From the time I was approximately four years old we lived in the beautiful Loita Hills of southern Kenya. The serene rolling hills in Loita nestle in close to each other and stretch as far as your eyes can see. At the base where one hill meets the next are fluffy dark green woods adding to the peaceful landscape.
The price of living in such a heavenly place? Getting there. Oh my heavens, the getting there! I cannot explain to you the terrible condition of the roads! Often when it rained, what had been the “road” was washed away an
d every vehicle had to forge its own way. Eight long, hot (no air conditioning in the old Land Cruiser), bumpy, bumpy, bumpy dirt roads.
A breakdown was inevitable. Usually “just” a flat tire, but a flat could be a major event. We always carried at least 2 spare tires. Sometimes it was not a flat tire though. My dad got to the point where he could fix almost anything wit
h a pair of pantyhose or some duct tape or both. Did you hear that MacGyver? Broken fan belt? Pantyhose. Loose muffler? Duct tape.
But back to the flat tire.
How to fix a flat on the plains in Kenya:
1) Unload 6 weeks worth of groceries, trunks, duffle bags, coolers, etc to get jack & tire
2) Lift car without cracking the frame
3) Loosen lug nuts and remove tire
4) (Now begins the very technical terms) dig out long metal bars.
5) Wedge bar underneath ring around tire.
6) Stand on, jump on, lean on, grit teeth, think happy thoughts, pry ring off tire
7) Remove inner tube.
8) Replace with well-patched inner tube and cross fingers that it doesn’t have holes
9) Put big metal ring back in place and hammer, smash, push, jump on.
10) Replace tire on vehicle, tighten lug nuts
11) Reload car with all the belongings strewn across the plains
12) Reload family.
13) Hope you don’t have to repeat.
It makes for a LONG trip home, but it was just what we did. Of course, there’s always the chance of getting stuck in the mud…guess that’s another post for another day!