A Travellerspoint blog

Beijing 8 September 2010

0 °C

The excitement begins, first a briefing from the Beijing traffic police to explain the wonderful living conditions, standard of living and general happiness of the Chinese. Also that we should obey the road rules, speed limits don’t drink and drive and respect the locals. After the briefing we were given our Chinese driving licences. Colin’s friend Alex was envious as his licence cost him 4,000Y and took 6 months to get.

On receipt of the licences we were bussed to the warehouse to collect the cars. We were in bus 5 the last to leave. The busses got lost and after frantic and sometimes heated phone calls between the bus drivers ours was convinced to be guided by our GPS and shortly after we arrived first. The Austin was located at the back of the warehouse and had suffered minor damage to the front bumper in the container, nothing serious.

After checking the radiator and oil the engine fired up first kick then it was wait until we could get out. Colin’s excellent navigation skills got us to the servo to fill up. After a half hour delay we led car 9 the 1928 Dodge tourer, that travelled with the Austin in the container, the 30 km back to the hotel through peak hour traffic without incident.

Drinks for the competitors on return then a Peking duck dinner at a specialist restaurant with Alex Wee and Liz and Greg Newton car 90 1952 Holden. A fun night with many mysterious, delicious dishes the braised duck tongues looked like oysters.


Posted by nbrice 15:37 Archived in China Comments (1)

Beijing 7 September 2010

We needed a rest day after the farewell barbeque lunch/dinner at Malcolm’s on Saturday. Express check-in and comfortable seating did the trick. We arrived in Beijing on time at 11:30 PM on Sunday night on Singapore Airlines - great service. The Airbus A380 is an awesome heavier-than-air flying machine. The Shangri La hotel had arranged for us to be met and escorted through immigration and customs, and a vehicle to drive us to the hotel. After the plane doors opened it took less than 60 minutes until we were in our hotel room. The Beijing airport built for the Olympics is amazing: acres of open area with soaring arched ceilings. A short light rail trip from the arrivals to baggage collection and we were out of there.

The hotel is typical 70’s international comfortable rooms and good service. No snoring problems have disturbed our sleep so far. After breakfast in the dining room we took a walk to the nearest supermarket in what looked like a derelict high rise building between KFC and Pizza Hut.

The supermarket was an eye-opener maze-like store with new sections around every corner. Most items were labelled in Chinese so buying foodstuffs is a bit of a lucky dip. Fortunately both of us were able to identify the beer and snacks. The fresh meat section wouldn’t pass muster in Aus: the meat is all on open display and the customers are allowed to fondle the items prior to purchase. Good fruit and veg though.

Later, back at the hotel after a morning nap, it was down to the lobby lounge for a planning session to try and figure out the abbreviations in the route books. After a couple of beers and and a few pointers from the rally-experienced Turkish engineers who are driving the 1967 Anadol, followed by an afternoon nap, it was down to the garden bar for pre dinner drinks. We joined the Newtons (48/215 Holden), and met the Wilkinsons (1928 Dodge). Over a couple of bottles of French white it was decided that we would dine at a local sidewalk restaurant.

Colin selected from the universal language picture menu. Most dishes were good. One very suspect consensus was that it was probably some form of small furry carnivorous mammal. The staff plied us with local beer and local Great Wall Cabernet which was quite quaffable. Dinner including wine was 341 Yuan (about $A55) for seven of us. A detour into a shop on the way back to the hotel yielded Streets ice cream cups for dessert.

The excitement is building. We get our Chinese drivers licences and collect our cars tomorrow, and then try out navigation skills to drive from the warehouse to the hotel - about 35km. Thursday is for scrutineering, then off to the Great Wall at Badaling for the start.

Posted by nbrice 22:33 Archived in China Comments (2)


Its not the same car. My car was purchased new by the Brisbane City Council in 1955 they had it until I purchased it from them in 1992. It doesn't have a sun roof

Posted by nbrice 20:10 Comments (2)

Pre Race preparation

Shakedown trip through the Gulf country

sunny 31 °C
View Einasleigh on nbrice's travel map.

Left Townsville at 11:00 AM Saturday on an 875km two day journey. Townsville up Hervey Range continuing past Keelbottom Ck, Star River, Burdekin River to Battery Crossing to the Gregory Development Rd, thence past Bluewater Springs, over the Clarke River, a refueling stop at Greenvale and onto the Lynd Junction. Took the Kidston turnoff and along the dirt to Einasleigh. Overnight at Einasleigh, departing for Mt Surprise at 9:00 AM Sunday across the Copperfield River and along the dirt to the Gulf Development road and then bitumen into Mt Surprise for a refueling stop. Then down the Gulf Development road past the Undarra turn off to the Gregory Development road to the Lava Plains turn off, lots of roadworks delays this section. 175 km of dirt past Lava Plains, down to Mt Fox to the top of the range then bitumen to Ingham and home to Townsville.

The Monit trip computer was calibrated before departure distances showed remarkable consistenct with the Garmin GPS.

The fridge operated well freezing water bottles, there will be cold beer for all!

There was about 300km of dirt with at least half of that corrugated and very rough, some very deep floodways that tested the bash plate. Also there were many cattle grids where we were almost airborne. Some sideways motion, plenty of rattles, although no more at the finish than the start.

Engine power was quite adequate, Hervey Range in third gear, fuel consumption was between 6.25 and 6.75 km/litre (17.6-19.0 mpg), giving about 500km on the main tank and 600km on the reserve for a total range of 1,100km.

The car boiled at the top of Hervey Range, radiator topped up at Keelbottom Creek but boiled again before Star River boiled again and topped up at Blue water Springs Roadhouse. Travel speeds 70-85km/hr. The bash plate seems to be restricting the airflow and causing the engine to heat up. At Bluewater Springs rear edges of the bonnet raised about 25mm to let hot air out of engine compartment, this action and reduced speed to 75kph seemed to solve problem. We will provide some vents in the bash plate, flush radiator and refill and test again

Initially with a normally hot engine oil pressure was holding at around 20psi at a constant 80kph. With the engine overheating the oil pressure dropped to 10-15psi Relieving the overheating should enable better oil pressure. We will check on the next run.

The car will be put on a hoist and the entire underneath checked for damage, oil leaks loose bolts tightened, exhaust system for leaks and loose joints, suspension bushes, universal joints, check and repack wheel bearings etc. Then a 6,000 mile full lube job and service performed. Clean air cleaner and replace oil.

Steering problem with something binding in system, got progressively worse with further distance travelled, almost undrivable on return to Townsville. The cause was lack of lubrication and overtightening of the recirculating pin. Lubrication and adjustment solved the problem.

Differential whines above 70km/h no change to noise level over journey.

Dust penetration into the cab and boot a huge comfort problem We will pad the baffles at bottom of doors to seal against the body and provide a flexible rubber seal along the bottom of the boot lid and sealing around fuel pipes to reduce dust entry.

Next trial run scheduled for third week in June to allow last minute adjestments prior to transporting the car to Brisbane on 23 June for shipment.

Loading up Townsville, where do we stow all this stuff

Crossing the Copperfield River

Posted by nbrice 21:56 Archived in Australia Comments (3)

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