Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The Splinter Group in Cusco

A mild day taking in the sights of Cusco.

We had very sad news today, our very very dear friend passed away today.

Group Captain Rexford - Welch otherwise know as Rex previously owned our beautiful Itala. He had found the old girl in a farmers field late one night whist on a night rally. He lovingly restored during the '50's and displayed her in many local events before storing her at Beaulieu museum, whilst stationed overseas.
He always complained that someone had knicked her radiator cap whilst there..

Rex was also stationed here in Peru and knew and loved Cusco so much. He said he was out here 'spying on the french'

So yesterday we walked the busy streets and markets as he once did over 40 years ago.
It is just as he said it was so colourful. full of life and wonderful people...

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

CUSCO rules OK

Plotting, Planning and sight seeing day today. A bit worse for wear and have been on the Coca leaves and oxygen for my sins!! Weird......

Monday, 25 February 2013

Transit Day to Cusco

A New Journey Begins..

Just a quick Report to say that 'The Splinter Group' comprising of the Ayre's and The Goodwin's have touched down at Cusco airport and now indulging in the Luxurious Hotel Monasterio - a truly fabulous 15th Century Monastery. Just what the doctor ordered!!

Further members of The Splinter Group join us tomorrow.

Cusco is simply amazing and not sure why the Rally didn't check this Hotel out..Totally Outstanding in every way the Peruvians are Fabulous and charming..

Sorry couldn't resist this pic below lol.

Bolivia to Peru on TACA

The alert from Jeremy buzzed through at 1.30am. David leapt out of bed and along with Roger Goodwin from Car 15 promptly met with Jeremy from 'Bespoke Handling' in the foyer of Los Taijbos to arrange for our beloved Itala and Roger and Gillian's Healey to be returned home.
We have handed over 'the care plan' to him for their safe return to British Soil..
We have every faith in them..

The next alert of the day was the alarm clock going at 4.10 am. We have a 7.25am flight to Lima and then a 11.30am connection to Cusco.

All went to plan and we were briskly checked in at Bolivian's only airport and after some 'frisking' we were on our way.

Ladies are very politely asked to go into a room to be searched. I saw Gillian being summoned into the room and i thought oh no not the rubber gloves :((
But it was just a quick check to see if we weren't smuggling any 'un necessaries'...

The Bolivians are extremely thorough and all bags seem to be automatically checked as you enter the departure gates..

David had some explaining to do as his little blue exit form that we had received when entering Bolivia had been so badly damaged /soaked by all the Storms that we had been caught in that it looked like there may be a problem.
But a quick check by 2nd in command and he had the 'OK'

We were soon waving goodbye to Bolivia. Its climate had been so unkind to us but the people of Santa Cruz certainly made up for that..

Still cant believe what has happened and more news this morning that another crew has retired, again under some very dangerous circumstances..
And a possibility of another casualty, we will know later today.

'Tests' it seems are still continuing despite
some serious issues arising on a daily basis..

The remaining crews are now facing Altitude problems, and not just mechanically!!
Just hoping that there are enough 4 x 4 for us all or Tracy's 'Party Bus' may be the solution lol

Have emailed a few companies to see if we can get a vehicle that we can use throughout the rest of the Route Book.
So will see later today if this is a possibility otherwise it will be in and out of Hire Vehicles at the borders, which will probably turn to .....
We will then be able to report on the antics of the other crews over the remaining few weeks from a more comfortable position.

We have Evert hopefully waiting at Cusco airport.
Evert is apparently the Top Tour Guide in Cusco and is a dear friend of one of our neighbours so we should be in safe hands for the next few days. :))

Wow we just flew over Lake Titicaca and that is the closest we will get to it on this trip.
We had been so looking forward to getting 'up close and personal' to this wonderful sight but alas along with the Salt Flats, which are said to be truly awesome will have to wait for another time or even 'lifetime' ..

Am sure Machu Picchu will make up for it.

Will keep you posted x

Sunday, 24 February 2013

The Cold Light of Day :(

And another 2 Casualties for the 'Great' South American Challenge.

The Goodwin's returned in the early hours in their beautiful but rather grubby Austin Healey with the intention of plodding on to La Paz at first light, along with Maggie and Roger in their BMW.

But sadly after a good nights sleep they have come to the decision to retire their beautiful little 1958 Healey, so expertly prepared for this challenge.

The Goodwin's are extremely competent and well experienced Rally competitors who would have asked all the right questions at the very start.
We actually introduced them to H & H as we had thought it would have been a fun thing to do. Ooops
They chose not to bring their beautiful Speed Six but bought the Healey specially for this event.

The problem i understand is to do with the petrol vaporising, caused by the intense heat from the exhaust. All other causes had been explored over the last few days but this seems to be the unanimous one but please don't quote me lol !!

Yesterdays route no doubt helped speed this decision. They too had a tough day going nowhere fast on horrendous, dangerous road conditions.
So disappointed they are like us but are thinking logically unlike moi..

I had spent the morning trying to persuade David to send our beautiful Itala further down stream maybe Mendoza and fly in a piston or two and then after our visit to Cusco, and the wonderful Machu Picchu ancient Inca site.
i had suggested that we could whizz down and fix the problemo.

I tried desperately and at one point i saw the cogs turning and saw checking the maps and working out the logistics and it was definitely being considered. but after further discussions plan A was sadly firmly put back into place.

He / we are so so disappointed how things have turned out....
This is a new thing for David - he has never failed to cross the finishing line before but things haven't been quite ...
so anyway we must admit defeat and carry on a slightly different adventure with the Goodwin's from Car 15.
Am sure it will be a Hoot tho. :))

Another Casualty that we know of is the very experienced crew of the well travelled, well prepared 1968 Volvo -
Jose and Maria Romao De Sousa.

They have also had piston problems and have been stuck in Corumba waiting for parts to arrive..
They now will also fly out to Cusco and pick up a hire car and follow down South.
Tracy from the Sunbeam has been threatening to buy a Party Bus - it may come to that the way things are going we will soon be a convoy of desert jeeps trekking down through Patagonia. Lol

Cant comment as yet on others..
Hopefully all ready for the off again in the morn.

I have been searching through the other 'blurbs' today looking for good news from other competitors but not many reports today, i gather a few will have some horror stories to tell i see when they get the energy to blog again.

Had dozens of emails asking what has happened to the Official Rally Blogs as they still back on Day 3. :((

Lots of Peeps out there anxiously waiting for updates?
Thank You all for all your support. We very much appreciate all the emails you are sending. Again we are sorry to let you all down. Am sure she will be back out on another adventure very soon tho.

BTW our third '38 day' tracker that we received yesterday fully charged has now died. Lasted 24 hours in the hotel room. Yellow Brick please sort these units out or can anyone suggest a better system for our next event coz these things are totally useless.

So the Itala now lies in state next to The Healey in the car park of Los Tajibos. Great Hotel and the staff have really been first class.

We have had a busy day emptying all the luggage out of the Itala and desperately trying to dry all the wet clothes (laundry closed today) before rearranging back into the old girl for her sad journey home..

We had to put the 'Do not disturb' sign up on the room. The maid would have had a fit at the sight.
I had a polite call from reception followed by the knock on the door asking me to remove our laundry from our poolside as it wasn't possible to do this here. They were so polite i apologised and obliged lol

We take the early flight to Cusco in the morn and are staying in an 'oxygen' room ha ha at Hotel Monasario. We treated ourselves to the oxygen rooms as this should help with the altitude probs and it seemed a more sensible solution to chewing those leaves.

A board meeting in the morning will decide our next few days itinerary..

We have a friend of a friend meeting us at the airport so we look forward to what Cusco has in store for us.

Hoping to see/hear some good news about the wherabouts of all the cars .
Just hope that their Yellow Brick Trackers are working!!

Hope the Reddingtons have received their hire car by now and are cruising around on their own steam. Cant be much fun stuffed in the back of the rally jeeps with all their baggage.

Look forward to catching up with the other wonderful crews later in week..
Keep on trucking, the worst am told is over.

Hotel staff tonight confirm that this is the rainy season and they wondered why we chose this time of year to bring 'all these beautiful cars' Ummm