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Rain and Clouds

The first 3 days of out trip seems to have been dominated with drizzling rain and clouds on all the mountains. This has lead to the roof being on for the whole time.

I guess you have to expect this when you leave Bangkok at the end of the wet season. LOL.

The trip out of Bangkok was morning peak hour with us traveling against traffic as we headed north to show our friends at Trans Asia Travel the car and thank them for the help in getting this all going.

We motored north in steaming sunshine which eventually turned to rain as we crossed the range to Mae Sot on the Myanmar border for the night.

Day two was along the Border through many police check point to our overnight stop at the Imperial resort in Mae Hong Son. This resort must be the accommodation of choice for rallies that travel this road. As we stopped at the front the first question from the porter was “How many car are coming tonight?”. he seemed disappointed when i replied “Just us.” This was very evident from the empty foyer and restaurant for both dinner and breakfast.

The next morning the road to Chiang Mai was far more suited to either a W O Bentley Super Sport, a Caterham or something nimble with good brake then Penny loaded for a trip to London with the weather starting out in the 30’s then being sub-zero by November in Helsinki.

The morning was spent climbing over two 1400 metre high ranges which had received first sprinkles in weeks so the surface was extremely slippery with not enough rain to wash the grim for the surface.

The drive was great and while on the road you know why every rally that travels in Thailand seems to use this road. On a clear day it would be even a greater drive than yesterday.

We ended up arriving in Chiang Rai for a 2 night stay at about 7pm after stopping to cook some lunch for Julie as being Coeliac and allergic to Soy make street food very difficult for her.

Today will be spent catching up on emails and looking around town in the afternoon before our departure from Thailand tomorrow

Our Friends at Trans Asia were most interested in the car

Our friends at Trans Asia were most interested in the car

There are always stalls on the road side

The excitment level was a bit damp this morning

Every little village in the mountains has coin operated Fuel and oil for the scooters plus a laundromat.

The Preparation – The Plan – The Tracker.

 The  Preparation:

The last outing for Penny back in 2016 was when Julie and I did Peking to Paris and James and I did The Great Amazon Adventure  were very demanding on Penny and she needed a lot of love and attention before setting off again.

When we started working on the rebuild we realized how close we were to not getting to Lima on the final trip.

The chassis was only holding together at the back of the front Spring hangers by about 1.5 cm’s of metal each side before we had a 2 piece car.

The body was stripped off the chassis along with everything else and we then welded up 26 cracks of various lengths in the chassis mostly around all the spring mounting positions. Some of these had strengthening plates bolted in and not welded to the chassis to hopefully help on the next adventures.

The engine we stripped, checked then reassembled as it had no wear from the previous trips.

The gearbox and diff were both stripped and reassembled with all new bearings along with the drive shaft, and replacing all the wheel bearings.

The main part of the rebuild was completed by late 2018 when farm work took precedence until early 2109 when we got back to Penny ready for shipping in early July.

Once it was all back on the road and after some test drives, James one of our staff spent the best part of a day on a Rolling Road / Dyno which culminated in Penny running the sweetest she ever has, and a great improvement in fuel economy which might lead to greater spark plug life.

Feeling confident we put her in the container and she is running like a clock with very few oil drops each time we stop.

The Plan:

The plan had rattled around in our heads for a while and during the P to P in 2016 Julie and I decided to start making a plan for 2018 / 2019. It became 2019 after Julie destroyed her knee learning to ski in early 17.

We both wanted to do Tibet and I wanted to take Julie along the Parmir Highway in Tajikistan where I had been and enjoyed so much in 2014 on Bangkok to Helsinki.

When we departed Bangkok we only had a few things set in Concrete:

Enter China on the 17th of September and depart on the 17th of October.

Accommodation booked in Lhasa form the 28/9 to 1/10.

The route across Tibet is fixed.

We have to Depart Russia by the 9th November

Everything else is in the wind with booking accommodation at the most a couple nights ahead at the earliest and sometimes when we are at reception.

Our plan is a little short on time from exiting China until we need to exit Russia due to the delay in Bangkok getting the car. The only way to correct this would have been to return to Australian instead of waiting in Bangkok for Penny to reapply for our Russian visa as this can only be done in one’s country of residences.

Julie has a couple of friends in Helsinki  and Amsterdam that she would like to visit and I have a friend in Latvia to visit before arriving in the UK around the 24th of November.

The Tracker:

We have an InReach tracker in the car that is updating our position every 10 mins.

Sadly this didn’t start working until the end of the first day.

You can access this at

At the first log on please click “View all tracks” in the top right of the map to see the whole route to date.

On the left you can view individual days.

Bangkok to London! Finally on the road.

Julie and I arrived in Bangkok on the 24th of August planing to collect Penny on the 26th and leaving for China on the 28th as arranged with the freight handler. We arrived at the port with the freight company responsible for doing all the clearance of Penny to find out the one vital form had not been completed or lodged.

This lead too 24hours of stress while we tried to get this sorted faster than the 10 days everyone was saying this form takes to get processed. We eventually got the correct paperwork lodged with the help of Trans Asia Travel who did an excellent job but the processing was still going to take 10 working days.

Luckily we were able to change the dates on our China and Tibet permits without too much additional cost and further delays.

We received notice Friday morning after 2 weeks rest in Bangkok that we could collect Penny 3 days early from the port at 1300.

So it was off to the port with lots of excitement and anticipation. This turned into a 5 hour ordeal due to paper work not being completed from a trip out of Myanmar in 2015. Thankfully a few critical staff stayed back late on Friday to get this sorted for us.

Saturday morning we received Penny at our hotel on a truck due to not being allowed to drive till Monday.

Saturday and Sunday has been spent getting all the final things sorted and packed ready for our departure around 0800 Monday.

More updates as we progress on our trip.

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