Driving a 1954 Austin-Healey 100/4 from Peking to Paris in the June 2019 ERA Rally.

Monday, 8 April 2019

0084 Gidget goes to Japan !!!

7th April 2019
Gidget is (hopefully) floating in the Ocean !!


Ital Lirica
Is Gidget in there ?
 Well, Gidget has been on her own for 11 days now, and is well on her way to China.  On 6th April she was just to the east of New Ireland (E of PNG), and heading towards Yokohama, where she is ETA'd on 14th April.  Currently on the 54,000 MT Italian vessel Ital Lirica, from Yokohama she will continue to Busan, where she will be trans-shipped  onto the ALS Flora for the remaining leg of the journey to Beijing, where she will arrive on 29th April.    Fortunately the ship did NOT sail round the north of Australia because there is a Tropical Cyclone (called Wallace) off the north coast at the moment. (That's a hurricane or typhoon to you Northern Hemisphere peoples !!).  Gidget doesn't need a cyclone !!
If you wish to track Gidget's progress, you can log on to www.marinetraffic.com 
 and once in there "search for "Ital Lirica".  She is on voyage No 094N, and you can then click on "Route Forecast" to see where she is and where she is headed.    Currently she is travelling at 15.4 knots under engine power.  😀

No time is ever "quiet" when you are preparing for the P2P !  I may not be working on the car at the moment, but I am not idle, I can assure you !!  The focus has just moved on to other things that were being pushed aside in order to get Gidget ready for shipping.    First good news of progress this week is that Ashton has heard that his Mongolian visa has been issued.  He can't yet go to China or Russia, but he can go to Mongolia.  Hopefully this means progress is being made on all our visas, and we will hear positively in the next couple of weeks.  Otherwise we have a problem.........😟

This week I also went and did a CPR course as recommended by the organisers.  I haven't done anything like this before, and recently I have realised that, especially with grandkids as well as more older people around us at our stage in life, it would be a useful skill to have.  We also went right through the First Aid manual so at least we have some idea of what to do if something happens out there !    The CPR course was excellent, and although I am not sure I would like to be faced with an live emergency tomorrow, I certainly feel more confident in what is involved.  My wife Janet did it with me so now we can at least give CPR to each other if one of us gets in to strife at home !

We also had a lot of discussions amongst fellow Australian P2P entrants this week about Insurances.  There are currently many Insurance changes in Europe, apparently partly due to Brexit uncertainty, although what that has to do with an Australian in an Australian car driving though China or Mongolia, I am not sure !  Nevertheless, 3rd Party Coverage that was initially going to be provided by the ERA Organizers now cannot be, so we have to cough up sizable amounts to obtain our own coverage.  Disappointing, but I guess these things happen.  Nevertheless, the discussions about the situation and how best to deal with it took up several days.  There are limits as to where one can get Insurance for not only China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan, but also for Europe, when you are a non EU resident driving a non EU registered vehicle.  I know because I had to jump through these hoops when I had my Landcruiser in Europe in 2015/16. 

Then of course there are the injections !  Fortunately, from my travelling days in Africa etc before I retired, I have had most of the required shots, so I mostly just needed boosters.   However I haven't had rabies shots before, and that requires 3 separate shots, 1 week and then 1 month apart, so something one needs to start dealing with early.   Next week it is also time for a visit to the dentist to make sure everything is in good shape there too.   My wife and I are going on a tour of China for 2 weeks prior to the start of the P2P, so we actually leave Aus on the 14th May, unlike Ashton who leaves on the 27th May.So we are also working on accomodation, not only for the extra days in Beijing when we arrive early, but also in Paris when we plan to spend at least a couple of days recovering by sipping coffee and munching on croissants beside the Seine !

Michelin inner tubes arrive

Most importantly, and also more time consuming, are all the many last minute items for the car - Things I have forgotten, lost, or just never considered before.  Ashton was advised that Michelin inner tubes are much better than "non-Michelin" tubes, and because they are so rarely used in car sizes any more, Michelin tubes (in the required size) were not available in Australia.  So they had to be ordered from England, and fortunately arrived at Ashton's house this week - So he gets to hand carry them to China 😀.    Actually he ordered 4, but I have instructed him that we only have room for 2 !   We have two Non-Michelin tubes in the car already (we ordered them long ago), and they are going to have to be removed in order to replace them with these new ones.  Unfortunately they are RIGHT up the front of the boot, not only purposefully in a hard-to-get-to place for "things we hope we don't need at all", but additionally they are strapped tightly in place.  As a result we will need to totally unload virtually everything in the boot to get the old ones out and replace them..........Not in the plan at all !!! 

Cutting boards
Talking of inner tubes - Obviously they are carried "just in case", because we are running tubeless wheels and tyres. We have tyre repair kits, but those plugs are only good when there is a hole in the tread (like a nail).  If the sidewall gets cut, even slightly, then if necessary we can use an inner tube, although if the cut in the tyre is too long, the inner tube can bulge out under pressure - Not good.  A temporary fix for this is to carry those very thin, flexible, yet strong kitchen cutting boards.  These can then be cut to size and put
Resist cuts !
over any cut in the tyre, preventing the inner tube from trying to escape.  So we got them this week, and will hand carry to China - Light, flat, and can be stored anywhere (under a carpet ?).

Also been looking closely at the wiring and in particular the fuses in the car, and discussing it all with Steve who wired everything for us.  We mentioned the water pump fuse problem that occurred a couple of times recently - It seems the fuse provided with the water pump is a 10 A unit, despite the fact that the max draw of the pump is also 10 A.  As a result, if for any reason the pump draws its stated max, the fuse will blow - and it did.   As a result we replaced a 10 A fuse with a 20 A resettable unit.  Looking at the rest of the car now compared to what it was when Steve originally did the wiring, we have since added a number of items that weren't in the
Wiring under scrutiny
original plan - electric water pump, electric fan, electric windscreen washers, SPOT tracker, potentially 2 GoPro cameras, plus all the several GPS units which we did know about.   Looking at the existing fuses, a couple of them are obviously too low - for instance a 7.5 A one that feeds to the extension cigarette lighter sockets from which we charge and power a lot of the gps and other equipment, which, although individually draw low amps, could potentially draw more if everything was charging / working at the same time.  For instance we have installed a small 150 watt inverter just in case we need to charge anything on a mains plug. (Normally we would charge such items when in hotels, but during the 5 consecutive nights of camping, we may need to charge something. )  It also has an extra USB port in  case we need it.  On the way to the docks with Gidget, it seems the headlight fuse blew, and I did not have time to fix this while dropping the car off as I was more concerned with trying to dry her off before she went in the container, so we are making sure that we have plenty of spare fuses and relays so we can fix this minor issue as soon as we get to Beijing.  

New incorrect cover underneath original
We have been "working" on some kind of radiator cover over since Alice Springs, both to enable us to work the car up more quickly on cold mornings, and also to cover the front of the car during river crossings in order to minimise water ingress into the engine bay.  In order to get such an item designed and fitted, the car needed to be running so we could take it down to the upholsterer to work out the best way to do it and the best material to use, and as a result it got pushed back further and
Tape shows correct shape !
further.  Installation of the electric radiator fan also made the cover less urgent because it meant we could turn off the fan both when warming the car up and also when making river crossings.  As a result, Gidget was gone before we finished the cover, and when I picked it up this week I found the dimensions were all totally wrong - Too wide across the top and to short in length. Having checked my original diagram, which was correct, and have made up a corrected version to take in to Steve at SS Trimming on Monday morning.  He had also done the new MGF seat repairs, as well as the seat cover reinforcing, and done a great job, so obviously something just went wrong in the execution of this one !

Growing pile of things to hand carry !
While the basic Medical kit as specified by ERA was permitted to travel to China in the car, certain personal medicines were not, so they are now being purchased for us to hand carry in.   With the roof off (hopefully !) we will need plenty of lip balm, zinc, and sun tan cream to help our hats keep the effects of the wind and sun at bay.  We also need to carry alcohol hand gel and wipes to clean our hands, visine to clear our eyes of the desert dust, as well as paracetemol for headaches and Ibuprofen for bad backs after a long day in the saddle.  Then there are the things like Band Aids and Savlon, as well as other things we hope we won't need like Imodium, Hydralyte, and antibacterial pills and ointments and potions !!  

Fuel filter concept
Dimensions needed for filter
The embroidery of P2P patches and our names onto our shirts and jackets is currently in process - Hopefully will be done this week so that will be another thing we can tick off as completed.  Another thing that cropped up this week was that of filtering the fuel as we fill the car.  We have a funnel with a wire mesh screen in the throat, but we are concerned that if fuel is delivered too fast, it will simply overwhelm this funnel and filter and go everywhere.   Thinking about possible solutions, I found a few companies on internet which make filters which fit down inside the neck of the filler tube, and stay there permanently.  The ID of our filler tube is 50 mm, so if you could find a filter that fits that diameter, we could fit one to each tank and forget about the problem.  Trouble is, they are mostly made for motorcycles - So I am trying to find out of anyone makes one in 50 mm that would suit our purpose...........

Then the next job is to start getting rid of stuff !   

Boris' 1965 E Type
There are lots of interesting cars entered in the P2P, and I really look forward to not only seeing them close up so we can see what they have done to them, but also to see how they perform.  One in particular is of interest - an E Type Jag !   Probably close to us in terms of ground clearance etc !  I love Jags, and this has to be one of the most beautiful cars ever designed, especially when you realise they were first made almost 60 years ago !  Boris Gruzman has been chatting with us on facebook, so we look forward to meeting him and his car in Beijing.   

Country decal for Gidget
One other thing this week was to work on the internationally required "AUS" sticker  for the back of Gidget.  The standard oval sticker is somewhat boring, and it actually also quite hard to find because, unlike in Europe where people drive across international borders all the time, not many Australians take their cars overseas! When I went to Alaska in the Lotus, I designed my own decal that instead of an oval background, had a map of Australia, and it received a lot of favourable comments.  So I thought I would try to replicate it, and have made 2 samples to take to China to attach to Gidget !  And since my daughter and son-in-law and family  now live in Tasmania, I thought I had better make sure that was included !!! 

Other than that, moving forward, and slowly preparing clothes, medicines, and everything else we need.  Hopefully by my next post we will have positive news on our visas !!

Rest of the pics are here :-  https://photos.app.goo.gl/rq42WgCbahRafHGr9

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Ashton & Giles welcome any visitors, support, and comments as we prepare for our Adventure !