Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Progress with the hardware.

A long day up at Matt’s workshop near Matlock achieved a lot yesterday. The Willy’s MB received a new Solex Carburettor, which rectified the tick-over problem, but did get rather hot on the thrash up the M1 so I think it will need a refurbished radiator to cope with the intense heat of the Sahara next Easter. It is, however, fine for now and ran well on the journey back, cruising at an easy 50 mph. The Land Rover 101 had most of the attention though. Wooden decking and a supporting framework of timber made it possible, and safe, to transport the Willy’s within the body of the 101. We finished lashing the Jeep down at about 6.30 and did a successful test run back to Matt’s house 8 miles away. The final version of this prototype configuration will have some high density rubber under the brakes to protect the cast iron drums and with the spare wheel and jerry can removed the canvas roof will fit back on leaving just a little bump for the steering wheel. Work also started on fabricating a pair of ramps to return the Willy’s to the ground in the absence of a four poster ramp. The plan is to haul both Jeeps - the Willy’s in the back of the 101 and the Ford on a trailer behind, to Venice, to catch the ferry to Alexandria next March.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Another Brief Encounter.

Jason Paterniti emailed us to say he would be in the U.K. briefly for his pal, Al’s wedding this month - Was I about?

Jason is down as a ‘cert.’ for the trip and is an enthusiastic member of the U.S. based Explorers Club. and is President and Chairman of the charity, Global Exploration & Oceanographic Society. His travels have taken him far and wide around the Globe and it is something of a relief that he has experienced Desert Travel at it’s most basic. During a very rushed hour and a pot of tea we discussed the details of our trip, fine tuned a few aspects and parted knowing we have many shared interests.

‘See you in Cairo’ was the parting cry as Jason went to get changed for Al’s Stag night and I zoomed of the Le Mans on my Cagiva Elefant!

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Brief Encounter

It gave us great pleasure to entertain Karl-Gunnar Norén last night. K-G had been in the U.K. researching LRDG material in the Churchill College Archive, Cambridge, for his forthcoming book on the subject. He kindly presented me with his other two WW2 related books on Tobruk and El-Alamein both well illustrated and written in perfect Swedish!

I chose to collect Karl from Market Harborough Station in the Ford GP and return via some of the pretty villages in South Leicestershire. In common with most passengers new to Jeep travel he instinctively reached for a seat belt, then realised there were none, so just hung on. Back at base we discussed the Expedition at length and with considerable enthusiasm, with the result that he is a ‘definite’. In common with the rest of us involved in this expedition, he enjoys desert travel and feels that first hand contact with the myriad artefacts still scattered around the Sahara will add greatly to his understanding of the conditions endured by the LRDG

The evening ended in a bit of a panic as we realised he had missed his planned train to London, but if we hurried, could make to 20.50. For this return journey the Willy’s MB offered slightly more speed so we belted down the A6 at 55 mph, K-G hanging on to his hat and made it to the Station for 20.49. We both then ran up the steps and he just made it onto the train as it pulled out at 20.50. Phew! As I type this he should be on a plane back to Stockholm.