I think us old overlanders should reflect about the recent tragedy in Kenya. Of course our sympathies go to the families of the bereaved, but those who died, who were in our age group, should also be respected as amongst us.
As for the poor driver, many of us can think, "there but for the grace of God, go I". I remember the Zoji La, on the way to Ladakh, and looking down thousands of metres and seeing buses and trucks from that same road way down there.
The Asian overland has been stuffed up beyond belief, I'd say gone for the rest of our lives at least, but the spirit still lives and all power to it.
Yes Mike, I agree with your sentiment completely. I have said it many times that we were very fortunate in Sundowners/Capricorn and I know its a record that Ron is very proud of. I know for a fact that we did take great care in the preparation of coaches proir to departure but accidents do happen.
This truck had a front right tyre blow out which is a bit unusual in modern times. There is talk that they ran over something on the road which caused the tyre to blow. Did it blow out, it did look a bit like it may have been running flat or near flat for sometime? I had a front right tyre blow out on the Hume Freeway ( a lot different to Kenya I admit) at 110km/hr in a Toyota Troop Carrier and I managed to control it to a stop and the tyre had a big hole in the side wall but what I saw on TV was a total delamination of the tread from the case all the way around and I would not be jumping to conclusions.
In Capricorn we used TOYO Tyres and "cleanskins" all the way around. In around two and a half years and eight overlands the Titanic never had any tyre issues.
In the early days of Deluxe we ran retreads on the drive and tag axles and some of these tyres had been retreaded several times and needless to say we had lots of trouble with them particuarly in WA in the summer. The problem got greater when the tread came partly off and took out the airbag suspension, we carried new airbags on every coach but you had to know how to put them on and it was a potential danger zone for the inexperienced.
Often tyre condition often does depend upon cost and the importance placed on safety but only a fool has anything but the best tyre available on the front.
“Many house boats in Dal Lake were completely destroyed after flash floods, triggered by a breach in the embankment of Jhelum at Ram Munshi Bagh in Srinagar, increased the water level of the lake drastically.”
Simon, I won’t say who it was – that’s up to the driver but I wouldn’t be shy about it because he may have saved at least some of our lives – but on one Capricorn overland the front left tyre, a retread, disintegrated while we were trucking through Europe at a merry clip. I had forgotten about it until your comment, but remember turning around to see the tyre, in bits and pieces, rolling along the road behind us. Fortunately the driver was highly skilled, enough to keep control of the coach and park it off road as if he still had all four tyres.
He was quite shaken afterwards, but kept his nerve while it mattered most.
Hi Mike, Srinagar doesn't look too good. It is amazing, all those years of Overland Groups and now houseboats ruined by flood water, doesn't seem right.
Mike far be it for me to doubt you mechanical ability but I would need confirmation that it was a "retread" fitted to the front of a Capricorn Coach. I certainly never saw ANY retreads used on any Capricorn (or Sundowners for that matter) Coaches. And really it is RULE #1 NEVER put a retread on a steering axle!!!!
I admit I am wise after the event here as I don't remember seeing a retread while I was overseas but I had too much to do with them upon return to Australia. In the early days of Deluxe we used them on every drive and tag axle and as I was driving Brisbane to Perth and back every week (thats accross the Nullabor twice a week) I had my fair share of problems. The drive axles were a dual application and if the outside one let go the problems were not so great but if an inside one went it would take out the airbag suspension and after about the first twenty I could change an airbag in less than an hour and be on my way. The Tag (single following apart from the American Eagle) was a bigger issue, these tyres wore out VERY quickly as they were dragged accross the bitumen sideways on sharp turns and so owners looked to retreads as a cheap alternative but we blew lots of Tags as well.
When I started my own bus business I soon came face to face with these problems and as I bought all my tyres from Bandag in Albury, after a few years I gained a bit more insight into retreading of tyres. Billy was my man in the Albury reatreading plant and if I took a case in to be reatreaded he would take me into the (very smelly) plant and show me the case after it had all the rubber taken off the case, this bloke had been doing it for so long that he could tell how successful a recap would be on a particular case. But what I also learnt was that some trucking operators would retread case up to five times and of course the risk of a problem increased each time it was done.
On my coaches I ran retreads on the drive axle only, and in the winter only, and for ONE retread only and when I started to make some money I used only cleanskins all round and sold used tyres before they were retreaded.
Clearly we had good drivers in Capricorn and Sundowners, the facts are there for all to see, in all the accidents we had, and some of them were spectacular, NOBODY was killed, this is an amazing fact and one that I am proud to be associated with, I have been associated in other operations where for instance two full coachloads died when two of our coaches ran "head on" into each other.
So Mike I am hugely doubtful that Capricon would put a retread on the steer axle (I think of people like Barry Deacon, Greg Paul, Simon Arms, Kit Carr......they just wouldn't do it!) and at this point I would say I am looking for confirmation from the Driver.
In the 3 years with Overlander Coaches I always had new tyres, no retreads. In those 3 years, I never had a flat tyre. When I joined Sundowners, I never saw a retread, but I did have blow out on the front on the way home from Istanbul. I gave Kees my spare tyre before leaving Istanbul as he drove from London to Istanbul before he realized that he didn't have a spare. So not having a spare, I took one off the back and stuck it on the front and ran 3 on the rear end. I had no pax so it wasn't a problem. I picked up a second hand one in Alexandroupolis and headed for London only to get a flat on the German Autobahn. So once again I ran 3 on the rear. Got to Vlissengen and Fingers picked it up and took it Back to London. Tyre's are like shoes, if you don't have a good set, you'll have problems.
> far be it for me to doubt you mechanical ability
"Mechanical"? What's that? Oooooooooooooooh, big word, Simon!
I'm between a rock and a hard place here. If an answer is to be given to your query, it's to be from the driver, not from me. I retain the same loyalty to him that I retain to you, and, believe me, he was seriously good. So, no tell-tale-titism from me. Ever.
Mind you, my memory is being assaulted by decrepitude. I remember, though, that there were two axles with those round rubber thingiess at each end.
>Are we going to see you at the Reunion?
Sadly, no. No ay moneda. Disculpe. You'll have to keep that Capricorn flag flying alongside Sundowners' without me.
Mike, I was sorry to read that you can't make the reunion. I am sure you will be missed (although Kit may group you in with other non attendees and use some unmanagement like language in the description of this group.)
"no ay donero" is that right? I think its more like "no spenda ma donero" pity but thems the breaks. There are two sides to this, on one hand I will never see again that weather beaten, slightly unkept, Northern Territory exterior that you brought with you last time and the one I will take to my grave which is a great pity but I will understand and on the other hand that is one hangover I have avoided already and it's not even October yet, I'm feeling better already.
Sundowners didn't use recaps in my time there as I recall.
We dealt with a company called Swanwicks tyres and they used to sell us all kinds of tyres, but not caps.
There were more brands then, and Semperit was popular with Sundowners budget.
What contributed to blow outs then was that we used tubed tyres, and these are prone to heat build up if the pressures are down a bit, or the conditions are hot. A combination of both could lead to blow outs easily.
On the last trip I did we drove out of Karachi at over 40 degrees, and the tar surface on the road was melted for many kilometres. We didn't lose any tyres, but they were very hot when we stopped fro breaks. Fortunately the "forced air" ventilation system kept us cool......not
LIKE there is going to be a reunion of the biggest learning experience of your life!
Get real man, this is your last chance to relive your Overland experiences, you after all are over 60 and not far from "Zimmerland" (as am I).
If it makes it any easier I will pick up two nights (Friday & Saturday) accommodation, food & alcohol, some of us are going to be falling off the perch soon and this will be our last chance to get together. There can't be too many other places where you are held in such high regard. Think about it, no pressure, once only offer, get back to me. firstname.lastname@example.org