So today we arrived in South of Spain, crossed the Gibraltar Strait and are now balls deep in the Atlas Mountains, is what I wish I could tell you.
In actual fact this week has bought us some 16 hour days, a lot of disappointment and a little friction. It has been a difficult week in camp to say the least. By camp, I am referring to the barn or ‘Mog Shop’ in which she has been worked on almost every day since March.
Our imminent delay was realised during the final checks of the vehicle on 21st October in preparation for Mac and Scott’s departure on Wednesday 25th October 2017. I was due to fly out to Gibraltar to meet the boys after handing in my final document at university on 30th October, signifying the end of second year in my Adult Nursing degree. Instead of catching a flight that afternoon, I drove home changed into my work gear, laced up my boots and joined the boys out in the Mog shop where we proceeded to scratch our heads for quite some time.
The previously unresolved imbalance in the body of the vehicle suddenly became apparent when a crack in one of the coil springs was discovered during those final checks. Basically, the vehicle was 60mm lower on the right side because the spring which makes up part of the suspension was cracked. Both springs therefore needed to be replaced.
After we swept our hearts off the concrete, Mac contacted every specialist Mercedes Unimog dealer in the country while Scott and I began stripping the suspension components. Fast forward 24 hours, our luck was running dry. There weren’t any coil springs of this speciality in the UK. Another 2 days rolled on by while we waited for the parts to be imported from Germany. Parts on the way, thus presented another problem. We needed to find someone in the UK with the machine to fit them. Negative. More head scratching. Another hurdle overcome! It’s starting to look like we’ll actually be going on this trip again. Mac built a spring compressor out of scrap metal to squeeze the springs small enough to fit between the axle and chassis. Who needs specialist machinery when you’re armed with scrap metal?
Chassis components reassembled, wheels put back on, motorbike and ATV loaded into the garage, final check of all spares and tools, tanks filled, fridge loaded.
This evening, she was rolled back into the Mog shop for her final night in the barn. Soon she’ll be doing what she was made for. And so will we.