Trips to Wales
I received an invite to a friends wedding in South Wales,
I thought 'I can make it', so I made preparations! The wedding
was actually in a small village near Swansea, directions were
given from Swansea but I had to get my own directions to Swansea
from Leeds. I went to the Michelan web site - very good for
directions anywhere in Europe - and got two route plans, one
using the 'shortest route' there and the other using motorways
for the journey back. The shortest route didn't actually use
any motorways except for the Manchester ring road - quite an
exciting place to drive around if you like big lorries, too
many lanes to know what to do with, and loonies in fast cars!
I managed to get through it unscathed.
Having had only a couple of stops I arrived in Swansea after
about seven hours, then got completely lost! My friends' directions
were somewhat lacking and the road signs in Wales rely on you a)
being able to understand how the pronunciation is spelt, b) having
clairvoyancy as some of the signs were missing, and c) having an
extremely good memory for spelling as so many of the place names
look very similar. I had no one to navigate either so if I found
myself on the wrong road (which was often) I had to wait for a lay
by or garage to stop and check. I got there eventually and all was
well, no ill effects to the car or myself, which was quite a pleasant
surprise, those seats are very comfy!
The wedding was a great success, the reception caused a few problems
as it was about ten miles from the church and several people got lost.
Easily done, I only missed one turn off though and followed my nose the
rest of the way (I ticked off my friend for his bad route guide!)
At about six o'clock it was time for me to leave, and I had agreed to
take someone back to York so I didn't want to let them down. This time
on the motorways I had a navigator so we didn't get lost at all,
The journey back was long and a little boring, the weather went
from misty to rainy to cloudy, back to rainy and then to cold as
night fell. We saw too many counties to remember and all those place
names on signs you usually only see on a road atlas or TV. The hours
passed, and the beetle kept going, and going, and going. By about 12am
I was beginning to get drowsy so we agreed it would be a good idea
to sacrifice some warmth for my alertness and opened the quaterlights
a little. Entering North Yorkshire was quite an event after the
seemingly endless motorways, and eventually when we pulled up to my
passengers' house in York at 1.30am we gave a half hearted cheer,
the journey was over and with no mishaps, hurray!
We managed about 650 miles in approximately 7 hours, and I only had
to put about £50 worth of fuel in it. When calculated, this comes
to approximately 30 miles to the gallon, not bad for such an old car!
I kept the speed down to 55 mph, I believe it gained me an extra 5 mpg.
I have no doubt that I saved a lot of money on train fares for myself
and my passenger, I'd dread to think how many transfers I might have
had to make to get to Swansea and my final destination, if it was
possible at all at that time of night. I certainly wouldn't have been
able to get a bus in Leeds at that time of night.
Alas there are no photos from this journey, it was a cold and
miserable day there and the same on the way back, plus we had a lot
of ground to cover so photos of the car were the last thing on my mind.
Oil oil everywhere, as far as the eye can see
Visiting my friends in South Wales
for the first time since their wedding more than a year ago was something
I'd been looking forward to, nothing was going to stop me going down
there. But what's this??? An oil leak?! I still had time to fix it,
I was advised that I should replace the rocker cover gasket and seal it
with gasket glue, so this I did. It seemed to stop it flowing out so bad,
but after only one trip to my local town I discovered that I had lost an
alarming amount of oil, and an even bigger slick than before was evident
under the car. Hmm! I noticed that it only lost oil when the engine had
been running a while and was hot, the hotter it was the more oil it lost.
I decided I could refill it on the way, no time to book it in for repairs
just now, so off I went. I travelled across to Leeds (through the rain
and rivers across the roads!) and over the top of Manchester, through
into North Wales and diagonally down through the valleys, which was a
very beautiful drive. It was such a nice day once I got to Wales
too, I was most fortunate what with all the bad weather across all of
Europe at this time. I arrived slightly later than expected but then
again I did stop in Leeds to see a friend on the way.
At Swansea I had to stop, I was concerned about my oil level as I'd
been chugging along for several hours without checking. I was right to
stop! Pulling into a lay-by off the main road I filled up the oil while
my engine dumped a lovely great slick on the concrete! One more short
stint and I caught up with my friends in the local town.
After a most enjoyable few days I set off once more, this time
travelling up over North Birmingham, I stopped to visit another friend
on the way and left another lovely slick in a carpark. Topping up
before leaving, I carried on towards The North and York. I had to stop
once more for a break and to top up the oil, and eventually arrived back
home near Scarborough in good time.
In all I only had to fill up with petrol about three times, and
estimates are that I got nearly 40 miles per gallon! It has to be said
that I did stick to 55 miles per hour and did long stints on the motorways,
there was only a brief delay in heavy traffic around North Birmingham so
I was very lucky really. It rained and was cooler on the way back up too
so perhaps the engine was at a more agreeable temperature.
I have since been told by a mechanic that it is most likely to be
the mayflower oil seal which is leaking, an engine-out job to replace.
He also said the clutch was a bit funny, but oil had been leaking onto
it so this is hardly surprising. I will have to have it checked/repaired
quite soon, hopefully I will not have to pay for a replacement clutch,
but since it costs 100 Pounds just to take the engine out it may be
worth while having other things done while it is out.