Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Ice cold in Matlock

The second Jeep is finished! Well, almost. Matt ran out of paint with a couple of rear panels to go, but as it was 10.30 pm anyway decided to call it a day (night), last Friday. We are still waiting for the seats to arrive. They have been ordered from American Canvas, in Ludlow, on Jeeparts recommendation. The tyres are not here yet either, but the ‘fat boy beach buggy’ ones it came on from California will be fine for now.

A few phone calls on Saturday rounded up enough likely suspects to take both Jeeps for a spin in the woods and see how well the Willys runs. It was a weird experience having two identical Jeeps. I bit like dating a twin I guess. I would go to the tool box on one and realise the wheel brace was actually in the other! Not a big deal, life changing, moment - just odd.

Tom Queally and I picked the coldest day so far this year to make the 50 mile journey north to Matt’s place. Minus 10ยบ all day, but under a crystal clear sky. No roof, no heater! We made a short movie that will air on the excellent Overland Expo web site as a ‘60-Second Overlander movie’. I’ll post it on this Blog straight after the U.S. Premier

See the LRDG Expedition web site.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Lunch anyone?

Desert catering relies on a fair amount of improvisation and resourcefulness. Whilst out there, away from all shops and supplies for 12 days, our expedition will be well fed by SAIG Travel. On a previous trip in Libya, we took one freshly butchered sheep and a second live one, for slaughter half way through the Expedition. This process works very well ensuring fresh meat most days, supplemented by bread made on an open fire, various vegetables and water drawn from wells scattered across the desert. It is a way of life that has changed little in a thousand years and the one thing that separates the tourists, with their cans of convenience food, from the overland traveller, intent on living the life of the locals on their level. However, it is still wise to pack a few Muesli Bars - just in case!

Further details of the 2011 Long Range Desert Group revisited trip here.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Skidmarks in the Workshop!

The Willys was a runner when bought back in the Summer and we had a tentative run up and down the track back then - slightly hampered by a total lack of brakes and not much in the way of steering. But things are different now. The rebuild is almost complete and the time had come to take it for a test drive. Young Teddy took the first drive. A keen campaigner in the local Autograss Championship, the Jeep would be more of a handful than his Mini, but he drove like a Pro. Next Matt wound it up on the Test Track, before I had a go and brought it back to base, leaving Matt to finish with a flourish! The engine runs beautifully and, fortunately, all the transmission components sound fine. They all have new oil seals and both diffs have been inspected. There are few small issues to attend to, then it will be painted, I’ll get the new seats, tyres and wheels and it will be finished.

For full details of this jeeps intended use go here!