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Shifting Sands by Steve Donahue

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Chapter Four

Travel Alone Together

Remember, we’re all in this alone.

—Lily Tomlin

Deflating the tires had worked. We crossed the lake bed and put the feche-feche behind us. We also found the track to Tamanrasset, our next oasis. The track, or piste, as the French call it, was one of those bone-jarring washboard surfaces that the Sahara is famous for. The trick to driving on the corrugated desert piste is to accelerate. Somewhere around 50 miles an hour your car skims along the tops of the bumps for a relatively smooth ride. There was one problem: we needed fully inflated tires. Our bicycle pump couldn’t completely reinflate the Peugeot’s tires.

As we bounced along in first gear, every corrugation shook us. The piste was an endless track of ...

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