Updating - Albert's RRR usually requires a rainy day, so why aren't there at least three updates per week, you may ask, given we are still waiting for summer to arrive in Scotland (or for winter to go away).
Weather - the fact is that of late even on rainy days restoration work has proceeded, albeit at a slower pace. We do not grizzle here at the Craigend Albion Recovery Centre, but by heck, it's been frustrating!
So what has been going on?
Engine - fully overhauled; re-installed in bus; original fuel injector pump; recon injectors and dynamo all the way from Sydney; new batteries purchased; plenty of cussing to get all finally in place; but, quite literally the CX19 engine started on the first push of the button - as you would expect.
|Look at all that copper and bronze! No wonder rascals pinch these things, for their scrap metal value! The arrows show burned areas on the contact surfaces. Click on the photo to enlarge.|
Radiator - original unit expertly reconditioned by Paul and Derek, now proudly and magnificently in place up front (see pic. in earlier post).
Rear platform - reconditioned and sealed all round with new floor covering - looking smart.
Staircase - lower steps re-built to allow clean storage space beneath, with upper section currently being restored.
Top deck - apart from two sections on either side and a piece at the rear the original Aussie hardwood floor (64 yrs old) has been retained in excellent condition, with a brand new plywood topping fitted throughout. Side panels restored, some renewed, all with insulation between inner/outer plus internal gutter sealing (no draughts up yer pillow this time). Floor red, lower panels green; upper panels white.
Rear axle - now here lies a story . . . but more later. (see 'Rear Axle" post: ed.)
Suffice to say Albert has an as-good-as new high ratio diff in place which, with our existing 2-speed transfer box will give a top road speed of 50 mph / 80kph . . . unheard of for Sydney double-deckers!
On the Crew, Operational and Administrative fronts . . .
Crew - committed all the way; Andy, David; "Popeye"; Rosemary; Trudy
Drivers - we have three Albion experienced drivers for the entire journey (Andy, David, "Popeye")
Reserve Skipper - a capable crew member to take over should Andy step on an IED or fall over laughing with the Kazahks (D G)
Purser - our on-board crew member to run the bus "office" . . . all the way to Sydney(R D)
Finances - ALBERT's restoration remains below budget for the work done, although it must be added that there have been significant contributions of time and expertise by many individuals to make this situation possible and whose efforts will be recognised in an appropriate way, allbeit not at the expense of Albert-Share holder funds. Meanwhile, enlisted crew members are asked to maintain their Albert-Share purchases as per schedule, please.
Open crew portfolios - "Popeye" and Trudy have yet to select their full journey portfolios; opportuntities for sector travellers will be offered a little later in the piece . . . meanwhile, keep talking - please!
Crew Vacancies - there are now FIVE full journey slots to be filled, as well as places on intermediate sectors B & C.
Sector travel - UK to Istanbul - 3 places confirmed (AM, PD x2); Perth to Sydney - 4 places confirmed (AM, LP; KP; HW)
In the wings . . . if just ten per cent of those join who have expressed such a desire, we are full! However, it is well understood that not everyone can make their commitment way in advance. The Crew list will be filled, the only question mark really being . . . will we need a relief Albion double-decker Perth to Sydney?
NEW! Itinerary extension - from Shanghai to Singapore - we are currently researching the route south through Laos, Thailand, Malaysia to Singapore and will make a decision in the next few weeks. If adopted this extension will add another sector to our overall journey (2 more Albert-Shares for those not already on board) and, surely, a most fascinating conclusion to this grand expedition - plus! - a much simplified shipping challenge across the ocean to Fremantle-WA!
Sponsorship - following our discussions with the CPN group in California, so near yet so far but not meant to be, ALBERT is still seeking that special entity to support our shipping expenses and to add a spark of additional glamour to the expedition. Many formal applications have been submitted during the past year; the website is constantly being viewed by sponsor prospects - that we know; still the message continuesd to out . . . likely as not our supporter will come from an unexpected direction!
Schools - now working on the schools initiative with one already keen to follow Albert's round-the-world adventure. This is a subject really worth developing; for school children to have an inter-active connection with the bus; what we are doing; where we are; make friends with schools along the way; etc.. Please extend any thoughts or experience you have on this subject.
Albert Film - regular movie shots continue of the various restoration processes for inclusion in the on-road documentary film. No "big-brother-bus" film here, no way; but an extraordinary and real-life tale of energy, enthusiasm, enterprise and expedition that has the potential to keep schoolies, mums, dads, uncles, aunts, workers, professionals, prime ministers and world-wide royalty glued to our wavelength for as many weeks as it takes us to get there . . and beyond. Anyone in Australia willing to get this one off the Aussie ground?
Web-site - although fairly static for some while there will be more regular updates now on. Anyone with constructive comments about this important window on our activity PLEASE SAY!
Adding your Voice - this is a participation expedition. Everyone involved is asked to chip in. You will be heard. Please let your ideas flow.
Nothing ventured . . . nothing gained . . . just fantastic NEW days to look forward to . . . SMILES to share . . . EXPERIENCES to encounter . . . GOODWILL to exchange . . . LIFE to be enriched . . . and a HAPPY CROWD in Sydney to say . . .
. . . "Hey! - welcome home ALBERT. We were a part of that too . . . "!