Wednesday, July 25, 2012

To Africa & Beyond...

She was my first Land Rover.  A well equipped 1968 Land Rover Series II 109 with an awfully noisy 2.286l diesel and gritty Fairey overdrive.  Her brakes needed pumping, her gear box double-clutching and her radiator topping up with fresh water, but she looked the place in Southern Africa and for me, she was just perfect.

Her downhill speed was 80km/h and her comfortable cruise control was a ample 60km/h (hand throttle engaged). Time was not an issue for me... I had four months to cover Southern Africa before heading North to Europe.  

Her homemade rooftop tent was unique and offered a panoramic view of ones surroundings as you lay under the stars.  

The open roads took time, especially when a head wind blew.  Her tubed 7.50x16 tyres hummed along the gravel and tar roads.  New cars whizzed past, a few hooting a hello.  Conversation between the passengers was limited due to the grinding overdrive and tractor-like engine.  Contemplation of the journey occupied each passenger.

In 1999, my attempt to keep an internet diary was limited due to internet access and a decent photo scanner but the memories are still vivid including the smell of EP90 oil dripping constantly from the gearbox (that smell still makes me shiver!).   Thankfully a few memories were recorded on video camera (which had a dead microphone) so all that remains is me talking about my trip...

You can read more via my very first overland website - excuse the lack of high resolution photos: To Africa and Beyond