That's it, the end. Its over.....
The car is loaded on the final leg of our trip. Matilda is in a big steel box and waiting for shipping back home. We are also waiting for our shipping (flight) back home. I've posted some info on Wiki Overland about who we used for the car shipping
Loading and arranging it was pretty painless really. Not as cheap as we had hoped but cheap enough considering what we have paid for other shipping legs. The loading was $250CAN and the Shipping was $1818CAN. We should have minimal fees in the UK although the process is a bureaucratic nightmare. My advice is don't SORN you car, no matter what the RAC or DVLA tell you and when you return drive it into England and don't ship in ! We will pass some comments on how we get on later. The paperwork shouldn't be too bad but getting home on to the drive is the problem. There's a new thing called Euro Transit Plates that allow you to drive anywhere in Europe for 4 days. We will probably be getting those. It makes a mockery of our MOT, TAX and Insurance rules but is completely legal. Why can't England issue these? Every country in the world (we know of) has temporary plates you can use to get your car home if its unregistered. Not England. The plates are German. Welcome Back UK Citizen,,,, now fill out some forms.....
Yes its a film and its not even out yet !
Not steaks this time but Lobster. I got them on special offer. Jan cooked them and had to show us how to eat them. Some tools were used. Phil had steak. I wish I had.
1. 86,400,000 seconds
2. 1,440,000 minutes
3. 24,000 hours
4. 1000 days
5. 142 weeks (rounded down)
6. Two years 8 months and 26 days
We are not quite there yet but its not long......Sometime in July we will be home and on July twenty something we are at 1000 days. Will we beat the deadline?
Costco didn't manage to honour there free balance and rotation promise and said it could not be done safely so what did I do?
I took off the wheels in their car park and presented them to the guy to balance. I then rotated them myself ! So if you're reading this Costco, you've failed us twice !!!! The guy gave some made up excuse about he book saying they were not allowed to jack up a Land Rover Defender as it could not be done safely. This is the same book I asked to see where it showed him where to jack it up !
We stayed and drank with Chris and Jacqui who we knew from railway days many years ago. They now live in Canada and they cooked us some massive steaks....we drank lots and stayed up late. Their house is really nice and has a great view. Chris needs to pull his finger out and get it finished though. We men have a hard life keeping the women happy. last time we saw them was 4 years ago in Costa Coffee at home. The week before they emigrated.
Now we are at Phil and Jan's place in Nova Scotia trying to plan getting home. We'll know more in a few days. I'm applying for jobs and all sorts or normal stuff. I don't like it. That's the getting home bit not the hospitality.
Few more miles and a few more checks of the car. Some service work done again. I really need to count how many we've done for the trip in numbers page. I'll do it when we get home. We stopped off in a little town on the way to the Canada border and found a nice Walmart and a Buffalo Wild Wings. Its Wings Tuesday so we can't turn down 60c wings day at Buffalo. We could have eaten cheaply but had a beer, which isn't. Only one. We've been splashing out a bit on eating out and we need to stop. Its getting expensive. Golden Corral and Buffalo Wild Wings and the odd Pizza. We still eat less than we used to. I think most overlanders loose weight although when they stop for a while the pile it back on!
The trip is almost over and thats a shock. The booking of things to get us home is looming.
Julie didn't used to eat Chicken on the bone. How things (including us) have changed. The car park photo is what we see almost every day. Walmarts garden products section. We've been counting things for the trip in numbers and we've been to 220 McDonalds (at least) for Wi-Fi. We will try to get that exaclty when we are back......surely we should get a medal or something. At $2 (plus tax) for Wi-Fi its not bad but it was cheaper in Africa for a mobile sim card and internet in the car ! We could get a month worth for $10usd and here is costs us $2 for the decaf coffees. I don't dring their tea, its awful. So we do get something else other than Wi-Fi for $2 but thats $60 per month if we do it every day (which we probably do !). I'm ashamed of it but the local places don;t have Wi-Fi or $1 drinks.
Now thats a big Alaskan Carrot ! They grow fast in the daylight 24 hours a day ! (I forgot we had the photo),
Firstly a picture of the missile we missed the first time passing this way..
Woody would not be happy....
Here we are trying to get into a State Park in Minnesota and we'd done all the web stuff (which is pretty rubbish in the USA) but at least we knew the price. Well we thought we did but as we've discovered before they all tell lies. The $20 camping didn't include the $5 park entry so it was too much for us and this is after we've driven there. Shit ! We'd even got meat and everything. Including expensive National Park firewood left over from Yellowstone. Special bug free National Park wood as all the wood in the parks is.
So talking to some nice people outside they offered to pay for us ! We couldn't let them do that, could we. Well yes we could but not all of it, just some of it and they were happy and so were we. They asked us to get a spot next to them and we were quite happy to do that. You know how I like to talk ! All set then.
The lady on the counter the one that had been not too helpful so far wouldn't let us in the park with the wood we had. She wanted it and was going to burn it. Burn it in the same way we were going to. First though she would put it in two bags and seal it up. She wouldn't let us have it back in the morning. "It must be burnt." "It might be carrying bugs". The fact that it was already here and on the roof of our car and in the State escaped her and the rules. So even though the guy she called when I kicked up a fuss who seemed to hint there was flexibility in the rules still failed to secure me getting it back in the morning. I mean I could have driven a mile out of the park, placed the wood under a tree and returned sans wood and gone back to get it in the morning. This solution would be much worse if the wood had bugs but that's just me being illogically confused.....
So the park would be $25 + $7.23 (our wood) + $6 (replaced with their wood)
We left the money we were given (nice people) in an envelope. I hope they got it back !!!! and left disgusted with the stupidity of it all. We missed talking to the nice people and talking about some of the places we'd been. This included Ethiopia where they seemed to have worked previously. I hope they read this and I hope they know how much such generosity means to a tight Yorkshireman.
We slept at Walmart and went to the SPAM museum in the morning. No free SPAM except a sample and its not too bad to split up the day. The exhibits donlt answer all my questions on the product or indeed give too much info on how good the meat actually is or why there is Chicken in some types????
More miles and more fuel. We are almost exactly following the route we did going west coming back east. So its not exactly interesting. We did manage to see the missile in the silo we missed last time as the gate was closed. You know when we went to the Minuteman thing. We are staying in the same car parks and driving the same boring road. The highway i90 isn't the best road in the world and rather like Ruta 3 in Argentina. This time however its all green as last time it was all brown. Its better in green ! Its also got to be one of the least used roads in the world. There's not many vehicles on it so its a pretty easy drive. In a few more miles we will be in uncharted territory so that should be fun!
A+ rating on the boring blog post ?
The oils in the car are being checked each morning. The gearbox oil is red and staying red so we can only presume the new syncro's were the cause of the brown oil, all exactly like Ashcroft's said. I've been using a syringe to take a sample each day and that's the Gearbox, Transfer and Engine all checked. Not that you need the syringe for the engine but you get the drift. We are about due to change Trans and Engine so we are not going to get away with getting dirty before we come home. We have at least one more change to do ! Julie will tell me its in the 50's for the changes. I can't be bothered to look ! When we update the our trip in numbers we will put them all on.
The tourists in Yellowstone obviously think that seeing a Bison is reason to stop dead in the middle of the road....on a hill....inbetween parked cars. Parked illegally of course trying to get that illusive picture of an animal so common there are only 15,000 of them in Yellowstone. We saw maybe 100 each day.....YOU'RE ALL IDIOTS !!!! Not only is it a Fedral Crime its ffing dangerous. Also driving without any consideration to those behind you. Not using your indicators (blinkers to the yanks) and basically leaving your manners, sense and brain at the park gate......
Yellowstone is not a safari park. You are not allowed to stalk animals and your not even allowed to get withing 100yards of a bear. Does that stop them. No it does not. In Kruger if you take a photo of someone doing this type of thing they get a large fine through the post based on their licence plate. They should implement this in Yellowstone. Nearly every vehicle was a)parked illegally b)parked dangerously c)within the minimum distance allowed under fedral law. Of course thats not counting the actual stopping for no reason on the highway which is also illegal.
Serves us right for going there on the day they opened on a holiday weekend and for drving 1500miles back-tracking to get there. Do I wish we hadn't.....yes.
We did meet up with Martin and Nicole from OVERLAND SPHERE. They are setting off on the next leg of their journey. And its been a big one so far. Their actual web site is My Overland Adventure. We enjoyed a camp fire and some drinks....of course we did !
One other good thing (was there another?) is Yellowstone is first come first served on the camping so you might get a spot. Maybe. Just maybe if you are there REALLY early !!!!
The other thing is there are a few animals and some hot water.....worth a visit, yes almost. If only they would remove all the alien species from the park. You know who i mean.....and its not even peak season !
Leaving lovely Alaska and back into Canada. We met some nice people in Alaska and we would have liked to stay longer but we need to get moving. The Canada border crossing was fun. They wanted to take our pepper spray off us but when I pointed out the french instructions about protecting us from "Dangerous Animals" it was allowed as "bear spray" is permitted. They also forget ot give us our passports back so we had to drive back about 3 Km. We strangely didn't realise immediatly. They also looked in the car to make sure we wern't carrying anyone else????
The Gearbox is behaving and the chatter is much less. Maybe the clutch wasn't quite seated correctly and causing that. We can only guess what it was. As the gearbox place said. If its quiet in drive and changes well, which it does, then its fine.
Camped out last night for the first time in a while. We had a fire and made steaks. Luckily we had some in the freezer as we were not expecting to find a spot for free with a fire ring. The weather was good but my improvised hot water bottle in the form of a hot stone was nice. Its still getting cold in the evenings. It was maybe 7C when we went to bed.
We've now seen more bears than we care for and they are everywhere. The hightlight today was a very young cub but we missed the photo as there were cars behind us and we couldn't just swerve off the road to take some pictures.
We are in A&W having a burger and Wi-Fi. Its a bit expensive ! Julies birthday is on Monday. Where will we be......She's not very impressed with the places we've been on her Birthday in countries past. Can we make Edmonton?
Hi, Shona. We haven't had chance to respond to your messages. You seem to have taken over from Gayle in being the frequent poster.....
Here we are with the gearbox fitted to the car. I say here, as we are in McDonalds....We have driven here.
Blue is dead.....long live two...
My ball(s) and sceptre (pictures) giving way under the pressure of being a mechanic....did I really say that. I'm and Engineer dammit. I have letters after my name to prove it. My workmanship may not be 100%....we shall see. We had a massive crotch failure after I spilt oil over "them".
Another first before we get into it. We have two full on earthquakes since we've been here. One off the bucket list. Even though we had one in the UK but these, like everything in the USA are bigger. This was a 5.5...wow!! Pretty big and we felt it in the car. Not far from us and in the middle of the bay just south of Anchorage.
So firstly, Thanks to Ed for technical support and use of his shop, Jason for being more stressed than me and providing lot of humour, Andrew for running Julie around to the shops and providing some food now and again, Kathy for cooking for us and Curtis for loaning us his long bearing puller. There are few others who delivered Pizza and sanity for the short periods that I wasn't freaking out. I was working 10am to 2am almost every day and getting up at 4am again to contact the UK. I'm knackered.
The box came apart like they do with the help of Curtis's puller and much swearing and heavy lifting. The use of Ed's shop made it much easier. I even managed to do Jason's timing belt on his pimped up 300Tdi whilst I was waiting for parts. We had some fun with his pully and crank seal. His crank is very tight! I'm not sure that I've been paid back for that "help". Maybe he should read my pay it forward posts. Andrew stole some of our beer and never quite lived it down. The guys made my stress almost tolerable. Andrew and Ed were preparing for a 3500 mile dash to overland expo. Andrew hasn't been that far, ever ! I wonder how they are getting on? They left yesterday with only 6 days to get there. Pictures of the leaving below along with Jason and his ride.
One of the bearings was gone in my gearbox and the reverse gear dog teeth were damaged. The fifth gear running surfaces were worn both on the main shaft and the inner of the gear. Maybe that was due to the metal paste in the MTF94 gear oil. We've refilled with Redline MTL now as we cannot get MTF94 here. I hope the pump is pumping it round box......it seemed to be working.
That one little main-shaft bearing(pictures) was causing all the trouble. According to Ashcrofts the ones that are supplied the gear-box, that lasted only 14,000 miles, are a "common failure". So why do they not get a better bearing and only fit those? I think they do indeed have an upgrade for it but its an option! Why is it only an option? It should be mandatory. The bearing is an RHP. We do not have the option fitted even now as its a like for like replacement. The parts were sent for free and all credit to Dave at Ashcrofts for being online all weekend at very strange hours and on a bank holiday. We could have only expected more had they sent a new box. Parts are quicker however. This is considering the box actually now lasts the distance so to speak. I'm still worried. Its not like we had all the tools to do this quickly and easily so I'm still stressed and listening for noises. The chatter is terrible in neutral but normal according to form. However its MUCH louder than before. I've asked him for an opinion on that.
We managed to do most things twice as you do when you do not know what you are doing. The first "oh shit" moment was the syncro rings. Two are different and we'd fully reassembled the box to an almost no return point and couldn't get gears. I'd put a syncro ring on wrongly and we needed to take it all apart again to change it round. That meant all the shims needed doing again. Luckily the different ones are not inside the bearings we'd just pressed on. Phew !!!!
Once the box was fitted the clutch didn't work so we had to slide it back to get to the pressure plate and make sure it was engaging properly. Not easy to do but made easier with the hoist. I'd luckily put the clutch on correctly as you can fit the friction plate backwards. The springs go towards you! They normally have "front" or "flywheel side" written on them but mine does not. Not sure why the clutch wasn't working. Ed seemed to think it wasn't priming but the arm seemed very far back so maybe the input shaft was not engaged squarely and it was pressing the plate.
You need to fit the gear lever turret before lifting the box in. Not the levers just the turret base as its a RPITA to get it on once its fitted. You cannot get the selector fork into the coupler easily when its in the tunnel so fit it first. Make sure you fit the trans box chassis mount as you fit the transfer otherwise its a nightmare to get it in the little space. The syncro rings and the unique ones. Its pretty easy to tell where they go as the have a slightly different taper on the inner surface. Resetting the selector forks to the correct position is also key. There's something in the book about that. There's also some pictures on the web of a correct selector fork position.
Blue is now dead....lasted well but seemed to fall apart with all the oil. We now have (blue) two. I wonder how long it will last. Hopefully we never need to use it !
I'm sure I've forgotten loads of things but to be honest I don't want to remember most of the experience. Its been pretty terrible made better by the people we've met. I'm hoping the box lasts until we are back home....not a lot to ask really after all its cost us a few thousand dollars in the first place and now a few hundred in oils and stuff. Luckily we had the help of Land Rover people like Eddie Angel. He truly is. Thanks.
We have a new windscreen and specially cut to order. You can't imagine how expensive they are here so the car insurance was worth it. The new screen was $400 USD. No excesss/deductable. You know the insurance only pay the glass company cost -22%. So insurance companies rip everyone off, not just the public.
If you've been reading facebook you'd know the first place would not fit it with the old seal so we went elsewhere. I wasn't going to wait 12 days for a new seal just because they didn't want to use the old one. Plus it was an extra $100. The second place had no problem at all. Its been etched with Safety Glass to satisfy potential MOT problems although i'm not sure it applies to cars.
We are in the most northern (Americas) McDonalds again. We promise not to get my Dad out of bed again just because when we rang Julies Gran yesterday she was watching Coronation Street so we had to call her back when it had finshed. This meant we called my Dad past his bedtime.....I'm sure she doesn't realise the lengths we must go to to get Wi-Fi suitable for calls. Its not like we are just up the road on a landline. So my Dad can blame Julies gran...and he should take note that an 81 year old goes to bed later than him! She really is a night owl.
We must say a BIG thanks to Mark and Michelle for leting us use their cabin for free. They like to get other travellers to stay and have done some serious travelling themselves. In fact Michelle is in Boliva visiting he sons who have been there "on holiday" for quite a while. The cabin is great and built by Mark for guest and parents to stay. Its really cosy. Luckily they have Wi-Fi as the TV has one channel. We've been watching downloaded TV on the Samsung. This is TV we got in Mexico when we had unlimited super fast Wi-Fi. We downloaded rather a lot ! Legal downloads of course as pirates sail boats not drive Land Rovers....wink wink.
This post should be "Cabin in the Woods"....but Julie hates scary movies.
Would you credit it but Samuel L. Jackson has a movie coming out called Moose. So there you have it....a perfect blog title.
We went to see George and his Land Rover today in Fairbanks and although its in part and just a rolling chassis its being restored perfectly. I'd love to see it when its finished. Its a pretty old one. It will drive like new and its getting a 200TDi (minus turbo) fitted. The "moose hat" was worn my Matilda and me just for fun.
Another thing....Mr CROCS, have you noticed that I wear your CROCS every day.....how about some new ones !!!! They must cost all of $1 to make and you sell them for $30. Send me some for free you tight asses.
We are officially on our way home so that should please Julies Gran. However we have a smashed windscreen so movement towards home will be delayed whilst we find a replacement. Luckily, we think the insurance covers it. Insurance in the USA isn't like the UK so we shall see. We think they pay for it directly so thats one RPITA (Goggle it) removed from the equation. If they wanted to send a cheque it would be a nightmare. Can they get us a Land Rover screen in Fairbanks....I doubt it. No doubt it will be up to me to chase it up every day. Verizon have managed to break my phone so I can no longer make or receive any calls or texts. It was working to receive calls but now it does nothing. I shouldn't have called customer services and settled for the texts and receiving only. Now how do the insurance and glass company call us ??? They can't and i'm not getting another phone just for that !
We are staying at Mark and Michelles cabin in the mean time. Luckily its not booked out or we'd be in the Walmart for a week maybe. We want to get moving as we have deadlines to adhere to but this is the way of travelling. Hopefully it won't take too long to get a screen. It was just one of the many lorries threw up a big one at maybe 60MPH and we got hit right near the edge so we can still drive. Its at least 5 inches and spreading and is actually all the way through the laminate.
We saw a few animals on the road but no more bears. At least we saw one bear the other day. The highlights were the Wolf and the Arctic fox. Julie got photos of both although considering how bad our camera is behaving its a miricle she got any. The zoom will only now zoom in and to get it back to normal you have to switch it off and on again. This is pretty time consuming when theres a fox making a bid for freedom at 40MPH. The Wolf just stood there and gave us the finger.....We can't afford a new camera at this late stage of the journey.
The Dalton Highway is partially paved and partially gravel. Some parts are just ice even now but its melting fast. The lowest it got to was -10c which isn't that cold. The biggest problem was my mud flaps and wheel arches getting caked in snow and ice. The weight being so considerable it tried to rip off a mud flap. I cleared them off quite a few times. The rear flaps on a defender being renowned for getting ripped off are reinforced for just this reason so its the front that suffered. Its held on by TieWraps (zip-ties) now pending a fixing session. As you can see from the photos the car was a bit dirty but unlike the super jet wash in Smithers in Canada which gave 20mins for $6 (Can$) the one here was $13 for 13 minutes and the car isn't clean at all. I wasn't going to spend more than that as thats already a load of cash for almost nothing. They really do take the piss with charging for a jet wash. If you washed it properly using the brush and soap etc. You could easily spend $45 usd. You can't wash a car in 10 minutes and thats still $10usd. Especially one a filthy as Matilda. We are off to see another Land Rover owner today so he might have one we can use. Its going to be strange saying hello, can we use your Jet wash please. Hopefully he's on city water as the cabin where we are staying isn't so water is valuable. We are just glad Mark and Michelle are leting us stay. Its a great place to rest up.
A bit about the Dalton. Fuel is $1 more expensive in Coldfoot about 250 miles from Fairbanks and approx half way to Deadhorse. They sell food at the services and their Burger is OK. Its $1.50 more expensive per gallon in Deadhorse and you can eat in the Aurora Hotel which is the largest building in town and is 3 stories high but NOT signed as the Aurora and has no sign at all. You can't miss it. You need to go see what you want and then pay reception. Meal times are fixed so if you are out of luck with the times they have a selection of Microwaveable stuff. We had a couple of nice Burrito's for $2.50 each and a hot chocolate (free). I get the feeling the buffet meals would be really good considering all the residents eat there every day for their entire contract in the north.
If you need to find the Deadhorse sign and general store you need to GPS location as its difficult to find. N 70 12'' 32' W 148 24' 20'' They sell t-shirts and stickers and theres a NAPA autoparts store on the ground floor.
10 miles out of Fairbanks there is a water station if you need water for camping. Right on the side of the road near the town of Fox. Its just after the weigh station on the left.
We did a total of 1097 miles travelling from Fairbanks to Deadhorse including some local driving around. We managed to get 23UKMPG on the ups and downs on the highway as some of the hills are steep and require 3rd gear. We normally get 27UKMPG so take that into account. Its a lot of up and down. A lot ! We filled up in Coldfoot on the way there and only topped up there on the return. Buying 20 Gallons when its a dollar more expensive is a lot of cash so plan what you are going to do. We used both our fuel cans to save money. If you can I would do the same.
We are loosing our temper with Walmart in Fairbanks. Twice we have tried to buy wine and twice we needed to jump through hoops to do so. The first time my driving licence wasn't good enough so I had to get my passport. The second time when I was buying wine they wanted both mine and Julies licence even though she was only with me and not buying anything. So two different rules on two different occasions. Opposite to this was Fred Meyers which sold it to me with no ID at all. I mean I look over 21 and I'm obviously not a local ! I offered to go get it and she said it was fine. Walmart seem to have a bug up the preverbial. I would guess they've been done for serving illegally.
Apologies for missing off the post title in the last one....i'll try not to do it again.
We finally met up with the Kiwis again and they stayed the night at the same spot. I think Will wanted to get moving but Rochelle talked him into me making them dinner. They have a long way to go. They are trying to get to the Overland Expo in Arizona. I'm really jealous as I really want to go but its too far and the diesel would be mucho $$$. Scout the dog has grown up from a puppy the last time we saw them. Will has grown what the thinks is a beard and Rochelle wears the same wolly hat as me. Although hers is purple and not blue as it looked on the photos. You need to have facebook to understand that story....
We met Dan in Whitehorse and will go back to see him on our return so no photos of that yet. Dan runs Wikioverland so if you are travelling or want to, its a good place to publish info and get info.
As you can see we are nearing the end of the continent. We have about 500 miles to go north and then its all south and east for us.....its nearly over.
We've not been online much as the internet is few a far between. Hopefully we will have internet today and tomorrow morning and then in a few days in Deadhorse. So don't expect many updates. We will be on the sat phone however.
Another mention for another traveller. Julian at Sports Trek got his car out of customs in Chile after they denied him entry due to RHD rules. Thats a team effort with many people helping him out from around the world. He got the truck out on the back of another truck so although hes not allowed to drive hes at least not paying the port to keep his car. Its not cheap paying Wharfage fees.....sometimes $250 per day after the third day on port.
Some days you get a bit bored of driving so you mess about.....
We did see a bear ! Yes we did. Its early for them and they are mostly still sleeping, so, in your face African lions. Although the lions did sleep a lot they wern't hibernating they we just avoiding us. We also saw a thing. Its one of the things....Moose, Caribou, Deer, Elk. We think we know which one. Do you ? Of course it could be none of the above.
On route 37 up into the remote Canadian areas we only happened on a few good places to camp. Most were snowed in and so helpfully the plough had piled snow accross the entrances to all of them. They were closed of course but we could have got in had it not been for the massive piles of snow. We did find one, as you can see. We also came across a Motel who gave us a free room. They also wanted to feed us but we wern't sure if it was free so we resisted the offer having been bitten by the have a "cup of tea" offer before. On that occasion we were landed with a $8 bill + tip for a terrible cup that was offered we thought for free. You live a learn. However we do think they we offering free food to us but anyhow we'd had a huge lunch. At breakfast we settled for toast and I left them something even though they didn't ask for any money. The tea was Julies favorite and they gave us 3 full boxes of it as it didn't sell ! So we now have enough tea for another year on the road. At least Julie does.
All the way along the road i've wanted to go onto the ice but its too late in the season. The lakes are stunning covered in Ice and snow but i bet they are just as good in summer sunshine. We also missed the Northern Lights last night due to the lights in Walmart. We will hopefully see them tonight. Its on my bucket list and it must be ticked off !!!!! damn it !!!! The night before they were meant to get really good but the motel was in a valley and they say they can't seen them so we didn't even try. Maybe we should have taken a walk in -10c to look for ourselves. It doesn't get dark until 11pm and even then its light. We need to seen them soon as soon it will be daylight all night almost.
The Kiwis are on there way back from Deadhorse and have finished their trip. Their 8-12 months on the road turning into a year and a half. You meet some really great people on the road and then some others that let you down. Will and Rochelle got us spare parts and delivered them to us in Bolivia. They wern't quite a fast as Fed-Ex but the service was free ! Thanks again guys.
I read the other day about using a candle to light a fire if the wood is wet so I gave it a try thanks to Dollarama $1 candles. It works and saves using BBQ lighter fluid which is much more expensive. According to the web the candle flame burns hotter than a match and as it lasts much longer the fire lights faster. Not sure how it would work in a force 9 gale....I also use a couple of BBQ briquettes to help it along. You could carry them in a small bag in your pack if you were camping out. You only need two. Of course a litre of lighter fluid is much better and doesn't really get affected by wind but the mushroom cloud can be seen from space.
This is the second time i've posted using this film title. I may do it again. For those that do not know the film is about doing good deeds if one is done for you. Pretty much the same as one of the rules of overlanding which says "always give credit where its due".
We've recently heard about a guy in Chile that cannot get his car out of the container, let alone the port, due to Chile's RHD ban. Something we did our best to get changed but at the risk of getting it such a high profile that it would cause more issues. So we gave up not wating to stir it up to such an extent that the notices all go back up at the borders and they all get riminded not to let us in. We wish Julian at Sports Trek all the best and good luck. I've passed him all the info we gathered and some others off the facebook groups are helping. He's said he owes me a beer so thats enough for me ! Payment in beer is the universal currancy. Not wanting to break another overland rule thats "alway accept a free drink"....more accurately its "Never turn down a free drink" but they are all "Never" do this and "Never" do that so we are wanting to re-word them....1) Never drive at night.....stays as is.
All credit to Julian he's said thanks during his stressful time. This is unlike some other people we have met, who are thankfully few and far between. You just meet these people (i can feel my mother posting based on that comment, please don't!). We remember the two tractors in the middle of Sudan in the desert who were really stuck. Upon lending my tools and tow strops and upon their return they polished the tools on their shirts before handing them back and wound up my strop. Maybe the only words they knew in English was Thankyou and Goodbye.....again enough for me. We will always remember these people a bit like some of the folks we have met who we've helped out. We've rendered first aid to a ("rabid") monkey bitten Ben from Pennsylvania who got too close for comfort. However payback was the Cock Fighting he convinced us to go to.....even Julie eventually came along. We only remebered about that yesterday as it must have been beer washed from memory....Thanks Ben....although i'm sure we payed him in some Rum or something as if i recall we drank quite a bit.....normal some would say.
Only the other day we received a message from the blog from some other travellers who'd seen the locks on the Land Rover and they wanted to get some for their car as they'd been broken into a few times, or at least some attempts had been made. Anyhow, they'd lost the info but managed to get back in touch and i've re-sent the info. Not the first time someones asked for that info and something we got from a guy at the RGS overlanding show near York in 2010. We think he worked for Scotland Yard or something. Maybe he reads the blog. He'd already done some travelling so knew his stuff. His advice was get them all keyed the same as he had 5 different keys for his doors. Good advice and good locks that have resisted 1 attempt as far as we know. He's credited each time we talk about them and its a LOT ! I wish we knew his name but it was a long time ago.
Pure conincidence that someone has just posted about our map. Its all thanks to Bart and his wonderous web skills. He's a genius when it comes to that stuff. Something i've never been good at. Possibly the only technical thing i'm not good at.....maybe. (cue Noel for comments) Only when you have an IQ in the 170 range you can pass comment.
This is a long blog....i'm not checking for typos....
I should thank Open Street Map.....i should send them some money. I will send them some money when we get working again. More importantly theres a site in the Netherlands that lets you build custom maps from their data. I will certainly send that guy something but you can find the website yourself as its already busy enough to make downloading a custom map a 2 day exercise.
Off to the rec centre for a shower. Been nearly a week....
We've just met our first Canadian Land Rover in McDonalds car park. Fine example of a working car and an ex Saudi V8 conversion to a 300Tdi. Good to meet you guys, Cook family and dog....send us a message.
My damn diff lock switch is faulty, again. Its new Allmakes one and I bet its been operated twice ! Damn you Allmakes ! I'm' going to see it it can be repaired but knowing what happened with the last one it cannot. So there's really no way of knowing if you are out of lock or not without lifting the cubby up and visually checking by removing the switch and looking in the hole. Anybody got any tips on if there's and easier way ?
Weather has been OK so far and according to the Kiwis its getting warm which mean VERY bad and muddy roads. We want frozen roads please.
We've found a cheap place for some goodies and a bit of food. Dollararma is a "pound shop" to you and me but it sells all sorts of rubbish. So just like ours. They sell a few tins of food, noodles and chocolate so its the best place to buy some things. We like their JUMBO tin of ravioli for $2. Canada is expensive and if you drink even more so. We are rationing the wine and spirits as a new box of wine is $30 where it was $13 in the USA in some states. Never more than $20 even in the most expensive states with lots of tax. The spirits are beyond belief. We've yet to fathom the fuel pricing anywhere in North America and it varies wildly. Its just expensive in Canada all the time but some places are 10c cheaper. You just need to find them.
Ok so its not icy but we are in Canada. Its raining and the car is flooded. The leak I fixed has moved. Its not as bad as it used to be and my foot is only partially wet. All Defenders do this. Mine is not too bad at the moment but parking at the wrong angle and it comes in all night. When driving it doesn't come in now so I'm happy about that. I know where its coming from so one last sealing frenzy and we should be good. My shoe was full of water this morning but thankfully its the crocs.
I painted the underside of the car in Gig Habor and so she's all black and shiny. Rather like a fetish queen at the moment. I don't expect the black shiny will last long though. One area of rust that needs attention but its in a unimportant place. Another one for the list.
The queue at the border was pretty bad and we got asked a few questions. We got in without being strip searched and they even asked how we were leaving. We worried about a few item we had but you just say nothing. We had heard that they do not allow you to bring in fly spray and we have some. Its not on their web site though. We also had a bit too much wine but not excessive. We understand only one bottle is allowed and we had one box. As its more expensive here we tried to bring all we could. However meat is much cheaper here. At least minced beef is.
The sell Poutine in McDonalds.....Really they do !!!! We love Poutine ! Google it.
Leaving today from Defenders Northwest and on our way towards Canada. We might not cross today but leave it for tomorrow morning. We've been in Gig Harbor long enough and Matilda has had some TLC and i've cheated on her....
Theres now a Disco in the shop having its cam shaft changed. On of the lobes wasn't a lobe any more and was just round. No wonder there was a loss of power. Its a V8 of course.
Yesterday we had a BBQ thank to Brian and we met many other Rover fans and some nice people. You might see the MOD 110 in the line up with the new engine, gearbox,transfer and chassis. Many more things will become new but i did consider stealing his new Aluminium Rad and Intercooler. Thats Aluminium not Aluminum as its made in England.
We note that the Kiwis turned there car over....take a look at their facebook page. They've also hiked to teh Magic Bus which we might do although its 35km and very remote. We shall see.
Henning will soon be moving back to Denmark from Kenya with his wife. Good luck to them in their new adventure. How long is it until they are back on the road is anybodies guess. We will be finished in July so watch this space for some ideas on the next plan (and we have some!). It might involve buying a Jeep....LMAO.....they are nice inside but then so is a Discovery LR4.....
Lizzybus isn't far behind us and they too need to get a move on. Its only 2.5 months until July and our pending bankruptcy and they want to be home in August.
Some of you following the blog may know about the transport of a exhaust pipe in our suitcase from the UK back to the USA and into New Jersey. Well, this suitcase originated in Korea and collected my Step Mums daughter and the "kids" belongings to bring them to the UK for a holiday. This suitcase was BIG and just big enough for us to fit the exhaust pipe in when it was cut in half. So off it went to New Jersey where it stayed with Gayle and after we ceremoniously dumped it on them.....it was donated to the church. The same church were we met Gayle and Shona when we went there for a shower. Shona used the suitcase to go home for a visit. So its back in the UK and in St Andrews. So its been use pretty well for an old suitcase.....
The exhaust is working well. Shame about the replacement seal I used on the front Axle. This will be replaced again on Friday ! If it doesn't work we are coming home. That's it, I've had enough......
For those of you at home this will either make you laugh or cry....its about $1.60 to the £1 so something like Ribena at $14.29 + 8% Tax = $15.43 which at about £9.30 would become more expensive than a Heroine habit....
We must be carrying about £50's worth of gravy which we brought back with us after Xmas.....Luckily the American government don't tax you on the value here. Or at least I think they don't as when they said "anything to declare" I said "no" and if they take the USA price then I was surely over the limit ! We even had some digestive's and they are truly expensive but this store didn't sell them. Next time I have a treacle pudding I will say grace before hand....Rusty taught me how.
Baked Beans on toast is the food of kings....truly it is. Maybe at any price but more so at this price considering the ludicrous price of bread here which is nearly $3 a loaf unless you shop around.
We should be able to get gravy in Canada as we are looking forward to Poutine. Just Google it...
Get notifications of new Blog Entries by filling in the box below. No risk.