The Glass House....
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.
Lone Wolf McQuade..
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.
April 22nd, 2014
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.
Pay it Forward.....
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.
The Hurt Locker....
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.
Ice Road Truckers....
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.
A Life in Suitcases....
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...
We came over to Olympic National Park and on the way you pass through Forks which is by all account where Twilight is based. News to me....
We've camped for free in the rain forrest and it luckily didn't rain. We've had a couple of good days as it seems to rain every day in Seattle. As it was off season the camping is free. Normally $12 but this seems way too expensive for the facilities provided. One good thing is the RVs can't get to this campsite so its used by normal campers. The USA should have more of these campsites where RVs are not allowed.
We've ordered another few parts which means hanging round here for even longer. We've already been here way too long and we're taking the preverbial pee expecting people to carry on looking after us. We've not stayed so long in one place for ages. I had a small leak on the front Diff and i changed the seal. This made it worse.....so i changed it again and its still leaking. So i've ordered 3 more seals from the UK.
Whitey is dead....long live Blue....
Some of you know the problem we had with a recent visit to get tyres fitted. As part of the fitting they had a little accident with Matilda in they lowered half the car onto a axle stand that had been left under the chassis. This resulted in a dent in the underside of the chassis. We took some photos and I've had loads of people look at it via the forums. The fitting company also sent out an Engineer to take a look. To be honest the engineer knew nothing about Land Rovers and it was embarrassing to see him look at the doors like they are misaligned. The opinion of all, including me is its fine. In addition to this is that it would be worse to actually fix it by cutting it out as the integrity is not compromised. Any how we threatened legal action after they said it wasn't their fault, which it was and my car is bruised. At first we thought a new chassis might be required but its well away from that level, well away. So after a pretty speedy back and forth with their legal guys they offered us $500 in settlement which although barely covers our phone calls ($45) and days stationary (3 x $90) its enough to pay someone to weld over a patch which we are not going to do unless I start worrying about it.....
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