Friday, July 8, 2011

Charity trip to Kg Rekom and Volvo's first outing.

Volvo is loaded up - wait a minute a Volvo for a offroad trip - YUP my 31 year old Vovo C304 Military truck on it's first jungle trip. Great 3 days away from the rat race of Kuala Lumpur. Wait for Tappa my winchwench for the weekend and he arrives 5pm late due to the traffic then we Head to Karak 70k away to pickup 500 rubber saplings for my CSR project for the blind village 52k deep into the jungle of Kelantan.

God it's going to take us hours. Paul in DAFFY with Annuar is some 2-3 hours behind us playing catchup as the Volvo only cruises happily at 71k. Karak 70k away and 90 minutes later at the nursery and 475 rubber saplings are loaded in and we wheel around and head back to the Bentong exit and head North with the sun fading fast. We stop at Bentong for last minute supplies MILO and water and tea bags and dinner (for me its breakfast and lunch also) then back on the road this time Tappa is driving and we test out the newly adjusted 100watt headlights and new spotlights - PERFECT we can see. After 11 months of fixing the Volvo up to a reliable state I hope it will be ok.

loaded up and ready to rock where is TAPPA?

Tappa with cancer stick and loading the rubber plants.

We cruise on alone then the world lights up behind us - damn DAFFY has caught us man he musta been flying. Shortly after the noisy belt under the engine suddenly goes BANG and then the engine is quieter the noisy BELT has come off DAFFY informs us. I drift in and out of sleep as much as one can in a vehicle which makes 747 Jumbo Jet sound quiet then 40k from Gua Musang the there is a downshift a jerk then the Volvo slows - NO DRIVE ses Tappa - #@#@ I say. A check reveals yup no gears at all - clutch no the truck is stuck in neutral and we decide DAFFY once again has to tow a GeckoAdventure truck - this time DAFFY cannot pull the Volvo without being in LOW range - so its a 35k an hour tow into Gua Musang where they drop me at the workshop it's now 1.30am and I inform them they must continue on and take the rubber saplings and Tappa with them and I will catch them up later in the day. If I not there tomorrow nite then not coming. Satellite phone is our communication tool as we both have one. I sleep in the back of the Volvo awesome just rollout the US military matress out with a sleeping bag and SLEEP in seconds no putting a TARP up - love it. The workshop comes alive 9.00am and they muck around for hours finally they disconnect the HI/LO lever and the Volvo springs to life shifting manually at the gearbox. I cruise off for food and they fit two new Belts and its 1.00pm. A quick test drive with the mekanik grinning like a chesire cat its good to go refuel wow only 49 liters for 281k good stuff. I get a sat call from Paul they finished the charity work and heading down so they will wait for me at the big "Y" intersection.

I finish fueling and tell them 90 minutes I will be there. Later interrogation revealed the Kg Rekom Orang Asli crew made the track so good there was not one obstacle on the trip in and no one got out of their trucks no one got stuck - simply awesome job to clear 10k of track with only hand tools my hats of to them. I was also dissappointed not to get there so I will be taking more goodies up on my next trip.

The Volvo enters the jungle and I cruise in high range stopping at a logging point

The Volvo resting at log collection point.

and Gua Cha which I find now disgustingly dirty since the logging trucks started using it as a resting point. Malaysian's take your rubbish HOME.

Gua Cha

and then when everything in the back moves after a huge hole bounces the Volvo all over the road. Then it's the Sungai Perias log bridge and i'm encountering lorri hantu's the progress is slow in the Volvo most hills taken in 1st and slow but the Volvo is very easy to drive. 4.50pm I arrive at the "Y" and collect Paul and Tappa and Annuar. We cruise off with the other 8 vehicles in the convoy just in front somewhere.

The Broken Miss Bitchy convoy

We find them well 3 of them Miss Bitchy's one a STORM has tossed it's FAN then the radiator mounts break off. A repair is being effected with wire and we wait to escort them. They are stunned a Volvo wow and then it starts raining damn that's not in the plan that's going to ruin a few peoples day's. Then the Vovlo is leading a small convoy of 5 and we reach the watefall turnoff and chat to the village people first and greetings exchanged and some gifts.

At the village and turnoff and yes thats rain clouds in the background.

Into Low range and up the hill 400-500 meters to climb in 3k with 2-3 seriously steep ascents awaiting. The Volvo does it albiet slowly no issue with grip its ponderous 2,700kg ensuring all sneakers stay on terra firma.

It's steep and the track easy then we hear on the radio the convoy is stuck at a climb - I know which one too hahaha then gridlock on the track. Chaos 4 vehicles stuck on the slope. One winching up and almost at the top, the other winching of it and a Ferozza stuck against the bank. The last another Pajero unable to move as it slides backwards each time they move it. We guide this one out the way. I bully past the sticken Ferozza and park behind the Landcruiser II being winched up. 60 minutes later its out of the way and they have two at the top of the first climb. Then I push the Volvo up the slope from dead stop several times up and up 4,000revs or less first gear and lockers engaged front and rear slowly I make it. Daffy is next and it demolishes the hill the XT's providing awesome grip and the 1KZ the power.

The traffic jam

The second landcruiser ahread of me I pull up beside it and park unable to pass the winch cable.

Volvo victorius at the top of the slope 3 more to go.

Yup its a long way down that slippery slope.

Then the problem 1/2 of them want to stay and 1/2 want to leave they have our tarp so Paul goes back down to collect it and back up. Then the Volvo winches down the Landcriuiser 80 Series and then the second Landcruiser II and my PTO jams winding the cable back in #@#@#@##@ Damn. By this time its dark and its raining again upwards we climb in the dark 800 meters to CAMP and the track is a SLIPPERY mess the Volvo sits on 3,800-4,000 revs first gear low lockers engaged engine screaming and slowly crawling up catching DAFFY the track is destroyed someone has bulldozed it what a mess. Then we see lights (wah lights who from) and a camp and we are at the waterfall. The camp is a MUDDY mess and we see the reason an excavator. We pitch camp right in the sea of mud opposite the wonderful Lata (waterfall) Pendat.

Dinner is cooked for me as I relax with a cold beer. 3-4am I am woken by a huge rainstorm pounding our camp and water flows freely under our beds. Morning reveals all the damage to this little paradise is immense a complete bank destroyed and the track which leads to the crashed C47 Dakota all gone and the HUGE bambo plants all ripped out in the name of a temporary shelter. We are camped in 3-4 inches of mud. They are putting a building up for 150 school kids for a research camp for 5 days - unbelieveable damage for a 5 day camp.

The magnificient first 30 meters of Lata Pendat the rest climbs another 70+ meters up the hill.

Anyway we relax even if the Volvo is leaking oil from the front axles and the whole day is spent sitting at the waterfall or in the shade of camp talking crap and putting up ideas for the customisation of the rear of the Volvo and relaxing and eating.

Our mud camp at 665 Meters.

Soon it's Monday no one wants to go home but it's time to head back to the rat race we have breakfast and slowly pack up camp and try and fix the PTO - ooops we make it worse and now the PTO cable is jammed. We depart knowing this place will NEVER NEVER be the same again and is ruined for 10+ years we will have to find another secret location to camp at.

The apprentice cooks - basic cooking roti chennai and curry beef and baked beans and other simple meals hahaha.

That impressive Volvo

Down the big hills and it's all drying out so the track is easy. We reach the exit to the track and yup it starts raining so we stop and talk to to the villagers who are upset with what happened to their waterfall and their tribal land - I sense a legal battle looming as they have landrights over it.

Ok so it's pouring when we depart the village and driving the Volvo becomes hairy only twice do we really run out of control downhill one caught on video the other only the start of the sliding chaos still I managed to keep the Volvo straight even with no power steering. Soon the Volvo is completely covered in mud and the rain abates and we have a very narrow miss with a wildy out of control Lorri Hantu flashes past our front on a corner all 10 wheels locked up as it slides downhill and stopped with both front wheels on the edge of the bank. Stunned we carry on even more careful. Then an awesome sound the straining of a DIESEL engine and we see it a lorri hantu with two massive logs on it and one little balancing log. It takes us 5 minutes to pass it as it is just so wide. Once back down at Sungai Perias log bridge we relax only 20k of easy road to go. haha never say that we encounter a tree down but its actually 4 and it takes us 45+ minutes to clear it with two chainsaws going flat out and the winch to pull the logs off the road then we encounter a flooded road and we are out 3 hours later. Time for a comulsory car wash before entering Gua Musang and then a well earned meal its 7.30pm when we sit down for dinner. 281K to go home at 60-70k its 4-5 hours driving. Ps The Volvo consumed some 80 liters for fuel for the 180 round offroad trip basically 45liters per 100k hahaha totally worth it. 2.30am we roll into my driveway and unpack the Volvo completely then its sleep time. The next trip to the Village will be in October 2011.s

The Volvo went to the shop next morning the jammed PTO cable was cut out and the PTO got a cage to stop the 11mm steel cable flicking out ever again. The axles seals both sides replaced and its ready for the next trip and I'm taking a set of axle seals for the next trip just in case. The grand total 791Kilometers travelled by the Volvo almost incident free maybe next time - maybe.

Roll on the next trip.