Sunday, September 20, 2015

Things that go bump in the night

Our 10CR was going so well, the car performed absolutely fine all the first morning and, after a lunch in a cafe at Treysa, Germany, we set off on a cunning plan to go “off piste” and visit Colditz. We drove through some epic downpours and lightning storms later on the Autobahns and reached Colditz Castle, which is certainly an impressive site – even from the Lidl car park!

By now it was late afternoon with no time for a visit, so we made our escape towards the Czech border, regaining the route as we actually crossed the border at about 10.30pm. Little did we know what was about to happen and how our adventure would be a very different one from the one we planned.

I was navigating whilst Dave was driving on the road north of Plana in the Czech Republic when I heard and felt a huge “thud”. “What the eff was that?” was my question and the reply was “3 pigs just ran out in front of the car and we hit at least one of them”.

Immediately the ignition light came on so we switched the main beam off and it went back out again. Scanning the volt meter and the temperature gauge, to start with they seemed OK but soon the temparatue gauge started going up. At least all the lights were still working and the car still drove OK.

Now, what would you least like to happen next? Oh yes, the Czech Police waving us down. They didn't speak any English and we certainly didn't speak any Czech but after showing them that we had papers for the car and they had seen our passports they waved us on. They were probably more interested in the trucks that were passing and wanted to stop them instead.

It was at this time, though, that we noticed the steam coming out from under the bonnet. I didn't want to investigate in the presence of the Czech Police, however, so I took over the driving and we drove on a short distance into the next village and pulled up next to a pond. We lifted the bonnet and, by the light of torches, we could see a hole punched in the centre of the radiator where it had been pushed back into the pulley.

So, what to do next? First thing make sure we are safe, so put the emergency triangle out and pull on the hi-viz. Next, remove everything out the boot so I could see if we had any Radweld, to which the answer was no. Maybe we could keep going if we could just stop every few kms and refill the radiator? We tried putting in a bottle full of pond water but it came out from the radiator as fast as we poured it in.

I next made a phone call through to Dale Barker of Club Triumph asking if anyone had a spare radiator, unlikely as it may seem, or any Radweld. Unfortunately not, so we decided to try and get into the next town rather than stay in a small village. We drove on to Plana and just made it into the town square with the car “pinking”. Not good, and any thoughts of trying to limp to Cortina, for example, were clearly off the agenda.

I had hoped that if we could cut the route and get to Cortina then we could have done some panel beating with a lump hammer and, with the help of other Club Triumph members, sourced another radiator or found somewhere to get a repair made.

By now though it was around midnight and I made the decision to call for breakdown assistance under my insurance policy with Peter James and that was only the beginning of a heck of a saga!

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