A few weeks ago we had a weekend which was a four day holiday – the last long weekend before Christmas they said, so we took the chance to both enjoy the time off and get some work done in the garage. While Brian was working on ten different things as usual I was focusing on the back arms of the cruiser. The whole back section has gone through some modifications since we got the car.
The hatches had worn down a bit and didn’t keep it closed properly so Brian decided to make completely new locks for the back arms to hold all the gear in place steadily. Since there’s going to be a gas bottle, a jerry can and one or two spare wheels, they will carry some weight and can’t be rattling. So after he had welded some new mounts and locks on there it looked like this (the grey is primer to prevent it from rusting):
But that was in December so it’s been grey like that for a while. Now I finally got around to paint it the other weekend. It was rusty, oily, scraped, dusty and full of old cable ties before:
All I did was to sand down the rough patches, wipe it clean and spray paint it but it sure made a big difference! Looks like new!
My friend Eva commented the other day “My goodness, you guys just keep working on that car… But it’s sure looking great!” And I told her what I had just been thinking a few days earlier. Here we are, with this massive trip ahead of us, not knowing if we can leave as planned because we’re lacking money for it, but with this awesome beast of a vehicle that we’ve invested so much time, work and money into. We could have gone about it differently. We could have kept all our savings in the bank for the trip, just bought a crappy old car and fixed it up just enough for it to do its job, not worrying about any advanced maintenance or functions or the way it looked or anything. (Just be ready to bring a whole lot of spares for the numerous breakdowns we’d be facing.) Then, maybe, we could have now been confidently saying we ARE leaving in August. But we didn’t do it that way. We chose to get a good car and fix it up nicely for two reasons. First of all, the car is the trip. It’s what will get us through, it’s what we’re relying on to get anywhere at all – and frankly, if I can avoid the unnecessary breakdowns and discomforts I will, because on a trip like this you face difficulties even with the best vehicle. Second of all, it’s an investment for the future. When we arrive in Vilanculos, Moçambique, the cruiser will stay there. We’re going to import it and keep it as our car when we settle down to live in southern Africa for the next few years.
In fact, the cruiser might have an even more important task when we come back to Africa. It will most likely continue to be our home for some time after the trip. It’s kitted out in a way that we can be self-sufficient for quite some time, provided we can use solar cell power or get electricity from somewhere once in a while. There’s everything we need, a bedroom and a kitchen – the only thing we’d make a plan for would probably be a toilet.
This is how Brian and his family started their life in Moçambique, when moving there from Zimbabwe. They bought a plot of land and lived in a caravan while preparing to build a house. They extended the caravan space with another room and a toilet and bit by bit their home in Moçambique began to take shape – until they could one day move the caravan to back of the garden and admire they’re new built house.