09 Mar 2014 @ 22:03:20 pm
This post has actually been in process for two weeks-never had the time to sit down and type it out out till now!The background to this story is that I located a caravan I was interested in in pretoria which Leon kindly went and checked out for me(Phillip also offered but unfortunately the timing didnt work out but still appreciate the offer).So on to the main story before the readers get bored!So 3am on friday the 21 Feb my father in law and I set off from Cape Town in his 1988 1800 vw jetta (which he had serviced specially before the trip).So just past Worcester the alternator light comes on,pull over and find that the bolt holding the bracket for the pulley has somehow fallen out.Luckily father in law is an old hand at this and keeps spares of just about every part there is so fit a new bolt and off we go again.Between Laingsberg and Beaufort the car cuts out-stone dead.Great.Check every thing and narrow it down to a fuse-replace fuse and were off again,by this time I'm mildly concerned that maybe the trip is cursed or something :).By the time we get to three sisters we realise something else is very wrong-the car seems to be abnormally heavy on the petrol-as in a 60L tank only gets us just over 400km at an average speed of only 90km/H.So every town we come to we stop and fiddle with everything we can think of because by this time the car also refuses to go more than 100km/h.We replace spark plugs,airfilter adjust idling,adjust the richness of the flow but nothing works.We narrow it down to either the injectors or the fuel distributer or both.No time to strip the entire engine so nothing to do but carry on.By the way as a side note I had no idea how bad the roads are in the north-does no one do road maintenance in the towns?We can definately not complain about our roads in the Cape compared to up there!So after a very very long drive we eventually arrived at 10:30 the evening after almost 20 hours on the road.(An aside on the driving shifts on the way up-father in law drove from the start to Beaufort,I drove from Beaufort to Kimberley and father in law from Kimberley to Pretoria)So we looked over the van,checked all was in order did the paperwork and headed back with van in tow and pulled over at a shell ultra city off the freeway.(I must say I'm impressed by the freeway you guys have got there-very very nice.The e-tolls arnt so nice by the way!)We decided to grab a few hours sleep before our epic journey in reverse with me sleeping in the car and father in law in the van.Well that idea died after an hour when father in law came to wake me saying he couldnt sleep and if he cant sleep then I cant either-nice one!So after drinking lots of coffee and talking rubbish as only two sleep deprived guys can we started back at about 5am with father in law driving which only lasted till we were past Soweto at which stage he pulled over and told me to drive as he was too tired and wanted to sleep!So I took over and off we went,I must say the van tows like a dream.If I didnt see it in my rearview mirror I wouldnt have known there was one behind us.Of course with the van behind us the car also decided its top speed was now limited to 80km/h and fuel consumption worsened even more.We left at 5am saturday morning and pulled up at home at 4:30am Sunday morning with me driving non stop from just outside Soweto-not something I would recommend anyone to try unless you are very sure of your mental state and tiredness levels.I am fortunate in that I never seem to get sleepy behind a steering wheel but that drive was a stretch even for me.The first thing my Wife asked was what are we going to name the van-I answered Never Again!Still no matter how long and bad a trip is its something that you will remember and laugh about-we already do.The one thing that wasnt funny was the fuel bill-R7000 for up and down together.Still its something I will look back on as a good memory of an epic roadtrip-not everyone gets to experience one of those!!