When we met the first time (5th Sept. 2000), we talked a lot - also about traveling. Elke had been to the US lately and I traveled a lot during my studytime - and so we also talked about her friend in Australia, Kath.
How we got the idea to go to Australia for 3 month:
Elke wanted to visite her during the next year and go to Oz for 3 weeks - but I argued that 3 weeks is too short for a long distance like this. So we figuered out that 3 month should be the minimum.
Why a Citroen 2CV and not buying or renting a car down under???. The answer is easy: Renting for that time would cost too much. To buy a car would be possible but it would cost about the same like shipping a car down under - and then we have just a "normal" car where we canīt go to outbackstreets. To buy a 4x4 will be more expensive.
So we decide to bring a Citroen 2CV to Australia. The 2CV has a robust technic. If something breakes itīs easy to repair. The costs are low and at least itīs fun to drive! And we try to sell the car in Australia - this will reduce the costs again a bit. We can not go on the hard trail with this car - this will be the only bad thing.
Getting information about Australia and looking for and preparing a car.
Preparing in 2002:
I checked the internet to find a 2CV but it was not so easy. Finally I got a car via a friend from Frankfurt - he gave me a contact add of a guy near London. He had a 2CV since a year or so in his backyard. The pictures looked not soooo bad - so I decided to buy it. But how can I get it here? It did not look THAT good that I can drive from London to Frankfurt! So he made the following offer: He wanted to go to french citroen meeting in the south and he could bring it on a trailer. So we met around midnight somewhere in France on the motorway on his way to the south. A good friend of mine, Frank, he is always exited about trips like this, joint me. It was a trip for us of 12 hours of driving - from 6pm to 6am.
A week later I started to take the car apart - and that was the moment when I was glad that I didnīt try to drive from London to Frankfurt: After I took out everything from the inside and remove all the screws I took a jack to lift the whole car - put some trestle underneath the chassis and let the car down again: the frame with the axles will come back to the ground and the chassis will stay on the trestles - that was the plan, worked many times!! This time: I lifted with the jack, the tires lose contact to the ground - but then the lifter went higher and higher but the car not!!! I was checking whats wrong: the jack went through the marode frame and came inside of the car out of the frame!!
That I have to throw away the frame - was clear from the beginning, but on the chassis there also more to weld than I expected. I am not that good in welding, esp. on important parts on the chassis - I gave it to the company Frischs Entenservice - they made a good job...
Oct.: Now we have a car - we can plan when we would like to go to Australia and we decided (because of preparing the car) we can go in dec. 2003
Nov.: My boss told me: Itīs difficult to let me go on vacation for more than 4 weeks in row - somebody needs to replace me - and that would be a problem.
Repairing the car, buy equipment and check for flight- and ferry tickets:
Preparing in 2003:
In this summer I needed to go to the hospital for take out the metal of my leg (I had a terrible accident march 2001) but the 2 weeks we planned turned into 2 month. Because of this I lost 2 month in repairing the car - and it was not clear because of my health situation if we can go in dec. this year.
Oct: During talking about winter test in 2003/4 in my company I told my boss that all my projects will be finnished on 15th of dec. - so after that date I can go to Australia? or not? - We finllay found the solution: 3 month later: 10 days unpayed vacation + 20 days vacation 2003 + 6 weeks from 2004 = 3 month off!! YEAH - good boss - hope you find one like this some day!!
Oct/Nov.: Checking for a flight with a 4 day stopover in Bangkok - to avoid problems with the visa. Booking the tickets with the good cooperation of "Fly to 5".
Dec.: Final works on the car - but a bad xmas suprise on the 23rd: the engine runs very bad - even everthing was checked, changed and adjusticed: The oil, oilfilter, valves, exhaust, ignition and carburatuer. I was searching long time for the reason - and finally (but its still not sure - I will see in July 04)it seems to be that rost (the engine wasnīt in use for about 4 years) from the manifold felt into the cyliders and distroed the valves and / or the pistonrings....
The final things to do - at least at the car....
Preparing in 2004:
Friday, 2nd: Changing of the engine - hopefully this would be it and that the engine is fine. So checking again the valves, ignition and changing the oil and filter. First run in the garage was fine - so putting all the parts together, that it looks like a car again.
Sunday, 4th: first running of the car - hmm something is not ok with the car, some noises from the rear. Back home I noticed that I forgot to tight the nuts of the tires!! After that, everything was fine.
Monday, 5th: Polution test is OK!
Wednesday, 7th: Technical inspection was passed sucessfull!
Saturday, 10th: We got the flight tickets!!
Thursday, 15th: Elke quits her job.
Last things to: Put some electrical stuff on the car (eg: music and power for the laptop), mount some good tires on it, some spareparts and tools to store, fixing some small things, cleaning the car in and outside, getting importpapers for the car for Oz and at least:
Friday, 30st Jan.: bring the car to shipping company.
2nd: I fly to Sweden to work for 3 weeks and need to leave Elke alone in Frankfurt on her last days at work. And it ended as expected: With trouble... The company is not able to pay the salary for Jan... Elke needs to go to a lawyer.