Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Baltic Circle Trip - Winter 2015

One 21 year old Classic Mini...
14 Different countries...
Temperatures as low as -30 degrees...
5'500 miles...
And all in less than a month.
What could go wrong...?

Those of you that know me will know i've wanted to go too the Nordkapp for the last few years, this time last year i was even planning a trip to head there in the then new year... Unfortunately, as is often the way, life got in the way and it didn't happen. However this year, there is no excuses, i've decided that its something that i need too get out of my system, and as me and Tim have failed to go anywhere exciting for over a year now, it needs too be done!

The info at the beginning of this is pretty much all the plan i have at the moment, although i have spent most of this evening putting a very rough route together on Google Maps, which has led too me getting rather excited and also a wee scared in some ways! Originally the plan was to head up through Holland, Germany, Denmark, into Sweden and keep heading north until i hit Norway, head north some more until i literally run out of road, with any luck i'd be at the Nordkapp! Then head back down, probably following the west coast of Norway a bit more on the way back... Then i had an idea, i'm not a fan of doubling back on myself on a trip until i hit Dover, so the 'Baltic Circle' idea was born... Tadaaaa!

This very rough route put together via google maps tells me that it comprises of around 5'300 miles. Accounting for me getting lost quite a bit i've rounded that up too 5'500, it'll probably end up more than that since for this trip i will be 'solo' and doing my own navigating as well as everything else! (Co-drivers please apply via the e-mail address on the 'Contact' page!) 

Mini wise everything is fairly okay, there's quite a bit to do but then there always is, he's running well though, new engine has done around 2'000 miles now and hasn't gone bang so that's a definite good sign! More info on Tim prep as it happens and in another post.... This one was supposed too be a short one!

Weather is going too be an issue i think, i'm not too sure on just how bad it's going too be inside the Arctic Circle around February. Everyone i speak too tells me something different, so i've just came up with the 'Bugger it!' attitude and decided i'll find out for myself...! The cold i'm not too worried about, its more how quickly i'll get bored of digging Tim out of several feet of snow every morning!

So yeah, that's about all there is to say at the moment... Typing this now has made me realise just how much planning i've still got to do, but at this moment its all just about manageable! Just....! Plus planning and organizing stuffs was never my strong point...! At the moment i'm concentrating on getting the car prepped. and probably more importantly, getting myself fit and sorted... I've even joined a gym! (I know, i'm as surprised as you are!)

More updates as they happen folks, and thanks for reading!

Peace and love,

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Adventure Overland Show 2014

So the weekend of the 27th of September was penciled in my diary as the adventure overland show.... Well if i had a diary it would of been! This a brilliant event that i've attended for the last few years now that takes place at Stratford racecourse, just outside Stratford-Upon-Avon. True one of a kind show, that combines overland travel of all nature, whether your on a pushbike, motorbike, in a car, Land Rover or in some 10 ton expedition truck, everyone is welcome!

Our little set-up!

Me and Tim drove up on the Friday night, and after negotiating Londons biggest car park (the M25), we arrived in a little over 3 hours. Tim ran almost faultlessly all the way there and back again, i say almost because i think his alternator has finally given up. I cant blame it really, it has had a lot of use, abuse and misuse! Luckily my trusty Bosch battery out of a Peugeot diesel kept us going and the beers cold (priorities!) in the coolbox throughout the weekend!

Admittedly i didn't cook for the whole weekend,
can you blame me when there cooking pizza this
good in the back of a Land Rover?!!

Main show days were on Saturday and Sunday, me and Tim set up just opposite the main events office. This meant that he got loads of attention/admiring glances/people taking photos/and little kids climbing over him.... The unfortunate part was that people had to listen too me rabble on about minis and travel and why you don't need a £50k Land Rover to go overland! If anyone is reading this that i met over the weekend then wahooo, the stickers worked! Seriously though, it was great too meet everyone, and i hope you had as good a weekend as i did!

Thanks to Tom McGuigan for organizing yet another great show, for yet another great pitch and for the great curry/beerfest on Sunday night! To Chris and Cate from 'Ride any Road' for a hilarious and varied Saturday night, shblaaaddd! To Graham Fields for forcing Jagermeister and Sambuca down my throat. To the G4 Challenge owners club for the hospitality and allowing me to camp next too them. And to anyone else that i may of spoken too over the course of the weekend! And of course a big thanks to my sponsors, that weekend means the car has now done a thousand miles on its new engine, without the help of you guys Tim probably still wouldn't of turned a wheel!

Anyway, enough typing, my fingers are tired... Pictures!

Hot air balloons were cool, although seeming
massively uncontrollable!

 Will always have a soft spot for anything Land Rover
and orange, G4 Challenge vehicles are awesome.

Proper Toyota trucks are cool, plus i loved the pop
top roof. Far too practical for me though!

More Landy love!

Stickers! Shout out and thanks to 'We the terrors'
'Campervan Culture', 'Minispares', 'Ash Tyres', 'Opie Oils',
and most imporantly of the rear window, Bruce the shark.

'Frank' the turtle, Tims long term mascot... Just chillin' in the back window.

Another update soon, with next trip details.
Peace, Joe.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

On the road again....

Okay, so once again, apologies for the massive length of time between the last update and this one, its been a very busy few months. Once again, work and life has got in the way of travel, which has left me with very itchy feet, and due to Timmy popping his engine not long before we were sort of half-planning to go away, very empty pockets!

The last few months have been spent mainly working on Tim, giving him a thorough refresh and a brand new engine has been built and installed. I'll leave out the boring details but he now has around double the power and double the torques. As well as new shiney suspension and much more ground clearance, plus much much more. He's now covered nearly a thousand miles since being 'recommissioned' and is running better than ever!

Me and Tim will be at the Adventure Overland show this weekend, at Stratford race course. Will hopefully be leaving work early tomorrow and will be there early evening! Looking forward to the weekend and will be there until Monday, last year was a blast! If your there and see us feel free to come and say hello, always happy to chat and answer any questions you might have...!

Until then, heres some pics of Timster pretty much as he is now!

Peace, Joe.

Monday, 12 May 2014

It's been a while....

Okay, so it's been over 7 months since i last posted on here, really didn't mean for it too be that long. But combining taking Timmy off the road for the winter, and also starting a new job in November, really haven't had the time for gallivanting off around the world in my trusty old Mini! As much as i would of liked to it just really wasn't the right time! So since last October a lot has changed, and not all of it has been good, but change is what it is, and sometimes you can't always change it... Besides, if things are meant too be then they will be, there is no point rushing them trying to make them happen!

Sooo, around a month ago, i pulled Tim out of hibernation, after leaving his battery on charge for a few hours, he started first turn of the key.... Of course he did, i never doubted him for a second, well not much anyway. I insured him for the year (Ouch!) with extended Euro travel cover and have been using him occasionally for the last couple of weeks. I'd forgotten just how ridiculous he was to drive, in a fantastic kind of way! Steering wheel position is more akin to driving a bus than a car, pedals are in the middle of the car, the noise is ridiculous, and just driving down the road results in being shaken all over the place. But it's great, and for travelling, i still don't know what i'd replace him with!

A wee bit of work has commenced, mainly repairing/fixing things that broke/wore out last time we were away, oh and i've moved the steering position into a much more sensible position. Although getting in and out of the car has been made a wee more difficult...! Basically all the suspension has been renewed now as well, i won't go into details, as its pretty boring stuff too be honest! Far more expeditiony/overlandy/adventurey type preparation is happening soon, including a new custom roof and rear rack, loads of lighting changes, and i might even finally get around to fitting my split charge system!

As for where we are going next, its all still in limbo at the moment.... I really fancy the idea of Morocco, of course going over land, so Dover to Calais, down through France, through Spain then across the Gibraltar Strait into Morocco. Massive appeal is that we'd officially be out of Europe. Other option is to head North, through France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Denmark and into Sweden, keep heading North until i run out of road. Then maybe visit Finland and Russia on the way back down.... As you may of guessed i don't really have anything that even vaguely resembles a plan.... Hopefully by the next post i'll have much more of an idea, especially considering i've booked 4 weeks off in the summer! Oh and sadly i've lost my co-driver Hannah (not actually lost), so my next trip will be just the pair of us, me and Tim. At least i wont have too put up with all the bags of shoes....

That's all for now, apologies for the mostly pointless post of ramblings, but i mainly wanted you to know that this site is not dead, and i will be updating it in much more of a regular fashion from now onwards.... Honest!

Peace and love,