October, 2016

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Mecanical work and…

Arrived in North Carolina, I quickly began preparations for the export of VLV: modifications and adaptations required for the future registration in Switzerland, maintenance and preventive work, especially to improve the engine cooling which is still difficult as the big 6-liter diesel is confined in the engine compartment…
1. Cleaning the moving parts of the variable geometry turbo.
2. Re-install of the turbo. Contortionist session ensured to achieve some bolts! 😀
3. Taking the front apart.
4. After removing radiators, intercoolers, fans etc, a part of the work is done to reach the front cover of the engine.
5. Here it is, the cover is removed after a day and a half of work! For the record, I will have to repeat it as a big oil leak appears at the restart. Guess why? Ford had delivered the wrong Semmering gasket! What a f..!
6. That damn little joint earn me the removal of all theadmission for replacement. A full more day of work…
7. plasma cutting in the winch holding plate to improve cooling.
8. Removing the front brake for installation of new calipers. In the end, I will go back with the same, the new calipers being too large for VLV’s wheels…
9. VLV in U-Joint Offroad workshop.
10. U-Joint Offroad fair in Asheville “Van Life Rally”.
VivaLaVida had a real success – I could have sold her several times!
After the fair, it’s camping time with U-Joint team.
11. Nice campsite!
12. Davidson River…
13. On my way to Baltimore where I will drop off VLC for its first transoceanic crossing, I drove in Washington DC.
14. Last night on US ground with the wooden wall that will isolate the interior of VLV and thawing the fridge before stopping it for a few weeks…
15. Last picture at the entrance of Baltimore harbor. Have a good journey VLV! See you in Antwerp in a few weeks. 😉
At the time you will read this update, VivaLaVida will be undertaken its Atlantic crossing…
To be followed soon for the “pick up” in Antwerp and the road to Switzerland. 😉

Last 14000…

I couldn’t leave Colorado without a detour to the Mecca of US motorsport… 😉
1. Fall colors in early morning…
2. So motorsport enthusiasts, you recognize the track? 😉
3. Yes, it’s the Pikes Peak road now paved till the summit culminating at 14,115 feet above sea level! On the first range of the Rockies, I can see the plains toward Eastextending over 1,500 miles…
4. This road is just magnificent, the perfect hillclimb … Don’t worry, VLV didn’t brake Loeb’s record! 🙂
5. Then Eastward through shortest path…
6. The first 300 miles, it’s kind of desert where only graze a few scattered groups of cows. Then, Kansas is mainly dedicated to cereal growth. Large silos appear sometimes in the endless plain.
7. VivaLaVida only crosses trucks.
8. Small farm photographed on the fly, when drivingg…
9. I love these trucks!
10. Sunset…
11. Early wake up in a wind farm where I spent the night.
12. VLV doesn’t need much to stop…
13. Driving through Kansas City…
14. … then St-Louis, Missouri.
After two days driving accross the continent and some 1,700 miles further, VLV joined Georgia where I had dinner with my friend Colin before reaching North Carolina to begin work that should allow to register VLV in Switzerland.
I will tell you more in a few days… 😀

Arch and highlands…

As written at the end of the previous article, I went to discover a natural arch, one of these natural formations that always attract me much. These, called Aspen Arch, is fairly isolated. To achieve it requires first finding your way through a maze of various tracks more or less maintained and then, about 20 miles further, to hike through virgin nature on a sometimes steep mountainside.
1. The place I left VivaLaVida for a few hours…
2. After 3 hours hijing and some pretty climbing, I discover Aspen Arch.
3. Its about 70 feet long impress!
4. Continuing her way eastward, VLC crosses beautiful highlands.
5. Lost ranch…
6. Looks like the Altiplano sometimes, here with a salty pond…
7. The track is not very marked in places…
8. In Hartsel, small highland village…
9. Another ranch, a bit further, as VLC approach the last mountain range before the great plains, laste Rocky Mountains range eastward.
10. Not far from the road, a small group Pronghorn antelope, the last species of wild antelope in North America.
11. With some patience, I let them approach.
12. VLC sometimes serves me as a blind! 😉
13. Only a few miles further, a new unexpected meet: a beautiful deer that VLV hardly scares.
14. And a small band of burro, wild donkeys.
15. That day, they were more fearful than the deer, I couldn’t approach that much!
Continuation and end of my crossing of Colorado in a few days…

Still in Colorado

Transition stage still in Rocky Mountains.
1. Being back from my walk to Crystal Mill at night, I slept at the edge of Lizard Lake, just above the village of Marble.
2. Surprise in the morning: the small Marble air strip host an aviation meeting. Something for you Marc-André! 😉
3. Everyone came for the night with tent and picnic and leaves the next morning.
4. Radio is ensured by a simple walkie-talkie at the edge of the track to which everyone has free access.
5. A little further, the site of Redstone and his row of charcoal kilns. Beautiful!
6. After a short stop in the posh resort of Aspen, VLC crossed the Independence Pass, at about 12,000 feet above sea level.
7. Mountain river.
8. The first of beautiful Twin Lakes.
9. It’s good to walk there for a while…
10. Small town along the road…
11. A track that should lead me to another natural arch…
12. Another nice boondocking spot into the wild…
I will show you Aspen Arch in the next update! 😀

Further North but still in Colorado

After a few days at high altitude, I finally came down, well … a bit since I stayed between 7,000 and 11,000 feet.
1. A sign I had never seen yet..! 😉
2. La Crystal River in early morning.
3. Small waterfall not far of my camp.
4. After passing Schofiled Pass, I reached Paradize Divide and its beautiful little lake.
5. going down in Paradize Valley gilding by aspens.
6. VivaLaVida likes it!
7. I tried passing the Gunsight Pass but the last track section was swept away by a landslide. So I stopped near a small mountain lake to snack before going back down…
8. Gilding aspens…
9. Another beautiful river inhabited by beavers…
10. And finally, Crystal Mill, an old mill dating from the small mining Crystal Town, circa 1890. I unfortunately arrived after the sun set…
More to come soon…

Alpine Loop (2)

I slept in Animas Fork. This is an old mining town founded in 1880 and which was abandoned around 1920 when the fall of the metal rate during the great depression made their extraction unprofitable. The village hosted up to 450 people during the summer of 1887.
1. The village transformed into a Ghost Town but an association keeps the remains in a state close to the original.
2. The “mill” that served to separate ore by block sizes collapsed.
3. Well preserved house that housed two families (one per floor).
4. VivaLaVida heading to another pass over 13,000 feet : Engineer Pass.
5. Small alpine lake…
6. The track rises in the tundra. It doesn’t seem but some sections are quite steep.
7. Reaching the pass.
8. Grandiose panorama…
9. VivaLaVida looks small up there!
10. Tundra and Snowy rocks.
11. Touch of vegetal color…
12. Facing to the North…
13. … there is a “Matterhorn Peak”! Funny Americans! 😉
14. Descent into the aspens I so love and who, on this slope, began to take their fall colors, such intense orange yellow !
15. A small lake made by Mr. Beaver!
16. Dam builder.
17. Capitol City.
18. Indicator of past industrial activity, an arch dam built around 1890 or what is left…
19. Beautiful house in the picturesque small mining town of Lake City.
20. 2nd street…
21. Cinnamon Valley in late afternoon.
22. Aspens.
23. last sunrays on the road.
24. Cheers from my camp along the Lake Fork Gunnison River.
It continues with some other places of Colorado in a few days. Thank you for your loyalty to follow this blog! 😀