Monthly Archives: March 2014

Preparation and build up

We have less than four weeks until we leave on our epic journey. We had a meeting yesterday to discuss plans and things are coming together. We have some concerns about insurance, most insurance firms don’t seem to offer cover for Morocco and we believe we have to get cover when we arrive. The problem with this is that it may take us a while on a busy schedule to make arrangements.

We have largely sorted out the route, we will head for Fez once in Morocco and skirt around the west of Marrakech before heading for the coast just above the border with Western Sahara. We then head south to Dakhla before we turn around and head for Marrakech. We then spend two full days in Marrakech before we head for Casablanca and then north to the ferry back to Europe. We think around 6500 miles.

The cars are having some work done in preparation, I have fitted new headlamp bulbs, the old ones were less than useless. I have had new suspension on the front and I have been sorting out all the fiddly
little jobs that I do not normally bother with. The two remaining important ones are the overheating issue needs to be sorted and it would be nice to be able to open the window when driving. I have a plan to get this done with fellow adventurer Jim.

Having done a couple of trips now, I have a fairly good idea what I need to take and what is just baggage, when driving a long way in an old car, weight is critical, the more the car weighs, the more fuel it will use and the harder it has to work, therefor the more likely it is to break down. So we will be living on a diet of marshmallows and cheese soufflé for 16 days.

I am developing my kitchenette; I am fitting lights above the stove and a drawer under the stove for cutlery. This is going to be pretty much as good as the kitchen in Michele Roux’s restaurant. I also have a small fridge which I may take to keep some of the more temperature sensitive consumables cool, i.e. beer.

Nick has had a few jobs done on his car, which will be 20 years old this year, Jim is hoping to have completed enough mileage to be able to take his for its first service before we go. Jims car is pretty much brand new and has something of a novelty paint job, all the panels are the same colour, I am not sure if it really works!

Nick has left the red floral arrangement on his car, I think he is hoping it will offer some level of camouflage, I need to remind Nick that we are not visiting the Dutch tulip fields on this trip.

What ever the colour of the cars, all three of them will soon be heading south, and, I for one, am pretty excited about it.

More Saturday in Sweden

Stopped off for a bit of lunch by a lake, the vid is the drive to the lake and then couple came for a swim, it did feel warm but it is surprising to see people swimming outside so far northif Clive or I swear in this video, please let me know and I will del eat it! I have not had time to watch it but I realise that I should increase the quality of the video a bit. I will do it tomorrow.

Saturday in Sweden

You can only write a blog if you can up load it to the net, this has been a major headache, it is now 12.30 and I am still up trying to get something together while I have a connection. We have driven 755kms today, around 500 miles.the high point was the giant bahco adjustable spanner in Encoping. I did not expect such a treat after having traveled ov one thousand miles to find the birth place of the inventor of the adjustable, such a spectacular memorial.
We did not have quite as much luck at the place where the chap who invented the zip was born. We had to drive around several times then found it was at the first place we had looked. Clive had a photo from the first visit to Sonarp Farm so we did not go back, more details of these two Swedish inventors below.
We traced north to Garvle where we found a youth hostile. 620 SEK for the two of us and breakfast. Its not a nice as the dragon hotel in montgomery but, a cracking deal, save a load of stress, that is very roughly £60.
Went out for a pint, £13 for two and some more junk food, Keith’s bread will conger the negative effects of this chemical cocktail in the morning,
we will soon have to be dealing with our third currency of the trip, it is getting really complicated working out the value of stuff, I really knead an accountant to help me with this, I hear Cadwallader and co in Welshpool are an excellent team of accountants,

That’s three sponsors seamlessly mentioned in one blog!

the blogs I have done today are probably out of order, I hope to edit them soon but now I must go to bed,

just one note that may interest you. We aime to get to the arctic circle in the next couple of days, however, there is an other potential destination that we are looking at going too, the north cape, this is around 700 miles further north. We are not yet clear if we can do it and will have to calculate the times and distances at noon tomorrow when we get to Umea. This will make the arctic circle challenge a real challenge! I want to do it but not sure about putting the astra through an extra 1500 miles, if something does go wrong so far up, we will be in a real pickle. Time to go and sleep on it. Thanks for reading, please sent me a message via t
He links on the bottom of the pages.

Brussels hotel and the Atomium

observations on belgium
There are no hills in Belgium, the motorways are very smooth. the people in the holiday inn adjacent to the atomium are very miserable, this is not representative of all Belgians, or in fact all personel of the holiday inn empire, simply the belgian holiday inn representative in Brussels.

The Atomium is well worth a trip it looks small from a distance but gets much bigger as you get nearer, . It is really quite an exciting structure and I would love to have gone inside it. Here is some details of it.

The Atomium is a monument in Brussels, originally built for Expo ’58, the 1958 Brussels World’s Fair. Designed by André Waterkeyn, it stands 102 meters (335 ft) tall. It has nine steel spheres connected so that the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times.Tubes connect the spheres along the 12 edges of the cube and all eight vertices to the center. They enclose escalators connecting the spheres containing exhibit halls and other public spaces. The top sphere provides a panoramic view of Brussels. Each sphere is 18 metres in diameter. Three spheres are currently (2008) closed to visitors, others can be reached easily by escalators. The vertical vertex contains a lift which was very fast and advanced at the time of building (the speed is 5 m/s).[1]

The road to Dover

The road to Dover
Dispute setting off in plenty of time for our six o’clock ferry to dunkirk, the M25 had diffent ideas for us.
Due to road works and traffic volumes, we had to give up on e six o’clock ferry wen we were over 80miles away. We rescheduled for the eight o’clock one. We made it in plenty of time.
It took two hours to cross the channel.
We set off to Dunkirk at 11 o’clock location time and it was 105 mile away according to Sally satnav. Fortunately the Belgians had known about our trip for some time and were expecting us to be a bit be hide schedule so they had very kindly built us a three lane motorway which they had largely cleared of cars. The motorway went from the port directl to the hotel, I love the belgians.After I booked the hotel, based on price and location, I had a look on trip advisor to see how it was viewed by others. The first comment that came up said “crap, do not stay here” Sally satnav took right to the door and given the state of the holiday inn neon sign that resembled something out of hotel paradisio, I began to think trip advisor may have been Right.

First blog in Sweden

We arrived at 6.30am on swedish soil or tarmac, the ferry trip was really smooth, had a couple of pints on the ferry before bed, no other Brits on the ferry as far as we could see, last British car we saw was around 200 miles before the ferry terminal. We had to pay three euros to get into the ferry port, not quite clear why, probably some sort of port tax.
driving through sweden is like driving through an advertising set for toothpaste or some pine based cleaning product. Its all squeeky cleam and fresh. We went over 1000 miles into the trip not long after we got off the ferry,

Notes on sleeping tablets
If you anticipate you are going to struggle to sleep ie when having to sleep on the floor of a noisy ferry, you might be tempted to tak a couple of sleeping tablets.. Being keen not to poison your body you might opt for the herble type. take my advice, don’t. They taste vial, with in five minutes your brain turns into an empty vessel with all your thoughts wiped. Then you stay awake with nothing to think about but the phisicle remind of the taste in the back of your mouth. Then when you do get to sleep, you wake up with a hangover unlike any other and you are really tired. Take my advice don’t do it.

Ready to go

Spent tonight packing, Had new tyres fitted today and the car is ready to go. Had some concerns with over heating, i have a back up plan, bought a spare water pump and spent some time working out how the cooling system and electric fans are controlled.
I have had some labels of the commercial sponsors printed and my friend Jim stuck them all over the front wings, I will post a photo soon.
If I don’t find a wireless net work to blog via, perhaps see you in the Dragon on Sat 10th Sept.

Is this blog on Facebook

I have attempted to connect my blog to Facebook, if this post bears on Facebook it will have worked.

I have just lent my car to a friend, normally I would not have really been concerned about it, now with the trip so near, I really do want to see it back in piece. I am sure that it will be back in one piece, or will it?

BBC Radio Wales interview

Just had an interveiw on radio Wales with Mal Pope. It was fun, not the sort of thing I do every day!

I spoke about the car, the charity and the trip. It seemed to go ok, I was concious that I was not relaxed, it may be on i-player later, not sure if I want to hear it.

The just giving site is upto £360 this morning, Thanks very much to all the givers.

We leave on Thursday so only three days to go, I am getting quite excited about it now,

Thanks for reading

Just given

Not far off £300 on just giving thanks for all that support.

Today I had my first comment on the web site, Thanks Gill and Ellie for your positive comment.

Last night I managed to link a YouTube video to this site. I hope to to do this while I am away.

I am being interviewed by BBC Radio Wales on Monday morning at around 10.30am. Should be interesting.