Way back in the year 1993, French adventurer Emile Leray set out on a solo trip across northern Africa though the plans he carefully laid out for his special Saharan voyage went horribly wrong thanks to a military conflict that lay directly in his path which forced him to travel off road and leave him without a working vehicle in the middle of one of the harshest known terrain to man, the Sahara desert, and tens of miles away from the nearest human settlement. Without any hope of being rescued or discovered anytime soon by anyone, Emile took his specially prepared Citroen 2CV apart and built himself a working motorcycle with just the very basic tools right in the middle of the desert infamous for its brutal sandstorms and limited supply of food and water and drove himself to safety with just half a liter of water left with him!
That sounds incredibly like something you’d see in the next Oscar-winning Steven Spielberg movie but this happens to be a real life incident which was recently made public by ‘Naruhodo’, a Reddit user, who brought this incredibly story to the forefront along with a bunch of photos taken by the brave heart Frenchman Emile Leray way back in the early ‘90s. The story has since been picked up by many credible websites though even if it were a hoax, it would an incredibly awesome survival story of all times.
According to the accounts of Mr. Emile Leray, he was travelling through the Saharan desert in 1993 and has just left the Moroccan city of Tan Tan in his specially-prepped 2CV when he was stopped by the Moroccan Royal Gendarmerie near a military outpost and informed that he wouldn’t be allowed to travel any further into the desert due to the outbreak of a fresh conflict between Western Sahara and Morocco and would be required to return to Tan Tan immediately. Emile was also asked to take a passenger back to the city with him but that would have flouted the terms of his vehicle’s insurance which prompted the Frenchman to make a drastic u-turn to avoid being followed by the Royal Gendarmerie.
Driving at incredibly high speeds, Emile then decided to go around the military post and follow the original trail he had charted by venturing off-road. Of course, the Saharan terrain wasn’t kind to his Citröen and Emile was left stranded literally in the middle of nowhere water the wheel axle and swing arm of his vehicle are shattered by a rock in the path with no hope of repair.
With the nearest human settlement being out of reach by foot on the ten-odd days of rations and water he had with him, Emile decides to build himself a working vehicle out of the broken down Citröen. By his reckoning, the project should have taken no more than ten days which was all the time he needed to pull off the incredible build. Using his socks as sleeves to prevent the scorching Saharan sun from burning his arms up, Emile first dismantled his broken-down Citroen 2CV and created a shelter for himself out of its body panels to survive the brutal Saharan sandstorms.
Then, he created himself a smaller chassis, fitted the wheel arm upside down on it and added a gearbox and an engine in the middle. Restricted by the laws of physics and his limited supply of parts and tools, Emile decided to have the rear wheel driven by friction via a drum mated to the 2CV transmission that allowed the unique motorcycle to be driven only in reverse. With a fully functioning steering system and space for his luggage, a gas tank and a battery, the vehicle was shoddily slapped together using only screws with the necessary holes being punched out using a hammer and punch, a round file and pieces of metal bent to a 90 degree angle!
Dubbed the Desert Camel, the remarkable two wheeler was completed after 12 days of hard labor and ingenious imagination in an inhospitable and unforgiving environment and Emile made his way back to human civilization with just ½ a liter of water left on him. What makes the story even more remarkable is that on his way back, he was pulled over, once again by the Royal Gendarmerie, for driving on an illegal and perhaps and unidentifiable vehicle!
Via: Oddity Central