Posts Tagged ‘garage’

Bottoms Up

19th March 2011 by Helen
Growley

Growley

What a fantastic day!!  We started off by meeting up with Chris & Dawn and member of the Secret Car Club in Ranchero Santa Fe (location of map posting for today), for some of Dawn’s fantastic lemon drizzle cake, coffee and chat.  Apart from Growly, the club’s Series 2 mascot, there were a few other Land Rovers, a lovely old Roller, a few Jags, a Smart Car, a Mini Cooper S (that took us back to when Paul had a Mini in the 1970’s), a Porche, an amazing old VW, among others too varied to list.

a couple of attendees at the Secret Car Club meet in Rancho Santa Fe

a couple of attendees at the Secret Car Club meet in Rancho Santa Fe

Then we headed south a little towards San Diego and ‘The British Garage’ for a bit of Bottom’s Up.  Paul was a little miffed that heading down the I5 we were struggling to keep up with Growly, but it was a fine old procession we were in, being followed rather sedately as we were by the lovely old Roller that could have shamed us all had he a mind to.

Paul & Andy inspect Landy's bottom - and the Sedona mud still clinging to his underside

Paul & Andy inspect Landy's bottom - and the Sedona mud still clinging to his underside

Specialising in Land Rovers and Minis, Andy of The British Garage, had Landy up in the air for an underside inspection.  Despite having had a bit of a jet wash after we left ‘Red Rock Country’ a few weeks ago, some of the famous Sedona red sand could still be found clinging to Landy’s underside.  While up in the air Andy changed Landy’s differential and transfer box oils, and topped up the gearbox oil.  This was all much needed, judging from the colour and consistency of the oil that came out.  Paul was concerned about the worrying quantity of ‘metal filings’ in the transfer box oil, which was very black, as were both differential oils, however Paul was pleased to see that the rear differential oil was not emulsified, as it had been in Russia.  It’s hard to say for sure but it seems quite possible that the ‘metal filings’ in the transfer box were the result of the shocks to the system when we broke the half shaft in Siberia and had to drive some 70 miles back out of the forest again.  The last time those oils had been changed were when we asked the Dealership in Stavrapol to include that in the work they had carried out way back in June 2010.

British Bulldog - the obvious mascot for a British Motor Vehicles garage!

British Bulldog - the obvious mascot for a British Motor Vehicles garage!

Less happily we found that there is some ‘play’ in the prop shaft, which will need to be fixed before we need to put more pressure on the workings as we hit the rougher roads ahead.  But we would rather have found out now than out in the field with a problem.

Lunch was an amazing BBQ and salad at the garage, before we all went our separate ways at the end of the day.  Paul & I were happy to accept an offer to stay back at Rancho Santa Fe, in the guest cottage of one of the club members there.

Campsite – Ranchero Santa Fe

Meeting the local Land Rover enthusiasts

9th January 2011 by Helen

It’s one of those things.   Even though it might sound like we’ve been faced with lots of disasters during our travels so far, we’ve also found these events have brought us positive experiences.

Tom from Great Basin Rovers Utah replacing Landy's window

Tom from Great Basin Rovers Utah replacing Landy's window

Our latest episode has proved no different.  A broken window led us to Great Basin Rovers – a fantastic local garage run by Land Rover enthusiasts for Land Rover enthusiasts.  There we not only got our window fixed but our drive flanges were also checked and fixed, along with a worn replacement half shaft and our sponsors’ polybushes fitted to our panhard rod.  (OK, I admit it, I had to ask Paul to fill in the technical names for most of those things.) 

Tom, from Great Basin, told us how his ears pricked up even as he heard the unique sound of a diesel engine as we pulled up.  Needless to say, with an introduction like that, it was inevitable there would be lots of Land Rover talk to follow.  Tom generously invited us to stay a few days [6th January].  Then on Saturday [8th January] we got to go to brunch with a bunch from the local Land Rover club.

We’re gonna be around here a few days yet before our planned tour of the rest of Utah.

Arctic Conditions

3rd January 2011 by Helen

Who’d believe it could be so cold.  We really have been testing the tent and ourselves in arctic conditions here in North America.  With the temperatures being too cold for the thermometer we have only been able to guess at how cold it has been.  Certainly it has been down to at least -25 degrees centigrade (the point where the LCD on the thermometer goes off).

[31st December]  Although we want to head south as quickly as we can to get to where it is a little warmer, we are also hoping to see some of the sights on our list.  So it was that after we left the forest campsite we continued our journey east to pick up some of the key Lewis and Clark sites of interest.

We have also figured that with most of the forestry campsites and roads closed we might as well make use of the rest areas.  We know we can put our tent up at most of them.  Even though there are signs saying no camping our tent is on the roof and not pitched on the ground so we consider we count as an RV and haven’t been challenged on that view.

New Year’s Eve – we found ourselves at a rest area near a town called Anaconda in Montana.  Our plans to defrost and cook some of our food were thwarted by being unable to even get the key into our high security padlock on the back door.  That precluded a short drive into Anaconda, past Opportunity and Wisdom (hmmmm, might be something in that), where we found McDonald’s already closed but the discount supermarket Alberstons open, enabling us to feast on sourdough bread, ham and cheese, and one of Paul’s favourites, a large box of doughnuts.

Knowing the tent was already full of ice from the forest neither of us had the heart to tackle putting it up again and settled into our arctic sleeping bags for a cab sleep.  We’ve got quite practiced at this over the last few months since leaving the UK.  Paul likes to be completely snug in his sleeping bag, fully zipped to the neck.  I tuck my feet in the bottom of my bag, zip it up as far as the seat to stop the draft coming up from the floor, and then use the rest as a duvet.  That gives me much more room to fidget around, flap the cover open if it gets a bit warm (not much chance of that on these nights), and use the hood to completely cover my head and so keep out the noise and light pollution.

[1st January] Engine wouldn’t start again this morning.  This time the fly spray trick didn’t work.  So especial thanks to Emerson and Tammy who stopped and helped us out with a jump start. 

checking out the bank in the ghost town of Pony in Montana - not going to get much fundraising done here

checking out the bank in the ghost town of Pony in Montana - not going to get much fundraising done here

Montana 'cowboy country'

Montana 'cowboy country'

Sadly we found the Lewis & Clark Caverns were closed but we stopped at the ghost town of Pony, which is nestled in the foothills of the Tobacco Root Mountains, and posed for photos outside the old bank there.  Although billed as a ghost town, it is still very much occupied with just a few of the old buildings left standing empty.  Further on we passed through both Virginia City and Nevada City ghost towns which appeared much better preserved, whilst still occupied.  There were many more of the old buildings still standing, and although we passed through in the dark it was possible to get a sense of what life might have been like here.

Montana scenery

Montana scenery

A stop at a garage proved the lock on the fuel filler was also frozen shut.  After much application of de-icers it eventually released its grip so we could fill up with fuel and the garage kindly gave us a large cup of almost boiling hot water to defrost the padlock on the back door.  Needless to say, by now we can’t lock pretty much any of the car up!!

We’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Montana scenery, but by tonight we have made it into Idaho for the second time.  It’s not got any warmer and another cab sleep begins with the temperature already dropping below minus 15 degrees centigrade.

[2nd January] – We awake to minus 17 degrees centigrade and an engine that won’t start.  However, today we really must get some charge into our phone and laptops so we can communicate whenever we reach internet access and so, rather bizarrely we spend much of the day sitting in the rest area’s lobby plugged in and charging.  That is, after we had played noughts and crosses in the ice on the inside of the windows.

playing noughts and crosses in the frost in the mornings

playing noughts and crosses in the frost in the mornings

It was here we met Pete & Laura, before we travelled a little further south and camped just outside Salt Lake City, where the next morning [3rd January] we found the temperatures much improved, sufficient for us to put up the tent (in Walmart’s car park), brush out the ice and get the tent and bedding aired for the first time since leaving the forest.  Our problem now is what to do with all that frozen food, which is fast defrosting now we are no longer in freezer conditions!!