Sunday, July 31, 2005
Then followed a leisurely drive down to dover, a fish and chip dinner and onto the ferry. It was delayed and so we didn't arrive in france til gone midnight. As i'm typing this - we've started a manic sprint across europe - hopefully culminating in a successful arrival in prague by tea time! Sounds bonkers, and on reflection it probably is. We should hit brussels in half an hour or so.
Friday, July 29, 2005
-1 day and the cars broke already
James tells me that the car has already broken down, earlier this morning the water pump failed en-route to London. Talk about getting off to a good start. All fixed now though, so fingers crossed, next stop mongolia.
We're going to be out of the office for a while
Bye all. See you in a month or so.
The translation was done overnight. Thanks very much.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
Monday, July 25, 2005
Vision Car Audio
Friday, July 22, 2005
Mobile Update Testing
We're trying to set up facilities to be able to update the website via mobile phone. This is my first test - to see if I can email information to the site using the phone. Of course there's no assurance that this will work once we're abroad....
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Within 60 seconds of sending a begging email, my phone rang - it was Semma4Direct, responding in true military fashion. One discussion later and it was agreed that they'd provide us each with 10 days worth of food - so that we can remain alive whilst we cross the deserts.
Each pack (and we're getting 20) contains:
2 main meals, 1 pudding, 1 soup, 1 pate, 1 pack of oatmeal blocks, 2 biscuits, 2 bars of choccy, 1 pack of sweets, 1 orange drink, chewing gum, wipes, weatherproof matches, water purifying tablets, tea, coffee, hot chocolate and more.
We're going to eat like kings. Thanks a million to Alan and Nicky at Semma4Direct.
Check out the range of devices that Driftgate produce, at http://www.dg2k.co.uk/
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Two pints and various brain-cog turns later and the idea dawns. Contact supplier, ask nicely for stove for trip and subsequent donation to charity. A few hours later, and its het presto. Thanks a million to Simon at Go Outdoors - who has donated a very smart duel-fuel stove and a bunch of T-shirts too. We can run it with traditional fuel or from unleaded petrol, which will be really handy once we get into remote areas.
Thanks to 'Go Outdoors', Coventry Branch.
Monday, July 18, 2005
Wiltshire - special stage 1
On the slippery slopes of the Wilthshire downs, provided by the Head family (who also made extremely generous charitable donations - our thanks go out to them), the 2-wheeled pulling power of the Panda not only met, but exceeded our expectations. With grit and determination it battled itself over the worst wiltshire could throw at it ( steep grassy hills and plent of potholes).
One of our primary concerns had always been the lack of 4x4. However, with a spot of ingenuity and a co-driver perched on the wing (added pressure), we discovered that 2WD and a reverse gear is all that's required!!
Also amazingly our article in the Salisbury Journal has pulled in £200 today alone! £100 from an anonymous doner as well as a very generous donation from Greg at 'Absolute Safety'. Understandably he only wants to be associated with us upon our safe return. Again, great thanks go to them both :)
Sunday, July 17, 2005
Fame in Salisbury
Aquired a lockable roof box from a skip the other day, complete with brackets and keys inside. It seemed an ideal substitute to a roof rack, which we were having trouble aquiring. We didn't think about the fact that the roofbox requires a roofrack to sit upon. Issue resolved with 8 holes drilled through the roof, and the box bolted squarely on. We're hoping it doesn't rain.
The Car is looking good and going well, despite deciding to test me on the journey home from Birmingham last week. Black smoke started billowing out from under the bonnet, for some reason (unknown) the drive belt started whining/slipping. I sprayed the belt with WD40 (doesn't help the slippage but protects the belt) and have nursed her home. Belt will soon be replaced. Getting the timing belt changed (precautionary) on Thursday so troubleshooting belt issues then.
Dave arrives today for final preparations. So excited now.
Friday, July 15, 2005
Wales Special Stage Two
Ross and Scott where in a Ford Ranger pick-up so they were very well suited to the terrain. We were a bit more nervous particularly as we nearly gave up on the first track we went on. However, we soon got used to the Panda's 4x4 setup and what we could and couldn't get away. What followed was a day of throwing our little car up and down hills, over ruts, through puddles, across fields, through streams and into ditches. It's amazing what this little carcana do, we even managed to upstage my brother by getting through some bits he got stuck on. The whole day was amazing fun and I'd really recommend it to anyone, I think it may even be more fun in a car like ours because there is a bit more doubt over what you can and can't achieve. Between us we took hundreds of photos and a few videos which I've stuck in a gallery, which you can see by clicking here.
The car now looks amazing, it's covered in mud and looks very professional. It does rattle a bit more, but I guess that just in the spirit of the rally.
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Monday, July 11, 2005
Check out the www.audible.co.uk website, there's a great selection and the prices are really good too. Also, importantly, the downloads are fast and reliable and the quality is good. Thanks.
Friday, July 08, 2005
The company really is called Jubilee CLips, because they invented them back in 1921. Thats the kind of invention that everyone dreams of, a clever little idea that will sell in the millions all over the world.
Anyway, Suzanne has also offered to include us in a press release, which should help drum up bit more publicity for the event and the charities we are suppporting. So, thanks a lot Suzanne and to everyone at Jubilee Clips.
For more info please check out our Sponsors page.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
Official Becta launch
Monday, July 04, 2005
1. A load more graphics have been applied to the car for our sponsors. There are more arriving tommorow as well. Unfortunately we were unable to attach our flames to the bottom of the doors due to the doors been completely rotton!
2. Fitting the roofrack posed a bit of a problem. I thought I had done well buying one off ebay for 0.99 but when it came to fitting it was a different matter. The panda does not have a rain gutter to attach a roofrack. With the correct roofrack costing £160 I decided to modify the one I bought. I ground the brackets down and bolted the whole lot straight through the roof. It is definitely solid enough.
3. We installed some more lights front and rear to aid driving through the desolate places we are going to visit.
4. A decent interior light is a necessity - this one should help us find our tools in the dark.
5. A decent stereo was a must - this one plays MP3's so we can save weight on CD's!
6. To save the main car bettery and the alternator every electrical item (except the engine and standard lights) are powered by our second battery through a split charge relay. This means we can use the stereo all the time and the lights, cigarette lighter, etc. I also added a set of auxillary switches to power the lights and to enable us to turn on the radiator cooling fan at will.
7. I removed the rear seats. The boot is now massive - plenty of room to get all our kit in.
Allcam UK - World of portables
See it below in all its glory. The DVD runs from the cigarette lighter, and thanks to our audio suppliers we can link it with the stereo to blare out our movies in surround sound.
Take a look at Allcam's website www.allcam.biz - and find that great portable entertainment is actually quite affordable. Thanks guys - you've really helped out here.
Saturday, July 02, 2005
B & G Equipment Company
B & G supply a range of prest control products worldwide, check out their website here.
Friday, July 01, 2005
The car achieved an epic 500 mile round trip last weekend and ran like a dream despite the exhaust not deciding to come with us as we left the roundabout, rolling into the middle carriageway and allowing the car to stretch her vocal chords (note to team mates - ear plugs are a neccessity). The 1000 miles was completed this week; all cobwebs are well and truelly blown away. I am satisfied that she is fit and healthy so now it is time for a for a well earned rest while we put together some underside protection (by means of a sump guard and some hosepipe) as well as some routine servicing (new time belt, brakes, plugs and cables etc).
The spare panda in the garage is becoming more and more skeletal as it gets packed up in boxes and placed in our boot, so far we have boxed up the distributor, some bulbs, the rear shocks and have plenty more to come... I am confident that it is fully possible to place a complete fiat panda in the boot of another - it's all about the way you stack your boxes.