So, up and about, in the bright sunshine in Gythio, heading south and into the Mani, the remote middle finger of the Peloponnese.
It seems by all accounts, the Mani were known to be a fierce and independent people - hospitable according to some, pirates according to others (mostly the wandering english!) - living in remote stone towers in a poor rocky landscape which they tilled or terraced every inch of it to make it productive. I think, if I understood it correctlythey were one of the few areas which resisted the Ottoman empires occupation of Greece ans there was even some correspondence between the leader of the Mani and Napolean, in which the Maniates offered safe landings and manpower and assistance in the liberation of Greece by the great powers (Britain, France and Russia).
Otherwise, lots of maps and line drawings and 1980's black and white pictures.
Sorry, I digress. Turns out, if cone topped, rugged and desolate hills, dotted with square stone towers are your thing, the western coast and southern tip of the Mani is your idea of heaven. It is beautiful.
We were trying to use the device to gather info about throttle position, rpm and airflow and use the multimetre to take readings from the lamda sensor to know whether the map is rich or lean for a given airflow, and then I would change the map on the fly to something approaching the right mix.
But, as we have the previously discussed airleak problem, we need a map for WOT and a different map for not WOT so we need some empty roads on long straight hills where Will can have the throttle wide open and use different gears or different inclines to get and hold different values of airflow so he can then read the multimetre and tell me what fuel mix value needs to be changed in the map and then check it. And empty though these roads were, they were just not good.
This is all further complicated by the fact that, by necessity, the lamda sensor is retro fitted a long way down the exhaust pipe from the engine, there is a variable and uncorrectable for delay between the change in fuel mapand the change in lamda sensor reading which is of course further exacerbated by the delay between Will reading the multimetre and me changing the fuel map whilst also going round hairpin bends...
You may, at this point, if you are still reading (i am assuming Kiri, Brian, Bill and my dad are, if no one else!), be asking as I did, 'why not reduce the margin of error caused by human induced delay and get the computer to read the lamda sensor and make a nice excel spreadsheet of rpm, throttle position, airflow and lamda, from which you can iteratively develop the perfect maps?' (the rest of you are probably just asking 'why are you doing this at all but that is even less answerable. If you are asking this question, just skip to the ***'s for more scenery)
Trust me, I have asked all the stupid 'why...?' and 'can't you...?' questions and been at first patiently answered then growled at for my efforts. School report from A-level physics teacher 'Rebecca needs to learn when to stop asking why and just accept the status quo' or, as could be otherwise interpreted at that time 'Although I am the teacher here, I only know what is in the text book so asking questions for which the answer cannot be supplied by my having read two pages further ahead in the text book makes me look incompetent and I don't like that - stop it'... Still, in this case the point is probably valid.
It seems that the 'project' only has capacity for two analogue inputs, (along with the rpm which is a switching input whatever that means) so we can only do two of airflow, lamda and throttle position at the same time, which, will not enable us to do two different maps based on throttle position to get the right fuel mix for the airflow...
At the point at which we both simultaneously shouted at the other to 'stop shouting at me, you don't appreciate how difficult it is to be driving-on-these-windy roads-and-sharp-corners-with-a-bad-fuel-map/changing-values-in-this-programming-window-and-tiny-spreadsheet-whilst-being-flung-around-tight-corners-on-these-windy-roads, we decided enough was enough and disconnected everything
and drove to the southernmost tip of the peninsula - following signs for the intriguing Oracle of Death.
I get the impression that the Mani is criss-crossed with lovely hiking paths but as we haven't found a tourist office outside of Athens and Delphi since day one in Ioannina, we have very little in the way of information about where we are or what's around, so I can't tell you for sure.
Back to the van in the gathering gloom and just time to check out the Oracle of Death, the seat of which is housed in an arched dry stone building, and for whom, it seems, offerings, in the form or chocolate, oranges and receipts (is that 'I bought you this offering but ate it on the way'??) are left.
But no portents of death today so we parked up for the night in the nearest cliffside layby and watched the first episode of Supernatural, again courtesy of MWK, and very good, if not exactly the ideal choice of restful bedtime viewing for someone in a small defenseless van, in the middle of nowhere, in the dark, who found the x-files too scary to watch...
Still, we awoke yesterday unmolested by any marauding forces of otherworldly darkness and headed back northwards again and had a surprisingly nice day, notable especially for unexpected gifts from strangers.
Having randomly taken an unmarked road which led up to the top of the world for fabulous views back down to the southern tip,
we were pleasantly surprised to find ourselves not only in a village actually marked on both my maps but also on the road on the map that we actually wanted to be on, and going in the right direction - blimey!
On again, we decided on a whim, to stop at the port/beach of Skoutari, where Will set up the fishing line and settled in to some fettling whilst I planned my daisies and generally wandered about. Unfortunately, only I was near the fishing rod when the huge shark appeared out of nowhere, ate the float (well the cork which replaced the float that Will smashed on the rocks in portugal on his first attempt at casting) off the line and raced out to sea with it, performing aquabatics the like of which you have never seen and completely tangled the line up, defying all my attempts to reel it in nicely. Yes, a shark I tell you. So I spent the next three hours untangling the unholy mess the shark - yes, the shark, I was absolutely
Sorry, having asked for recommendations last time we had proper internet, we haven't had much since and we're now not going to take you up on them. Not on this trip anyway.
And the fettling has ground to a halt again, even on nice flat or slightly inclined roads at WOT, something to do with sampling frequency, read out averages which mean that for any given displayed 'bucket' (the arbitrary unit of airflow), you are probably actually looking at the average of three 'buckets' so it is nearly impossible to know which one to change, oh and some new maths error which is resulting in funny numbers anyway. Will says, comfortingly, that no one said this would be easy and this is why most people don't do this sort of thing... I said this is why those that do, get paid lots of money... Oh and they have proper test equipment and luxuries like a rolling road. Still, think of the sense of triumph over adversity when we're done.... (4 months and counting)
So, heading north, just Olympia, Mount Olympus and moussaka left on the 'to do' list then onwards and upwards. Anyone have any good Bulgaria or Romania suggestions??