6000 KM Drive – Part 1

Driving from where we live in Bulgaria near the Black Sea to the North of England and back again is a shade over 6000 km. according to Google Maps, Google also estimate only 31 hours driving time, should be easy then!!

Both Mr. McClane and I will be driving our own cars on this trip, we’ve had some discussions about what maintenance we should carry out before such a long drive in old cars,  top of the list is round wheels. Cars can take a real beating here on some of these Bulgarian minefields laughingly refered to as roads.  Round wheels would be  much better for such a long trip than our present square wheels, wheel judder and steering wheel vibration are easy to put up with on a quick drive into town, but it can become tiresome after several hours, also perhaps a service, plus both cars have slight body damage which we both know UK traffic Police can be unsympathetic towards.

Johns car also caught fire a little bit last week, burning something or other at the bottom of the engine, neither John or I know anything much about cars, we both kinda took the view that since the car was still working, then whatever the thingy was that melted away, couldn’t have been anything essential. Also something else was making an horrendus squealing and grinding noise whenever he turned his steering wheel, the mechanic did try to explain to us what the problem was, but neither John or I understand much Bulgarian, whatever the thing was making the noise got un-bolted and thrown away, problem cured!!

Mine went first, oil change plus filter and air filter, new fog light, bumper and off side wing bolted back together, the wing became damaged after the car plunged in to huge pot hole at 70KPH some months ago. All done in 15 minutes, parts readily available and cost me 70 Lev. (30 GBP) I also asked the mechanic to poke about underneath to see if anything needed attention, all was fine.

John defiantly wanted round wheels as well,  but was hesitant on the service because he’d had no luck getting parts in the past,  I convinced him that they would defiantly be able to find oil for the Escort!!

Unfortunately the first parts man came back empty-handed but after a couple of hours the second parts man found both air and oil filters for Johns car, meanwhile the mechanics spent their time trying to get Johns lights to work but  several hours later, no luck!! John really could do with  working lights, at the very least working head lights since a good part of our trip will be at night, the mechanics contacted a Voo-Doo Witch Doctor who on Saturday will rub Dragon bones and Chicken entrails on the Escort to make the lights work!!

Next we headed off to the Wheel Man to have our front wheels hammered   back in to a more roundish shape.

Since the wheels were off  I decided to look at my brakes, they were good enough, and the wheel bearings were still nice and tight, plus we couldn’t see any bent struts or anything obviously nasty, this came as quite a surprise since I’ve really bounced the car around on numerous occasions.

I had the now roundish shaped wheels balanced also, 6 Lev (2.50 GBP) all together, the wheel man suggested that I should think about buying new round wheels when it comes time to change the tyres. Johns wheel bearings were  really lose but since they weren’t actually making a grinding noise yet he decided they would be ok.

They were able to just press the wheel back in to shape on John’s car with their thumbs and neither did they charge him or balance the wheels, I asked why they were not going to balance his wheels and the reply was:

”Escorts don’t go fast enough to need it mate.”

We took the main road back home, I wanted to try out what it felt like to have round wheels and new oil in the engine, I took the old girl up to 120 (Fast for a 17-year-old car) and then removed my hands from the steering wheel, she was straight and steady, the new oil has really quietened the engine down and she now changes gear as smooth as a silk Jock Strap sewn together by Angles!!

The ferry has been booked, Dunkirk-Dover return 15 Pounds each way, we still have a little time left to fix Johns car, he also knows he has to be fairly sober for the three days of driving, fingers crossed on that one. We had hoped to set off Friday but now have to wait and see if  the Witch Doctors magical incantations  on Saturday morning will have any effect on the Escorts bedeviled electrical system!!




~ by travelswithmymotorbike on March 30, 2011.

19 Responses to “6000 KM Drive – Part 1”

  1. I swear by them, round wheels have always worked best for me lol

    • Hi Stan,

      Your right, theses wheels with square edges make you sea sick after a while lol..



  2. Uncle Davy:

    Poor Mad Dog. Everything he buys, turns to dust. He needs to trade that Escort for an Astra really fast.

    Why do you need to take both cars ? You can bolt some plywood benches to the top and give MD a riding jacket

    Riding the Wet Coast

    • Hi Uncle Bob,

      Yes, poor Mad Dog….in a brief moment of clarity today he did say he was thinking of trading his car in for either a Lada or Astra…….We both have stuff stored in England so we are driving there to collect it all and bring it back here, we wanted to go together for safety on the return leg since our cars will be piled high with treasures, though if he carries on being weird over the ferry crossing I shall go alone….Tempting as it is to strap him to the roof, and it is really tempting lol, I fear it would attract too much attention from police along the way!!



  3. Uncle Davey:

    Hmmm, what a dilemna. If MD goes for the Astra then all of your blogging material disappears. If he goes for the Lada, it will be worse than the Escort and keep you busy for a long time. Imagine being able to get parts but fail due to bad quality control. Plus everything he buys is always missing parts.

    Wouldn’t it be cheaper to just ship it all back in a container. Imagine two cars travelling 6,000 kms. At least the Escort will be leaving a trail of fallen-off parts, easier to find your way back home

    Riding the Wet Coast

    • Hi Uncle Bob,

      No, shipping is very expensive this side of the pond, not many people do it….Most people here buy a van in the uk, drive it over with all their things then dump the van here….Much cheaper than shipping!! The parts for Ladas are so cheap they are almost free…music to my ears, perhaps I should get one lol..



  4. Great, I love a road trip!!

  5. I never knew bent rims could be salvaged, are you camping or staying at hotels along the way?

    • Hi Graham,

      I wasnt sure if they just hammered them back to shape or what, but given that bent wheels are a common feature here because of the roads I assumed they must just bash them right!!



  6. Great a road trip across europe in an old car with square wheels…Did you ever see the keystone cops on tv when you were a kid lol.

    • Lol…Yep 6000 km across Europe in a 17 year old car with square wheels…..Sounds a bit silly when you write it like that lol….



  7. There’s NEVER anything missing off the things MD buys.. he just loses all the bits trying to put things together 🙂 he now has tools AND garden equipment as ornaments hahahaha

  8. TOP GEAR are always driving very old cars long distances, they always make it without many problems lol

    good luck!!

    • Hi Owen,

      Exactly!! …..You see these old cars on TOP GEAR all the time lol



  9. good luck!!

  10. good luck with traveling home

    • Hi Derek,

      Got back the other day, had a few misshaps along the way lol…….stay tuned!!



  11. […] PART 1 […]

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