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

Friday, 10 May 2019

0085 Still so much to do !!!

Friday 10th May
Everything takes so LOOONG !!

23 days till the flag drops !  
But only 3 days till I leave.

Half way through May, and the days seem to be getting shorter, public holidays more frequent, and my patience being sorely tested !   And why am I complaining about all the recent public holidays you may ask ?    Easter, Anzac Day, Labour Day - All within the last month, and all fell on weekends which meant that people were taking extra days off to link them together, and it was almost impossibe to get things done !!
And I am sure there used to be 24 hours in a day ?  It seems like there are only about 18 nowadays !   As for my patience, I will leave that up to you to decide after this post !

First things first - You all know our blog address - Because you are reading this !   And our Facebook site you are all probably familiar with - https://www.facebook.com/austin.healey.73113
HOWEVER - The Endurance Rally Association, the E.R.A., are the event organisers, and THEIR website will have two very important links during the P2P event.
1) They will be posting a Daily Event Report, along with Results (ie car positions) every day - Or at least every day when they can.   Along with photos.  I STRONGLY recommend you go in there and find out what is happening.   We will of course try to upload photos and blog as and when we can, but the ERA site will have lots of details on a daily basis
Their website is here :-   ERA Website
ERA Website

2) My understanding is that the link to our GPS Tracking Units mounted on our cars will also be up on the same ERA website.  This will enable anyone to go in to this site, and see the GPS trace of any vehicle - AND WE ARE NUMBER 77 !!!  The unit sends a "blip" every 30 seconds or so I believe, so you can not only see where we are, but you can also see if we are moving (which is "good" !) or stationary (which could be "bad" if it is during the day time as it might mean we are fixing something.  However, I doubt whether that will EVER be the case, so if our dot is not moving, then it is probaby night time and Ashton and I are probably sound asleep in our tents !!  

So now you know how to find out how we are getting on !!   And we would ask you to support us by coming onto Facebook or our Blog, leaving comments, encouraging us, etc.  This is going to be one tough event, and especially during the first couple of weeks we are going to be seriously sleep deprived, and needing all the moral and verbal support we can get.   So PLEASE come on and chat to us, and give us your support.  

Road book advice
Co-ordinates from road book
I post a couple of excerpts from the 2016 P2P Road Book - I find it interesting that they say things like "In China there is no culture of "giving way" in traffic - You push in or stay where you are" !!    And again "Staple a copy of your personal Insurance and Medical Documents inside your road book so emergency crews can access them easily in case of emergency".  😟    I also show you an excerpt from just one page of the road book with all the multiple geo co-ordinates that we have to follow every day !!

AH decals for the car
The Queensland Austin Healey Owners Club have very generously sponsored us to the tune of $400, all have which has gone to our chosen charities Beyond Blue and Cancer Council, in case you have forgotten !  We are still trying to raise AT LEAST $1 for every kilometre we travel - So $15,000 (roughly) in total.   Of course, it may be a lot more I we get lost and drive round in circles for a while !   So please dig deep and support not only Ashton and I, but also Beyond Blue and Cancer Research.  In case you have forgotten, the links are here     Beyond Blue     and      Cancer Research
I gave a talk to the club about our preparation, and the plan is to give them a run down on the event once we get back. 

Electrolyte tablets
Important stuff !
I have been busy buying all sorts of things for the trip recently.  Ashton is busy working down in Sydney, so I have been trying to keep everything running smoothly so that when he finally gets to relax in China, all the small issues are sorted.   Hydralyte electrolyte tablets in case we get dehydrated, Immodium in case we need stopping (😧), as well as a number of other pills and potions both for our compulsory Event first aid kit and for our own emergency use.  We have added beef jerky and muesli bars to the pile, in case we need something to munch on as we cross the Gobi or the Steppes, with the roof down and the wind in our hair. 

Fuel filters
I now have the revised front "bib" for shielding the engine bay when we cross rivers, and hopefully this will fit ok.  Of course the car was already on the water by the time it was finished, so I am hoping Steve at SS Trimming got it right ! We also received our "sock" fuel filters from Tasmania, and they will be installed as soon as we get the car back.  And after discussions with Ashton, we decided to buy a foot operated switch for the Monit rally meter, that will enable me to zero the trip meter with my foot while my hands are busy with other things !   It will need wiring up when we get to China, but I understand this is fairly straightforward - I hope !

Lightning flash drive
In talking with David Gainer, another local Queenslander who will be doing his 3rd P2P, he introduced me to a memory stick called a Sandisk iXpand Flash Drive.  Basically it is a double ended flash drive, with a regular USB socket on one end and a Lightning plug on the other end.  This means it can be used to transfer data to and from an iphone or iPad, and then move that data to or from a lap top.  I have bought one to use for downloading photos if my memory gets too full, or to move map data around from Base Camp.   Very useful little jiggers. 

Our cars have reached Tianjin (Beijing port) safely.  I thought I had lost them for a while because they were transhipped in Busan in S Korea, and when I was tracking the vessel we were originally told would pick them up and take them to Tianjin (the ALS Flora), the vessel suddenly turned around after Busan and head back south again !  On enquiring,  C.A.R.S., the people handling the shipping,  told me that another vessel, the Happy Hunter, had ended up picking up the containers in Busan and delivering them to Tianjin, where they arrived safely on 25th April.  So hopefully now they are all unloaded and in the warehouse waiting for us.

Embroidered clothing
I had arranged for some of our rally clothing to be embroidered both with the rally logo, as well as our names and the car type.  Even the emroidery company said how well the red and gold logo shows up when embroidered, especially on a dark or black background.   ERA give us a nice embroidered puffer jacket, but as they are not waterproof, we are not taking
My neck warmer
ours on the rally.   So we got our waterproof jackets, our shirts, our fleeces, plus a couple of golf style shirts embroidered, and they look really great.   I have also bought a merino tubular neck gaiter to use instead of a more bulky scarf to keep my neck warm, or even to pull over my mouth and face if we encounter a dust storm.  And I have bamboo socks, which when paired with the merino neck gaiter and merino thermal underwear, will all be highly "odor-resistant" - Most important when you only have two of everything !!

Following a Healey
Clementine !
Rear ended by a truck !
Imprint of a roo bar
Just to add to all the current stress in my life preparing for the P2P,  I also managed to sell my Lotus Europa last week, and then drove it 1900 kms down to Victoria to its new owner.  I drove down through the Victorian High Country which is a beautiful road, and coincidentally fell in with a gaggle of Austin Healeys and MG's out on a weekend run.   Very pleasant !     I then bought a "new" car last week in Sydney - a 1970 VW 1600 Fastback !   Ashton has exposed me to Classic Rallying, and I am kind of hooked, so after thinking about it for a year, I settled on this sad but rust free car that will be a great project for me after I return from Paris.  It is running, so I can do it up gradually as time and finances permit.     Then, two days after I got back from Sydney, driving along the local freeway, the traffic came to a sudden stop due to an idiot truck pulling out from roadworks, and so did I, but unfortunately the 45 MT B-Double behind me didn't stop in time and went squarely up the back of us 😠.   Fortunately my wife and I were OK, which was more than can be said for our car, but we were very lucky because if the truck had been going any faster, he would have ridden right over the top of us and Ashton might have been looking for a new co-driver !!  But all this happening, and the arrangements that needed to be made, took 2 days away from me and have left me scrambling to get everything done it time.  

Everything to pack.......
And that is about where we are !   Not a lot of car stuff this week, but plenty of other stuff.   My wife and I fly out to China next Tuesday 14th May, and we are going on a 2 week tour of China that finishes in Beijing just one day before Ashton arrives on the 27th, and 3 days before we need to be there to collect our cars, so perfect timing.   So my next entry will be from Beijing and the Start of the GREAT EVENT - The 2019 Peking to Paris, and the ongoing adventures of Gidget the Austin Healey !  Starting to get exciting now !


1 comment:

  1. All the very best Giles I'll be tracking your progress along the way from here in Aberdeen - Charles (and Margaret)


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