To Lake Naivasha
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999 Days Around Africa: The Road Chose Me
I move North away from the park, and decide to avoid Nairobi for now, so I take a smaller road aiming North to Lake Naivasha. It’s a decent dirt road and I travel sixty or so miles through beautiful countryside enjoying the scenery and locals who wave.
A light rain begins to fall, and the road surface turns into a skating rink in about ten seconds. On a very slight incline the rear wheels loose traction, and I begin to slide sideways into the ditch. The front driveshaft is still inside one of my cabinets, so without four wheel drive I find myself in a predicament. Even trying to go backwards I slide sideways, and in short order I slide the Jeep into the ditch on the side of the road.
Without four wheel drive it’s extremely unlikely I’ll drive out, even if things dry out completely. I’m impressed how little traction I have without 4×4, though when I get out and struggle to walk on the slippery clay I completely understand why. My overly-heavy Jeep is not much good on the slippery stuff in rear wheel drive.
For the second time in only a couple of weeks I spool out the winch line and get to work recovering the Jeep. There is a telephone pole in a good enough location, and soon I have the Jeep out of the ditch, though it’s now at forty-five degrees across the road. After a lot of back and forward and sliding around I get it lined up straight and am able to reverse down the slope without a problem.
While I’m putting away the winch line and controller the sun comes out and soon the road is much dryer. In this particular place there is a drive-around on the grass of a famers field that everyone is using, and I have no problem going up that with just rear wheel drive.
Further along the road gets worse and worse until I’m thinking about low range just to go slowly enough down rocky and rutted hills. If I had been trying to drive this in the rain without four wheel drive I would have had absolutely no chance, and I’m lucky the sun has come out to dry things up, otherwise I would be forced to stop for the night. Before I arrive at Lake Naivasha the road gets seriously bad and the severe fine dust coats absolutely everything inside and out to the point it’s getting annoying to live out of the Jeep.
Maybe I should wash it. I can’t remember the last time I did – I think it was four or five countries ago.
When I do finally arrive the lake is simply stunning, and I watch the sunset to the sound of grunting hippos and with monkeys trying to climb into the Jeep to steal my stuff!
I’ve spent hundreds of hours wondering how I would reduce weight in the Jeep or a hypothetical future-Jeep, and I have thought about the winch many times. When I go months without using it I start to think it’s a waste, and then a situation like this comes along where I would be utterly stuck without it.
Days like this make me realize how essential it really is, and that I would never venture out solo without one.
Also, it’s time to address this driveshaft – I need 4×4 before I can tackle the route I’m planning in a few weeks!