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Rich's madcap scheme 2003-04.

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Rich's madcap scheme 2003-04.

Postby Rich » Sat 23 Aug 2003 19:06 GMT

Ok, I've been threatening to pass on details of my hair-brained and entirely stupid plan for the year and here - finally - it is. :P

Following on from such classics as 2000 (Let’s take that job in London and if I end up in the Aylesbury office, how bad can it possibly be); 2001 (let’s stay in Aylesbury. Things can’t possibly get any worse) and 2002’s ‘let’s not take the job in Barcelona, but instead go and live in small town Sweden’, here comes the 2003 version. At the start of 2004, I’ve decided to take a period out from work and am going to South Africa for a bit. In a Land Rover. :shock: :lol:

Cue much rolling around the floor with laughter or muttering expletives (or both). Yes, I’m going to be crossing Africa in a metal box on wheels. The current plan is to leave on Jan 1 2004 (or 2nd depending how drunk we still are from New Years eve), and end up in Cape Town for New Years Eve 2005, but it’s open to change. Departure may be put back a month or 6 weeks, and we may not arrive until deep into 2005 or even later. Who knows?

There is no specific time plan / route, as it’s going to be very much a see what happens as we go along trip. Large chunks of our approximate idea of a route are not the most stable politically, so we may end up making large detours at short notice to avoid whatever needs avoiding at the time. Our approximate plan is to head via E Europe, the Balkans/ex Yugoslav countries, Turkey and the Middle East into Egypt, and then wander approximately through Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Botswana, Namibia etc to South Africa, but that’s only very rough.

We’re planning to make it a complete North - South trip, although we are cheating slightly and doing it in 2 sections. This September we’re going to head up to Nørdkapp in Norway (most northerly point on mainland Europe) and wander around the Baltic for a bit. Then when we finally hit South Africa, we aim for Cape Agulhas (Southernmost point in Africa), before getting to Cape Town. If we did it all in one go we either have to delay 2or3 months, or end up spending a couple of weeks in pitch black and minus 30 to 40 temperatures in Northern Scandinavia, and we end up crossing Africa with a car full of woolly jumpers etc. That’s the plan.

We’ve got a website at www.landy-rtw.com where you can find out more. It's a work in progress, so bear with us. Feel free to leave a message, follow our progress (if there is any, which is normally debatable) or just laugh at us like everybody else does. Serious offer - If anybody fancies joining us for a few days/weeks/longer at some point along the route, your all welcome to - just let me know and we’ll see what we can arrange.

Also, if anybody wants to help out the planning / support / offer advice, or maybe even sponsor us in some way / shape or form (serious or stupid stuff -­ we already have an official supplier of sheep pictures etc :lol: …), or has any ideas where we can source cheap/sponsored Land Rover parts just let us know. All assistance is greatly appreciated :D .

So there it is. :shock: :shock:

Comments / thoughts etc from the expat community are more than welcome, even if they are derogatory or consist of not much more than laughter. We hope to meet up with other expats etc on route and say hi (Mike - if your still in Botswana by then, we'll definitely drop by). Anybody else out there on our approximate route, let us know.

Kay - we're going to be doing bits of writting etc on route, and if your interested, we'll try and get a fairly regular-ish column/diary thing to you which you can use on the main site. Who knows. We may even get out towards you and Dave on the second leg of the trip in many months time.
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Postby chabrenas » Sat 23 Aug 2003 20:34 GMT

Interesting gang, Rich. I presume some of you (Morten, at least) know how to drive/repair/dig out a Landy once you get into snow/mud/sand?

If your photographer wants a preview, I can send her a few giraffe pix from the reserve up the hill behind me. I'll be glad to discuss potential routes from here to Agulhas when the time comes. Might even tag along (in a Toyota Hilux of the same age which already has 490,000 Km on the clock) for part of the way.
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Postby Squiffy » Sat 23 Aug 2003 22:30 GMT

I've said it once and I'll say it again.

Totally mad bu99er! :lol:

Good luck mate, will be with you every inch of the way.

squiffs 8)
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Postby Mike » Sat 23 Aug 2003 22:45 GMT

My money's on the Landy.

The car in front is a Toy . . . :twisted:

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Postby Kay » Sat 23 Aug 2003 22:58 GMT

Rich - go for it!

Sometimes people will try to tell you not to do things - that's their problem. Do what you want to do and believe that you'll make it. I believe you'll do it. Just do it. And all the best of luck to you!!!


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Postby Kay » Sat 23 Aug 2003 23:06 GMT

PS, Rich - I really do support your aims but, having looked at the website, the spelling and grammar mistakes kinda put me off. Maybe it's just me being old-fashioned.

:P

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Postby Squiffy » Sun 24 Aug 2003 09:17 GMT

Kay wrote:PS, Rich - I really do support your aims but, having looked at the website, the spelling and grammar mistakes kinda put me off. Maybe it's just me being old-fashioned.

:P

Kay
Oh, I didn't notice, but then I am half blind :twisted:

Will be rooting for you the whole way Rich, if I was 20 years younger I'd come with you!

squiffs 8)
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Postby Rich » Sun 24 Aug 2003 10:39 GMT

Cheers folks for all the support. :D 8)


Interesting gang, Rich. I presume some of you (Morten, at least) know how to drive/repair/dig out a Landy once you get into snow/mud/sand?

If your photographer wants a preview, I can send her a few giraffe pix from the reserve up the hill behind me. I'll be glad to discuss potential routes from here to Agulhas when the time comes. Might even tag along (in a Toyota Hilux of the same age which already has 490,000 Km on the clock) for part of the way.


Snow driving isn't a problem (we get a lot of practice of that up here!) and we know how to dig out cars. Sand driving apart from odd dunes will be new to us. Feel free to send us some giraffe pics - that would br great! She's begining to um and ah a little about coming, and a few giraffe pics would certainly persuade her!

And we'll certainly drop by to talk routes etc, and you are more than welcome to join us in convoy for a while. Sounds great.

I really do support your aims but, having looked at the website, the spelling and grammar mistakes kinda put me off.


Sorry about that Kay. I haven't had anything to do with the website so far - It's been Morten's private toy so far, and i decided not to say anything about spelling for a while so as not to discourage him too much. As English is only his fourth language, i don't think it's all that bad at all! Will get that all fixed soon (will have to if we're going to attract any sort of sponsorship).

if I was 20 years younger I'd come with you!


What sort of excuse is that?!

Cheers folks
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Postby Tim » Sun 24 Aug 2003 11:38 GMT

Good luck Rich, I hope you do it and I hope you have a lot of fun with it.

Can I ask a question though? Why a Landy? And what model? Having had to spend nearly as many years as your young life driving them in my work because of DFID's former sourceing policies, I reckon that all models up to and including the Discovery are horrible to drive, uncomfortable to be a passenger in and require a surprising amount of maintenance. Plus they guzzle the gas like crazy, leak on your feet when it rains, and blind you with water rushing down the windscreen when you slow down in the rain. And, since several of your potential team talk about wanting to see the views on the way - well unless you're in the front seats, you can't see diddly-squat out of a landy!

I envy my colleagues whose less restrictive contracts enable them to get something like a Prado! They are comfortable, cheap to run, easy to drive, don't break down so often and have excellent visibility.

Choose a decent vehicle, or at least try out some different ones for a day ot two before you go, to verify my comments!
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Postby Rich » Sun 24 Aug 2003 13:34 GMT

Hi Tim,

Thanks for your comments - they make interesting reading.

To answer your question - The Land Rover is a County 110 STW (built in 1989). As to why a Land Rover, I fully accept your points about the comfort levels and a British engineering way of leaking/breaking down at every opportunity. The main point was that Morten had already bought the Land Rover before I joined up on the trip, so unless one of us wins the lottery, it's probably not that viable to change it.

The logic involved (for him, but I sort of agree with it) is that Land Rovers are in plentiful supply, cheap to buy and fit up for this sort of trip. It's old enough that it doesn't have all sorts of fancy electronic things to break, the parts are all bog standard and any mechanic in Africa is likely to be able to fix problems/get parts fairly easily.

Whilst we're all OK at mechanics, none of us could be classed an expert, so something simple is best. In Africa, things seem to be split about 45/45 between Land Rovers and Toyota Landcruisers and 10% others. Toyota's are probably better and more reliable, but harder/more expensive to fix. Anything else, and we're relying on luck in getting parts, as you can guarentee we'll break obscure non-standard bits.

From my point of view, the gas is the most worrying part, as the car ain't going to be light when fully loaded, and even basic offroading is going to affect an already dodgy fuel consumption. Any suggestions to help lower consumption (short of pushing it)?
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Hmmmm. Needs more rope
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Postby Tim » Sun 24 Aug 2003 14:32 GMT

Rich wrote:The main point was that Morten had already bought the Land Rover


Can't argue with that!

At least you have plenty of time to try to make it a bit more comfortable, especially the middle row of seats. I'd try dropping them an inch or two, if poss, especially if anybody is more than about 5' 9". Or perhaps take a tin-opener to the roof and raise it a couple of inches. Otherwise passengers risk getting a persistent bruise on their heads from hitting the roof every time you go over a bump, and probably doing their backs in too. Seriously, on a long journey I think that could be very dangerous, and I'm amazed LR hasn't been sued by anybody heammorhaging or becoming wheelchair-bound as a result. I guess Brits just aren't prepared to admit that one of their most identifiable icons is cr*p. Also, in the middle row of seats, you need something to hang on to. The handle above the door is all very well for the first week (then it will come off!), but even then the passenger will end up with calloused hands and a sore arm! It's worth trying to figure out some kind of alternative hanging-on device, and be sure to rotate seating positions several times a day, so that the misery is shared!
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Postby chabrenas » Sun 24 Aug 2003 16:21 GMT

I don't think there's much in it for running gear reliability on vehicles the age of Morten's - or cost/availabiliy of spares. It's a pity that LR decided to use bits of standard BMC plastic for various interior fittings & door handles, though. But by the time you leave Europe, you'll probbaly have replaced that kind of thing with rugged hand-welded metal alternatives..

If my 1985 Land Cruiser ('borowed', rolled & written off courtesy of the guy who built the wall round my plot, while I was in Europe - and he didn't have a licence) was anything to go by, fuel consumption was similar although the Cruiser's engine was bigger. My advice is to get a full carburettor service and tune-up before you leave. New jets all round, replace the accelerator pump (very difficult to start if that seizes up like mine did).

A propos recovery in mud & sand, I'd recommend buying one of those inflatable bags you put under the vehicle and connect to the exhaust. And don't believe the diehards who insist that narrow tyres are fine in soft sand. Don't buy big balloons, either, unless you carry lots of spares and enjoy fixing the punctures you get when acacia thorns go through the sidewalls. I presume you have a good winch and a heavy-duty electric pump (the US ones designed for trucks, not the cheap ones you find in car accessory shops. I inadvertently connected mine to a 24V truck battery once - went at a hell of a lick until I realised what was happening and unplugged it from the cigar lighter, but it survived unharmed).

Oh. And lubricate your Hi-Lift jack and carry 3-in-1 or WD40. The mechanism gets confused and doesn't work if it gets slightly rusty. (I don't really have to tell you this, because you're starting off in a wet climate. It's when you live in arid countries where saw blades don't rust when you leave them in the garage that you tend to forget things like oiling rarely-used mechanisms.)

In Africa, you'll have to put locks on all those things that you carry on the outside - Hi-Lift jack, shovel, spare wheel,.... - then make sure you don't lose the keys. Carry a pair of bolt cutters for when you do, but bury them inside the vehicle where undesirables can't find them.

I take it you'll be carrying a GPS. Make it a good one.
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Postby CustomStrat » Mon 25 Aug 2003 05:59 GMT

Wow, Rich, sound supurb! Got room in yer boot for one more? :wink: Or I could ride shotgun on the roof with an M-60... :wink: Won't be the first time... :cry:
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Postby Terry » Mon 25 Aug 2003 18:46 GMT

Does this mean you will be shooting through on the drink we were supposed to be having in Cologne?
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Postby Kay » Mon 25 Aug 2003 20:23 GMT

Rich, I just had another look around the landy-rtw site. Sorry for being so critical earlier, I had a terrible hangover at the time. It really looks fantastic. Are the graphics and logos all original? They look great. Whoever did these has a great talent.

I understand Tim's concerns about the landy, but if you're game for it you'll survive and enjoy it. Tim and I went all over the place in a landy in northern Pakistan in the late 80s/early 90s. We'd stick a pin on the map or just choose a place with an interesting name. One Saturday we went to Prang. I don't think there was anything there.

One time we were just wandering about in the middle of nowhere and a guy approached us. I was thinking, "Ho hum, what does he want?" and then he invited us back to his place for tea. It turned out to be an amazing old place with old cars under tarpaulins. Maybe Tim can remember better details. And what he actually wanted was to discuss the latest English premier division football scores!

Another time in Tim's landy I'll never forget (although I've forgotten where the heck we were!) was up in the hills somewhere - Murree? -and it was chucking it down with rain. But we were higher than the rain clouds and looking down on them, and at a rainbow.

That journey was a bit stressful as I had a flight to catch and Tim was driving like a bat out of hell. They say you remember the good times, well I remember the rainbow - the hassle factor doesn't matter now. (That's not meant to be cheesy - it's just how it is.)

Go for it, Rich.

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