Londra Camping to the Rescue.

The group are now safely parked at Londra Camping in Istanbul, and all very grateful for this oasis of relative calm on the outskirts of Istanbul (for notes on how to find Londra camping see here).

Getting here has involved "urban off-road" driving in Albania, with long tail-backs caused by large trucks being unable to get up 10% hills on major roads (due to mud). There were problems with buying insurance for FYROM (Macidonia), they only sell it for cars at 50 Euros for 15 days (but after calls to head office agreed to sell it for campervans for 40 Euros.)

The group has also had one break down and two road accidents in the last few days. In addition Speed lost a spot lamp, that fell off and miraculously survived not only the fall to the road but the following cars. It is now back in place (with a little help from "gaffer" tape). Speed was less lucky with his CB antenna, that just vanished. Mog's diver's side window jammed open requiring some bodging and the use of yet more "gaffer" tape.

In Albania Imp had a "discussion" with a car that resulted in the loss of part of Imp's GRP front bumper. More seriously whilst joining the D100 in Istanbul, only 200 metres from Londra Camping, Imp was involved in a second collision with a Turkish car. The driver of the car insisted on Imp remaining at the scene of the accident (blocking part of a major road) until the traffic police arrived. Luckily the manager of Londra Camping (CELÎL), hearing of the accident from K-Nine via the CB radio volunteered to translate and mediate between Peter and the car driver. This he did so successfully that the car driver agreed to the vehicles being moved to Londra Camping, where the manager continued to negotiate on Peter's behalf. After the arrival of the local police (not the traffic police, who can, and do impose arbitrary on-the-spot fines) the manager, Peter and Stephen (for moral support) went to the local police station, where after some impressive negotiating by the manager the mater was settled amicably.

The Silkroute Club wish to record their appreciation of CELÎL's efforts on Peter's behalf which were far beyond the call of duty! Thank you.

Whilst parked at Londra Camping Mog's window was fixed by replacing the rusted window winding mechanism by a new one obtained (miraculously) by the ever helpful "Ali" next door in four hours!

The break down was in Greece on 2004-04-10 and involved K-Nine.

Stephen Stewart.

What happens if the van breaks down?

Clive and Stephen's feet, Ian and Peter were under K-Nine from the other side!We are often asked this question. Well today our van did. (K-Nine). The day was going very well we were all making good progress and the chat over the CB was very confident about the great distance we'll cover today. We were all fairly spread out over about 3km and Mog was leading.

We were on a good road going up hill when our engine started to cough and splutter. We called over the CB that our engine might stall and it did. We drifted into a parking area and ground to a halt. Imp and Speed were soon behind us and stopped to help. Mog was ahead and immediately came back. Within 2-3 minutes of our call for help Ian, Peter, Stephen and Clive were in boiler suits and under the van. They all looked very fetching in all shades of green and blue, some new some old and now all very dirty. I was given the task of cleaning out a filter and to find a container for the diesel that was going to pour out due to sorting out the problem and Pat took a good selection of photos of all that was being done.

We knew what the problem was as it first happened in China and then again in Nepal. A bit of PTFE tape, which we think was used to seal the fuel tank, comes off and gets stuck in the fuel line and blocks the flow of diesel.

The first time this happened three Chinese mechanics came and found the problem. Thinking we would not pay a lot for blowing the bit out of the fuel line said it was a secret, but guaranteed it would work! We were only too pleased to get the van back on the road and would like to have known what they did. When it happened again in Nepal we found out.

Stephen and Peter under K-Nine.From first stopping to getting the van going it took just an hour. What a great bunch of 'lads'. All the help, ideas and moral support and finally getting the van back on the road was fantastic and greatly appreciated. On our way again, delayed but we still achieved more than our planned destination and thankfully found a parking place relatively easily and stopped about 7ish having been on the road since 8am. We opened some bottles of wine and drank a toast to no further problems.

Ann Barker

Home - This page last changed on 2004-04-12.