Port Alfred – 26/27 July

We got up early-ish, took a shower and actually felt clean afterwards – no offence to the showers at Chintsa but the ones at Medolino was SPOTLESS! We made breakfast and packed up. Before I took the tent down I asked Clayton to amuse me and start Bertus. He turned the ignition… again, and again. I stopped packing, went to push down on the bonnet, Clayton went to pull the lever in the car (it is a 2 man operation to open it). He got his tools out and went to the back, I went to the drivers’ side to turn the ignition when told to do so. Not too long afterwards the inevitable help from a stranger will arrive. It was like a well rehearsed play – everyone knew where to go and what to do.

The amazing green lawns of Medolino caravanpark.
It is a perfectionist’s dream – not a single piece of grass out of place

Team Yolo (You Only Live Once for those who are reading and over 50) from the Put Foot Rally arrived the previous night – full of stories that we can only dream off. They came over with encouragement and Beetle engine advice. Seems like everywhere we go, we find someone that had a Beetle that gave them problems. At this stage, I am taking it as a good sign – there is a lot of help out there!

At 10:45 Clayton turned the ignition (I abandoned post after an hour) and… my favorite sound! I am not sure what they did to fix Bertus but I vaguely remember something about a rotor-head that he changed. I know Clayton also converted it back to an electronic ignition and when that did not work, changed it back to point and condenser. I am going to speak fluent mechanic after this trip.

So… hi ho hi ho and off to wherever Bertus can get to, we go! After driving about 75km north, we had to stop because Bertus was overheating. We have entered stage 2 of Beetle problems but I felt like we have now, officially, joined the Beetle Owners Club with our overheating problems. We thought the place we stopped at is relatively save but a guy in a white bakkie stopped to tell us that it is not. We decided Bertus had cooled down enough and continued on our way, followed by the guy in the bakkie. He kept driving behind us for about 10km and indicated we should stop at the police station just down the road (a glorified cargo-container, SAPS logo and RSA flag but it was the brand-new air-con in the window that made it look legit). He got out of his car and gave us his card, telling us to phone him if we need any help. Ironically, it would seem that so far the best place to get help is to stop at an unsafe place and wait for a person in a white bakkie.

We got to East London, bought new oil and stopped at Chris’ garage outside Chintsa to do a quick oil change. Our mechanic used the incorrect oil when he did it 2 days ago and that is why it overheated. Thanks Shane!

While Clayton was busy, Chris went to dig around in his combi spares and found an old carburetor that looked a x1000 better than the China-knock off we currently had. Best part: Chris did not need it and gave it to us for free! We waved him goodbye, not quite sure if we will see him a bit later, tomorrow or never. Uncertainty like that makes for awkward good byes.

While all this was happening I kept thinking about Team Yolo and their adventure and thought: will ours ever start? And then it hit me – this IS our adventure. It might not fit the picture I had in mind all those months ago but this is it. We will either have to deal with it or make other plans, but this is the adventure. At this stage we still have a little bit of fighting-spirit left. To prove my point: Clayton is actually excited to get to Durban, find a carburetor repair kit and overhaul our new, old carburetor.

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