Wednesday, 20 August 2008

The Life of E'wn

Whilst Cedric is spending another day with Helga (I think he is growing attached to her now) and I have some time I thought it was about time I gave an update on how our little E'wn is doing and what it is like to have driven him 8,600 miles across deserts, mountain ranges and the odd river.

It's hard to explain the experience of driving E'wn words.  Apart from the noise which I have mentioned earlier it really is seat of the pants driving but at low speeds (max speed is 60mph).   Keeping him on the road is a real effort since the steering wheel can turn almost half a turn in either direction before the wheels follow.  Add in the effect of a side wind litterally blowing us off the road (E'wn makes trucks look aerodynamic), and puddles on the road (seem to cause the car to veer off course drastically) makes keeping a straight line more like a Krypton Factor challenge.  Unlike most cars we don't have to worry too much about speeding, the needle we watch more closely than the speedo is the temperature gauge through feer of overheating. Through muliple scientific experiments Cedric discovered that to keep the engine temperature under control we need all lights off and the interior heating on full.  So yes, we spent 3 days driving across a desert with our heating blasting out.  As for entertainment whilst driving, well... there is the road and thats about it.  The radio won't work while the lights are on, luckily we can't have the lights on due to the heating, but unfortunately a bent Kazak traffic cop helped himself to my MP3 player so no music for us either.  Describing the ride as a little bumpy would be a slight understatement. Cedric and I are both smaller having lost several vertibrae over the last 5 weeks. 

Some of the minor problems we have had so far include...Drive shaft broken (the Helsinki hold up), leaking fuel tank (there is a petrol trail from London to The Mongolian border, if anyone lights it you see our route from space), coolant leak (on going and very irritating), unable to start (two hours of attempts failed to get him going, needed a tow.  Half a mile later he rawed into action), semi-blocked fuel line, almost lost the alternator (nearly fell off), exhaust snapped in two (now fixed with both Peaches and Pineapple tins), right back suspension pretty much dead, seat bolts snapped (yes, that was while I was sitting in it), front light falling out, various nuts and bolts lost or coming loose or about to fall out, oil & water in air filter box, flat tire, transfer box mount sheared, both wing mirrors fail to hold position... and there is more, I've just wiped them from memory.

So all in all he is doing quite well, keeping us entertained both on and off the road and is still going even if we temporarily aren't.  He certainly gets a lot of attention and at pretty much every petrol stop or town people sign/write rude workds in Russian on the car, look under the bonnet, gasp then laugh as they shake their head in bemusement and walk away.  This is coming from guys driving 1970's clapped out Ladas.  I just now hope we all have another 1,500 miles in us!!


Anonymous said...

Fortunately, Ewn hasn't stomach problems ! We hope it's not too long for you to be waiting for Cedric.
Anyway, you will have both to weigh the pros ans cons to decide to go further on or not.(If Helga accepts to leave Cedric alone of course !)Even if it stops here, as Carine and your parents said, it has been a wonderful experience and we are very proud of you. But we will miss reading your blog every day too!!
Do things as you want (as you can !) and take care !
Jean-Luc, Françoise et Plume

Anonymous said...

Nous ne savons pas quelle décision vous allez prendre pour la suite du voyage, mais il nous semble que la voiture est bien fatiguée et vous aussi.
Quoiqu'il en soit, c'est fantastique que vous soyez arrivé si près du but et cette aventure restera un beau souvenir et un super exploit.
Même si c'est frustrant d'arriver si près et d'abandonner pour x raisons, il ne faut rien regretter.
Avant tout prenez soin de vous, c'est vrai qu'il ne reste pas beaucoup de temps pour terminer .
Nous comprenons que la décision n'est pas facile à prendre.
Cédric : ne prend pas une crise de foie avec le nutella et ne t'attache pas trop à Helga et remets toi vite (ton frère t'embrasse très fort).
Paul : Merci pour la patience que tu as et les soins que tu apportes à ton coéquipier Cédric.
On pense à vous très fort.
Les parents

Anonymous said...

wow - hadn't checked this for a few days as have been out of the office - glad Helga has sorted cedric out - good decision to backtrack!! Hang in there for another week or so and see you in China... great effort, looking forward to hearing the stories. Papey

mathieu said...

brrruno m'a passe l'adresse de votre blog hier... Super aventure, supers compte-rendus, vraiment nickel.

Bonne chance pour la fin a tous les 2, en esperant que les "petits" problemes intestinaux du Sanglier du Jura se resolvent a temps :)

Mathieu Bouvier