A whole series of interesting events have transpired lately. Serendipity, luck, coincidence, who knows?
On our way into Serengeti we had briefly met a wonderful So. African couple, Mike and Hester, who we later ran into a second time at a campground in southern Tanzania. We enjoyed each other’s company so much we made a plan to meet a week later in So. Luangwa game Park, but a delay for our broken front wheel caused us to miss them.
When we did arrive in So. Luangwa Game Park we meandered around looking for leopard and lion and passed a number of other vehicles doing the same without bothering to stop and chat. Late in the afternoon, and for no particular reason we did stop to talk to another couple in a Land Cruiser- I have no idea why we stopped to speak with only this one car out of the dozens we passed, but we did. It turned out they were also from So. Africa and were friends of our Mike and Hester whom we had just missed. We later had drinks and a wonderful evening with them, learning about their lives and experiences in unpredictable Africa.
Two days later when we went to leave a campground in Chipata, Zambia the campground owner asked us if we could deliver her daughter’s passport to her in Lusaka where we were headed next. We agreed of course. Unfortunately the road as so many here was badly potholed and one particular bounce broke a bracket on our roof rack holding our spare diesel jugs and spare tire. After that I drove very carefully the rest of the day to keep the rack from bouncing against the truck’s roof.
Along the way we passed a westerner on a heavily loaded road bike. I passed him then stopped and got out of the truck waiting for him to come abreast of us. When he stopped we offered him, food water or any tools or help he might need, all of which he turned down. He was from Switzerland riding the length of Africa- a very formidable task. I finally offered him a giant chocolate bar I had and he shrugged but grinned hugely when I shoved it into his hands. His home, Switzerland is known for some of the best chocolate in the world and, I apologized for handing a Swiss person a bar of Cadbury but he laughed and said it is energy and calories make the bike wheels turn.
We wished each other well and went our separate ways. A few hours later Dee and I rendezvoused with the daughter awaiting her passport. As a thank- you she handed us a giant bar of fine Lindt Swiss chocolate. Our two minor good deeds had resulted in swapping cheap Cadbury chocolate for fine Swiss chocolate.
After the passport delivery we continued on to the campground where I was hoping I could find a mechanic or welder who might be able to fabricate some kind of bracket to strengthen our roof rack. The piece that had broken was specially made to go into the roof of our Toyota truck and as it was 4 pm on Saturday afternoon finding the correct spare would be impossible.
As I was pondering the broken bracket I remembered an incident that had taken place when we purchased the truck. Behind the broken roof rack is a separate rack that holds our roof top tent and I had pointed out to the truck outfitters the tent brackets were very rusted. They went in search of brackets and came back with a set of new brackets in a box but upon inspection they were not the tent brackets I needed. The guy helping us just threw the box into the truck and said, “Well, maybe you can use these for something”.
When Dee and I sailed around the world I carried enough spare parts to just about build a second boat, but since I knew we were going to only own the truck for four months I did not want to invest in spares. Dee was quite shocked when the only spares I brought with us were an oil filter and a diesel fuel filter. In addition to the filters literally the only other spare parts were the box of “incorrect” brackets. I did not really remember what the brackets we had were, but I decided now to open the box and see if there was some way we could use them to our advantage.
To my surprise they were the exact “2011 Toyota Hilux truck roof rack brackets” we needed. In no time at all I had the entire rack repaired with the exact bracket designed for it.
So of all the hundreds or thousands of nuts and bolts and specialized pieces of a truck what are the odds that the one single spare item we carried was the one that broke?