Cabin Fever

After a few delays, some minor, some not so minor, my cabin was transported from KrugXP to Hellgeth Engineering in Germany just over a week ago. It has arrived there safely and we are now waiting until the work is finished on my chassis and fuel tank, before the cabin and chassis will be joined in glorious matrimony. Having given them a respectful couple of weeks to get to know each other, I plan on visiting Hellgeth on November 16th to sign off the project as “complete”. Almost 11 months after I ordered the chassis, it will be a red letter day for me.

Then the complete truck will be shipped from Bremerhaven by Deugro, with whom I was put in contact by my good friend Henrique Pimental of Daimler Commercial Vehicles. Deugro work with Mercedes, Oberaigner and Hellgeth, transporting their vehicles around the world, so I could not be in safer hands when it comes to the shipping and clearing arrangements here in Dubai.

Busy, busy

I’ve kept myself busy finding a company who can fit additional soundproofing to my truck once it’s here, whilst also planning the fitting of the additional lights, GPS antennae, front recovery points etc. And continuing to learn German. S L O W L Y. I had a meeting with a radio station last week to discuss the possibility of sending in monthly reports about life on the road, and have started selling off a few of my personal possessions in order to liquidate some funds to be spent on equipment for the truck. So if you are in the market for a set of Tannoy 611 speakers with Adcom power and pre-amp, Pearl Vision (Birch) drum kit, Canon 300mm L IS lens or Series 1 Land Rover Discovery, let me know….

Discovery 1 For Sale
My Discovery 1 is for sale. Please give generously…

Some day I’ll fly away….

bremont-victoryTick, tock, tick, tock

Waiting for the final delivery of my truck is without doubt, proving to be the most frustrating part of this entire adventure. It’s now five years since I thought to myself “Yes, I’m going to make this journey” and within months I had obtained my U.A.E. truck license, yet here I am, in 2016, with no truck, and no stories to tell about my adventures, epic or otherwise. The fabrication of my cabin was completed a few days ago but during the initial testing of the on board systems, the Webasto diesel heater which will provide much needed cabin heating and warm water to the engine to pre-heat it in cold climates, was found to be faulty. A replacement has been ordered under warranty but this will take time to deliver. That means the cabin’s departure for Germany has been delayed, which in turn means the installation on the chassis has been postponed, so I might miss the November 10th RoRo from Bremerahven, which means waiting another month for delivery………and that’s driving me crazy.

But I always knew this trip was going to teach me the art of patience – an attribute which I am sadly lacking – so I just have to grin and bear it. Meanwhile I have ordered some additional engineering work to be carried out by Hellgeth Engineering at whose premises my chassis is currently being stored. They are building and installing a supplementary 100 litre fuel tank for me, and have fabricated a braced rear cross member, integrated with the chassis rails, onto which my two pintle hook recovery points will be bolted. These each have a maximum load capacity of 13.6 tonnes; in the event of a towed recovery, I’ll be using a bridle rope to spread the load across these hooks, so I can safely use them even with a KERR recovery by a much larger vehicle. I’ve been driving and racing off road in the U.A.E. for the last 24 years and consequently I’m well aware of just how essential strong – very strong – recovery points are on a vehicle. Weak recovery points are nothing less than a fatal accident waiting to happen, so you’ll not find them on my truck.

RoRo your boat

Meanwhile I’m keeping myself busy sorting out a myriad of other issues related to the truck’s import and ‘big trip’ preparation. I’ve been sourcing a mattress for the bedroom (not as easy as you think given the limited space I have available), local insurance for the U.A.E. (fully comprehensive is proving impossible to obtain), striking a deal with a freight forwarder for the RoRo shipment, and arranging press coverage for the vehicle in Dubai and subsequent journey. Years of experience writing for a Dubai based motoring magazine and appearing on local radio shows to talk about motorsport have proven invaluable for the latter – I’ve had more than half a dozen requests from newspapers and radio shows wanting to know more about the truck, so that bodes well for future publicity.

I’m also making a list of equipment, essential or otherwise, which I need to buy in advance, prior to the truck’s arrival. To give you an idea, right now that includes sound deadening matting, sun shades for the cab, the new Garmin 276CX GPS, Garmin Vibe POV cameras, KERRs ropes, soft shackles, crockery, cutlery, spare parts, tools, heavy duty bottle jacks, more spare tyres, an OBD scanner, a tablet on which to view the OBD date while driving (and store hundreds of albums) etc. etc. AND I’ve subscribed to an on line ‘Teach yourself German’ course, for good measure.

So, whilst I may not have my truck yet, I certainly have plenty to keep me busy……