Sleepless in Seattle....
Can you guess where we are?
A few days of maintenance on the car but some problems along the way. New stem seals to sort the blue smoke in the morning and then swivel ball adjustment that turned in to a full hub rebuild. The top swivel pin came apart on the second shim removal. Why are the top pins so tight? Even the new on I had on the roof is super tight. On the bottom pin there's a nice flat inside the swivel ball so the bearing pulls off square. On the top pin there is no flat so when you pull the pin the bearing comes off cocked....or at least it tries to and because its so tight the bearing get jammed and then the bearing cage falls to pieces. So my 1 hour job became all day !
So we now have new bearings in the swivel and a new swivel seal and new one shot grease in there. The hubs been greased and it should be good for another adventure. The brake caliper pistons have been cleaned and although the pads are low I've not changed them as there is still 4mm left. Trouble is this is one side. I still need to do the other !
The stem seal change although difficult was trouble free and I got quicker with each one. Still took a long time to do. I've had too full days in the workshop thanks to Brian at Defenders NorthWest and I shattered.
We went out for some Mexican food with Brian and some friends and I don't think I talked too much,,,,,maybe I did ?
Checked Brake pads, Check Clutch Fluid, Check Steering Fluid, Change Engine Oil, Check Wheel Bearings, Grease Props, Grease A Frame Ball, Grease Steering Arms, Check Swivel Pre Loads, Check Timing Belt, Check Timing, Replace Stem Seals, Check Tappet Clearances, Clean Cyclone Breather, Clean Intercooler, Clean Turbo Pipes, Check Turbo Impeller for Play and checked the glow plug relay. All the glow plugs are faulty.
Still need to do other side for swivel pre load and replace gearbox and transfer box oils and then fit the new glow plugs....We're then ready for Canada....and the next 6000 miles. We managed to get some MTF94 for the gearbox so I'm really happy about that. Its the fist time we've got it since Namibia. Having trouble finding plain old EP80/90 with no fancy limited slip additives so we might have to settle for some limited slip oils and I'm not happy. The manufacturer says its OK but its just not the correct stuff. Why add it to ALL EP80/90 in the USA ??? WHY !!!!!????
Its amazing how much maintenance we do on a car with no faults.....some niggles but nothing broken, nothing worn out. I hope i'm not speaking too soon. That might be why shes in good order.
Another twist in the UPS saga. Hardly a saga but there you go. The package delivered on Wednesday as it should be. So my mind is confused. which is easily done. Not sure how their system works but it truly reflects the path of the parcel after its happened and their estimates of deliver are just inaccurate or maybe put there to make you annoyed so you are happy when it comes early. Anyhow, its here and we can got to the Land Rover place today to get some work done.
Thanks to Brian we have the use of a workshop.
Let you know how it all goes in a few days maybe. If they have Wi-Fi we will let you know tonight with some pictures.
It looks like the UPS guy, like they do, didn't unload the van on Monday so they didn't receive the package till Tuesday ! So my two day delivery should be here Wednesday....but wait its still been quoted as Friday. Hows that work? Can someone explain how couriers work out their delivery. A two day delivery means a package accepted on Tuesday should be here Wednesday or Thursday. Not Friday!
The other package should be sent today Wednesday and again should be here Friday if its on a Two day.....I doubt it.
So UPS, you're a bunch of you know what....
Dash has a new bird.... She's a real cutie....So she's called Dash's bird until she gets a proper name. Maybe that is the proper name. Would you believe she was born in Bolton and then migrated to the USA. I doubt she was delivered in the local NHS hospital and no idea how long she's live here.
The parts place have let me down. First delivery was delayed one day before shipping and the second hasn't even left the UK yet.....NOT happy !!!!
Every day sat around cost us £55ukp.....and we don't have the money to sit around ! Really NOT happy !!!!!
On a lighter note we have no idea why Pete had a piss in the field.....I used the toilets. It was $5 camping and really just parking in the car park so we broke our own rule. However they did have hook-ups if we wanted to use them (for more money) and a shower so the "camping in a car park for money" rule was only 50% broken. We do not pay to park and sleep unless its a campsite and this is almost a campsite so acceptable. The showers were OK but a bit grotty.
The Wrong Trousers....
Managed to find a free camp in Oregon on the side of the columbia river. A nice free camp with OK toilets with hot water. We arrived a bit late and we'd already eaten at Denny's due to the McDonalds bank crisis. One thing missing was a shower but what do you expect for a car park. All the campsites are still closed for the season but the weather is good and the snow is gone here. I've no idea whos logic it is to close the campsites for most of the year. When they are open they are full all the time, every day all "season". If they were open now there would still be people camping. We tried quite a few and I was loosing my temper at driving to one for it to be shut. (we tried quite a few)...one was open but the toilets and showers were closed until April 15th but it was still $15 to camp!!! We eventually found one that opened last week and it was fully open and I think 30% full already. The showers were cold but the water was hot ! We got our first shower for a week and we needed it. After 5 or 6 days I start to get quick tempered and its due to not having had a wash. We cooked outside and made Spagetti and drank wine. It was cool but this is what a evening should be like. We shouldn't have to search for somewhere to camp properly. Walmart is OK but you can't exactly start cooking in the car park.....but the RV's do which is why they get banned and then they ruin it for us all.
Ordered some parts for the car. Again its all maintenance stuff as we don't have a real problem it just something that need replaceing due to age. In fact i should have replaced it before we left the UK so thats how minor it is ! I think going into Alaska and some of the remote places up there the cold might cause them to fail so I will replace them. According to the web it will take three hours to do. So with me, five hours. I've also ordered some new glow plugs as one is not working and i'm not sure about the other three so I'll replace the lot. She still starts without them but at -20c its a bit difficult. 10 seconds is too long. LMAO...I want an Audi level of quick starting at those temps. Land Rover say a 300Tdi will start almost first time at down to -30c and they are right. She starts no problem and with no glow plug in at least one cylinder. I'd suggest they are all dead so she starts with none.
What is it about McDonalds that keeps me annoyed?
They have a Dollar Menu and most items on it are not a Dollar. In some states there is a wide selection of items for a Dollar and in some there are none. Today at breakfast we went in to get a decaf coffee. Normally a dollar each for any size. I say normally but this is also random. In this McD the two MEDIUM coffees were $3.74 (including tax) when normally our two LARGE ones are $2.10 (including tax). The breakfast muffin which are usually $1 each were,,,,,,wait for it,,,,$2.39 each!!!! (plus tax)
So lets do the maths....normally two drinks and two McMuffins is $4.20 but in Washington its $8.94....(both including tax) In Washington the tax is 8.7% and in most states its 5% but that's not the real problem. I think the real problem is the owner.
So McDonalds, how can you have a dollar menu when no singe item on it is a dollar ? Answer me that......(they have a get out its technically called "dollar menu and more" with the operative on the word MORE!)
No breakfast Wi-Fi for us then. We go to Denny's later and eat properly.
One Red Shoe....
Actually its four black shoes. Purchased from Costco without a membership. We begged for forgiveness as my (Griffins) membership has run out and I cannot renew it here. I cannot buy a USA membership as i'm not a "citizen". So Matilda has 4 new tyres. It was a bit of a monumental task as when fitted we had death wobble so off we went back to them. They tried to balance them again and it turns out its not my wheel rims/hubs it was the tyre. One of them was not round. I suggest this was the same in South Africa with the last set also but not to this extent. The wobble is gone. I'm still needing to re-set the preloads on the swivels though as this is way to light. Once thats done in Seattle we will be rocking and rolling as they say....without the rocking though. Julies has snatched the laptop so no photos until i get it back.....
Is that what we look like watching a Movie in the car.....
Close Encounters of the Third Kind.....
A trip to the centre of the USA....not so sure. It did have a proper USGS marker.
Julie could not resist the pull of Devils Tower. She was even drawing it as per the movie. Not so sure if she's still under Alien influence as she does act strange now and again.
The Prairie Dogs were cute and made some amazing squeaks....they also see to dance a bit but this is probably a warning to the other that a Land Rover is coming.
McDonalds has not power sockets so this is a short blog......
Didn't pay the $11usd for parking. The attraction is free. The parking is not. Its a category one rip off. The car park is out of place and could have been done much better and no doubt it built by a private company rather like Arlington Cemetery. Another tick in the box for seeing it. Yellowstone is closed until Mid April, we are really pissed off. We can't get to see Old Faithful.
Today.....later on....Close Encounters of the Third Kind...bet you can guess what we are going to see !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yeah !
Lovely weather in Rapid City so we stayed an extra day. What to do....???
I know I'll start on something that I've been meaning to do for a while. This is one of the long list of jobs that I need to do. You'd think overlanding (and not working) would be easy....not so.
I noticed the other day that there was "thin" oil below the intercooler. It was dripping on the steering damper. So I have a hole in my intercooler. Could this be the reason my fuel consumption is up? Maybe? Anyhow a hour to get it out and then clean off all the oil I noticed a very small crack in the side. Luckily its in the side...I mean if it was in the middle it would be a PITA to fix. (Google PITA please Mum, Dad etc. It will tell you what it means). So I cleaned it up and used JB Weld to cover the hole. We'll see in a few days if its fixed. I'm not to sure that such a small hole would cause the fuel consumption. Maybe its the new gearbox or maybe its something else. Hope not. I tried to solder it first but that didn't work. I would have needed to use the full size blow torch and I was scared to start that on the intercooler as I could have ruined it. The gas soldering iron wasn't man enough. Hopefully JB Weld will work. 3 hours to get it all fixed....Washing up liquid used to find the hole.
Did I mention that Walmart had a clearance of coats. Its warming up here and I was missing a nice little Jacket. They had a down jacket for £5.74. Now that's got to be nearly as good as the FREE RAB jackets. So very sorry to RAB but my BIG coat is too big for the warm weather so I've now got this. It will be cold enough for the big one soon enough....to be honest for the price ($9usd) its excellent. It was reduced from nearly $50usd.
Talking of oil leaks. What is it about the cars in the USA. I'm going to take some pictures of the oil slicks that leak from the cars here. You think Land Rovers are bad but the are poor comparisons to the cars here. Watch this space for pictures (and my parking place fro no oil leaks !).
Some of you may have seen this film but I'm sure nearly everyone I know from my home town will have. In fact most people in the UK will remember the Sheffield set nuclear holocaust film.
To the point of the post we went to something I've wanted to see for years. The Minuteman site. You get to go down to the "bunker" and see the switches and buttons and get a great talk on how it all worked, minus some still secret stuff but mostly its all declassified. You can see a missile in the launch site. These are the ones you see on all the movies where the lids slide back. The "bunker" thing has all the non-descript building on the surface but that look just like the movies and you get to see it all. Jim, the guy that showed us round actually worked down there and did it for many years. He was a really interesting guy and had some good stories on things and not surprisingly knew all the answers to my silly questions mainly based on rumour and films. We knew a little about how it all worked after visiting the Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH when we were staying with Sean. This on is real though unlike the one there.
In the photos I've put an arrow on to show the keys....needed to be turned within 2 seconds of each other. Was it possible to do one and run to the other? I think so. No doubt there was some other mechanism to prevent that. They did actually have an escape tunnel in case they could not open the door but they thought if they could not open the door they'd be dead anyhow. The "bunker" was only 30 foot down and that not very far under a direct hit. I remember long lift journeys in the movies....not true for that part. There was a set of ladders down as well but to the wrong side of that massive door. To use the escape tunnel you needed to unbolt a big manhole and then dig yourself out though 30 feet of sand to the surface. They tested it once in all the years of the system....its not easy to do. If you are wondering the 1000 missiles is now 450 minuteman 3 not minuteman 1 like in this site. So there are still guys in the ground in the same type of place with more modern buttons and switches. They even have TV down there.....
Other photos of the Corn Palace.....exciting....not really.
The minuteman site is VERY busy in RV'ing months which is most of the year. Its damn annoying that the bloody massive RV crowd take over everything and book 12 months in advance for campsites. This is first come first served so that's good. Its not signed on the highway for that reason. Its exit 131 on HW 90 in South Dakota.
The strange photo at the end is of migrating geese. They've been keeping up with us.
Travelling back over old routes in more ways than one. We've driven some of the Natchez Trace which was an old trade route of some 440 miles with a good visitor centre at the south end with good Wi-Fi and also free camps along its route. Not as we were told having loads of camps but only three....the map and guide listing one every few miles was indeed completely incorrect. We are also back tracking an area we travelled in later 2013 past St Louis. We are rapidly heading into the cold and the north. Snow on the ground in West Memphis this morning. We are heading up the Interstate 55 towards the junction of three states to cover them off. It looks like we will miss North Dakota as its just too far to get into. Forecast is to miss North Dakota and Hawaii in the states tour.
Back to the Trace. Very interesting that the only thing left of quite a large town on the route was A) Church B)two old Safes....they theorise that one safe was from the post office. The church was in good order and still used. The thing that wiped out the town was poor land management, war and a beetle....
OK, so I've sat on this long enough and I've just got to let it out....
Toilets in the USA.
What is it about the gap around the entire edge so all that come in can see you sat there. In some toilets its an inch (make that 2 centimetres). One of the manufacturers is called "Hiny Hiders" and they not only do no hiding but certainly don't hide my "hiny". They also all end about a foot from the floor (make that 30cm) or more. When I first came to the USA, many years ago, I was so put off by the gaps that I could not go to the toilet at all. In certain places here and usually its in the disabled stall they have the gap directly in front of the seating area....so you can guess what you can see there.
All the toilets also have auto flush systems. At the first sign of you standing up to complete the last part of your sit down, the part that involves the toilet paper it flushes. You can try to stop it flushing but it still flushes no matter how careful you are, thus wasting over a gallon of water, sometimes more. That's 4 litres to normal people. You can't stop this inevitable occurrence and they all do it. You barely lift off and there it goes so each sitting takes two full flushes to complete. How is that good for the environment, water, waste processing, wear and tear and this is not considering the waste of electricity powering all those auto flush systems?
Enough said. All you people who've been here on holiday will know what I mean. I like privacy when sitting......and shitting. How the scared Yanks put up with this paedophile enabling system is beyond me. I know I wouldn't like my kids "Hiny" on show.....
One more thing....the gaps are so large they don't have (or need) a vacant and occupied signal on the latch on the outside as everyone can see the stall is occupied and what colour your underwear is anyhow. They might as well put windows in......
Live and Let Die...
Some fun and games were had in New Orleans for one day of Mardi Gras. We never saw Jane Seymore although we saw some pretty ladies....some of them may not have been ladies !
Its nothing like Rio and Carnival and a completely different experience. We caught some of the necklaces thrown from the floats. The floats are tiny in comparison to the ones in Rio. They are pulled by tractors and are just basically delivery mechanisms for loads of stuff thrown from the back. We considered the catching of a thrown item to be completion of the experience. I got a few and Julie got one which was all I insisted she got. She needed to be forced to do it as it involved waving of hands in the air to attract he attention of a thrower.
We went into the Hot Sauce shop and I tried some level 9 & 10. They were not very hot.....So I went and tried some 10+ which was hot. If we go back I will try some 10+++. I also tried some horse-radish and it was meant to be amazing...it was only OK to an Englishman. To an American it would have been "AWESOME!!!". I really need to get more excited about stuff. The hottest thing i've ever had were some peanuts we got in California one year from some tourist trap of a shop. We used to have competitions to see how many we could eat in one go. I think I made it to three....the sauce was $18, do you think I got any ?
Jodi Foster would be proud.....but the beach looks only a little like the one in the movie...maybe we were in the wrong part.
Some photos of friends and some shots from the back of the hotel where we had free accommodations. Thanks to Clive.
We should be arriving in New Orleans today and we are still looking for a safe place to park. We have a few offers from Land Rover people but nothing is set in stone so we are going to see what we can find just in case.
Finally we have uncovered the web site on the side of the car. The one we covered over after the Costa Rica incident. We are now getting all sorts of additional comments and requests. Isn't advertising wonderful ! I'm sure if you had put my web site on the side of a naked woman you couldn't get more press. Matilda is beautiful so maybe its that....she's still awesome. We get the surfer radical hand gesture (I think its called the SHAKA) from quite a few passing motorists. Even ones in Jeeps...
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