Tuesday, January 19, 2010

We meet, greet, and get going

Tuesday. The day we've arranged to collect Katie the Land Rover. From what we know, she's an R6, a beast I have yet to drive - but hey, she's a Landy. She's 2 hours north of here, so armed with a map book we leave pretty early to trek to the other side of Cape Town.

While I meet with Katie's mom to sort out the final bits and pieces, E & J (my males) check her out and transfer my handbag and other paraphanalia to her. Then they leave.. and there I am, facing down a new truck I know nothing about, with a full day of driving ahead of me and home VERY far away!

On top of it all, it's not the dryest of summer days in Cape Town. Before I get to the city I have the wipers on (yay, there's one on the driver's side and it works!), feeling a familiar Landy drip of water on my accelorator foot. I've also discovered 5km down the road that she has a slight judder, which turns my "geez, this thing has speed!" into a sudden more focussed attention to every jerk and strange sound.

Katie is definitely not Olivia. The engine sounds completely different. There's a lot more power. But there are some familiar things. A speedo that doesn't work (I drive on guess-revs), a rapidly falling fuel guage, the inevitable brakes that may or may not be sharp enough to come to a sudden stop. Katie has back seats - Olivia doesn't. Katie's spare is in the load area - Olivia's is on a swing-away frame, leaving a lot more room in the back for other things. You have to pump Katie's pedal before you start her or nothing happens - Olivia's you hold down for a cold start at a certain level, then she's fine from there. Katie's passenger side mirror doesn't move, so I get a view of passing shrubbery instead of what's behind me. And Katie's license disk is not displayed! Sorted that out at the first fuel stop, so it's now stuck on the window and legally displayed.

Nevertheless, I had a good chat to Katie on the way into Cape Town and by the time we parked at appointment #1 we were getting to know each other. I had a few old computers to collect and got to show her off to an admiring security guard who wants a 4x4. Then it was around the block to get another few items - and around the block, and around the block... around 10 times before I found a space to slot her in. Upon which I was promptly parked in front and back. Up front was an old Oom in a Nissan bakkie who backed up to within millimetres from her bullbar and only stopped when I got out and shouted at him (seems the hooter only works when she's switched on). Back was a delivery van. Nevertheless, business done I finally got out of there.

Next stop, up a hill to see a man about some Wavecoms. How would she handle hills? Well not too badly, though she was smelling hot now that the rain had gone. Back down the hill and along the highway I was actually passing other cars! Wow. One final stop, then the home straight - idling along happily against a headwind at a decent speed. I'd forgotten how headwinds eat into fuel consumption...

Back home a couple of neighbours eyes nearly popped out when I turned up in a strange truck, but one had kindly offered a spare parking area, and Katie had her first night in the small town of Somerset West.

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