive it gently. One must not be rough.
I obviously was too rough because I broke it.
Yes, he broke it and found himself stranded in the desert about 20 miles away from the nearest civilization.
I could not have gone back on foot — it was too far. I put myself in what one calls survival mode. I ate less; I monitored my supplies of water and of food to make them last as long as possible.
Fortunately Emile planned well and he had enough supplies to last him several days. What happened next is the stuff of legends that has earned him the title of ... “the most extreme mechanic in the world”.
Emile slowly transformed his tough little Citroen 2CV into a survival motorcycle and drove out of the desert almost two weeks later.
Emile Leray's Survival Motorcycle
Not all stories end with the hero riding off into the sunset - at least not in this case. This hero drove straight into the Moroccan Police ... who promptly gave him a big fine because his survival motorcycle did not resemble the registration information of the car that he drove into the desert - go figure?
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