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The entire village came out to look at the strangers who appeared to have nothing better to do than drive on some of Sabah’s worse roads and to visit the most isolated parts that have no tourists attractions at all. Our group was asked several times about our intentions of driving to their village. They did not seem to believe that we were in search of “adventure”. 

The village of Rundum with the locals who told us the bad news.

Local kids watching the convoy passing by. The weather had cleared up again for our departure.

We then asked them the way to Sapulut; the next waypoint. This was when we heard the bad news- there had been two landslides and the roads are impassable. “The road was good during the Camel Trophy.. now it is terrible and damaged” said one gentleman. That drew our adventure to an end.

Camel Trophy and 'good roads' seemed to be an oxymoron. I did not see any 'good roads' on that '94 video.

We backtracked to Semambu and to got hold of our immobile vehicle. Labo had so kindly offered to tow us out. Voon and Kelvin took off and went to our meeting point, Perkasa Hotel Keningau. Slowly but surely we came out of the jungle, at times choosing to unhitch our car to roll down the long downhills with rather lifeless brakes. We reached Keningau at about 9.30 pm.  

Kelvin taking an artistic shot while Tokino sits and enjoys the view of Rundum.

The following day was the third day of Chinese New Year and Labo had already gotten hold of a friend in the Keningau 4X4 club and the word went out quickly to hunt for a 13BT water pump. In less than half and hour we were sitting in a local coffee shop with the 4X4 gang from Keningau.  

But the water pump was different as it had a long neck at the pulley, and so the hunt continued to Tenom. A ride to Tenom and many more phone calls saw a local towkay opening his shop and fishing out a new water pump. The towkay explained that the long neck pump was for local 13B engine, but ours was a 13BT (not 13B + T) an imported engine. He opened a second box and walla, we got pump. A short while later we were infront of the hotel installing the water pump. My earlier fears was unfounded as the pump cost RM250 – special price to fellow 4x4 ‘brothers’. After that, we were on our way to Sandakan. 

Labo and Jordan helped install the water pump. Labo will gladly
install water pump but not greasy wheel bearings and the like.

We hooked up with the Land Rover boys from Sandakan, we met a year ago at Mesilau in the Kinabalu highlands. We were supposed to go fishing the next day but the weather was not cooperating. After a short tour of Sandakan, we headed to Kundasang and check-into Pine Resort. That night in the cool night air, we celebrated our trip in the veranda of the resort, reviewing pictures and talking about the trip. We adjourned to the Perkasa Hotel there and bumped into Datuk Masidi Manjun, Sabah’s Tourism Minister and wished him well for the coming elections. From here we went down to Kota Kinabalu to different destinations.  

I came away with a dissatisfied feeling. Like Arnold, I’ll be back to retrace my steps to gap the Rundum to Spaulut stretch. This time it will be a car full of spares.

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