Our old range rover was one of our best adventure partners while we were living in Nairobi, Kenya. In 1998, it was just Brian and me, teaching at an international school and taking off on adventures any time we could. We needed a 4x4 to brave the Kenyan potholes, but more than that, we wanted a vehicle that was as ready as we were for seeing new things. We bought an old Range Rover, which not only took us to adventures but ended up being the cause of many adventures as well.
One of our first big trips in our old Range Rover was to Nakuru game park during mating season. The Range Rover got its first lesson in the birds and the bees as we saw animals mating everywhere from giraffes to elephants to a troop of baboons. We didn’t have kids yet and were wondering if God was trying to tell us something! The most memorable sighting we had was the lions, and this is where our old Range Rover gave us our first thrill.
We came upon two lions mating right in front of us. Little did we know that lions mate for just a few days, but during those days they mate every twenty to thirty minutes, up to fifty times a day! As we followed in our Range Rover, we watched the lion couple mate, walk down the road a little, and stop to mate again. It was about this time, the male lion decided he had enough of our old Range Rover stalking his moments of intimacy. He turned to face us and began to growl and roar. The overwhelming realization came that we had a very thin windshield between us and this massively powerful creature.
About this same time, our old Range Rover began to overheat. Should we turn off the car and stare at the lion while he growls and roars at us while we wait for the engine to cool down? Should we get out of the Range Rover to add coolant? No, that answer was easy. Although I didn’t want to give up on this amazing lion sighting, we decided to back away from the lions to give them their privacy and then turn the car off to let it cool. Only then did my heart stop racing, but the thrill of the Range Rover had begun.
Our next Range Rover adventure was soon after camping with two other couples in the Aberdare mountains. The six of us had a great adventure, driving through mud holes on barely drive-able paths, camping out in the middle of nowhere. Just before we arrived at the campsite, our hydraulic clutch quit working. The mud holes had taken their toll! After a couple days of camping, Brian again came up with a plan. If we could push the car to get it rolling enough, he could pop the clutch to get it into gear and shift without the clutch if he did it just right.
With our plan in place, five of us began pushing the Range Rover headed towards Nairobi with Brian in the driver’s seat. As we would gain a little speed, one by one we would hop into the Range Rover until we were all in and Brian would pop the clutch into gear and off we would go.
In the middle of this adventurous journey home, the car quit accelerating right in the middle of the road. My MacGyver husband found a bolt had popped loose and secured it with a bobby pin from one of the women. This got us going out of the car and pushing to get it going again.
The plan worked fabulously for a while until Brian would kill it changing gears and we would have to go through the circus process again and again and again. Five pushing, one driving and one by one hopping into the Range Rover as we began the journey down the road again. We did make it home to Nairobi and that Range Rover Adventure is one of my very favorite memories from our time in Kenya.
Sometimes, when things go too smoothly we miss out on the adventure. And, I know that sometimes I forget to be grateful for the challenge that brought me the adventure in the first place.