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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.

jeep in ditch kenya 720x480

Stuck in the ditch

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.

jeep in ditch setting winch 720x480

Winched up, ready to come out

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.

jeep out winch line 720x480

Out and at the bottom of the incline. Time to re-spool the winch line

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.

jeep rear dust 720x480

Do you think it’s time to wash the Jeep?

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!

jeep camping lake naivasha 720x480

My campsite on Lake Naivasha

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!

-Dan

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5 Responses

  1. Chris McMillan says:

    Once again man, I love reading your adventure. I’m glad everything “worked out” after the roll over recently. What’s the plan for the front drive shaft? Do you need to find a mechanic that can do the work, or do you need a completely new one?

    • Dan Grec says:

      Hi Chris,

      I need to replace the CV joint on the one end. It’s not a hard job and I can do it myself, but I need the parts. A friend in the states has sent me a care package, so as soon as it gets here I will get it all sorted out!

      Thanks for the support!

      -Dan

  2. Jim Korczak says:

    Wow – I forget to check in for a few weeks, and all kinds of chaos ensues!

    As others have said, accept the good outcome of the flip, and the gift of that view of the boats on the lake, and know that dwelling on the negative is pointless. You’re doing just fine!

    My old LJ does not use CV joints, but I intend to keep a couple spare u-joints in the Jeep when we travel.

    When it comes to winches, you discovered the very basic tenet of safety equipment. Have it, and do your best to never need it! And if you do, no amount of fuel savings from not carrying it around will offset the value of having it for that crucial time. I might suggest that you get yourself a manual winch (“come along”) for times where the winch is not accessible, or practical to use due to geometry.

    Well done, Dan. Keep on rolling. :)

  1. February 4, 2019

    […] into a ditch, and had to pull out the winch for the 2nd time in a couple of weeks. Story here: To Lake Naivasha | The Road Chose Me The I spent time in the Masi Mara National Park – WOW, WOW, WOW, so many lions I stopped taking […]

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