Monday, March 2, 2009

Video of the Going to the Sun Road

We lost the cord to one of our digital cameras and have recently downloaded the remaining honeymoon pictures etc.. We are still amazed at the feat that is the "Going to the Sun Road!" This is a video from the top 3rd of the drive to the top of Montana's Glacier National Park! When filming this footage, I was so scared of being in the passenger seat next to the drop off, that I wasn't really looking. I just stuck my arm out the window.
Ps. Notice the "guard-rails".

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Back In Bratt

Well folks, we made it!! We will add more to this, by way of wrapping things up - which is to say, wrapping things up for this adventure, as we plan to continue the rovrluv tradition on all new expeditions - but we wanted to let everyone know we made it!!

Currently we are at 39 Main in Brattleboro, Vermont - our hometown - getting a mess of vittles whipped up by Chef Scott Cline, after hours. It pays to be in the business when you want eats late night and everything is closed. We don't even know what he is cooking for us, but we know it will be good. Suckin' down beers, smoking cigarettes, and generaly appreciating the fact that Nellie got us home safe and sound.

More to come.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Mission Control and Other Support...

There are a lot of vehicles that we could have taken on this long strange journey we call a honeymoon, but we chose a 1964 Series IIa, 88 inch Land Rover, and not a few people questioned this decision. Most people thought it was a great, adventurous idea, but some - particularly folks with knowledge of older cars - thought we were down right crazy. We felt relatively comfortable with the idea for two reasons: first, we knew if we had to pull the plug at any moment we could have holed up in some resort somewhere, had drinks by the pool and back rubs in the afternoon, and behaved like other honeymooners. We knew we did not have to make it across the country in the IIa, but we wanted to. Truthfully, we could have pent the money to repair the cam shaft in our 1992 Range Rover, which would have been a very comfortable ride; or we could have old the Rangie, combined the proceeds with other honeymoon costs and bought a late 90;s early 00's Discovery, which would have been downright cushy; or if we really wanted to go in style, we could have traded in the Saab and bought a new LR3. Sure, we could have done any of thee things and had a wonderful Land Rover honeymoon, but - and if you don't "get it" this will mean nothing to you, and I pray for your hopeless and deflated soul - that was not the adventure we were looking for. We wanted to do something people just don't do. We wanted to take the trip that forced us off the beaten path, into the trajectories of people you don't meet at Club Med, and to be honest, we wanted to see the looks on people's faces, and bask in the attention that comes with the Land Rover lifestyle.

Now, all this being said, there is another reason we feel comfortable on our trip: DAP Enterprises in Springfield, Vermont. From before the trip began Steve has been helping us plan and organize to travel with all the things we might need on such an excursion. He put together a spare parts kit with all the seals, belts and parts we could need - or would want to carry - and assured us that they were there if we needed anything else, and indeed that has proved quite true. Al, at the helm at DAP, has been on the phone with me on numerous occasions providing technical advice and even talking to mechanics that he found for us on the way. (Al is the one who located Flint for us, mentioned in an earlier post.) Steve - who is affectionately referred to as Mission Control - is always available through text messaging, the phone or following us on our SPOT satellite tracker. (He is the primary emergency contact on SPOT - meaning if we hit the "help" button, which is the button that does not go so far as to call out helicopter support, it is his phone that rings at 3:00 am.) We check in with Steve several times a day, and if we forget to fire off a text message to him he checks SPOT to see where we are, and if we are comfortably in a State Park, or hotel, he lets us sleep; but, if we are still rambling, we can count on a message from him saying something to the effect of, "You crazy kids still alive?"

As many of you know, we are having trouble with the rear main seal and it is causing some clutch slippage. We have been pressing East - by sextant and musket, as the band Pavement would say; but Allison and I would say, by gasoline and blind faith - but are concerned that when we hit the the good old Green Mountains we may have trouble with asking Nellie to perform. This is why we feel so comfortable: in conversation with Steve about this concern his response was, "well, if we have to, I'll come out and meet you and we will get that truck over the mountains." The truck is solid, its just that when something sits in a barn for 20 years rubber components tend to dry rot a bit and need replacing. When you drive those rubber components hard across the country they tend to blow out and, truth be told, Nellie has served us well. When we get home she is due for a serious weekend at the Spa. (Which means a couple weeks in the capable hands of Glenn, the amazing mechanic at DAP, where she will get a good rub down and some new seals.)

Since we are on the topic of rubber, this is the kind of thing that happens with DAP. Weird things start happening - clutch slippage etc... - and you know it is the rear main seal because of conversation with Flint and Al, but the random Ford F150 guys says, "yea, I blew the main seal on a '73 Ford and I just use an additive you can get at any auto parts store." Well, I'm not gonna' just go throwing anything in Nellie so I call Al and he says, "whatever you do, DO NOT put that stuff in your truck." Turns out Land Rover uses natural rubber seals, and Ford's use neoprene, and putting that stuff in Nellie would have had the exact opposite effect then what we were looking for. The seal additives eat natural rubber!

The first thing we did after buying the truck was to dress Nellie up with some new bling in the form of two Union Jack DAP stickers on both sides to show the world who we call when trouble rears it's ugly head.

OK, we are pulling out of Buffalo, New York - a town I lived in for three months once, must say if my friend Vincent Catanzaro didn't live here we would no have even bothered to stop. What can I say, I never get to see the guy so for him, we are willing to city that the U.S. Census Bureau recently ranked the #3 poorest city in the Country. It shows!

We should be home tomorrow, but there are sure to be issues along the way as Nellie is letting us know that 3500 miles, driving hard, is a lot to ask of the old girl without a massage and pedicure first. We love you Nellie, just two more days and Glenn will give you a nice Spa day.

Steve - who is training in Manchester, Vermont as a Land Rover off Road Driving School trainer - has suggested that we stop by for a cruise in new Range Rover to see what it is all about... perhaps we will. And as far as the Green Mountains go, well we hear tell that some folks at Land Rover North America have been following along and we would not be opposed to a Defender 110 being air lifted in to tow the old girl home - if something goes wrong, or as a general support vehicle otherwise. Or, if it is too hard to dig up a 110, I'm sure we could make do with a new Range Rover. We'll pay you back in the next 30 to 40 years.

Friday, August 29, 2008

It could be the coffee

Well, here I am again up later than Dave messing around with the blog... We went out on the town for a big birthday dinner here in Buffalo, NY. After appetizers, entrees, coffee and dessert, we are suitably stuffed.

Nellie gave a little cause for concern today with a few new mechanical moves. But she has pulled through and we are trucking home toward good ol Vermont. We decided that we needed the assistance of Saint Christopher, the Patron Saint of Travelers (and lost children) to watch over us for this last push to VT. He has worked wonders so far. He rides on the roof of the interior.

We have become a little slap-happy in the last few days. (Ok, well mostly me. But it is catchy.)
Having fun on the road, to say the least. I suppose staying up blogging all night and not sleeping contributes to this as well... Goodnight. Over and out.