Wednesday, October 27, 2010

From Stacey

Bringing it home. The Mk 4, or how to amuse yourself on a long stretch of road.

When I decided, very quickly and after a glass of wine, that I would pick up the 4 and drive it back I did not realise the interest it would create. It is only to pick up the 4 and I have done this trip  heaps of times before, including in the Hunter a couple of times. I booked the flight, organised with a reluctant John Low (I now know why), Dean and Peter to get the car ready and quickly checked for the drive back. At no stage did I have (maybe stupidly) any doubts that I would have anything but a smooth trip. Dean and Cheryl said I would be staying at their humble abode and I had no choice in the matter- I was happy with that as you who know me know that I would rather be fed than feed another! Dean could not pick me up from the airport, but that was not a worry as that gave me time for a friend to pick me up and have a couple of hours catching up.
Dean and Cheryl picked me up later that afternoon and we where to drop Cheryl off before going to Peter's home to pick up the Mk4. First hitch, Cheryl wanted to stop off at Bunning's to grab some seasol. It is her therapy store (I know Dean, it's a Saturday arvo, it will be busy and time will be eaten away- Roz has the same affliction as I was that was not the only thing they have in common)! Eventually, after a long wait and a whinge, we got to their home. I was shown my bedroom and I did find my bed under those damn cushions.(another thing in common with Roz).
Cheryl is slowly renovating the house and her tastes are similar with Roz. I sympathise with you Dean. Out with all those things you and I hold dear but seems not to translate to their tastes.

I had a look at Deans Mk7 roadster- there are some very nice touches and I for one can not wait to see it next Easter on the road.
We had a phone call from Peter asking for us to stop and grab a radiator hose as the top one was u/s. Not a problem. We got to the store just as the guy was closing the door...I quickly jumped out and knocked on the door- luckily he opened, but said a carton would be required! We found the hose just as Peter phoned again- no not 1 1/2 but 1 1/4. great. did not have one- eventually we found a foot long piece. Very helpful guy.
When I arrived at Peter's after a really great road there (we from the west will pick you up on the way Pete, just to drive it and to see you to I suppose) I saw the 4 for the first time in the flesh. I though I can see myself in that. After a bit of more work by Pete, Dean and I went for a ride. I actually fitted in, but the top frame of the windscreen was right in my line of vision. Ah well, will sort that out later. It did drive really well and was quite easy to operate. First impression, good and that is important.
After a cuppa and biscuits from Shirley (thanks) I looked at Pete's shed. I like, but he could use a bit of bitumen on the drive to the busy bee?
I followed Dean home, a bit slowly as I was getting to know the beast. It felt right. 
I parked the 4 in Deans garage, next to the 7. Now that is a garage.  
After a lovely pizza and a nights sleep and a great breaky, I was ready to go. Cheryl could not let me go with fruit and some brilliant sandwiches. Thankyou.
I followed Dean (he was on his way to Mallala for the day) to the highway to fuel up and grab a fuel and water container. We said our byes, he wished me luck and said if needed help to phone him. Well he said that and I did believe him...
I was on my way- I though Kimba would be a good first days drive, so there I headed. W.A Easter Bolwell cap on, full tank of fuel-onward. First thing to remember- don't have a cap on forward in a convertible- off it went. Somewhere in Adelaide, someone has a Bolly cap. I call it public relations, others call it- you stupid bloody idiot.
I reached Port Augusta with no hassles but a noisy diff (I already knew that but knew it would get me home- well I hoped it would). I topped up with fuel, grabbed a crescent, screwdriver, racing tape, silicone etc as back up. After eating the sandwiches,off I went to the far distant landscape.
Apart from the noisy diff, and a temp that sat around 195 it was a really quite driver. Sun came down, on went the helmet and sunglasses. I reached Kimba and there was plenty of sun, so I thought why not. Ceduna could be possible. 
Ceduna was not only possible, but was done. Got bloody cold closer to the ocean though and the sun was right in my eyes. No worries- racing tape on the visor of the helmet made a great adjustable sun visor and I used that for the rest of my trip.
I filled up, grabbed a cabin and checked the car over- everything was fine, including the fluids, despite the high water temp.
I was off right on dawn and thought  the border would be great. The interest the car created was brilliant- waves and smiles everywhere- possibly as acknowledgement to the craziness of it.
Two very large trucks carrying over width boats passed and this was to happen all the way across from Ceduna. They appreciated me in pulling to the edge and waving them in and I appreciated checking the trucks wheel nuts and treads as they passed! One of the escort drivers was mighty impressed when we crossed paths at Cocklebiddy. Could not believe I just kept on toddling along . I found around 95k was comfortable with the diff wine. So there I sat. All day.
I got to Nullarbor roadhouse and there mid morning. All was going well and I was putting smiles on strangers faces. Felt good to educate them on Bolwells.
I just kept on feeling ok, and I reached the Border lunch time. Got checked and the copper in his Landcruiser leaned out and said I was a long way down- I said he was up mighty high and would he like his tyre pressures checked- he appreciated the humour and wanted to know what my sun protection was- I lifted the helmet- again he laughed and said go for it you mad bugger.
At this rate I though I could make it Half way across- off I went. Got to Cocklebiddy and decided to stay for and hour- did not realise it then, but that was to cost me later.
again off I went- maybe to Balladonia! 
Do you realise you can see things from a different perspective from a 4. Forget the Roo's, its those bloody huge eagles that you look up at and wonder if they are going to pick you up, the lizards that run across the road on their hind legs- you can actually see the fear in their eyes, you can lean out and grab snakes, sheep trucks take on a new meaning of smell, truck wheels are huge, you look up at everyone and thing, including bicyclists', you can stretch your arms really easily- legs are another matter, you hear noises from nature you did not know existed.
It got dusk rather rapidly and the 4's lights are not brilliant. I was going to have to camp on the side of the road as Balladonia was not on (that hour would have got me there). Ah well, that is what I did. I think I am the only person to ever seep in a Mk4. Don't believe me- ask the caravaners who didn't believe their eye either.  I actually did sleep and it was cold. I left right on sunrise. very heavy mist, so for the first hour, I drove very carefully. Made Norseman around 9. Filled up, phoned Roz, the Curries and Pete (friend who works in Kambalda- it was south oz to Ceduna- my prob to the border, then Pete's prob from there if I needed help- well that's what I sort of planned).  From there the road was bad- real bad. Thought if anything was going to break or come off it was from here to Merridan. It did not. Topped up at Coolgardie, and headed home. Bloody hot-but funny thing- the water temp dropped to 180 when it got hot. Go Figure. I got to Merridan and thought there was a rather brilliant red car out of the corner of my eye's-and there was some deck chairs- Bloody Curries where there to escort me home! great to see a familiar face. Again the rest was easy. Roz had made us dinner and wine. It was great to sit and reflect what I had just done.
There are some changes that will be made over time- electrical, windscreen, steering wheel, dash, wheels. But overall, the basics are great. Roz has claimed it as hers (it really is an extremely easy car to drive) and Micheal was driven to school in it the next day with a huge smile-kids love it. 
Overall a huge thanks to Peter and Shirley, Dean and Cheryl, John and the Curries. your help, advise, hospitality, humour and questions of my sanity where well regarded. What a great club across Oz we have.  The car- it amazed me.  
Now to all you that complain you have a long way to travel in your Bolwell- no you have not. If a 4 can do a trip half way across oz...............  


Roo said...

Fantastic trip Stacey, when are you going to do it in your Buchanan?

Anonymous said...

Im a road trip fiend - and Im impressed. Sleeping in a mk iv!