2013, may 16th to the 21st
Overland Expo 2013 was bigger than ever this year with a 25% increase in visitors/exhibitors. Congratulations to Roseann Hanson and her team on a job well done. We’d like to say a big thanks to all who stopped by our booth to say Hi. It was a real pleasure meeting with true Land Cruisers and travel enthousiasts.
Can you spot us in the picture?
We have officialy launched our reading glasses recycling drive at the Expo and appreciate the help we got from Alice and her gang at the Muskoka foundation. They, along with Overland Expo, are supporting our efforts to collect old reading glasses so we can donate them as we travel through the remote regions of Central and South-America. Note that we expanded our collecting criterias and are now looking for old (or new) safety glasses and sunglasses as well.
After the three full days of OX13, we thought we should stick around Flag for a bit to relax and take this opportunity to explore the area. Since we also wanted to test No4′s capabilities, we decided to take a little stroll around the obstacle course set up by the folks at LandRover. I must say I was pleasantly surprised by how well No4 handled the whole thing. Of course, it has its limits being narrow and tall but for a vehicle with no diff lockers (yet…), I was impressed at how it navigated through the dips and ruts. My main concern with No4 was that it’s got a rather long overhang at the tail end and so I feared it would drag at many of the deeper dips crossing or when getting started on a steep uphill. Well, not so. No4 is tall enough that it never even came close to dragging its butt neither here at the site of OX13 nor at any other place where we went to explore. Great!
A little tippy…
After driving the course, we take off into Coconino National forest on fr125. At first, it’s a nice sunday drive (although it’s monday…) but just before we make the turn off onto fr 126, it becomes more and more nasty with rocks and “steps” up as we crest a sizeable hill. I have to drive in first and second low so as not to shatter everything that’s inside the camper. No4 behaves well but at our first stop, we realize we need to secure our gear a little better as it is now all in a pile on the floor… Fortunately, fr 126 is much smoother although smooth is not what we need to drive onto to test No4. In a meadow, we are spoiled and see a couple of antilopes running to our right and then crossing directly in front of us! What a treat!
The mess inside:
After looking for it for a while (it is a best kept secret), we make it to Grand Falls, the point we made for this little loop. There, we get to enjoy half Grand Falls. Oh, they’re Grand all right but, they’re… dry! Probably had water in them years ago as trees now grow where water used to flow…
Still a beautiful spot to take a break nonetheless.
On tuesday, we are back on pavement on fr545 heading back to Flag. As we crest the hill to Sunset crater (8000 ft) I watch the temperature gauge and see the needle move up to a point where I have never seen it before… I back down on the pedal and downshift into 3rd but still no improvement. We take a break at the top and let the engine cool down a bit. (It’s only about 65*F up here). After about 15 minutes, we drive across 545 and onto a nice flat trail that’s going who knows where. Since we don’t want to get back to Mormon Lake too late that day, we decide to turn around after driving only about a mile or two. Good idea. As we approach the pavement again, the engine starts knocking loudly!!! YIKES!
I ease off the pedal and look at the gauges but everything seems to be under control. Temp is back to normal, oil pressure is good, engine was only revving about 1800 rpm when the noise started… What’s going on? We limp up to the paved road and I shut her off. But not before listenning to the exhaust sound (puffing sound there) and trying to rev it just a bit to see what happens… No changes, it just knocks loud… Loud enough to wipe off any intentions of driving it any further… Guess we’re stuck…
To be continued…