When you set out with cars that are at least 20 years old or have a minimum of 500,000 kilometers on the odometer to participate in a rally that has the word "pothole" in the title, one thing is guaranteed: adventure.
And you can't let yourself get stressed out when the check engine light comes on right at the start. But to say it right away: Our Timo has successfully participated at the "Pothole Rodeo Germany" as part of team SONS OF BAVARIA!
1800 kilometers – from the Baltic Sea via Poland and the Czech Republic to Austria – had to be covered in 5 days through wild backcountry (on side roads and sneaky paths, partly away from any civilization, without GPS signal and without air conditioning). Here, the expression "bad road" takes on a whole new dimension. The checkpoints were: Bad Doberan (D), Stargard (PL), Zerbst (D), Bad Liebenstein (D), Pilsen (CZ) and Hintersee (AT).
If you add the kilometers for the arrival and departure, there are even more than 3000 km on the counter.
The motto of the event, which is organized by the BackRoadClub: It's not about speed. The goal is for everyone to get through together! All vehicles were therefore equipped like a moving workshop. The most important utensil besides angle grinder, various electric drills and impact wrenches as well as pliers and screwdrivers? Cable ties and gaffer tape!
"Once we had to repair a burst radiator hose with a garden hose from a Polish hardware store," Timo tells us.
A cell phone app provided valuable translation services for communicating with the locals. In general, the hospitality (e.g. for the use of land for overnight camping or access to private toilets) was great, Timo reports.
Of course, the opportunity was also taken to stop at various places worth seeing or to try out the local cuisine. A lot of entertainment was also provided by the daily and weekly tasks that had to be solved and also earned points with a photo as proof. Here is an excerpt of the creative tasks:
- Collect 30 signatures from potholers (that's what participants are called)
- Environmental action: Collect garbage, build something out of it and dispose of it properly afterwards
- Dress only (!) with one part of your car
- Take a task from someone and offer them a cold drink in return
- Drive a tractor
- Mow with a scythe
- Milk a cow/sheep/goat
- Collect eggs
Overall, the months of preparation and endless nights of blood and sweat in Timo's (own) workshop paid off. "Especially our homemade roof basket and the lights on the roof were worth their weight in gold – for loading luggage or navigating through woods and meadows at night," he notes. The fact that he obviously had massive fun at the Pothole Rodeo is also reflected in his plans for next year. In 2023 he wants to drive the Balkan Tour: 12 days, 13 countries, 4500 km rally route, start in the south of Austria!
Especially positive is the nice tradition that the Rodeo drivers always combine their personal adventure with a good cause. XDEV supports here the BackRoadClub with its project "Chance auf Bildung" ("Chance for education") . Together with the association "Child-Care-Afrika" and the local village communities, a preschool for 50 children is to be built in Morocco (near Agadir). The BackRoadClub provides the financial means und the material from the donations as well as the know-how.