Denfender Down

July 2, 2007
Moshi to Nairobi
Curtis Wegener

Well we are off the mountain and feeling very proud of ourselves. We had a good nights sleep a couple of big meals, and are starting to get ready to head home. But that is still a couple of days off. Today we are off to Nairobi, Kenya for the fight to Mtown. But alas, Africa stikes again. We are merrily motoring toward Arusha when the Defender starts to lose power. Now some of you don’t know about Glenn’s trusty D-90, but it has the habit of breaking down about one time each month. So you can imagine my surprise when the 110 dies. We are about 40 kilometers out of Arusha. What to do. We have to be in Nairobi at noon the next day to catch our first flight. I want to get there early, because David in his infinite wisdom has lost his airplane ticket. We sent him to the police station to file a report and get a receipt to give to the airline but I want to be there early. After an hour and 10,000 shillings, about 6 bucks, he is back and we are on our way home.

Being on the side of the road in Africa is not good, being there and being on a tight schedule is a disaster waiting to happen! So we wait for the engine to cool, and try to crank it again, and believe it or not, it starts. Oh happy days! But 15 kilometers more, and we are stopped again. But this time there is a garage next to the road with about 20 110s in various states of repair, so I pull it. The 110 is surrounded by it must be 20 smiling faces. I can tell you I now know how Custer felt at the little big horn. But being brave, I got out myself to discuss our trouble of loss of power and overheating. Well it quickly became evident that only 5 people spoke English, and all of them were white. But with hand signals and a couple of grease rags, we started to take the top off the radiator that was smoking at the time. I finally found one guy who spoke some English to translate for the mechanics who spoke no English. I asked if he had ever worked on a turbo diesel, to which he told me that he had never work on a “new” truck before, but I said that this one is a 1999. He quickly let me know just how luckily I was to have a new truck, most of the ones on the road here were pre-1990 and some from the 50’s were still running around. Confidence he did not build with me on that remark. But we got cool water in the truck, and learned of Cooper Motors in Arusha. So with a few thousands shillings spead around, it was back on the road again to see if we could find someone to fix the truck. Little did we know that it wasn’t just a bad thermostat, but the real mechanic at Cooper’s let me know that we had blown a head gasket, and it would be very expensive to fix. This I was aware of because of Glenn’s frequent trips to the shop in Memphis.
Now while I am negotiating with the garage over what we are going to do with the Defender, David, V, and Ryan are off trying to arrange transport to Nairobi, and Paul is tiring to run down if there is a Foley’s in Nairobi. Well David come back with good news and bad news, yes he has found transport, and it is going to be expensive. I reach into my pocket, gave him a grand in US, and told him that I wanted a @#$%*&^ truck to take us to Nairobi, and not to @#$%*&^ come back without a @#$%*&^ bus!!! Well good to his word, David, V, and Ryan pull into Cooper Motors in a 27 place air conditioned over the road bus with a driver ready to take us any where we wanted to go. To which I had to tell David that I was sorry to have questioned his parentage, and that he had done good. So now it is only time left to see if we can arrange to get Cooper to fix the truck and how much was it going to cost. Well very expensive has a different meaning to different people. So when the manager told me the the very very expensive repair to the truck was going to be $ 325.00 US, I almost died. So I pulled out a list of other repairs that I needed on the truck while he had it, and he told me no problem. They could add a 60 liter tank underneath, 40 more liters on top, a snorkel to the air filter, and a tire carrier on the back and a winch to the front for maybe two grand more, I jumped at it. So the truck is still in Arusha, and it will be ready October the first to be picked up. We will see, and only time will tell and the two toughs that come to mind, but we will see maybe AWA won’t happen. We climbed aboard our overland bus and were off to Nairobi which we got to only 8 hours late. Not a bad recovery for the middle of no where.

One Comment on "Denfender Down"

  1. Moon says:

    I can’t believe a Defender went down…

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