Lotus Elan

Namibia by (Lotus stickered) Toyota.

PostPost by: jimj » Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:11 pm

Namibia by (Lotus stickered) Toyota.

It was another one of those GREAT trips from Steve & Jack McCullagh They`ve changed the company name from Classic Car Journeys to Great Road Journeys as so many of their now are not in your own, or a weird local, classic car but in modern 4 wheel drive cars. This was an ironic GREAT road journey, though, as only about 10% of the 400+ kilometres were actually on a road. It was GREAT.

We were driving a Toyota Fortuna which was ideal, spacious and tough and we shared with pals; David and Hilary. Some did the same but most were 2 up in Hiluxes or Rangers. Being 4 up meant we could share the driving, make joint decisions and, best of all, slag off the other miscreants who were on the trip. GREAT.
There were 40 odd of us, like-minded and good company. Obviously there was the odd Austin Healey (A.H.) There always is in any crowd and it`s always a relief to find it`s not me. Especially coming from such a flawed persona as Jimmy J, to mention the shortcomings of others would be unkind. So I will:

There`s the Jazzy Sock syndrome sufferer, inevitably, where some dullard imagines “wahey” taste makes up for the lack of the sort of intellectual conversation so many of us crave. I bet Nicholas Witchell, the most boring man ever, has zig-zags on his underpants. There`s always one or two who tell everyone everything about themselves and know nothing about others. You know the sort, but by and large it was a great group. Actually by and large there were some, I have to say, that were a bit, well,…. Large. Now, I agree my vertical shape is less than linear and I`m not too svelte on the sveldt but it was apparent that with the sun virtually overhead just north of the Tropic of Capricorn at this time of year, some peoples` shadow was, at best, circular. Their portions at the buffet were hemi-spherical too. Incidentally, generally, in life, have you noticed that the ones waiting for the lift rather than climb one flight of stairs are the very ones who need the exercise?

But never mind all that, there were some great characters: I had a lot in common with P.C. John, being quite P.C. myself, and his delightful wife, Margaret was still sporting a trim figure in a bikini as she approaches the October of her years. Good for her. There was Ian and Leslie, good Yorkshire folk, even some decent sorts from down south and then there was Miles and Pat. I`m not sure where Miles was from, somewhere different, that`s for sure. Our group, who all know each other, were 14 in number though 4, the Froggatt 4, were Daily Mail readers so, obviously, they always sat together. They did like a drink or two, keeping the local vintners well in pocket. On the occasions I sat near them at dinner I found my hearing became slurred as the evenings wore on. An actual fact from the Daily Mail, yes really, I recall, is that due to the high calorific value of alcohol a bottle of white wine is equivalent to eating one and a quarter Big Macs. I conservatively calculate that the Froggatt 4 drank the equivalent of 80 Big Macs between them. That would be a sobering thought but for the pre-dinner gin and tonics on top. I wouldn`t be able to walk in a straight line if I ate that much…..plus I`d have a round shadow.
So, there we all were at dinner on the first night having arrived from various points. Even “our” group travelled on different routes and airlines, all costing about the same and taking a similar amount of time. From the airport to the hotel we saw 2 troops of baboons. I don`t know why the collective noun is a troop, maybe they suffer from flatulence. Maybe schools of fish, having a three second memory, need to keep learning and why a cete of badgers? I think there should be collective nouns for car ownership. There could be, say, a flash of Ferrari owners, a sensible of Skoda owners, a bastard of BMW owners, of course, and so on. The hotel was great, the food delicious, and the portions were, in some cases, somewhat generous. You could measure the footfall of some, returning from the buffet, on the Richter scale.

We were off, next day, to the Kalahari desert staying in lovely lodges in a game park where we were excited to see some real wild animals. A handful, perhaps, of the, possibly, dozens we might see on the whole trip. We`d no idea that we wouldn`t encounter dozens, not even hundreds, but thousands. Some we`d never even heard of. Oryx, as big as a pony and very elegant were commonplace, and delicious on the BBQ that night. It`s more commonly known here as Gemsbok. We were to see, and eat, many boks; Springboks, Steenboks, Springboks, etc. but no Knickerboks. We saw our first Giraffes here though slightly different being sort of black and ginger. A bit like the forthcoming royal baby.

The next day took us, amongst other fascinating places to River Canyon. The biggest canyon in Africa and some say second only to the Grand Canyon in size in the world. It was most impressive. We were driving mostly on gravel roads with pretty good surfaces, sometimes rocky or corrugated and sometimes thick in sand or dust which felt a bit like driving on snow. Bends were few and clearly marked and dried river crossings and similar dips and swoops kept the driver`s attention. We had, again, lovely accommodation with excellent service from the pleasant and helpful Namibians, or foreigners as the Daily Mail would call them. Throughout the trip overnight stops were to a high standard and, without fail, every shower had the controls set apart from the jet of water. In Europe it`s infuriating that so often a supposedly carefully designed bathroom with all sorts of unnecessarily complex fittings will have the taps placed so you inevitably get squirted with icey water.

Throughout the whole trip the accommodation was great, often stepping out of our lodges to fabulous vistas and numberless creatures. I liked to step out of the shower, wrap a towel around my midriff and just air dry. Not once did any passing ladies accept my offer of a loan of my towel. The weather was perfect, the temperature reaching the mid 30s most days in the shade but really pleasant as it was so dry. It was really hot in the sun though. One day we drove out to the Etosha Pan where for 180 degrees there was absolutely nothing to see but the curvature of the earth. It was so hot in the sun I reckon you could fry an egg on the Etosha Pan. Mindful of ladies potentially swooning, I didn`t wear my white, fitted, super alluring shorts. They look so hot you`d need oven gloves to touch me, not that anyone did.

Like when you park your classic car somewhere and some, probably Daily Mail reader, comes up supposedly to ask you about it. They then drone on about some Austin Cambridge that their next door neighbours`s brother`s chiropodist once nearly bought. Similarly, in the bar in the evening, others would ask about what you`d spotted that day when really, it`s only human nature, they wanted to tell you what they`d seen. It was the elephant in the room.

So what did we see? You name it, just about everything and in huge numbers. We sampled most at dinner but I did find the Eland pretty tough, just like a Lotus Elan. We saw wild horses surviving on next to nothing, their antecedents being abandoned a 100 years ago after various wars. There were Cape Seals by the 100,000 pupping around our feet at Cape Cross. We saw South Africa across the Orange River from a fantastic swoopy trail. We had the best ever calamari but not in the Kalahari. We went quad biking on huge dunes and one day most of us walked up a dune next to the, supposedly, biggest sand dune in the world. I say next to as in next to it, not next biggest though it was huge. The Daily mail would probably quote a reliable source exaggerating the size. Some did climb up Big Daddy, Tony and Roger amongst them. The big mommas, those with a circular shadow, didn`t.

We went around a disused diamond mine, a POW camp, went out on a catamaran , went to a crocodile farm where overnight security didn`t require a guard dog. Huge termite mounds were everywhere and some animals eat the termites. Some don`t as, just like Marmite, some don`t like termite. All in all it was all just GREAT. A Great Road Journey. Our expectations were high but everyone agreed they were more than met, many times over, so big thanks to Steve and Jack. The contribution from our Winter Heating Allowance was well spent.
If you`d like to go on another of these trips, and who wouldn`t? do keep healthy. Don`t eat too much or drink too much, don`t read the Daily Mail and certainly don`t smoke.

I`m sure I`ve missed out loads of things and there may be some people I haven`t offended so if I`ve missed you out I do apologise.
Jim
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PostPost by: Davidb » Mon Dec 10, 2018 6:15 pm

Four friends are doing exactly the same trip as we speak but using rented pick-up trucks that have a fold out tent on the roof-hopefully lions haven't learned to climb ladders. It sounds like a fabulous trip and I think I have concluded from your story that four is the maximum!
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PostPost by: rgh0 » Tue Dec 11, 2018 11:53 am

If your in a desert drive a Toyota. if your on a track drive a Lotus. its what i do :D

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PostPost by: rgh0 » Tue Dec 11, 2018 11:59 am

If your serious in a desert in a Toyota you drive a Landcruiser unless you need a large anti lion weapon due to concerns around lions, in which case you have it mounted on the back of you Hilux. In which case you can only carry 3 , with 2 upfront and one up back to take care of the lions

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PostPost by: SENC » Tue Dec 11, 2018 11:33 pm

Greatly enjoyed the report, as always, Jim. Shared with my better half, who enjoys a british wit as much as I do - she loved it, too. Thanks for sharing!
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PostPost by: trw99 » Wed Dec 12, 2018 11:03 am

Thanks for taking the time to write up another of your great and exciting adventures, Jim. Always appreciated and enjoyed.

Tim
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PostPost by: Mazzini » Wed Dec 12, 2018 1:54 pm

+1 thanks.
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PostPost by: jimj » Wed Dec 12, 2018 3:05 pm

Well thankyou. I write these to save and look back on in the future. I was loathe to share it here due to the lack of Lotus content but managed to contrive 2 references.
There`s a couple of typos, though; we did just over 4000 kms not 400, of course.
Jim
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