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Second and Third Days

Katherine, Australia

Mike's Top Gear Challenge continued....

To recap day 1 I purchased the dirtiest car I have ever seen for $900 from "Cheap as Chips Cars"
and I have returned to my hotel to see what I have.

Here's what I found in the car that I kept- 
$3.00 in change
Service Log Book with original purchaser name which was the City of Waverly in Melbourne of all places!
The Magna Owners Manual
1 Ballpoint pen
1 Nice Art Paint Brush
A toothbrush for cleaning in the cracks
A China Plate
A Large Paper Clamp
Various broken trim pieces and odd bolts and fasteners (you never know when these will come in handy)

My vehicle assessment turned up the fact that a slip of a receipt slid into a crack on the steering wheel was the only thing keeping the horn from continuously blaring so that would have to be dealt with. The whole front of the steering wheel was taped on with clear plastic tape so some odd disaster must have occurred in the distant past by the look of the tape's condition....hmmmm

The only other time I spent on the car the first day was reading the owners manual and seeing if all the dash warning lights worked- they did.

On Day 2 my friends, Elizabeth and Peter were meeting me for lunch and relocating me to their house in Humpty Doo about 45 K South of Darwin CBD. Peter kindly offered his mechanics experience to take a look the car to help me get down the road.

I was a bit embarrassed by the condition of the car and that they had easily picked it out in the lot! Peter drives a late model Holden that looks like a Mercedes "S"Class and is a Beaut. All of his vehicles are impeccably maintained. 

Following him to our luncheon spot was a challenge since his car had way more pickup than mine, but I kept close as I could. It was an experience getting the car over 80-100 KPH and seeing how she ran. At about 1900-2200 on the tach the engine shook quite a bit and I had a couple of backfires as well when stepping on the gas.

We did safely arrive at the restaurant and had a light lunch and iced coffees. Elizabeth ran into a friend in the parking lot who was too polite to ask who the fool with the shit car was who was with them.

Driving to their place I got up to even higher speeds following Peter and the car kept chugging- I was encouraged that the temperature gauge read in the middle and never approached the top even when I was hard on the gas.

Elizabeth had a riding lesson so when she left Pete and I dug into the car. I popped the hood and he started checking things out and found that I had new plug wires and spark plugs, a fairly new radiator and power steering fluid holder, Oil that was so clean it was hard to see on the dip stick and that I was a little low on coolant so he added some.

He checked the CV joints on the wheels and when I mentioned the timing belt that I thought all Japanese cars have and that I worried about its' condition he showed me that I had timing chain and would probably never have to replace it.

"Bloody hell", Pete said, "you've got the best $900 car ever here. The tires are brand new and worth $400 and the registration has 10 months left and that's $500 right there without the rest of the car!".

So just maybe I have been lucky here.

The next day was set aside for the cleaning project and buying the other things Pete suggested were necessary considering where I was traveling. This includes:
2 10 Liter Fuel Jerry Cans
1 10 Liter Water Jerry Can
5 Liters of Oil
A full bottle of coolant
1 replacement belt for the Water pump and 1 replacement belt for the Alternator
AFT Fluid
I added a cooler to the list for food and drinks. This all added up to about $200 worth of stuff.

Pete generously shared his cleaning supplies and Armor All and when we got done with the shopping the cleaning commenced in earnest.

Pete brought out the shop vac and I spent two hours vacuuming everything that was not nailed down out of the car. This was a job and a half, but results showed up pretty quickly and it made a huge difference in my desire to be in the car at all.

After the vacuum came the Armor Alling---I think I used over half a large bottle going over the dash and every plastic piece on the car. Again, the results were amazing and the color and shine of the materials came back. Not too shabby. Next was interior window cleaning and last was a complete heavy rinse and 45 minutes with a sponge and soap on every exterior surface with full on scrubbing with the sponge. The another heavy rinse and Walah! The Blue ? was habitable and no longer a rolling filth magnet. Pete thought it looked looked like a $1200 car at least now!

All this work created an appetite and when I took them to dinner at the Humpty Doo Pub and Hotel/Casino there was a Man vs. Food challenge: 

Eat a rack of Pork Ribs in twenty minutes and you got them for 1/2 price!

Elizabeth dared me to try and I was forced to defend America's reputation for overconsumption and accepted. When the waitress brought a huge plate of ribs out I said-"Well it's a lot, but it looks doable". The waitress smiled and said, "No, this isn't yours hun, this is her 1/2 order of ribs".

My plate was a monster, but since this was a Fathers Day Promotion I took out Aubrey's picture from my wallet and said, "This one is or you, kid." and dug in. The record that day was 7 minutes an 40 seconds and I reckoned I could do it in 12. My first 1/2 was done in just under 7 and I worked my way through the second slowed up by some small bones on the end of some of  the ribs. Finally I was finished with a time of exactly 14 minutes...Man Defeats Food!!!!!
The restaurant gave me a 10% off coupon on my next dinner which I presented to Elizabeth and a laminated certificate which I have used my large paper clamp to attach to my Driver Side sun visor in the car.

Of course I was an appalling mess- good thing I had a bib on!
Anyway that was the end of that day. Tomorrow the Blue ? and I hit the road in earnest for Lichfield National Park and ending up at the Katherine Gorge.

Let the fun commence!

permalink written by  Mike_Veine on September 2, 2012 from Katherine, Australia
from the travel blog: Mike's Top Gear Challenge
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permalink written by  Rob Krystofiak on September 4, 2012

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