Fuckitty shit, I can’t fucking sleep. It’s that anxiousness you get when you know you have to get up early and so you think about it too much. You watch the clock click clack and can’t conk out cuz of it. I’m also hyper sensitive to bugs since I woke up with a wacky bite on my leg yesterday. The slightest drift of wind through a leg hair has me jumping up swatting at imaginary skeeters. Then add the fact that social jet lag and real jet lag have totally jacked up our circadian rhythm. Need 50 beers and a kebab to sleep now. Not sure how to recover from it. Sun’s coming up and the birds are chirping again. Too early for the kids to hit the trampoline, thankfully. Peter can’t sleep either. We’re vampires now. Well not really vampires, I guess, since we’re getting up for sunrise. More like cranky bitch-men, hangover howling at the rising sun to bemoan our self-induced insomnia. Just leave for the airport now then? Yep, might as well. Moods lighten as we start thinking about the trip beginning to ramp up. Songs from our jingle jaunt in Leeds last night are lingering on too. “I can’t get ‘I predict a riot‘ out of my head”, “Me neither!” So we start singing it while we pack up our stuff. I turn on the news while Peter is still getting ready. Girl cops in Lebanon are wearing shorts. Too sexy? Flooding in Japan. Russian Nerve agent kills former spy. Some of the boys trapped in a Thailand cave have been rescued. Hit the road for the Manchester airport. We stop at the same 24/7 breakfast spot that we did on the Mongol Rally 6 years ago. This area of the UK has a strangely sentimental vibe for me now. Feels familiar. We get another giant English breakfast. Can’t finish it. Madness comes on the speakers. Seems like a silly thing to listen to at 530am. Got the meat sweats so I must be done eating. Vapor trails above the rental car lot We drop off the car and take the bus to terminal 1. We try to change our seats but can’t. There is an absolutely dumb line to drop off bags. It conflicts with a line for the check in counter and is also blocking the only thruway to the other side of the check in booths without backtracking half of the terminal hall. So three lines of people are all converging on one area, all going in different directions. This might be the most bullshit stupid airport layout I’ve seen. We get through it finally and it’s definitely time for a beer. We take my Priority Pass up to the Escape Lounge hoping to get away from the hustle bustle airport chaos and grab some complimentary cocktails. The suit and tie guy at the door tells us it is full and requires reservations. Airport lounges require reservations now? I always thought of them as ‘I’ll drop in if I have time to kill’ places, not ‘I’m going to make a reservation, get to the airport early and hang in the lounge’ type of places. Weird. Ok no prob, we go down to Bar MCR and cozy up with a couple of mimosas. “Oh that settled my stomach”, “another then?” Yep. I get on the airport WiFi and check my email to see if there are any bites from my slew of safari truck rental inquiries. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nothing. Oh shit! Drive South Africa has gotten back to me. Clickitty. They’ve had a cancellation from Avis. A quad cab, camping equipped Ford Ranger. “Dude, I think we’ve got a truck”, “No fucking way! Really?” I keep reading. It’s available for the entire time we need it. We can pick it up in Cape Town and drop it off elsewhere. Holy fuck! This is the best news ever. I jump right on it. A guy named Trevor is getting right back to me via email. This is great. He says we should nab the truck right away since this is peak season and there’s literally nothing available right now from anyone. I square things away and immediately drop my credit card on it. It’s a pretty penny but fuck yes, that’s a major load off. We are set! It feels like we’ve done the impossible. I send details to the rest of the Adventure Detectives. They’ll be happy as hell to see that. High five, need a couple more mimosas now for sure. Woot! Planning years in advance? Pfffffft!! The SASS (Southern Africa Self-drive Safari) is officially locked in! Alright, off to Dubai!