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Preparations

Bill CalocciaMy itinerary for June went something like this: Chicago Blues Festival (2d), travel (1d), Maui (6d), travel (1d), Cambridge (2d), Caerdydd (7d), Boston (1d), travel (1d), the birthday party (1.5d), travel (1d), Boston (1d), Cambridge (4d), Saratoga Jazz Festival (2d) – what time did I have to prepare? The last trip for the Rangie was over Memorial Day - out to Lockport, NY to visit Bill Leacock & clan. Guess I'd better check the oil and tyre pressure.

Getting there

Friday June 21st

Having just gotten to this time-zone, I didn't feel particularly excited about anything, never mind packing again for the trip. But I had no choice I'd comitted to Dixon that I'd be there unless business in the U.K. held me up, and he'd put up the challenge that our Northern cousins had never seen a Range Rover participate in OVLR Birthday Party off-road course. After trialing my 2-dr Rangie in the U.K. I felt obligated to show 'em Range Rovers aren't just for city folk.

Two Range Rovers particpated in the offroad event at the 13th OVLR party. The other Range Rover was fitted with a receiver mounted front winch. I just came with rain-ready XMS's (read: barely road legal). There were a couple Disco's about, including a dealer demo, but neither played. Coil sprung owners were also represented by a D-90, who did a good job driving through the mud hole.

Boston to Quebec: 5 hours. Vermont officers like hanging out at open Weigh stations, and were up at St.Albans on the way up. Other than that traffic seem to know they were not about.

Bill's travel corrally 13


    Don't enter via Quebec and tell them you're going to Ottawa.

I had the plates for the '63 LR kicking about in the drivers map packet, (still awaiting me to go to the RMV and trade 'em in for antique plates) and it seems the punter at the gate didn't like my bandana-headband, radar detector, driving sunglasses, and choice of english vehicle and english speaking travel destination, so he told me to 'pull over for an ID check', which I did.

They ran the license, and evidently didn't like what they saw, thinking that I might be a road hazard. Concientious as they were, they started asking me about my good driving record (or lack thereof).


    Has your license been suspended ?
    No, Mass. never suspended that license.
    Has any other state ever suspended your license?
    No.
    Have you ever been in front of a judge.
    Yep, they charged me with trespassing for walking along the Providence and Worcester railway tracks, and fined me $50. [And kind as they were they gave me a tour of the Worcester County lock-up, and let me hang out in a cell there for a while, and fumble-fingers policeman made sure he dropped my radar detector 4 foot onto the cement floor 'by accident' when taking my personal belongings for safe keeping.]

The woman took some notes and then set me out, now they decided to have a look-see at my car. Now having a trunk full of tools is pretty normal for most Land Rover owners, but some how, mine had mostly electrical tools, wiring stuff, CB radio and car alarm bits, osram lamps, camping gear, etc. After going through most of the stuff in the trunk (but not all) the inspector moved on to the rest of the car. [I don't know what they would have thought had they actually opened the box with the complete set of auto lock-out tools in it :-)]

Sure enough the inspector was reasonably thorough, and though suspicious of the rattle in my back door didn't tear it apart. Though when she came upon the set of Ma. license tags for my '63 LR (hanging out in the RR until I actually get to the RMV to trade them for Antique plates) and decided that Canadian Customs ought to releive me of said registration tags, as they might pose some hazard to the security of the residents of Quebec. So sure enough, they bagged and tagged them and gave me a receipt.

Onward to Silver Lake

 

Five hours later (midnight now) I arrived and was pointed into the corner of the field where 'those internet chaps were', of which it was said that between the lot of them they probably hadn't been laid in the last 20 years'

Sure enough, everyone was there, some like me setting up tents by headlamps and the rest drinking beer and telling tales.

The Light Off-Road

Saturday June 22nd

Started out with a bit of rain, and then the 'light' off road, a morning-turned all day affair.

The LR owners were generally accepting of the RR. Dixon and a few other OVLR folks said they'd never see one run off road before. For the afternoon section, (The swivel ball guy) from Maine left his Polish girl friend with me for the whole drive, in the hopes that "she'd have a good time and then be willing to suffer with him in leaf sprung motors" later on.

So the first thing I did, was show 'em how to get a Range Rover well and truely stuck in the mud (the first time they dragged me out with a winch. The second time I aimed for the high ground on the left, but promptly slid into the ruts and this time got out with a bit of rocking and reversed up to dry ground. Soon after they shut down the mud hole and diverted most of the pack to the other side. I don't know that any motor actually made it through without some difficulty, a number had some self recovery or assistance.

The afternoon was a bit longer and we got to run about in forest and beaver country. The beavers, busy as they were, were kind enough to engineer some diversions for us from when the route was checked some weeks before (The rain probably didn't hurt either.)

Most of the route was green lanes, with fresh foliage, the occasional small puddle crossing and mucky bits where the trail ran too close to the local water table or pond. There was also a good wade (washing some of the mud off, testing door seals and filling Mike L's tool box).

my rr crossing beaver dam Then upstream to what used to be a water tight beaver dam. There was some concern if the verticle would interfere with the RR's air dam, but it did not. I went straight for the middle and got hung up, the series owners were ready (and maybe a bit over eager) with the winch cable, but I just shouted a shunt and moved a few feet over to the right where the the exit was more gradual, the footing was firm, both in the stream and on the embankment, so the real trick was the tight turning required once on the dry ground.

 

IT was all good fun for all, and in the end the RR was muddy up over the top of the bonnet, had algae all across the front, a plasticly deformed nearside step, and mud caked on everything underneath.

The auction saw a number of quality items go up for sale at reasonable prices. At the auction at the end, the lads were egging me on to bid for the 'My other car is a Range Rover' bumper stickers, but it was much more fun watching them bid it down to nothing.

We set off after the auction, and I made it as far as first gas station. I had this horrible screaching noise emenating from the front corner. A pebble had dropped out of the mud and wedged it self between the back plate and the rotor, the kind folks let me borrow a trolly jack and I proceeded to clean the mud off all the brake parts.

Another 11 hours back (with a side trip back to Canadian Customs at the Vermont border [and explaining it all to US Customs was fun too!]) – a long way off but well worth the drive.

See ya all soon, when we go down to Maine for the DownEast Rover Rally Owl's Head.
Bill Caloccia
Silver Lake, Ontario, CA
June 1996

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