Well as some of you already know this trip started out when Jim Cheney’s wife Jill bought him a very used 1984 red right hand drive 3.5 V8 4 speed Defender 110 from East Coast Rovers in Maine. He posted on the forum looking for help on how to ship it across the country to him in California. He also jokingly asked if anyone would be willing to drive it to him, he also said that there were no doors that maybe Mike would be up for it (I am kind of known for driving Door less in inclement weather). So I replied (jokingly) saying I would drive it if he paid for gas and hotels. Well one thing lead to another and that’s how we got here. Everyone on the forum offered help, offering places to stay on the way or places to be able to work on the truck.
Then the biggest help was posted, Ron Brown offered up a set of doors and the offer to help drive this beast. The doors were a necessary thing, as we would be driving in the cold December weather. And if anyone knows Ron they know of his creative ways to keep a Rover on the road no matter what.
So now for the problems with the 110 I needed to work out before we could drive it. It was at ECR (East Coast Rovers) in Maine, about a 3 hour drive from me in Manchester NH, and ECR said it was not road worthy due to bad breaks, it had no battery, a cracked windscreen, loose wheel bearings, bad panhard rod bolts and the fact it had no doors. ECR did not have the time to try and fix it so Jim had the 110 towed to BW Engineering in Maine. After getting to BW late we found out that BW would not be able to work on it until after the first of the year, this was no good as we planned on leaving on the 26th of December. So on the Wednesday before the trip I drove up to BW (about an hour away) to check out the 110. The breaks seemed fine, Matt at BW said he didn’t see anything wrong with the breaks either. The panhard Rod bolts were loose and easily fixed, the wheel bearings seemed fine and I brought the battery up from my own 90. After a test drive around the lot it was found to have low oil pressure, and seemed to leak coolant but these things would have to wait to be fixed until I drove it home.
So due to work, and Christmas I wasn’t able to get back up there to drive it home until the 26th. The weather was good (36F) and a little rainy so with my father fallowing I drove it home. The trip went well for the most part, with only one break down due to old gas and one bad U-joint on the rear driveshaft which could wait until I get home. But still it took us 2 hours instead of the normal 1 hour. The next day work started on getting her ready for the trip, I changed the oil to fix the low oil pressure, had the driveshaft fixed locally (I live by an awesome driveshaft shop) and top off all the fluids and tighten everything up. Then more bad news, the weep hole on the water pump was dripping fluid, after consulting Ron it was decided that I would plug up the hole and he would buy a water pump incase we needed to change it on the road.
So Wednesday the 28th I hit the road packed with tools, some extra fluids for the 110 and no doors I headed to Buffalo NY about a 500 mile trip. The weather wasn’t bad, overcast and about 30F to 35F about as good as I could hope for. The 110 drove well for a Rover, it seemed to have a bad rear A arm ball joint as she seemed to have a little rear steer (we called this quatra steer only it didn’t help you steer it just kept you on your toes!), and the front end had some play in the wheel. The breaks were normal for a Rover requiring you to push a bit harder then most cars but I was used to this. She didn’t have as much power as my 4.0 but according to the speedometer I was cruising along nicely at 75mph. With the 110 gas tank I would go about 170 miles before refueling, about 3 hours. The Best part about the 110 was the second heater! It is mounted on the back of the cubby box next to the drive and blew hot air right on your side! I loved it especially with the cold wind blowing on me due to the lack of doors!
As normal as soon as I hit the Massachusetts boarder I ran into traffic, they were painting lines on the road and things slowed down for a bit. I ran into a little more traffic before getting on the Mass Pike. But all was not lost! A Discovery passed me and I received some very enthusiastic waves from both driver and passenger, I happily waved back you have to love Rover owner. Things went well for the rest of the trip through Mass, well other then going through tolls and having to reach across the truck (right hand drive) and receiving some very odd looks from toll workers (I am guessing the no doors thing and sitting on the wrong side of the truck) all went well.
Then I hit the New York boarder. Once you cross over the boarder and pick up the NY threw way you pick up a toll ticket. When I pulled up to the toll and reached over the passenger seat to grab the ticket from the toll attendant he looked the 110 over and told me he could not let me pass! I was quite surprised, who is a toll work to be an authority on the road? He told me that he thought it was unsafe for me to drive a door less vehicle on the highway. As I waited for instructions a truck driver who had pulled off ahead walked up to the toll both and started arguing over something with the toll worker, apparently the toll worker thought he was driving too fast (the truck driver had an easy pass). After a few brief words the trucker left and I was told to pull over. After pulling over I went into the main building at the toll booths and there were about 10 workers standing around not doing very much. My toll both worker was on the phone, trying to get a hold of a state trooper. One of the other workers asked what it was I was driving, I explained a Land Rover 110, I also explained I have driven my own Defender 90 without doors or a top on the highway without problem, explaining that my truck was very much like a jeep, then one of the other workers piped up and stated that Land Rovers were MUCH better then a jeep! The worker got off the phone, he said he had to wait for a call back, I asked if he let motorcycles on the road, he said yes and that it was a good argument to let me drive a door less truck on the road (me rolling my eyes), Then a state trooper called back, and after a very brief call the toll worker said I was fine driving without doors. All the toll workers stepped outside to watch the crazy guy without doors get back on the freeway.
So back on my way, I soon found myself running low on gas and for the first time ever (for me) the low fuel light came on! This is new to me as the fuel light in NAS 90s is not connected. I was very pleased to see it, and then I realized I needed gas QUICK! I pulled off at the first exit and picked up 20 gallons of fuel. I hear the 110 tank holds 22 gallons but I did not test this. Things went smoothly for some time, only stopping for gas and lunch. Night fell and things got dark, the headlights in the 110 are barely adequate, but I carried on. 30 minutes from Ron it started raining and visibility dropped more, so I slowed down. Surprisingly without doors I stayed fairly dry! After passing Ron’s road 2 times I found his house, Ron was standing outside ready to greet me. We had met briefly once before at the Mid Atlantic Rally 2 years ago. So after a quick handshake I went inside for a few minutes to warm up and grab some dinner. After eating we went to work on the 110 adding doors (we only had latches for the front doors so we ratchet strapped the rears closed, oh and too add the front doors are dark green and the read doors are pale green), and we also changed out the radiator as it was found to be very clogged, it ran fine in the colder climates but once we would reach warmer temps it may not have been enough. That and Ron had the radiator sitting there on a project truck of his. If you don’t know Ron he is a Roverholic, he knows a lot about Rovers and has quit a collection of parts, how many people do you know that have a set of 109 doors just sitting around? So at about 11pm we finished up and went to bed.
The next morning we were up early and hit the road at about 8am. We hit the road with no set plan on where we would stop; we hoped to make it to Des Moines Iowa (about a 15 hour drive) as we had Rover friends there. At gas stop we switcher off driving to make the ride more enjoyable and rest a little in hopes to drive further. And Ron learned what I had learned the previous day, how odd it was driving a right hand drive vehicle on the right hand side of the road. It took both of us a few hundred miles to get used to it, and still most of the time we were a bit too far to the left side of the lane on the road. We headed down RT 90 and picked up RT 80 in Cleveland Ohio and we were to stay on RT 80 until we hit Colorado. We stopped anywhere between every 2 or 3 hours depending on how fast we drove. According to the speedometer we were averaging between 75 and 85 mph, but we were a bit skeptical that the 3.5 carbureted V8 could push the 110 that fast, or that the speedometer was reading correctly. We also found we needed to fill the radiator with coolant at every stop, it would run fine until the engine was turned off, then the flow of coolant stopped and we would add about ½ a gallon of water. We did not add coolant (only water) due to the high rate that we were loosing it, and we topped off our 2 one gallon jugs, and our 2 liter coke bottle and whatever else we could find that would hold water just in case we ran into any problems.
Just as we entered into Chicago Illinois we hit traffic, it was about 6pm and we hit the tail end of rush hour traffic. I was at the wheel, I was running 2 shifts of driving so Ron could get some sleep for the next late shift, but when we came to a slow crawl we took the opportunity to talk some. We didn’t chat much so far, the doors don’t seal well and there is allot of wind noise in the 110, so much so that I had started to loose my voice from yelling so that Ron could hear me! After about 90 minutes in traffic we found the root of the problem, the toll booth only had 2 lanes open! As we pulled up to the toll booth we lost heat from the heaters! This had happened before and was a sign that the radiator was low on coolant. So after going through the toll we pulled over quickly into a construction area and topped off the coolant, night was upon us and we were in the dark. Photo opportunity! When we pulled over we pulled into a little MUD! WOOHOO we were offroading and I was behind the wheel! Ok so it wasn’t that muddy but I was happy, we pulled back onto the highway and went along our way.
We reached Des Moines, both Ron and I decided there was no need to stop as we would take turns sleeping and driving and would try to push on through the night. Our thought was if the further we made it the better, as it would give us more time to if we broke down and had to wait for parts. I found it very hard to sleep in the 110, so I ended up pulling more shifts behind the wheel so Ron could get a little more sleep as he didn’t have much problem getting comfortable sleeping, I think that night I got about 4 hours or so of bad sleep, but I have pulled a few no sleep nights in the past for Rover trips so I was good for it.
I think Nebraska was the most boring part of the trip so far, the roads were long and straight, there was very little traffic so we decided that we would try and go as fast as the 110 would take us to make good time. Surprisingly the speedometer read 90 to 95 mph, and Ron had brought along the Valentine 1 and very good radar detector, so we felt fairly sure we wouldn’t get pulled over for speeding, we also were guessing that the speedometer was off by 10 mph because we thought there was no way the carbureted 3.5 could push a 110 at 95 mph! And to be fair the speed limit in these parts is 75mph. At one Stop Ron came up with a GREAT idea! He bent the door tops inward slightly (ok allot!) to better seal the cab, it worked great! But the passenger door was missing a few bolts from the beginning, and required a hip check to get it to latch closed, now that the doors were bent it required me to kick it to get it closed! We quickly developed a method and after a few times I was able to get the door closed with 1 kick, and Ron would give me a thumb up indicating the door latch closed.
Then almost all of the sudden the 90 started loosing power, our first thought was we had started filling up with 89 octane and the 89 octane contains ethanol so at our next stop we filled up with 91 without ethanol. We found this had slightly better results but still it died on us at one point. After a quick inspection of the fuel pump (it had stopped clicking loudly like it had been) I found the wiring to be a bit suspect. I played with it a little and we were back on the road, but still we could not run at full throttle so at the next stop I replace a connection and the pump ran better then before! After about 20 minutes we lost some power again and were not able to run at full throttle, so our speed dropped a bit until I found a way to keep the speed up! A fast moving truck passed me and I thought why don’t I draft him? Doing so required less power and I was easily able to keep up with him in the large vacuum behind the truck! We happily did this until we reached Colorado and picked up RT 76. By this time the sun had started to come up and the temps starting rising from about 20F. It was about this time we came up with a name for the 110, we knew it was a she, and both Ron and I hand been trying to come up with a good name, we named her Janey kind of after her owners last name, and it fit her very well!
Then things took a turn of the worse, about 80 miles outside of Denver the heater stopped working, meaning we were very low on coolant. So like normal I jumped out of the driver’s seat (Both Ron and I would not get out of the passenger door when possible because it was a bit of trouble to close the door) grabbed the water, 21mm wrench and small funnel and went out front to fill the radiator. When I popped the hood I found water all over everything! The water pump was shot! At this time it was about 50F outside and the sun was shinning. Our first thought was to change the pump out right on the side of the road so we got to work. We quickly found that the clutch fan had mended itself to the water pump and we could not get it off, so after about an hour of work and some help from a couple of guys passing through that were heading East on almost the same trip we had just made we decided that we would try and limp it into Denver. Yousef Hamzeh a good friend of mine lives just outside of Denver and was more then happy to let us use his garage to work on the 110. So we topped of the coolant, but it came out of the water pump fast! As I filled it a stream came out of the pulley bearing on the pump. We only made it 10 miles down the road before the heater blew cold air again. Thus the “Mike Fire Drill” was developed! I would jump out open up the radiator, fill it as fast as I could (only slightly faster then it pored out jump back in and get going as fast as I could down the road and as soon as it blew cold air again I would shut off the engine and coast to a stop (coasting would gain us a mile or so!). This wasn’t working out well as we only could carry about 3 gallons of water, I was adding a gallon every stop and we were only going about 6 miles at a time. So at the next gas station I picked up a 5 gallon gas can and filled it with water. This gave some strange looks from passing motorists when they saw me filling the radiator with a gas can! But we only mad it 2 more stops before the water took its toll and soaked the distributor and we lost forward movement. I pulled off the highway completely this time. Yousef’s House was still 70 miles away and at the rate we were going it would take until nightfall to get there limping it. So we called Triple A as Ron has Triple A gold which will tow you up to 100 miles. Things got better! The tow truck Driver was the proud owner of a Range Rover Classic! And we spent the drive swapping Rover Stories, the driver was in need of a CV as he broke one, Ron had one as a spare at home and happily offered it to him.
Once at Yousef’s house we set to work and cut off the nose of the old water pump along with the fan clutch with a Sazall (we then realized we were tightening the fan clutch and not loosening it opps!). We saw no need to keep the fan, when the engine was hot and running I could stop the fan with one finger this means the clutch was completely shot, this isn’t unusual for a 20+ year old Rover. But more bad news, once the pump was off we found the nose on the new pump had a different style pulley adapter on it! This meant the pump would not work unless we could some how pull the nose off. Both Ron and I were unsure if this would work so I called Jim Pendleton AKA Pendy, he is well known as a know it all Rover guy who runs a shop in the Air Capital, Kansas. He quickly located a water pump that would work at his own shop and would be able to ship it off to us to be delivered next Tuesday, it was after all Friday afternoon and New Years weekend so none of the shipping companies would deliver Saturday, Sunday or Monday. But he said we might be able to press off the old nose and press it onto the new pump. But this would require a 20 ton press and we did not have one. Yousef had to make a few stops around town but he headed off a set of keys to one of his cars to me, he would lead us to an area with a few shops but we needed to go help another Rover owner in the area who had a non starting 97 Discovery. When we got there Ron quickly jumped into the Discoveries Drives seat and without hesitation it started right up! What luck! The engine was only flooded, we had a quick laugh and went on our way. One shop did not have a press, the next shop a Firestone Tire place did, and thought we were crazy but we told them we had nothing to loose and they said they would try. After 20 minutes they came back to us with the new pump in hand and ready to go! We were expecting a hefty bill for this odd job but the supervisor looked at us and said it looked like we had a ruff day and said it was free! We were very grateful! Thanks Firestone!
Back to Yousef’s house, it took no more then 30 minutes to get the pump back on the engine, top off the coolant and we were ready to go! We decided to stop and sit down for dinner, this is the first time we sat for more then 5 minutes in the last day and ½. We finished dinner around 8 and hit the road again; I wanted to take Janey over the pass so I was behind the wheel to start. After we got into the mountains we hit snow and slower going traffic. At the next gas stop Ron took over driving, and I slept a little. But this didn’t last long as the high altitude of near 10,000 feet took its toll on Ron, and he was seeing double and could not drive. So after about an hours sleep I was back at the wheel. The next gas stop was in Vail, a small high class town in the mountains, and it has more round abouts (traffic circles) then all the rest of the round abouts in the US! I was a bit confused as most of them were not clearly marked as to which way was in or out so I just took the shortest path across them regardless of what other traffic was doing, this made for some interesting driving (hey I was in a Rover out of my way!). After stopping for gas we hit Mc Donald’s (the official food for cross country trips) and hit the road. At the next stop Ron tried driving again and this time made it 2.5 hours before he gave up again. I took over but 2 gas stops later the lack of sleep was catching up with me and we parked and slept for an hour or 2. We could not leave the engine running as it would overheat with because it has no fan (it didn’t over heat on the highway because of all the air passing through when driving) so we slept some in the cold.
After a few hours sleep I hit the road again, but after 20 minutes of driving I realized in my drowsiness I passed the exit to Moab! Yikes I had driven 30 minutes out of the way! So we turned around and headed the right way. Just before our exit to Moab we stopped and Ron took over driving. Once off of RT 70 we were only 30 miles to Moab Utah and for some reason it only took Ron 20 minutes to drive it. We arrived at the Archway inn at about 5 am and went right to bed!
We were up early and off to meet the others in town at about 9 am, we only got about 3 hours of real sleep but it felt good. When we met up with everyone we told some stories and showed off our ride. Keith Kreutzer was inspecting Janey when he noticed that the exhaust had broken off of the muffler and was resting on the rear axle! Hmm, how long has it been like that? It was on when we started. So we decided to leave Janey for the day and both Ron and I road with Yousef (yep same guy whose garage we worked in but he left earlier for Moab then us, and his Disco could go allot faster though the pass then Janey). The trails were a bit tame as one of the Discos in our group (Mike Hansen’s Disco, he should have brought his Defender) could not shift into low range due to the low range solenoid. But at the end of the trail were some sand dunes and it was time to show off. Norman was driving his highly modified Rovertracks Bobtailed Discovery; he started jumping his disco off one of the dunes. The first couple he only caught a few inches of air, then with some more speed he shot off the dune and cleared at least 25 feet! We were all very impressed! Then Yousef in his Disco decided to give it a try and jumped nearly the same distance! Yikes and his Disco only has a 2 inch lift! Needless to say we were all impressed. But Yousef soon found the downside, when he landed the rear tires rubbed on the rear fenders and he trimmed about ¼ of tread off the outside lugs! We all had a laugh and continued back home.
If you have never been to Moab the scenery is breathtaking, off in the distance you can see the mountains in Colorado, the local scenery is a mixture of oranges and sandy browns with hints of green mixed into some of the tall formations of rock that were carve long ago. The rock formations ranged in size from as small as a chair to bigger then 10 story buildings and the air was warm and dry. This is a different world then I am used to living in the north east, but quite a pleasant change and I enjoyed every minute of it.
New Years Eve! PARTY TIME! After wheeling all day we decided it was time to kick back and relax. We quickly found only 2 restaurants in town were open for New Years, and they were not open that late. So we had dinner and a few drinks and decided to head back to the hotel in town that everyone else was staying at. 2 of the families in our group had rooms next to each other and there was a door joining the 2 rooms so we made that party head quarters. Yousef had also brought along his Sony PlayStation, but the TVs in the room had no way to attach the play station. So we set up the PlayStation in the main lobby as they had a large TV and it was setup for to have a Sony PlayStation attached! Unfortunately the lack of sleep caught up with me, and most of the night I could be found sleeping on and off. I hear I missed some very intellectual conversations that were aided with a bit of Bourbon. After the first 2 new years (Eastern and Central time zones) Both Ron and I decided to call it a night and at about 11:45 we headed back to our hotel and went to bed.
The next morning we were up at 9am WOW a full night’s sleep! Both Ron and I wanted to take Janey out for some off roading! So we quickly removed the back half of the exhaust that was resting on the rear axle and hanging from 1 hanger and met the others at their hotel. But more bad luck! We sprung a coolant leak! After a quick inspection we found 1 of the heater hoses was leaking, right near the end, so the hose was cut and reattached and we were good to go.
The plan for the day was to run Hells Revenge! What a name for a trail and we were going to run it in a stock 110! I put the LT95 into low range and hit the trail with the others, the Janey had a great low range and first gear was perfect for crawling. Janey made short work of anything we pointed her at, and she did so most gracefully. I enjoyed every minute driving her she crawled up and over almost everything and never required a tow! We did have to keep an eye on the heat as we had no fan, After about 20 minutes on the trail one of the discos dislocated a spring and we stopped for a little while for the repair. To keep Janey cooler I decided to take her bonnet (hood) off. Ron and I also thought it would be much better to run without doors as we had the heat blasting to keep Janey cooler. So we put the doors in the back and bonnet on Yousef’s roof rack.
Once we got rolling again things moved along well and Janey stayed fairly cool never getting above 3/4. We stopped for lunch and shared some more stories a few laughs and enjoyed the scenery. After lunch Yousef wanted to try one of the more difficult sections off the main trail. It was a very tight section made completely of rock and most of it was a V shape rather then a flat road. The Rock in Moab is called Slick Rock, which is quite ironic as it is like driving on sandpaper it is so high in traction. Yousef recruited myself as spotter (spotters watch from the outside to help the driver) to try and help keep on track. The down hill section was quiet easy (or at least Yousef made it look easy) He simply put it in hill decent mode and kept the Disco on track. The up hill part was a different story, if you took the wrong line you would end up with body damage or worse you could roll over backwards. Yousef made it up about ¾ of the way before he ran into some trouble the traction control fought hard but the right rear tire was caught and would not turn, I went to move uphill more to get a better view and I ended up struggling trying to climb up as it was very steep! After trying a few different lines we winched Yousef up some as we did not want to chance a roll. While this was going on one of the others in our group Mark, who was ridding with Yousef took Janey for a spin, needless to say he was very impressed with her offroading abilities and even went as far to say that she was one of his all time favorite vehicles to drive off road, even more so then his own D90!
We continued on the trail, but Janey was having a tuff time starting and just died at one point, it turns out the battery was not getting any charge from the alternator. So with a quick jump from Norman we were on our way, and as long as we kept the rpms up some it the alternator charge the battery a little. But all the high rpms caused Janey to run hot and then she started blowing steam out of the expansion tank hose, which did not have a hose clamp on it. But all was not lost we were at a tuff obstacle and everyone else could play on it while we let Janey cool down for a while, we also opted to drive around the obstacle due to the overheating and the low battery. The obstacle is called tip over challenge, and rightly so it is 2 large rocks one on top of the other and it takes a bit of finesse to get over it without rolling over. The last vehicle on tip over challenge a 96 disco started to blow steam out from under the hood after they decided to pass around after several failed attempts to get up it. As many of you know on that year disco they came with the dreaded black expansion tank, which is known to leak and this one did! It shot coolant all over the place under the hood. So we waited for it too cool down, a bit, and with our 5 gallon jug of water we filled both Janey and the disco, we also made a hose clamp with bailing wire!
With a quick jump we were back on the trail again! We came up to the next obstacle a tight section of trail, and as we slowed down Janey died again. We hooked up the jumper cables and I asked Yousef to spot me through, I also said I don’t want to stop as there wasn’t enough room to hook up jumper cables. So I put it in first and drove as gracefully as I could through a tight section of trail, unfortunately on one tight corner I had to sacrifice a side step as it caught a rock, all wasn’t lost as the steps position was only slightly modified. I made it out of the tight section of trail and while the others drove through we hooked up the jumper cables once again to let the battery charge up a bit, and Mark wearing steel toed boots “fixed” the modified side step and arranged it back into its original position. At this point we were near the end of the trail and decided to put the doors and bonnet back on. We quickly made our way back to surface roads and exited the park. We stopped in a parking lot in town and said our good byes, everyone else was off for a few drinks at a local friend’s house, but Ron and I wanted to hit the road.
So we stopped at Ron’s favorite Mc Donald’s and went trough the drive through, the girls at the window asked what happened to our truck and why the steering wheel was on the wrong side, we laughed and told them the truck was made on a Friday. We gassed up and aired up the tires at the gas station, and then hit the road. Our thought was we had another 1000 miles to go, lets see if we can do it all in one big push! When leaving Moab Ron came up with a great idea! As we passed a car I would look at the passing cars speedometer to see how fast they were going and then compare it to our own speedometer! What a great idea! After a few cars it was quite apparent that our speedometer was somewhat accurate! Sure it bounced all over (mostly up and down 10 to 20 mph) but when you averaged the bouncing it was right on!
Now once on RT 70 again a sign came up saying last exit for 110 miles, so we stopped to get gas. And when we went to start Janey again the battery was dead yikes! So we push started it in the gas station parking lot and decided we would not shut her off until the battery meter showed better then ½. This made for some interesting gas stops, as if it sat running too long it would over heat, and we couldn’t shut it off otherwise we risked not being able to start her. So we moved fast while fueling and got back on the road quick.
Janey started acting up again when given full throttle, we knew it was fuel related and I noticed when we filled up last that there was some suction when removing the gas cap. So while Ron was driving and Janey started acting up I crawled to the back, opened the rear window reached out and popped the gas cap open (note we are driving at least 75mph). This seemed to help, but then got worse so I put the cap on and it got better then worse again. As we approached the top of the mountain there was a rest stop and we pulled off, and giving some thought to it I realized because the rear section of exhaust was taken off it was blowing hot air right on the gas tank causing vapor lock! Hmm how to fix this hmm, then Ron came up with an absolutely brilliant idea, we would use a piece of interior trim from one of the doors to make a heat shield! Now this may sound odd (and it is) but the door trim on a series truck (where the doors came from) are made from vinyl stretched over aluminum. We used some #12 wire I brought to tie it up to the muffler. Now we did not want the heat shield coming off so we passed it through the hole in the middle of the door trim and tied it around the tail pipe before the muffler. Now remember we could not shut her off so it was hot and running while we made this fix and both Ron and I walked away unburnt! So we got back on the highway and the heat shield seemed to work! How great! Was this the problem that plagued us since Nebraska? Maybe!
In this section of the trip we saw some of our highest speeds, there were many long down hills and Ron was behind the wheel the first time our speed topped off at 110 mph! That’s right we hit 110 mph going downhill, the Speedo was bouncing from 100 to 120! There were very few cars on the road and we made very good time doing this. On our next stop we checked out heat shield and found it firmly wedged in place were we tied it on. I took over driving. Ron slept for a while and one time when he woke up and looked over and he said hey Mike you’re doing 110 mph! WOW I had been driving so much that I didn’t even notice that speed change. I chuckled and said, you know we won’t be able to keep this up all the way, once everything flattens out we’re only going to be able to do 90mph, Ron laughed then I realized I said that we were slowing down to 90 mph in a Rover! How often do you hear that! Now before any of you worry about us driving that fast, realize these were very long straight roads with little to no traffic and we were only going that fast for short periods.
After passing through Las Vegas Ron took over again and I slept well for the first time while we were moving. I woke up as we pulled into the next gas station. There was a Porsche filling up, and Ron points to it and says hey I was racing that guy for about a mile! But he said once the Porsche got the chance he shot off like a rocket. The Porsche driver would not look either of us in the eye and quickly got in his car and sped away, we both laughed.
I took back over behind the wheel, and continued on. We had made it to California! And it started raining! What was is this? Sunny California and it was raining! t was still dark and we had a way to go, but what I thought was funny was as we were passing through Mojave Desert it started raining harder out! But we continued on and I drove the next 2 gas stops. We stopped about 2 hours from our final destination gassed up and you guessed it grabbed some Mc Donald’s for breakfast. Ron drove the last section as the sun rose and tried to break through the overcast and rainy skies but it only failed to get through to us. And due to Ron’s foot positioning his right foot became soaked due to hole in the doors.
As we found our selves flying down the road we realized that California drivers don’t know how to drive in the rain as it never rains in CA, and we drove a little more cautiously. We also saw a few road closures due to flooding but we did not worry, we are in one of the finest off road vehicles on the planet and did not fear a water crossing. But we never had to cross anything deeper then a few inches.
A short while later we were in San Jose, and only minutes later we pulled into Jims Driveway, we made it! What a great trip, I was relived that we made it but at the same time I was sad that it was over. Janey had treated us right; she lived up to everything we expected of her, she went from highway to offroading and back again. We tested her off roading and we really found her limits due to overhang in the rear and break over angle due to the side steps. We also learned of her high speed abilities on the highway and worked out most of her running problems. We had driven a poorly maintained 22 year old Rover 3000 miles with only a few minor problems, and you know what, I think she would do it again with even fewer problems. When asked if I would do it again, I said in a heartbeat, I loved every minute of it!
Big thanks go out to all that helped this trip along the way! Thanks in order of appearance
Jim for providing us with the chance to go on such a great adventure, and for the gas and hotel money!
I spent some time on the phone before the trip with Rob Dassler going over the finer workings of the 110 and what I might need to know about it.
Ron Brown for bringing along the doors, riding along, driving, his expert on the road “fixes” and for having someone to laugh at everything along the way on the trip.
Yousef Hamzeh for letting us work in his Garage when we had no place else to go, for letting us barrow his truck to drive around town in to fix the water pump, and for letting us ride along with him in Moab.
Jim Pendleton for the water pump advice and the offer to overnight us a water pump so that we could continue on our trip.
Keith and the Moab gang for helping us fix Janey on the trail.
Jill, Jims wife for putting up with us at there place in CA.
Well I have been up since 8 typing, reminiscing, putting everything into words and doing laundry from the trip, the last load is fishing up now and it’s about 3:30pm. I hope you all enjoy the story! We only took a few picture on the road, and Norman took a bunch of pictures in Moab that I will post when he sends them to me, also look forward to a full write up from Ron and I about the “roadside repairs” done on Janey to keep her going on the road.
Don't forget to Search first then ask questions later! The loose nut behind the wheel