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Giles, congratulations on an amazing journey. You are a true inspiration to all. Thank you very much for sharing your trip and life stories, and it was a privilege meeting you. Have a safe journey home........Carpe Diem.
 

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Discussion Starter #162
Thanks Mate - And the medallion you gave me after the drive turned into the best fun of the trip ! I ended up with yours, one from the Sheriff of Missoula Montana, and another from the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska with the 6 badges of the 6 Kenai forces on there. I also got 6 "Junior Officer" stickers from various forces, and arm patches from Whittier and Seward, as well as one from the Sheriff of Jackson County MS who I met in Alaska !!!! Oh, and one from the RCMP and a pen from the Alaska Highway Patrol !! I have showed them to so many people, and always start the story with the drive with you in the hills above LA !!!

And in the whole trip, I never got pulled over once ! A few followed me, or looked at me pretty hard, but obviously put me in the "too hard" basket !! I actually would have liked to have been pulled over just once !!! In fact, not one border crossing even asked me for any paperwork on the car - Not once !! They just looked at me and said "Get out of here" !!!!!

Thank YOU for starting my whole trip out perfectly, Andy. Owe you big time - Keep this IOU as long as you want - It will always be good.
Giles
 

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Discussion Starter #163
For anyone interested I have put one final blog up on my site, summarizing the whole trip in one. Also attached photos to it which IMHO are the pick of the bunch and catch the spirit of my trip.
Thanks to all, Catch you on my next trip in 2014.
Giles
 

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Well, Elsie and I have been back in Australia for about 6 months now, and, as they say, "you can't keep a good (??) man down" !!! (Dont know where the "good" bit comes from !!)

I am coming back !!! I enjoyed everything about my trip SOOOOOO much - The roads, the scenery, the people, Alaska, Canada, Pikes Peak - I could go on, but if you have already read my old blog, no need to !! But the Alaska trip changed my life in so many ways, and I have realised that while I have breath in my body, and while I am still able to physically, I want to keep travelling. I think I first realised this when I was in Zion National Park in Utah, camping in the gorge, but the rest of the journey just made the feeling stronger. But I am going to do it slightly differently. First of all, not in a Lotus !! My last trip was so special BECAUSE I was in the Elise, so all the difficulties that were incurred because I was in the Lotus were inconsequential, because the trip was ABOUT meeting all the Lotus owners, and getting it to the Artic Circle and up the Dalton. So the camping issues (esp in wet weather), and the problems with dirt roads were just part of the trip, so not a problem. However, being in the Lotus meant I couldn't get to some of the places I wanted to (like Prudhoe, or up the Dempster) and nor could I free camp beside the road (Hey, bears and moose and tents don't really go together !!) which increased my costs considerably, so I always thought I would try to find a way to come back.

SO.......................

Like Bilbo says at the beginning of the Hobbit "I'm going on an Adventure" !! In Feb 2104 I will ship my car to Seattle, and in May will then drive back up to Alaska, this time up the Marine Higway. Then, all the fun roads up there before heading across Canada and down the East coast of the US, then across the bottom to Texas. Then down through central America, and after shipping the car round the Darien Gap, all the way down to the bottom of S America, where I will take a cruise (without the car !!) down to the Antarctic. After that, maybe up to Sao Paolo or Rio, before shipping the car on to Europe....Hey, plans are made to be amended, right ?

And the vehicle ? I have chosen a 4 WD Toyota Troop Carrier converted into a camper with a pop top. These camper versions are only available in Australia, and are made mostly for the rental business. So because I can't afford a new one, I have bought a 4 year old one which has 160,000 miles on it because it was a rental. It has a turbocharged intercooled 4.5 litre V8 diesel that has a LOT of grunt, yet gives fairly good gas mileage, and comes as standard with twin 90 litre fuel tanks (so about 50 US galls in total), plus a 90 litre water tank. It has a gas cooker and sink mounted on a slide out, and a double bed (well, a small double !!) upstairs in the pop top, and another bed down below if required.
I have had it now for a month, and I love it !! These Toyotas are fairly agricultural, but they are as tough as nails, and will go anywhere in 4 WD - And being a Toyota are renowned for their reliability and of course spares available worldwide.

Anyway, as I am attending the Australian National Lotus Meet in Canberra at the end of April 2014, I cannot leave this year as the seasons will be all wrong before I get there. Thus the reason for me not shipping the car till next Feb. Plus I am SELLING ELSIE !!! After 15 years of ownership, after the Nationals she will be for sale, and I already have several expressions of interest. I also learned from my last trip that it is worth spending time to get the car just right before you set off on a trip like this, and 12 months is not a long time to get everything done, especially when you are on a budget !! So I really hope to catch up with some of you again in 2014 - It was you guys that made the last trip so special. In the meantime, if you are interested, I have started a new interim blog here Watching and Waiting which is just going to be about things I do to the Troopie, and trips I take to bed her in (planning to go up through Alice Springs, to Darwin, and across through Mt Isa to Cairns and Cape York Peninsula as a shake -down trip in August), so if you are interested, you can see what I am up to. Then when I set off to Alaska next Feb, I will start a new blog for that trip.
So thats the current situation. I will post a couple of pics of Troopie here, but there are lots more in my new blog, if you are interested.
See you in 2014 !
Giles
 

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Ok, I'm just gonna say what needs to be said:

That Toyota camper is the coolest effing thing on the planet! Well done!
 

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Giles, sounds like another amazing adventure. You will have seen more of the U.S. than 99% of Americans. Lol:)
Sad to hear that you are selling Elsie.
If you're in the Boston, Ma. area please send me a PM.
If you are going to be traveling the East Coast, you really should spend a couple of days at Deals Gap:

http://tailofthedragon.com/dragon.html

Rent a car or meet up with a Lotus owner from North Carolina, Tennessee or Georgia. If I recall from my years living in Atlanta, and getting up there a couple of times per month, the Dragon has 318 turns in 11 miles. There are no intersecting roads for the length of the Dragon and is a truly scenic drive.

Regards,

Chris


Sent from AutoGuide.com App
 

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Giles Congratulations!

I envy you for the new trip. My adventures in Baja have me curious about Tierra del Fuego (hay, if you are going to drive south, drive south!)

On your trip I would recommend driving down the Baja peninsula. The scenery is ever changing, but amazing all the way. The people are wonderfully friendly. And sort of like your adventures to Pikes Peak, they do have a race or two down there. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OtMvwwDTIM

Let me know if there is anything I can do to assist on your trip!

personal opinion: Dang your going to miss elsie.
 

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Giles, if you decide to travel through Toronto then we will definitely have to meet, even if it is just to see the "leg behind the head" trick.

I read your travel blog from cover-to-cover and it was inspiring and facinating.
 

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Discussion Starter #170
Elsie sold !!!

I can't believe it, but after 15 years and a LOT of miles (and smiles) around the world, my little Elise finally got sold last month !!! But she went to a new home - Here is a pic of her with her new garage mate !!! She is the youngest car in his garage - And the Bug isn't his newest one !!! So Elsie is in good hands !!
Giles
 

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Discussion Starter #173
Yes Mitch, it was. Things are ALWAYS better when you have had to work and wait for them !! I know you probably didn't want to hear that, but.........!!

Anyway, am back in Anacortes now, and Troopie arrived safely into Tacoma last week. Waiting for other half to arrive then setting off on 6th May to Vancouver Island, then by ferry up the Inside Passage and Sitka, getting off in Haines and driving up from there. REALLY looking forward to the ferries up the coast. Now amended itinerary (after Alaska) to go across to Churchill on Hudson Bay and see Polar Bears (hopefully) and swim with the Beluga Whales. Then south down through the middle (??) maybe via Indianapolis, down to Houston by about early to mid July (best I can do at the moment Michael), then across and down Baja, ferry to Mazatlan, then south from there...............

Can't wait to get on the road !

And look what was in front of me in the traffic driving north to Anacortes !! We had a brief chat when the traffic ground to a halt !

Hope to catch up with a few of you on the way through - Going down to ELC in Seattle this weekend, then hopefully finding a couple of people on Vancouver Island, as well as some of the Alaska guys.

Giles
 

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I started following your blog. You're doing the trip now that's been in my mind for quite a while....

The trooper looks familiar. Been on a roundtrip with the wife in Australia in september 2013 in one of those. Looking forward to you're reports.Take care and stay safe.

Regards,

Nico van Steen
Netherlands
 

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Discussion Starter #175
Hey Nico - Mine could be the very same vehicle you went round Australia in as mine used to be a rental vehicle !!! If so, I hope you drove it very carefully !!
There is a Dutch (LHD) Troopie over here right now - Just been shipped in after 3 years in Australia !! See here www.TwoDutchies.com - Home Its all in Dutch so you may do better than me reading it !!
Hope to catch up with them in Alaska somewhere.
Are you with the Dutch Elise group ? Do you know Bob van Melzen ? I went to the 'Ring with him in the early Elise days before he went Audi engined !!
G
 

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Discussion Starter #176
Who is the yellow Elige that spoke to my sister tonight (in a Ford Escape) on Hwy 20, that turned off to go to Oak Harbour ? (Sister thinks you were an Exige with the roof off, but not sure). Apparently you knew of my 2012 trip ???
Also I saw a yellow Elise going south out of Anacortes 2 days ago heading towards the Oak Harbour. Could it have been the same car ????
Anyone on here ?
Giles
 

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Discussion Starter #178
Are you going through Port Angeles?
Unfortunately not. Going straight across from Anacortes to VI on the ferry on Tuesday morning.
Giles
 

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Hey Nico - Mine could be the very same vehicle you went round Australia in as mine used to be a rental vehicle !!! If so, I hope you drove it very carefully !!
There is a Dutch (LHD) Troopie over here right now - Just been shipped in after 3 years in Australia !! See here www.TwoDutchies.com - Home Its all in Dutch so you may do better than me reading it !!
Hope to catch up with them in Alaska somewhere.
Are you with the Dutch Elise group ? Do you know Bob van Melzen ? I went to the 'Ring with him in the early Elise days before he went Audi engined !!
G
Only drove it from Darwin over the Tanimi to Alice Springs and then up to Nothern Queensland.



Yes I know Bob. He's still around and enjoying the audi-ed Elise. Still active on SELOC too.

The link you gave is a good read. In 2010 they quit their jobs in order to travel. Being a travel nomad really is a way of life. Still not brave enough to make the step. So we drive around in small parts. Australia, Chile, Argentina, Canada....
 
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