My wife had made an appointment to have a roof rack installed on our car, and today, with all the components loaded into our car, I drove it down to Rack & Road to get sorted.

I was the first person into the shop – I handed over my keys and was about to head off to take some work calls from the park nearby, but I hesitated, figuring I should check I had exactly the right components. (Because of supply chain issues, it’s impossible to buy a full roof rack system in Seattle, and I ended up ordering some parts from etrailer.com, others from Amazon and yet more from REI)

The shop assistant looked over what I had, and then pointed out I had the wrong parts. The arse fell out of my day: we’re two weeks from a month of camping, and we were not going to have any space in the car without the roof rack.

As the blood drained from my face, he dangled the scant hope that they might have the right piece in stock, and by some miracle they did, so I went on my way and waited for a phone call.

(For reference, there’s three parts to a modern roof rack on a car; rails, which run across the top of the car for you to attach a cargo box to, towers, which attach the rails to the roof, and hitches, which clamp it all together, and I had ended up with the wrong sort of towers.)

Two hours later the rack was installed, and then as the cargo box had arrived at REI and apparently this was a size that would fit our Kona (advice up to this point had been ambiguous at best) so I began to relax.

This afternoon, we drove down to REI and at the kerbside they brought out the roof box, laid it on the top of the car and then skedaddled, leaving me to figure out how on earth to secure it. Happily, I’d taken a friend with me and it turned out the hardware to clamp the box to the rails is pretty easy to understand, and by a miracle I’d ordered precisely the right sized box; it fits, with an inch wide gap when you open the rear hatch of the car. Now I just need to remember not to drive under any low entrances and smash the rack off the car…

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