Thursday, 1 April 2010

It's one small drive for a Van... giant roadtrip for Vankind!

With a little help from Austin, our air-cooled veedub expert friend, we have made it much further than we thought we would!

The journey was pretty uneventful - although a bit steep on the fuel consumption!  As with bandits in southern italy, the guidebook had said 'Vicious Knid attacks are no longer common', which implies that 'Vicious Knid attacks do happen'!  Thanks rough guide - I hadn't even known I should be worried about Vicious Knids until you told me not to!  

But it was all ok and the satnav plotted an easy route to escape velocity so we were able to slingshot out from the earth's gravitational clutches in no time - much easier than navigating the variously one-way-and-then-not-one-way-can't-turn-right-on-a-light-controlled-junction-when-the-cross-road-is-one-way-going-right crazy system that was Porto city centre!

We had also been a bit worried about an aircooled engine when there was no air to cool it but fortunately, once out of the atmosphere, Will was able to switch it off and gently coast down to the shores of the Sea of Tranquillity - all that practice on windy cliff and mountain roads whilst really, really, really low on fuel has paid off!  And as I have said before, Jules does just seem to keep going no matter what we ask of it - clever little van!

It was even sunny on the moon!  Hurrah!  Makes a change from all the uncertain weather recently.  Although it was a bit chilly out and there was something not quite right with the shadow cast by the van...  Very odd

The landscape was dusty grey, pockmarked with massive craters - a bit like the crater of Solfatara but bigger, and without the bitter lemon smell, the steam and the massively expensive bubbly mud

so we had to get out for a bit of an explore.

It's a funny old place, bit lacking in atmosphere if you want my honest opinion - which, as you're still reading, I presume you do! - but good for a stroll nonetheless and the reduced gravity is brilliant fun!  

Took a bit of getting used to but we were soon bounding around all over the place - fantastic!  More mountain goat like than ever :)  fortunately Jules is heavy enough - especially with all our stuff in! - just to keep going but there was some fun to be had with some of the bumpier bits!

and the view of the earth was simply stunning. 

I mean, Wow.

Definitely worth the detour! 

It was very quiet and a bit eerie but there were some other dune-buggy vehicles parked - although we didn't see anyone around - and we couldn't see any restrictions so we figured Jules would be ok whilst we went for our walk.  And it was so all good.

The only slight annoyance was all the stuff left behind by previous visitors - some stumpy legged platform things covered in foil and flags and things - honestly, people are inconsiderate, they could have  taken their rubbish home with them!

We would have stayed longer than just a morning but by this point we quite fancied a coffee and there was a distinct lack of cafes or bars - missed opportunity there I say! - and of course our gas stove wouldn't work for tea :(  

But there were at least no tat shops, not even a hawker.   Having seen the tat at vesuvius it would be all, moon rock this and moon rock that, all carved into completely irrelevant shapes - dogs, wolves, transylvanian castles - and covered with lurid glitter.  They would probably even try to sell you a bit of land on the moon with your name on it if they could.  Tourists, it seems, will buy anything, even LED lit perspex Towers of Pisa's!) and being out of season, it was at least quiet.   It is probably another of those places which is horrible in high season.  I think it gets so crowded they even have you park elsewhere whilst they shuttle you in for some exorbitant cost - just ridiculous who needs that...

Anyhoo, need coffee so time to be on our way.  The satnav seems a bit lost - just keeps trying to point upwards - but to be fair, we are using freedownload maps which are five years old so that often happens on new roads - it is a good job its conversation is limited to "turn right" and "turn left", otherwise it would spend a lot of time squealing about being in fields... "getontheroad" "getontheroad", "noyoumisseditwhatareyoudoing???"...  

Just need to find a way to get started we'll be away....

Next stop, earth!


  1. We always knew that you were loony :-)

    L&H to all three

  2. Great stuff - keep it coming.