So…… an eventful trip has come to an unforseen end. The Land Rover was shipped from Cambodia with her original-spec 2.5 litre petrol engine, a lashed-together solution intended to get her out of the shipping container and as far as a garage where a rebuilt v8 could be fitted for our trip. This was necessary because US Customs will only admit vehicles for import when they are original factory-spec. However my pal, the owner, didn’t pay Cambodian Customs enough bribes to ship the v8 with the Land Rover – result, the truck arrived but the engine didn’t. So we started the trip with the lash-up 4 cylinder.
Anyway, the predictable happened, and the engine spat its dummy out in Iowa. Admittedly this was after a non-stop 31 hour drive from Montreal so I can’t blame it, but all the same we were a bit fed up. The owner lost patience with it and left it in a garage in Iowa waiting for the v8 to arrive and be fitted, and he then had to fly on to Oregon for a family gathering. So I cadged a lift back east to Washington DC and I’m currently cooling my jets in Reston in Virginia, about 20 miles away from Washington DC, whose claim to fame was an Ebola scare in 1989.
Lots of positives however from the trip. Huge number of new friends in the US and Canada and many invitations to return. I’ve started looking at prices to ship one of my own trucks over here and do the trip properly. So many friendly and kind people – lots of great LR types but also more generally. Massively impressed with North America; both Canada and the US seem more open and friendly, and less reserved and cynical than the UK.
From my point of view however the frustration is huge. The ‘Land Rovers are unreliable’ brigade will of course find this funny, but to be frank the engine was assembled in Cairo from parts of unknown age and provenance, and was intended to get the truck into, and out of, a freight container only, then to be replaced – so it actually did well, all things considered. Hardly the fault of the Land Rover, more a lack of preparation and planning. All things being equal I feel a bit of a hostage to fortune however.
Reminded of Bertie Wooster and one of his enforced exiles in New York away from Aunt Agatha…. just wish I had his budget 🙂