Rhino (the SUV) The Last Great Adventure – day 1

The last adventure of Rhino driving to Liberia

Suzanne and I are two days and a fortnight away from leaving our beloved Ghana, so while I should be helping Suzanne pack up, instead I’m taking our beloved SUV, called Rhino on one last Great Adventure. Actually, we’re giving it to our TMS Friends Joey and Kerry who served in Liberia, and Joey and I are driving it there along with Joey’s Liberian friend Cyrus.

[Rhino saying goodbye]

We had visited Joey and Kerry at Easter and saw their need for a 4×4 Family car.

[Joey took Steve and Suzanne kayaking…it was great fun in Liberia]

So on Friday, Joey and his Liberian son Cyrus flew in and we loaded up Rhino will all sorts of junk household items that we thought might be useful to their ministry.

On Saturday morning we set out for Liberia (Google Maps said it would be a day and two hours of driving).

[how Steve was really feeling “Don’t goooooo Rhino]

The drive was amazingly easy and quick, beaches that normally took us 3-4 hours (Till #1) took less than two.

[Joey, Joey wake up! —to be fair Joey had just learned he’d had malaria]

The traffic was small-small, and roads were in good better condition until we met Cape Coast, where we stopped for lunch at Coconut Grove.

[lots of butterfly and beautiful flowers]

After lunch, it was one long stop and go traffic jam all the way to Takoradi. We pulled into our first hotel, “Dan to be Lodge” which we picked because Joey just liked the name. Kayak, Hotels.com, and Booking.com all said there was available, but as we pulled into the very empty parking lot, the hotel manager came out to tell us, “We are full up.” Joey looks up to see no lights on in the Hotel, and I ask “Are you sure?”.

[The first day]

So off we go, to find a close hotel with a less interesting name, but the one we find had 100s of youth loitering around aimlessly. It is now quite dark, no streetlights, and a mile off the highway down a bad, dark road.

Not feeling it, I pick another hotel. Thoughts of that bad, dark were quickly forgotten as Google Maps took us down one lane streets village obstacle paths of drunks, small children, goats, and Ghanaian men talking on their cell phones. Again no street lights, as I dodge the random pedestrians oblivious to how close they had come to meeting their maker.

Next deep mud channels allowed me to show off Rhino’s unstoppable high clearance 4×4 ability and after that we hear those wonderful words from Google Maps:”You have Arrived!”

[I’m not kidding, “You have Arrived!” is what we heard when we pulled up to this]

It was a partially built building. This hotel had great reviews about the friendly staff and good food and those reviews were, I guess, all aspirational fake …the building wasn’t even finished yet.

“OK, I’m calling it,” Joey says and while I’m off taking pictures he programs Best Western into my phone. As I’m driving I realize that was pretty stupid of me getting out of the car to take pictures (for this blog). It would have been a great place to roll us.

Ten minutes later we’re all in our ridiculously comfortable rooms, falling asleep to thoughts and prayers about tomorrow’s border as Rhino prepares to cross over into Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast).