Friday, September 07, 2007

Land Rovers and Ingenuity

Being a Jeep driver, I was interested in the Landrovers that are the universal vehicle out here. I am informed by the owner/manager here that Landrovers (English) and Landcruisers (Toyota) are the only vehicles that need apply, if for no other reason that it's impossible to get parts for anything else. The ones here at camp look like they've been in use daily for decades, driving over rough dirt roads. And in the case of this camp, they've also been submerged in the flood that happened last rainy season.

That doesn't mean they're perfectly reliable. His formula was that the Landrovers break down ten times as often, but the parts for the Landcruisers cost ten times as much.

Thursday's drive ended about 800 feet from the camp, at the base of the last incline, when Mary Ann asked James to stop so she could take pictures of the elephants that had crossed the river at the same time we did, and wanted to take the same ramp up to the top of the cliff. The Landrover wouldn't start. Dead battery (new one day) because of a short in the winch circuitry. We walked the rest of the way, avoiding the elephants.

Friday night's drive was entertaining. The gas pedal cable snapped. James worked under the hood and fished the cable out and tied it to a large socket wrench. Leverage across the dash gave him a very serviceable hand throttle. The rest of the night drive proceeded as normal.

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