Friday, September 4, 2009

She lives again!

September 2, 2008

Septempber 2, 2009

Oh, how far we've come! Exactly one year ago, we had just crossed over into Mongolia and were camping in the steppe, trying to find our way to the [supposedly] nearby town of Olgiy. A year later, and I was driving the mini again - this time, on finely paved North American highways! Then again, we haven't really come all that far - in Olgiy, we were headed straight for the local mechanic in order to resuscitate the poor mini's horribly abused suspension. Here in Kirkland, I was driving to a different mechanic in order to have him have a look at the suspension... The suspension had been abused [them welded back together] a bit more in the intervening months...

The intervening months included almost half a year of travails across Mongolia, Russia, and Japan, culminating in a sail to Vancouver, where the mini first emerged on North American soil...

... and was promptly abandoned when I ditched it in Tina's garage and took off for Latin America. But now, finally, she's been re-awakened! Well, jump-started, if you want to be precise about these things.

What have I learned in driving the mini again the last couple of days? Well, first, and almost surprisingly, I rather enjoy driving it (still)! Yes, you can feel every bump in the road, and climbing uphill can be a monumental challenge. But, it's tiny, it's got a stick shift, so it still responds quite eagerly. The turning radius is nice too... On the downside, I've interviewed a couple body shops about restoring it to some of her former glory - $10,000 + parts, done by next summer? It's very much inline with what I had been expecting, mind you, but you still cringe just a little at hearing those numbers.

I've also learned that there's actually a good number of classic mini's in the Seattle area - the owners even have a club, which even has a website, with a forum, that could probably be very helpful to me. Unfortunately, in order to post to the forum, one must register, and registration has currently been disabled by the administrator - Sorry! I love websites that choose to apologize to me for their incompetence... So if you happen to know anyone associated with in any way, do me a favor and yell at them... It might not help, but I'll feel better. Meanwhile, some things never change - the mechanics in North America find the mini just as cute and fascinating as the ones in Europe and Asia did, and none of the ones that have seen the state of the suspension so far have been in any way discouraged, so it doesn't seem like restoration is going to be a problem. It'll just be expensive...

Other miscellanea from around Seattle, as long as I have your undivided attention:

Pretty sunset in downtown Seattle

Tina and I went to watch a wakesurfing competition last weekend. I later found this pink wakeboard, which is clearly perfect for her...

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Long Lost India

Well, it was never really lost, but it never quite got as much blog and photo coverage as some of our other adventures. In part, because India was just difficult, so, while it was undoubtedly quite interesting, I think it's fair to say that none of us enjoyed it as much as some of the other places around the world. There also wasn't much internet access along the way, and I was just learning that Facebook was a good place to store your photos... Well, that's all changing now (except that India is still difficult) - having been in Seattle for almost a full month now, I've got all the pictures more or less organized, so, time to revisit India!

Lott, Logan, Cyrus, and myself were, of course, in India to do the Rickshaw Run in January 2008, a charity event organized by the same people that do the Mongol Rally. On Janurary 1st, we set off from the Southern city of Kochi, in the Kerala state, and 23 long days later we arrived in Kathmandu, Nepal, greeted by the astounding sights of the Himalayas in the distance, and not so astounding sights of rioting mobs right in front of us.

The map of our 5,350km adventure across the sub-continent, along with the actual SMS updates we were sending from the road:

View The Long Way across India in a larger map

And let's have some more pictures:

The four of us in India - click here, or the picture itself, to be taken to the full album.

And arguably an even more interesting album (to me anyway) of pictures from the roads of India. Of everything that you can find on the roads of India!