Tuesday, April 21, 2009

4 Feb (Wed)

We left for Maun unexpectedly today. Packed in a mad rush and headed out, such a mad rush in fact that I forgot to bring my cameras along. Brad was in the Cruiser and Frannette, me and the kids in the Prado. Was a huge storm on the horizon and we were all excited at the prospect of driving through it. The road was incredibly wet and we had to skirt puddles as big as swimming pools, and occasionally when there was no alternative, drive right through them. 

Brad was about 20 mins ahead of us when, looking back at something Rio was doing, I managed to veer fractionally off road around a corner and straight into the sharp roots of an upturned Mopane tree. The tyre punctured instantly and was totally deflated before we had even gone 2 metres further. Being as intrepid as we are, we were only slightly phased by this set-back. After all, we both know very well how to change a tyre and pride ourselves on being able to do so. Thank goddess Frannette knew where the jack was (as a result of her recently having to purchase one for the vehicle). I would have been completely stuffed had I been on my own ‘cos I would have been looking for a high-lift jack – the only jacks I thought one could use on a 4 x 4. As it turned out it was a hydraulic jack, a miniscule red thing with a tiny bar about the size of a Vienna sausage. Much to my mirth Frannette inserts this thing under the vehicle and proceeds to pump it all of 7 cm (the limits of its range of movement) up and down rapidly with her thumb and index finger. After 10 minutes of this she declares that it isn’t working, which doesn’t surprise me in the least. There must be another tool. We scrounge around under the potty and the dvd player and the stuffed monkey and gleefully find another jack, identical to the previous one, but apparently this one may have fluid in it. In the first drops of a raging thunderstorm, with lightning flashing alarming close to us we try again, but again no luck. 

After discussing the possibility of attempting to prop the vehicle up on a log and various other ridiculous options, we realise that we have to wait for a rescue. I estimate that at worst Brad would have continued the 30 minutes to the gate, waited for 30 minutes maximum before realizing that there must be a problem and would then come and look for us. In the meantime we play in the sand and the puddles with the kids. Keita has a blast, utterly unperturbed by out plight, her 2-year-old brain interpreting everything as fun and games. Rio, at 5 slightly more aware of the implications of being stuck in the bush with a flat tyre (and anyway, starting to develop a tendency towards being a tad neurotic) tries to have fun. 

Within 15 minutes Brad returns. He had gone as far as the thunderstorm and waited for us in the middle of is so we could all appreciate it together. Typically, after tightening the screw on the jack that regulates the pressure, it worked fine, and we had the tyre changed in 10 minutes and were on the road again, me furious that we hadn’t thought of doing that and weren’t able to accomplish the task on our own.


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