Wednesday, November 15, 2006

The definition of adventure

Morale is low in the Park camp today...
As if we needed another sign that Tonka's gearbox is due for replacement he gave us a none too subtle reminder yesterday.
It had been bucketing down here in the Kruger National Park for two days and when the rain finally eased to a drizzle we decided to go out for an afternoon drive.  For those in the know, we went up the Diospane Road from Pretoriuskop and turned on to the dirt road that links the parallel tar roads from Pretoriuskop to Skukuza.
At the Klipspringer Koppies (big clusters of granite boulders set high on a hill) we came across a lioness who was sleeping on a rock beside a half-chewed, very dead impala.  Mrs Blog surmised that the lion had probably chased a leaopard off the kill as there was a bloody drag mark up the surface of the boulder.  Lions don't need to drag their prey out of reach of anything else.
Anyway, that was all well and good and we set off for home, feeling very pleased with ourselves for finally getting out of bed and doing something.
Near Shithlave dam I slowed to check something in the bush.  As I geared down the gear stick suddenly felt all squishy.
I found myself in neutral, unable to get into second.  I rammed it down and the gear stick sheared off, about eight millimetres from the bottom.  So, I'm coasting through the African bush, in neutral, with a gear stick in my hand.
Mrs B looked at me.  It might have been funny if it wasn't such a worry.  In about a year I'm sure it will seem funny.
We pulled over and rummaged through the little plastic tool box.  Sometimes, in hindsight, I think I'm a bit silly for making certain impulse buys.  There was the hand winch, that jammed first time; the cheapo spanners that snapped on first use; etc etc.
However, the R20 (AUD$4.00) Chinese-made crappy el-cheapo multi-grips that I bought in a South African supermarket two years ago and thought I would never use, saved the day. 
Along with some super glue and toilet paper (to effect purchase on what was left ot the gear stick); lots of swearing and some bashing with the broken gear stick, I managed to get it into second and drive back to base camp.
Now we're sitting here waiting for the Land Rover mechanic from the nearby town of White River to come and weld the gearstick back together tomorrow.  Fortunately there is alcohol and a swimming pool at hand.
Which all reminds me of something very apt that someone once said to me in Africa...
Q: "What's the definition of an adventure?"
A: "Last year's nightmare."
PS: Thanks to bec for her tip about getting your horses clean with sunlight soap.  Bush mechanic hint for today is:  a handful of mealie meal (ground up maize) sprinkled into your radiator fixes minor leaks.  And, if it fails, you can rip the radiator apart and have something (indigestible as far as I'm concerned) to eat!

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