Take a Moment . .

. . . to actually stop and think WTF and HOW TF and holy guacomole!

An oke from Pretoria who had the misfortune to be sent to Pretoria Boys Hah – and thereby dip out on a decent, co-ed, normal, non-pervy upbringing* – has just sent his car (which he happened to be involved in the design and making of himself) into deep space.

He took his own car, put David Bowie on the audio player, wrote DON’T PANIC ala Douglas Adams from Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy on the dashboard screen and fired his fuckin own aut OUT INTO SPACE!

Falcon Heavy & Tesla.png

Up into orbit around the Earth, then out towards Mars, but past Mars so that a red convertible will now be orbiting the Sun for the next billion years! Obviously Pretoria Boys High was focused elsewhere in the 80’s while the rest of SA was keen on a big anti-littering campaign.

And there it goes, actually jolling in space, the first open-top car to ever cruise with the whole of Earth showing up outside the window, then fade away in the rearview mirror as Mars grows bigger. As far as picking up chicks goes, its odds are no worse than Pretoria in the 80’s.

Tesla Roadster in space

If you had told me this in the Doories pub I’d have told you:

Shut The Fuck Up and

Sit The Fuck Down

(I got that from my new millenium kids)

Holy shit!

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This is so amazing I can personally only think of ONE WAY in which it could have been made even more awesome:

If they’d fired a grey and grey Opel Concorde Rekord-breaker up with a slightly balding oke behind the wheel drinking Black Label and singing Lou Reeds’ Walk on the Wild Side on the playa and ALICE’S RECTUM written in lipstick on the windscreen – now THAT . .

THAT woulda trumped this.

Not a convertible, a convert-ed – it would have a roof, but same would be dented cos of some maniac jumping on it with a space suit on.

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On board the red sportscar is something very special.

Arch library Disk onboard Tesla_2.jpg

The Arch – pronounce ‘ark’ for archive – library, created using a new technology, 5D optical storage in quartz, developed by Dr. Peter Kazansky and his team, at the University of Southampton, Optoelectronics Research Centre.¬†The disks are written by a femtosecond laser on quartz silica glass. Data is encoded digitally using plasma disruptions from the laser pulses. Arch 1 is smaller but this new medium is expected to soon achieve a storage capacity of 360 Terabytes – 7000 Blu-Ray Disks! – per 3.75 inch disk of quartz, and is stable for at least 14 billion years under a wide range of extreme conditions. Today this is the best way to store data for billions of years in space.

The Roadster will orbit the Sun for at least millions of years and will likely be the oddest object in the solar system, and thus the perfect place to put an Arch library so that it can be noticed and retrieved in the distant future.

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*maybe not. An interview in Rolling Stone tells of an abusive father, two marriages, two divorces, six kids – where does he find the TIME for all this!?

** We had an ancient goat of a Pommy optics lecturer named Frank Duro who would say “Alice’s Rectum” when anyone fussed. He meant “Alles sal Regkom” – all will be well.

 

 

 

 

Philosophy – Going On Safari

Get the BEST 4X4 possible, modify it, take engine spares, take all your own food and water and fuel, fit a winch, fit a snorkel, take hi-lift jacks, a big toolkit, solar power, satellite phone, there must be more . . . be entirely self-sufficient.

OR

Sommer just take the car you have, buy food along the way. Meet the locals and depend on them.

Here are two different approaches:

  • I told you about the Austrian biker. Now meet a lady from Cape Town who realised her little Toyota Conquest with close to 400 000km on the clock was turning twenty¬† – and she was turning eighty! So combined they were 100 years old with plenty high mileage! She thought “Bliksem, it’s Time To Drive Up Through Africa”. She left Cape Town and she’s in Ethiopia now (update: She’s now in Sudan) and going strong. Go and read her blog for an adventure – and for wonderful creative spelling! She calls her blog My African Conquest. Lovely stuff, Julia’s all about BEING THERE and the people along the way.

* pic here *

  • Then there’s this approach: A five year preparation of a monster truck with everything including the kitchen sink. Gas, solar, batteries, diesel, water, fuel, EVERYTHING! This beast has a big buffalo boss above the windscreen and it’s called Nyati! Paul’s approach to his travels is different. He writes like . . stream-of-conscious and he’s more about getting home. He’s no spring chicken at 70 too, so hats off to him!

Now at the pre-COR inspection

Different strokes, different folks. For some it’s more the journey, for some it’s more the equipment. It does tickle me that the big Benz truck has seats with wind-down windows for two, while the tiny Toyota has seats with wind-down windows for four!

But it’s all travel and it’s all good.

Do go.

 

On Safari with a Bushman – 2. Preparation

Having decided “We’re Going” we wanted to keep things simple.

Over-preparation can cause delays, complications and second thoughts! I took long leave (I asked me, I said yes, I hired a locum optometrist, all good). Trish was between jobs – looking after kids was her current full-timer – so she was good to go. Mario serviced the kombi for us and gave me his usual lecture about looking after it. He told horrific stories about his trips up north in 4X4’s and how terrible the roads were. Especially the road between Chipata and Luangwa, ‘the worst road in Africa’. I made a mental note.

And instead of buying all sorts of stuff I bought a . . . . drum roll! . . . .

1975 Bushman Tracker 1 Off-Road Trailer

R27 500. Made in Nelspruit / Mbombela 28 years earlier. It had a stove, a gas bottle, a tent, a mattress, a table, ground sheets, cutlery and crockery, a spice rack and a 45l water tank. What more could you possibly need?

In the kombi I removed the bench seat in the middle row and fitted the single seat for Tommy’s car seat next to the new National Luna 65l fridge (about R6500, if I recall correctly) so we could walk around both sides to the back bench, to which Jessie’s sturdy and comfy car seat was attached.

That back bench seat also folded down to become a double bed, so we could all sleep in the kombi if need be, as I also rigged a removable bed between the two front seats for Jess and for Tom we had a mattress on the floor. While checking the tyres Jacks Tyres showed me a second-hand kombi mag wheel just like mine, so I bought it. Now we had two spares, like rugged okes!

For each of the kids I had a rectangular six-sided mosquito net “cage” made that zipped closed over them once they were in bed and we then lifted up the four corner straps and hooked them to fittings I had affixed to the kombi roof, completely enclosing them each in a mozzie net “Four Poster Bed”.

We were ready to go.

We packed food for three days plus plenty of snacks – Aitch’s forte. The rest we’d get on the way, in line with my motto: Weight is the enemy!

Honeysucker Visit

Dad! Who farted!? exclaims Jess this morning, wrinkling up her nose.

Not me! Not me! Not me! say all three of us, each suspicious that someone is holding back. Or not holding back?

Soon the mystery is solved as we hear a rumbling in the road at the bottom of our garden. Someone must have been full of shit and the honeysucker has come to the rescue. It’s slurping up the neighbours’ overflow, as it were.

Sewer Honeysucker Truck

Ours was a boring municipal truck, this one from Hillcrest looks better.

Last Maputaland Beach Drive

No more driving on the beach!

Our Environment Minister Valli Moosa had at last grasped the nettle and was closing the beaches to hooligans! We approved and time and research has shown it was the right decision. It has had a positive impact on the ecology of the coastal zone, with a recovery of resident reef fish species.

Regulations for the control of use of vehicles in the coastal zone

(Government Notice 1399 of 21 December 2001) published in

terms of section 44 National Environmental Management Act (No. 107 of 1998).

Bruce Soutar was quick to spot the opportunity for a Last Drive before the regulations came in to force, so he gathered a bunch of people to both celebrate and mourn the closure.
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Beach drive-001

We had the Soutar kombi, Kemp Jeep, Gail Pajero, Duncan __ and Swanie Ford and one other –?

Judging Books by their Covers

“Don’t judge a book by its cover”.

A recent quora question “Have you ever had an experience that proves this adage?” got an answer telling of four shady-looking guys who stopped to help a lady stranded by the roadside one evening. Her heart lurched, but they turned out to be great, kind mensch’s, who got her car going and saw her safely on her way.

Reminded me of the winter evening I ran out of petrol in my VW Kombi on the N2 in Cato Manor. And of how people malign taxi drivers, who I happen to admire. They do a damned good job of getting most of the work force to work very day. Our economy would die without them.

It was getting dark, so I hopped out, got my tow rope out, attached it and started flagging down cars. Plenty whizzed past and it got darker. Suddenly there was a guy at my shoulder. “You’re in trouble” he said. With the traffic noise I hadn’t heard his taxi stop behind me.

Damn right I said.”Come, let’s hitch you up”, he said, hopping back in and catching a gap in the traffic, he drove round me, then reversed to where my tow rope lay on the ground.

We couldn’t find an attachment place on his Toyota Hi-Ace and as it was his Dad’s taxi he wouldn’t just attach it to an axle. It would have messed up the soft bumper had we done that anyway.

“Hop in” he said, “Let’s go and fetch petrol”. We roared off to the Engen near the Pavilion centre, bought two used 5l litre containers from the attendants, filled them, paid by card. I then drew cash for my taxi driver good samaritan unbeknown to him and we roared back to my car. We passed it on the south-bound side of the highway, went to the next exit, crossed and drove north, got to my car and emptied both containers into the tank (I had once put one 5l container in and the damn thing wouldn’t start until I’d added a second, hours later, which is why I had bought two this time. Yes, this was not the first time!).

On the drive he told me how he paid his Dad R600 a day (this was about ten years ago I guess) and got to keep whatever he could make over and above. Sometimes zero, but up to R600 on the busiest days. Life was a rush and they were all under constant pressure to keep moving people. He objected when I insisted on giving him some cash but he got over that. What a decent and pleasant chap. And what a relief to get my kombi going and get safely home!

I made (another) vow NEVER to run out of fuel again.

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Taxi drivers are overwhelmingly good drivers who do a great job. There are around 250 000 taxis in South Africa, the industry employs about 600 000 people and they move about 15 million people daily. Yes, they stop anywhere. That’s because they are not buses. No-one wants to drive a kilometre past their nearest point and walk back, like you have to with bus stops. If you were in a taxi you would say “Please stop here”. Cos you’re human. Once you have said “They just stop anywhere!” tell yourself “They just stop anywhere” and then know that they just stop anywhere, expect it and don’t rant and rave when they do. Just give them space, wait politely if you have to and drive on, thinking “Thank you for keeping the economy going”. And if you’re feeling really ubuntu-ish “Sorry I’m all alone in my car”.

Okay?

Skilled At Last!

The fifteen year old has very definite opinions. On my driving he is clear: Sedate, boring, too slow. “Break some laws, Dad!” he’ll urge from time to time. “Just once!”.

So we went to Bluff Meats yesterday Sunday to bulk buy essentials like biltong, roasts, chicken nuggets and his favourite thick aged steaks. On the way back I need to turn right into Old Main Road. As I’m turning I realise Whoa! there’s a big island across the road, we’re actually at a left-turn-only intersection. Too late, I’m committed, gotta follow through. Luckily mine is a high-rise Ford Ranger bakkie so I hop the island and ‘proceed’ hoping no-one I know saw me.

“Cool Dad!’ says the opinionated one. Tonight he follows up with “Hey Dad that was cool yesterday. You were real gangster for a change”.

At last I’ve made it. Acceptance in gangster circles.


Home with the spoils:

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