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Disaster Aftermath

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In the morning, less than 50 yards from the accident

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.

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Kibiro Hot Spring

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The shore of Lake Albert

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Kibiro Hot Spring Valley

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.

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Posing in front of Lake Albert for the photo I was trying to get in the first place. Accident just below here

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.

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‘welding’ the mirror on the side of the road

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‘welding’ the aluminum mirror back together

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.

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Repairing the rear flare

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.

-Dan

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.

9 Responses

  1. Wcjeep says:

    The axle seal was not designed to hold gear oil against gravity. Axle tube probably holding more. May “leak” for awhile.

    • Dan Grec says:

      Thanks for the thoughts.

      My concern is that it’s the “uphill” or drivers side that is leaking now…. I’m starting to think the axle is bent where it plowed into the rocks causing it to tip over onto passenger side…. Hmm…

      -Dan

  2. Kris says:

    Dan, it;s shitty that you had this happen but snap out of it man. Who cares about the Jeep its still going. It could have been worse and your moping. Jump in the hotspring! Take good photos! You never know when/if you’ll be back so soak it all up man. On a side note is your g/f not still there?

    • Dan Grec says:

      Haha, thanks Kris, I needed that!

      You’re absolutely right. The Jeep will be fine, and no people were hurt which is the most important thing!
      Em and I have parted ways. Living in a Jeep in Africa is a great relationship test.. and ours didn’t survive.
      Onwards then!

      -Dan

  3. Hi Dan. We met you and have a break at home now. We are reading your blog. What a great storyteller are you. And the pictures, especially of the gorilla’s are beautifull. Now we understand why you spend a lot of time on your laptop!
    We have some questions about the destination after JJ. Could you contact us by email?

  4. Marcus says:

    Hi Dan, Pauline and I were very sorry to hear of your mishap but glad to hear that you were not hurt. I loved the rafting trip you did and have put that on my list for when we get to Uganda. Hoo a roo Marcus and Pauline.

  5. Jim Byington says:

    My wife and I did the ALCAN a couple of years ago. 35 days in the back of a Tahoe Z71, no hotels, no indoor john. You really get to know a person when your living in tight quarters and especially when things may not go just right. I now tell young people (and some old people) thinking about marriage to take a real road trip to be sure you are compatible. If a couple can’t make it on the road it might not be the partnership for the long haul. Got to love that windshield time.

  1. December 28, 2018

    […] it works well enough and the mirror seems very sturdy again. You can read the full story here: Disaster Aftermath | The Road Chose Me The front axle is now leaking a bit, which it has never done before, so I'll keep an eye on that. […]

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