The long awaited return of Maple
We caught our train very early to reach Paul from Footloose 4x4 in Peterborough at 09:45 who was kind enough to pick us up from the station.I was spending my journey reading about Overlanding in the latest Land Rover Owner's International mag and searched for an exciting 4x4 event to visit,Mad?was looking at a few knitting design she might use to enter herself into a knitting competition.She's quite handy with these things.
Anyway we arrived at their new offices and the first thing we both saw and commented on was the large Michelin Maps on the walls.This came in quite handy as we immediately outlined our route to Paul.We spent a couple of hours planning the next steps to our trip and the "kitting out" of the Cruiser.This is almost the most important step as we will be spending most of our time in the Cruiser (day and night) and for a journey this long, you need to make sure that all the essentials have a place and that we are as comfortable as money can allow.As you can imagine, this will take a lot of planning and we ran through a few options to ensure that we've got all we need, were we need it.
Footloose 4x4 has been doing this for a couple of years and Paul was able to show the advantages and disadvantages to the different options and when it came to showing us what it will look like, he was able to take us down to the workshop and open the boot of a fully prepared Cruiser.The quality of their work and thought put into their designs really impressed both of us.
Then my attention was swiped away by the car next to the kitted Cruiser.It was Maple on steroids - Chunky and shiny Red!!(see pictures) I could not wait to turn the ignition and hear her (now) soft rumble.She was much higher than what I've imagined and immediately realized that she needs new shoes - Expensive shoes!!
The following work was carried out and it left her suspension and mechanically, ready for the trip:
- Full engine service
- New metal radiator cover
- 4 New swivels gaskets and bearings
- New front differential and back diff actuator
- New clutch
- Replace stub axles and front CV joints and flanges
- All bushes to suspension including front and rear anti-roll bar bushes
- 4 New heavy duty springs and shocks
- Replaced all 4 backing plates, brake discs and brake pads
- Oh and before I forget:New wiper blades
Now we can start getting into the serious planning and preparation.We will be looking at getting out and about to see what she's capable of and meeting other like minded travelers to share ideas and our passion for the trip.We are visiting South Africa in 2 weeks time and compiled a list of equipment, manufactured in SA to possibly import as it might be a cheaper option than buying it from a dealer in the UK.(Anybody up for a container share?)
We drove back later that afternoon and everything was fine until we hit some traffic on the M25, a major accident the radio reported.This kept us from home for a couple of hours, but it was different than other times - it was stress free and somehow relaxing.We were on a journey: With the sound of the heavy rain on the roof and windscreen and the cracking thunder under the dark sky, I thought that this should be cherished.I could picture Africa red and dry with the earth cracking under the weight of the vehicle and dust everywhere.Yes it will be from the one extreme to another and I CAN'T WAIT!!