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999 Days Around Africa: The Road Chose Me
In the morning my new local friend happily jumps in the Jeep and shows me down to Kibiro Hot Spring, what I was originally searching for. It’s a small spring in a beautiful valley, right near the shores of mighty Lake Albert. I normally love to explore hot springs, but my heart isn’t in it. There are multiple soaking pools that would be fantastic, I’m sure.
On the way out I park the Jeep near the scene of the accident to snap the photo I was originally trying to get – I put it further up where the road isn’t so steep and chock the wheels with big rocks. Maybe I’ve learned my lesson. The photo isn’t really very good.
I drive a hundred or so miles, and the Jeep seems fine. The roads are not paved, so I can’t be sure it’s driving completely straight or smooth, but nothing feels wrong, the engine is nice and quiet and there are no lights on the dash.
Driving on the wrong side of the road without a passenger side mirror is annoying more than anything, and I’m determined to fix it one way or another.
A few days later I find a guy that assures me he can weld the aluminum mirror back together, and I’m amused to see how he does it right on the side of the road. With an oxy torch he heats everything until the aluminum starts to melt and then uses a steel rod to just push the liquid aluminum around until it more-or-less bridges the gap and makes a strong enough join. It’s exactly like soldering electronics, and it seems to work well enough.
Later in the day I put the mirror back on, and continue to clean out broken glass and all the eggs that smashed inside. I disassemble the rear fender flare and reassemble it with new plastic body clips I have spare, making it as sturdy as new.
The front fender has been held together with tape since I clipped a tree stump in the Congo, and so I add a few new clips and use more gorilla tape to keep it on there. I’m sure it will also be fine.
A few days later I notice the front axle is now leaking a little bit of oil out the end of the axle tube on the drivers side – so I wonder if hitting the bank so violently on that side has caused one of the axle seals to unseat a little. It’s barely a weep at this point, though it’s the first time this Jeep has ever leaked anything, so I’ll keep a close eye on it.
Lucky does not even begin to cover it.
P.S. As a learning exercise for others – I had my winch controller in a storage locker that was only accessible from the drivers side. If the Jeep had rolled the other way, it would have been impossible to get and I would not have been able to winch the Jeep. In the future I will always keep all my recovery gear in a location that will be accessible no matter which way my Jeep lands.