A few friends meet up in Florida.....Finally we met Lizzybus.
Yes their is oil on the drive and yes David needs to clean it off before he leaves the rental property. One more good thing....they found a backup of their photos and the ones that were missing were in the trash can on another laptop which wasn't stolen. So mainly they have them all back. At least most of the ones that matter. Good news, I'm sure you all agree.
We are staying with them for another night as we just can't be bothered to move. Tomorrow we head for Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
No sooner had you given up all hope than a nice Hotel owner gives us a free room for the night when we met at Dunkin Donuts (we do read your mails Jim!).
The only problem, if you can call it that, is he's South African and although he's lived here a long time he's still a South African and still has the accent a bit. So if you're listening USA the South Africans are back in front considering all the damage the Florida folks are doing to your, so far, excellent hospitality. Its not the hotel in the pictures where we are staying. I'll do a TripAdvisor on it later although I'm not allowed to be swayed by the free part....
Anyhow we cannot paint an entire country with the Florida brush so to speak. We did meet another nice resident but he was from New York. Does anyone from here actually live here? (see update below)
We went to Key West, we stayed, we left. The Sunset was crap although all the tourists thought it was "Awesome !!!!". Go to Lake Malawi !!!!
Did I mention we met a nice guy in Bass Pro shop in Marathon. The HR guy, he took our photos for the newsletter. No free stuff though although he did ask us to buy something. However considering we've been in every single bass pro shop we've seen we are yet to buy anything. We've no room for all the nice goodies they sell and I removed the tow bar so I can't get a boat.
Met another Land Rover 90 today who stopped at the hotel to say hello. A very nice couple who are actually from Florida. So it seems some people are nice around here. Its just we've not met many. So come on guys, give us a wave and stop us to say hello. We like telling stories and meeting people, why else would we want to travel if we didn't.
Actually I don't wish you were here at all. Some friends of ours told us that Florida should be cut off from the USA and tossed into the Ocean. Well we are about at the point where we think they have a pretty good idea. We've not had such a bad experience in a place since, well, ages ago.
Even McDonalds, of all places, is now practically banned. They have one single chance left to make good their terrible service. In the old world three strikes and you are out. They have one left.
20 minutes for a drink (wait) in California and we still never got it - Strike one.
Now we have a quite possible unforgivable situation....no power if your using our internet, we've switched off the sockets because of abuse.....I mean, "abuse"???? How can you abuse a socket ? We've been to other McDs where people sit in there ALL day.....and they are all seniors playing cards. Does this one have so much of a problem with Silver Surfers (or more likely tourists) that they needed to switch off the sockets. Even the disabled table socket was off and that's there for the incapacitated to run their pace-makers or something.
All three chain restaurants (we tried) could not (or would not) provide a single power socket for us to charge the laptop. Forget internet, we couldn't even charge the Laptop......
There was more service in the local café in Ethiopia !!!!!
So McDonalds your getting a phone call.....I wish to complain and I'll use my 25cents per minute phone to call you.
We are back at the campground where we put up the tent because we must. Not because we sleep in it but because we must have one and it must be up and we must actually look like we are sleeping in it. If we sleep in the car we are an RV and we must be charged $30 something dollars to use none of the facilities RVs use.
Welcome to Florida. We really don't wish you were here. So far we've met two nice residents and we've been here much longer than other states where we met loads in only a couple of days. What is it about these miserable sods. Sunshine state my arse.....
One more thing. everything is more expensive here. So for those that we meet travelling back up you have a lot to do before you get back in our good books. Worse than Mozambique....yep.
The wiper motor gear change. They'd given me a LHD one so the wipers tried to wipe through the bonnet. Luckily I figured it out and moved the park ramp on the gear so it now works. Nothing got broken as the wipers tried to push the bonnet off.....
It was warm one day. Last night it threw it down with rain and we missed dinner as it was driving rain. Still cold so we are heading farther south.
Its amazing how much grease you need to lubricate a little motor....lets see if they work next time it rains whilst driving.
Contact made to some other overlanders so we are setting up a meeting. We met a German overlander this morning who seems to be following us as she'd been to the "rustic" camp the night before and caught up with us as we stayed two nights at the place in the photos,,,, the one with the nasty maintenance guy who has disappeared....did they kick him out ?
Some of you may note the South African recycling....and the flying fish.
We are not really liking Florida. Most Americans are nice, generous and welcoming. Some are not. The guy in the campsite today came over as we arrived and went in to check out the showers. We wanted to see if they had hot water before we parted with our money. You get 30 mins to pick you spot. We we there 2 mins and he came over shouting and moaning that we were not allowed in the bathrooms as we were not camping (which we were, we'd just not picked a spot yet!) I gave him an truely English mouthful and told him in no uncertain terms to stick it. The host of the camp was not impressed when I complained to them with what he'd done. He's the maintenance guy and also seeming a VET who thinks the world owes him a favour.
Our freinds have had all their IT stolen. Photos, Routes, Laptop, Backups etc from their apartment in Florida. They've lost everything from their 5 year trip.
These people just go for the money and have no comprehension of what the impact of their theft is. We really feel for them. We have copies at home for some of the photos but not all. We've met others that have travelled the world and the only place they have had stuff stolen was the USA.
We've had a few days camping and almost enjoying the campsites. We'll see if there is any fall out when we return to our chairs positioned in our spot when we return.
The Kiwis are in Whistler and off Skiing. They want to be in Deadhorse by end of April latest...are they mad ? Its COLD up north....
Another ffing trucker from the SAME COMPANY !!!! in the bloody walmart car park. So there we are just thinking about turning in and he turns up. Parks right behind us. Engine running. Engine running illegally, i've checked. They are not allowed to idle in Florida. Its federal law.
Anyhow, we went to the toilet so I decided to ask him to move or turn off. How far do you think that got me? I went back tot he car and later, after an hour I spotted the security guy for the mall. I went over and told him to do something or I was calling the police. We'd got permission off Walmart and we parked where they told us and he was not. Not only not parked in a bay (he's an 18 wheeler) he's breakign the law idling. The security guy went over and told him to move. We also moved to somewhere when the ffing trucker couldn't find us. So BEAM BROS Trucking and the United States Postal Service who use them to ship your paper. You're both a set of you know what.......
We couldn't move far as we'd been for a drink. Luckily we only moved to the other end of the VERY large carpark behind the cinema. This is were the Security guy suggested. I managed to sleep, Julie on the other hand was worried all night and likely slept very little.
Filmed right in the local woods....at least the shot in the arse section was. Can't be bothered to say anything else. Tired from being kept awake by a ffing trucker running his engine ALL night.
Just some photos of the wheel fixing, carpark jogging session....
Not a bad place to go jogging....not bad at all.
Todays little job was to figure out where the grinding was coming from on the front right wheel. I jacked up the car one corner at a time and checked the bearings. No problems there. Now I checked the front swivel pre-loads. very loose, it goes on the list as its a bigish job. Something saved for a campsite in the sun.....with beer to make the day go faster.
back to the sound.....so I give up and conclude Julie will need to jog by the car listening. We do this a Julie says its deffo the front wheel....so on my back again and I see a wheel nut the doesn't look flush with its bolt. It spins in my fingers! so do the other 4! OH!!!
It looks like when I checked the discs in NJ at John and his sons business, the place we fitted the new exhaust, I'd not tightened up one wheel at all. I must have been distracted somehow. They were all loose by the same amount. Thats all it could be.
As they said in school, "Neill is easily distracted". Luckily my ear and with an open window (in the sun) I heard something new and investigated. You've all seen a wheel come off a ultra balanced F1 car, well Land Rovers don't behave the same way...
Another day on the beach so to speak although we've not actually seen the beach at all. We spent another day in the campsite squatting (not paying) in their carpark doing stuff on the car.
The inside of Matilda is a bit grubby so she's had some insulation fitted to the cold windows and some new curtains. Mother made them for the second time and exactly like the first set so we look all clean in the back. I removed the mosquito net from the inside of rear windows and removed half the Sahara from behind them. New Velcro and fixings to hold it all in place although the mosquito screen isn't going back. Its held up really well considering its held on by VHB Tape. Quite a bit of Matilda is held by this wonderful invention. Number Plates, GPS mounts, Shelfs etc....
We're not sure but we might have a weak front left spring. Need to unload the car and find a level car park to see. Its only 1cm or so, Its probably just loading. It could easily be an empty diesel tank ! Today is check all the wheel bearings day so that should be fun.....back to the guy in the white suit. Isn't he called The Stig ?
OK so its not quite Men in Black but I couldn't be bothered to think of something better.
A trip to the state park in Wilmington and a trip to the shop where you pay for camping. The gate said they close the campsite at 6pm....true. So it was no good for us as we wanted to go out for dinner after working on the car. To be more accurate, working on the difflock that wasn't set correctly when they did the gearbox swap. Not entirely their fault but considering they'd lost two bits of plastic and missed off the pivot support, i'm saying its was mostly their fault. I got new in the UK when we came home. I'd got enough parts to fix it. I also noticed that two (out of three) bolts holding the exhaust to the manifold were missing. Fallen off ??? These were done in El Salvador by the garage there. Why do mechanics never use thread lock !!!!
I managed to negotiate free use of the campsite (as a garage) as there was nobody there. Actually there was one person breaving the spring camping. We'd been to Lowes and got me some over-alls. If Gayle is reading this she will know why. I've also got some stain devils to get out the grease from last time. We also got permission to use their showers. I had a long one.
We've got some tin foil insulation for the back of the car. Its the same type we have in the roof and the same type the window sun shades are made of. It works really well so we will do the inside of the rear windows. Pictures later when its finished. This will go with the new curtains we got in the UK. Actually the ones Mum made, for the second time. The old ones are wearing out. We really need to wash the misquito net but thats a big job removing it
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