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Live update Archive

Off to the boot sales on Sunday to sell the work clothes.
Departure date, place and time will be confirmed on Thursday 4th May.

We are currently packing up our flat to let it next week, how does one amass so much junk?

Preparation_28/04/00 - Neil Lawson
Departure date of 8th May is drawing frighteningly close. Each day the 'to do' list grows longer not shorter. We have had a 6 week delay on the vehicle with the power steering adaptation. This next week it is all hands to the pump to get the vehicle sprayed yellow and habitable inside.

Preparation_10/05/00 - Nathan Pitman
One or two technical hiccups have put the enable Africa launch event back a couple of days. Neil Lawson is currently waiting for a successful road test of the vehicle before going to pick it up. Fingers are crossed for a rescheduled launch after work hours today. Keep checking back for updates.

Launch_Event_London (UK)_11/05/00 - Bruce Lawson
After sorting out the many last minute details Neil and Sue made their final departure from London in the dead of Wednesday night, 10/11 May, bound for Morocco and their first rendez-vous there on Tuesday 16 May.

Project_1 (France)_16/05/00 - Bruce Lawson
The team made a stop over in the Gascony region of France to re pack the vehicle and check over the stores for the journey ahead and were seen off from this 'base camp' by the President of the Gers Handicap Association, the Mayor of St Justin and most of the village as it just happened to be the local 'fete du village'. They were last sighted on Sunday afternoon in the French Pyrenees just short of the Col de Somport and Spain by some of their local sponsors, David and Charlotte Burton-Evans, the Chaplain of the Anglican Church of St Andrews, Pau and his wife. Neil is having some problems with the laptop but, once these are resolved, there will be more regular updates.

Project_1 (France)_22/05/00 - Neil Lawson
We have had a 'catastrophe'in the Pyrennes and Bumble has been stuck 2 km from the summit on the North ascent since last Sunday. The automatic gearbox boiled and we lost all power. It's bleak up there and out of contact with the World (mobile/email/payphones that take coins etc etc). Today I hope we have found the problem but we are yet to cure it. Fingers crossed and spares being available we will be underway again next week destination Meknes.

Project_1 (France)_31/05/00 - Neil Lawson
‘Has Bumble lost his buzz?’ asks a recent email.

Bumble still has his buzz but forward motion at present is as haphazard as a BumbleBee. Bumble is now back on the road. Lots of testing, diagnostics, new kick down cable and oil changes - all seems to be OK. I have been in touch with David Ashcroft of Ashcroft Autoconversions (www.autoconv.com), the UK expert on Land Rover autobox's. After much helpful advice they put me in touch with their French distributor, Espace Land of Nimes. Bumble is booked in for Monday 5th when we can see if there has been any lasting damage before we attempt the sand and heat of the Sahara.

Project_1 (France)_19/06/00 - Neil Lawson
We are back on the road again and would like to thank our new sponsors Espace Land (www.espaceland.com) at Nimes for all their help and assistance, especially Patrice who went out of his way to help. A larger radiator for the automatic gearbox is keeping things cool and a new starter motor will keep us on the road. We are off to Morocco and hope to be there early next week.
Feature article to follow in the next day or so with pictures.

Project_1 (France)_27/06/00 - Neil
We've made it as far as Gibraltar and are now looking across the straights to Africa. We hope to cross this afternoon to Ceuta which will see us in Meknes on Thursday.
Sue, Neil & Chaka

Project_2 (Morocco)_21/07/00 - Neil
We have left Marrakesh and are now back in Meknes doing a spot of house-sitting (the house was built for a Princess no less), until the 26th July.The telephone number is: + 212 5 530739.
We hope then to go to Fes and help Sabine, who herself is a wheelchair user, refurbish 100 or so more wheelchairs before heading bach to Europe.

Project_2 (Morocco)_26/07/00 - Neil
Today, Wednesday 26th July, we hit the road to Fes where we hope to help out Sabine with her wheelchair refurbishment program.
(Don't miss out on all 6 features that we uploaded last week).

Project_3 (Morocco)_16/08/00 - neil lawson
On Thursday 27th July we lost Chaka in Fes. We were devastated. On Wednesday 2nd August, after 7 long days of searching we had to make the painful decision to move on and head back to Europe via the Cheshire Home in Tangiers.

Project_4 (Morocco)_23/09/00 - Neil
Chaka's back, it's a miracle. Read all about it in the latest Feature.

Project_5 (Spain)_02/10/00 - neil
As we head back through Europe rumours of impending fuel strikes abound. Will they prevent our progress?

Take a look at the latest feature.

Project_5 (Spain)_06/10/00 - neil
Being woken early by the Police to be told we could only camp at the Olympic Marina, Barcelona for a maximum of 3 days was a refreshing change from previous experiences with Spanish Police. This was the begining of our visit to the Llar 'Joan Trias' - Cheshire Home, Barcelona. See the latest feature for full details

Project_5 (Spain)_14/10/00 - neil
The first thing Jenny said to Neil was 'you look thin, haven't you been eating properly'. I think I've heard that somewhere before!

The end of Stage 1. Now back at Neil's parents we set about modifying Bumble to cope with the next stage and catch up with the paperwork for our next leg. See the latest feature - Andora & beyond!

Project_6 (Sudan)_07/11/00 - neil
Location: Kusadasi, Turkey. Tuesday 7th November.
After a gruelling 2,300 km 5 day drive from Southwest France to Greece on minor roads to avoid tolls, we had 1 days insurance left and another 1,300 km to Turkey. Our only choice was to island hop by ferry to Kusadasi where we arrived at 8pm last night. On we go!

Project_6 (Sudan)_17/11/00 - neýl
Location: Istanbul, Turkey. Friday 17th November.
Enjoying Kebabs and Efes beer whilst catching up on the chores, like visiting yet another Land Rover garage. We are overwhelmed by the generosity and warmth of the Turkish people we have met so far. Off to Bursa tomorrow then Ankara for Monday to renew our Syrian visas.

Project_6 (Sudan)_25/11/00 - neil
Ankara. Have just collected Syrian and Jordanian visas and heading for Pamukkale this afternoon. Hope to cross to Syria on the 6th December and Jordan on the 13th, Christmas in Aquaba/Wadi Ramm.

Project_6 (Sudan)_09/01/01 - neil
Gearbox finally suffered terminal failure 100 km from Syrian border on 6th December, see latest feature for more news

Project_6 (Sudan)_17/01/01 - neil
2000 was an eventfull year for us and the adventure is set to continue well into 2001.
On the 11th of January we crossed into Egypt and hope to cross overland into Sudan in the next two weeks.
Happy New Year to everyone and keep reading those features.

Project_6 (Sudan)_29/01/01 - neil
We have experienced the most magical White Desert in Western Egypt and the amazing Valley of the Kings at Luxor. Now down to Aswan to explore routes into Sudan.

Project_6 (Sudan)_31/01/01 - neil
Currently in Aswan and have teamed up with a Unimog to cross the desert West of the Nile on the old 40 Days Slave Route. Fingers crossed next update from Sudan in 2 to 3 weeks..

Project_6 (Sudan)_19/02/01 - neil
After spending 3 days as uninvited guests of the Egyptian military we finally arrived in Sudan by ferry. We have spent the last 8 days surfing the Sahara sands reaching Khartoum yesterday afternoon. PS My Birthday tomorrow the 20th.

Project_6 (Sudan)_24/02/01 - neil
It's been great to get back to the Cheshire Homes which are so rewarding. Now equipped with our Visa we head for Ethiopia this afternoon and will be in contact again in about two weeks from Addis Ababa.

Project_7 (Ethiopia)_14/03/2001 - neil
We have safely reached Addis Ababa after some treachorus roads. Will report fuly in the next couple of days.

Project_8 (Ethiopia)_19/03/2001 - neil
Internet connection in Ethiopia is painfully slow so we will not be able to load updates until Nairobi in 2 to 3 weeks. We set off via Lake Turkana tomorrow.

Project_9 (Kenya)_13/04/2001 - neil
We are safely in Nairobi after the most gruelling part of our trip, a section of 60km through Sibiloi National Park that normally takes 3 hours took us 5 days during their first rains in three years. Off to Uganda today - Happy Easter everyone.

Project_10 (Tanzania)_23/05/2001 - Neil
After a whirlwind 10 days in Uganda and 10 days in Mombassa where we celebrated 1 year on the road. We are now in the cooler climes of Arusha, Tanzania. We return to Kenya on the 1st June for the Rhino Charge to cheer on one of our sponsors 'The Gumtree Gang', before commencing the journey south. Everthing is going well and the Cape beckons.

Project_10 (Tanzania)_04/06/2001 - sue
Hello from Nairobi.This is our third visit back to the city, can't seem to stay away. We had a great stay in Tanzania taking a more scenic route back to Kenya via Arusha National Park which you can transit through free of charge and the Ngorogoro Crater with the most spectacular views of Mt Kilimanjaro. Met up with the Kenya Land Rover Club and all drove up to the Rhino Charge which this year was held near Isiolo. What a fantastic weekend! Now back in Nairobi to catch up on a few things then it is off to Tanzania again tomorrow en route to Malawi.Will try to post more features to cover our Ethiopian leg of the journey in the next week.

Project_10 (Tanzania)_07/06/2001 - neil
We cheered Gumtree onto 25th place in the Rhino Charge and had a great weekend camping in the bush 50km north of Isiolo. We are now speeding south towards Malawi where we will spend 1 week before entering Zambia for the eclipse on the 21st.

Project_11 (Malawi)_03/07/2001 - Sue
Left Kenya after Rhino Charge and headed back into Tanzania to the Cheshire Home at Mlali. Then headed into Malawi and spent 11 relaxing days
at Nkhata Bay and Neil is now, 'Licensed to Dive'! Currently at Cheshire Home in Lilongwe. We have just posted 5 more updates for Ethiopia.

Project_11 (Malawi)_17/07/2001 - Sue
Still stuck here in Lilongwe, Malawi waiting for a new Carnet. Have been using the time to catch up with features and have 12 to upload. Happy reading. Apologises for not 'e' mailing much lately, it costs a fortune here and is very unreliable. We will catch up with everyone once we are in Zambia.

Project_11 (Malawi)_30/07/2001 - Neil
Where the hellarewe? Still in Malawi!
The Bank finally issued our Bank Guarantee last Tuesday evening after 6 weeks of waiting. The RAC sent our new Carnet by DHL on Wednesday, who promptly left it in Brussels.
6 days later we have it in hand and are heading for Zambia this afternoon.

Project_12 (Zambia)_07/08/2001 - neil
At last DHL delivered and we hit the road to Lusaka immediately arriving at the Cheshire Home on Tuesday 31st. We spent a day there and then drove through the night to Victoria Falls. Our tyres are now causing a problem with the Police and are proving hard to replace, being an unusual size - 900R16, as we have been looking since Tanzania.

Project_13 (Zambia)_15/08/2001 - neil
US$50 snatched from us in the street in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. 20 mins later I saw the gang of 4 thieves and gave chase. I managed to catch one by his collar; he was then given a knife by his accomplice and told to 'slice' me. I dodged 3 attempts by him to stab me and hung onto him long enough for the Police to arrive and arrest him. In court the next day he was given £3.50 bail and allowed to walk away, never to be seen again!
Sue has taken the Zimbabwe legal system to task over this for the past week. We are safe and well, heading for Botswana today, Wednesday 15th August.

Project_14 (Zimbabwe)_22/08/2001 - neil
Bumble has new boots. Having searched since Kenya for new tyres we eventually found 4 in Zimbabwe. We have opted to pass through Botswana and Namibia on route to Capetown. We are all well and are enjoying being back in the desert.

Project_14 (Zimbabwe)_27/08/2001 - neil
Stuck in the Kalahari - Bumble's radiator fan gave up in the Kalahari and after searching high and low for an alternative, we called Pacet in the UK who agreed to DHL a replacement unit out to us.
We are taking the opportunity to update the website and have this afternoon loaded another 5 features. Happy reading.

Project_14 (Zimbabwe)_04/10/2001 - neil
On the 11th September we were sat in the most remote part of Namibia, where the Skeleton Coast reaches the Angola border, looking at a broken rear spring. 3 days drive and 600 km from the nearest town, we sat down to reflect over a cup of tea - then the gas ran out! Could it get worse. Our sole comfort was to tune into the BBC World Service only to hear the devastating news from America as it unfolded. Suddenly we were glad to be here.
We coaxed Bumble some 2000 km over corrigated sand tracks, stones and dry river beds, outran an elephant charge and safely made it to Windhoek, Namibia.

Project_15 (Cape Town)_12/10/2001 - neil
We are Trans-Africans!
22 countries, 17 months and 55,752 km later. Arrested twice, robbed once but we made it in one piece.
At long last Capetown. We arrived in time for the Eric Miles Cheshire Home Annual Fete and to celebrate 21 years of Cheshire Homes in South Africa.
We are busy catching up on our features section. We left you in Arusha, Tanzania and there have been plenty of adventures since - the final answer from the KWS, diving in Malawi, Groundhog day in Lilongwe, diesel theft at midnight, Victoria Falls, robbed in Bulawayo, the biggest diamond mine in the World, cooling fan fails in the Kalahari Desert, travelling along the Angola border to Kaokoland, broken spring in the most remote corner of Namibia, 400m high sand dunes, the southern hemisphere's answer to the Grand Canyon and the home straight. We will also post a comprehensive preparation section, including hints and tips based on our experiences.