Since the conception of the tour’s idea in June 2011, Elisabeth and Fred have worked unceasingly to prepare the car and the trailer, and themselves for the five year trip that will offer a totally new and different life style. Their house has been prepared for renting out, employment is being terminated, bank accounts changed etc.
The preparations of the Mercedes are well under way. The completely refurbished rear and front axles are ready for installation, the drive train overhauled and steering components replaced. The engine is being overhauled and scheduled for installation in mid-November. Electrical works, including the fitting of a new high output alternator and advanced security system are due for completion before Christmas. A full under-body protection system is awaiting fitting underneath the car.
The modifications of the Zambezi are nearing completion. Extensive electrical systems were built to provide for the trailer’s power, using supply either from the car’s 12-14V or the 110-240V, 50 and 60Hz pole power to be encountered in the world; a major challenge as the trailer is small and weight is to be kept to an absolute minimum. A wet-weather closing locker and a 40-litre water tank are being manufactured, while modifications to the tent include an extension to the kitchen, the strengthening of the tent at various load points, and numerous new pockets and tie-downs. Security improvements, including a purpose-built alarm system with satellite tracker are being completed.
Fred and Elisabeth expect the car and trailer to be operational late January 2014, ready for a 2,500 mile shake-down, followed by further work and modifications. It is anticipated that the car and trailer will be ready for shipping in a 40-foot container to the USA early April 2014.