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A touch of 4×4

This past holiday we stayed on a farm in the Klein Karoo – basically house sitting while the farmer is away on holiday.  We had friends over, and I took my friend for a look and see on the farm.  It’s been a while since my bakkie has done any off-roading, so I relished at the opportunity just to engage the transfer box for a change.

On the farm there is a kloof where the farmer made a road with a bulldozer a few years back.  Being a bit tied down with farming activities, though, the road was used seldom in the recent past.

It is a rather steep incline.  Low range is essential as a safety precaution against having to contend with a runaway vehicle.  Given recent rains I was uncertain whether it would be a good idea to drive down there.   So we stopped at the point of no return.  Once past this point you have to go down right to the end of the road to be able to turn around, except if you feel crazy enough to drive back in reverse.

Afdraend

 

After a cursory inspection I judged it safe to proceed.

The 3.4 liter petrol engine does not provide the braking capacity of a high compression diesel engine, so even in low range first gear some slight braking was still required to keep the speed in check.

I find it very frustrating that pictures just never give an indication of how steep an incline is.  Regardless of how I take them, the pictures is just never impressive enough  to convince the unenlightened reader.  The picture below maybe illustrates the incline more clearly.  It shows two fourteen year olds walking down the road, doing battle to keep their balance.

Sukkel

After traversing the steep  incline around two sharp bends, the road evens out below.  However, the further we went, the less it resembled a road.  At some places the road was totally obscured by trees and shrubs that have overgrown it.  Die pad

I had nothing with me that could cut or hack, and there was no escape route or place to turn around.  So the bakkie simply had to bash down the obstacles.   At least the general whereabouts of the road was still evident, so one could just point the bakkie’s nose in the right direction.

Driffie

Eventually we reached the end of the road where there was place to turn the vehicle around again.

By that time the two side mirrors were pressed flat against the vehicle, and the body showed the marks of its battle with the flora.  We were fortunate to not also encounter some of the local fauna.

Tier

This chap had been snapped recently by a researcher on the exact road that we travelled.

I know, you may ask ‘where are the pictures of the bakkie’.  No, there is none.  Whilst doing the trip, there was no time to consider that.  These pictures had been taken upon revisiting the kloof a few days later.  But then I thought it better to leave the vehicle at the last point where I could make a seventeen point turn, as is the ordinary turning circle of my bakkie.

In any event, just to get back to the story.  The return trip had the benefit that most of the obstructions had by then been subdued by some two tonnes of vehicle.  However, now it was uphill, instead of downhill.

After passing a little driffie, the bakkie got bogged down with all four wheels losing traction, bringing us to a grinding halt.  After the second attempt, my friend got out to guide me further.

Komplikasie

I would probably have done better to also inspect the terrain myself, but first it was the driffie with water running, and I was not inclined on getting wet.  And then followed the obstruction which allowed for only one door to open, which happened to be the passenger door.

In any event,  sticking to the line as indicated by my friend, after a bit of spinning and broadsiding, we managed to get through.  At the time I felt that we barely gained enough traction to pull through, and that if that attempt was not successful, a bit of road building would be medically indicated.

However, upon returning to the spot on foot and taking these pictures, it is clear that I overestimated the severity of the terrain.  It is evident that any rental sedan car would have been able to traverse this little obstacle.

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