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Thread: 1991 MX-5 1.6 - roadtrip machine

  1. #1
    Beni's Avatar
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    1991 MX-5 1.6 - roadtrip machine

    As my other thread got confusing with all the different cars it's best to split them up.

    Here's the little MX-5 I bought in March this year. It was advertised for 1000 euros and looked quite sorry for itself on the pics. I haggled her down to 850 € by basically promising her to drive it and take good care of it and then went there to pick it up late one evening.

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    She or whoever neglected the poor thing, drove it into a guardrail with the right hand side, then it just stood there for another year. Engine felt good, just a bit tired from all the standing around. But after getting it hot and driving with 160 kph for the rest of the trip home to the workshop it was crisp and responsive again.

    I changed the oil and suspected there to be rust all around and so took it apart. It wasn't too bad and no surprises at all. Underbody and the seams under the fenders were superficially rusty, but other than the sills I found no holes.

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    Roof is only mostly waterproof and so the interior was damp, carpets were soaked. Not really a problem as I wanted them gone anyways.
    After removing all unnecessary trim parts and wiring I nailed it together again just in time for the first long trip, 7000 kms through scandinavia and the baltic states.

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    Ready for battle

    Proof pic will follow...
    Last edited by Quiky; August 19th, 2012 at 5:24 PM. Reason: Verified
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  2. #2
    Beni's Avatar
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    Roadtrip 2012/1 - Part 1



    It started as all my trips do, I suddenly remembered to throw some clothes into a bag, randomly packed some other stuff that looked useful at that point and got it all in the car, which already seemed full to the brim with just my luggage and the tent in the boot.

    After crossing the last points off my list, bringing some tools to a friend and filling the tank to the brim I was on the road at half past 10 in the evening.
    Check in at the ferry terminal in Fredrikshavn would be at 9 o' clock the following morning and that should have left me plenty of time, but the radio was already telling me there would be a jam an hour north because of an accident.

    Long before the announced accident there was heavy traffic, the nasty kind of jam where it constantly varies between a flow of 80 kph to a full stop and so on. First I guessed it was caused by the sheer amount of trucks making their way through the particularly hilly bit of Autobahn, but after traffic slowed down another time a Mercedes M-Class suddenly appeared stopped in the fast lane, the driver standing a few meters infront of it in the oncoming traffic.
    The jam continued and shortly after I passed the announced accident, a truck drove onto the central divider on a bridge and remained stuck there, and shortly after that took the way north at an important intersection where many other cars continued eastwards and so I had the Autobahn pretty much for myself for the rest of the journey.

    The Mazda was driving well at that point. I had just bought it in March and only drove it a few kms before pulling it apart in the garage to check for rust and other problems. Reassembly was only about two weeks before the trip but I had full confidence in it.

    Continuing towards north I stopped for fuel south of Hamburg and whilst dawn was coming I entered Danmark. Another fuel- and coffeestop was due somewhere halfway between the border and Fredrikshavn. I know Danmark (which indeed is much bigger than it looks on any map) is beautiful, but looking a it from the motorway on a rainy morning it all looked the same and I started to feel tired.

    I reached the ferry terminal after a snip over 1000 kms and one hour ahead of schedule at 8 o'clock. The waiting lanes were empty and the ship still unloading. I had about an hour to kill and sleeping in the car didn't really work, but in expectance of 8 and a half hours in comfy seats on the ferry I stayed awake and checked the maps.

    The ferry was the once stylish MS Silvia Regina and now hopelessly dated Stena Saga. There weren't any comfy seats, you could either go to a restaurant, stay at a café or use the spa. If you just wanted to lie down there was only a corny not-in-use disco. It wasn't too bad, but I didn't get more then 3 hours of sleep.

    The upside was I had internet access and so was able to sort a few things out I didn't have the time for at home. Otherwise entertainment was sparse, a nice trampish man talked to me in what I suppose was Norwegian. After making it clear that I didn't understand a word he deduced with a smile that I must be a tourist, only to continue talking to me in his language after a short while.
    There was a great open deck on top and after we reached land again the sun came out and the scenery of Oslo Fjord was spectacular. Hills, water and fortified islands, large ships passing through narrow gaps and finally Oslo itself at the end.

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    Arriving in Oslo, pic by Jan

    The primary mission of the trip was to pick a friend of mine, Jan, up from where he studied for a semester, Tallinn in Estonia. The whole idea got a little bit out of hand and after I decided that taking the ferry from Germany to Tallinn was a bit boring we somehow ended up with Jan coming to Oslo by plane to meet me and then going the long way round the Gulf of Bothnia.

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    Oslo Opera House, pic by Jan

    Since he had to adapt to the Ryan-Air schedule and I couln't leave work earlier, Jan had already been in Oslo for a night and after I cleared customs (the guy was friendly, but basically though I was nuts talking a car in this state on a trip of this scale) he waited for me at the harbour and we made a quick 2,5 hour tour around Oslo city in beautiful weather. I would have stayed another day but our schedule was tight from the beginning as I didn't have much holidays. We jumped in the car and intended to just drive until we were tired or found a good place to camp. After leaving the shore we almost instantly steered uphill into the mountains and encountered the first Moose about an hour in.

    At first the hills were low and pleasant, green forrests and lakes and a deep red and yellow dusk ahead of us. Then gradually the trees ended and we climbed higher and higher. We spotted some snow on distant hills and 15 minutes later we were already surrounded by snowy mountains. The scenery became quite surreal, the light was eerie and the road turned into an alpine like mountain pass. It was completely forsaken but then suddenly we spotted another MX-5 NA with two people sleeping inside at a rest area.

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    On top of the pass there was a small group of houses around an even smaller pond on the one side, on the other there was a giant and partially frozen lake a few hundred meters below us and further up the road just a giant snow field with dark boulders in it and equally dark cliffs as the backdrop.

    Later at home I rewatched Top Gear's beautifully shot Snowbine Harvester piece only to discover it was the same road we took there by chance.

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    pic by Jan


    It was already an hour after midnight, but since there still was a bit of light and we weren't prepared to sleep in the snow we continued on the road and down the northern side of the pass. The scenery was overwhelming, soft foothills clad in copper gras and occasionaly lakes spreading early morining mist. But the air coming down from the mountains was glacial and so we decided not to set up camp but to press on.

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    The pass was a natural reserve, after we left it the area became populated again and there wasn't any open space for camping to be found. After an unsuccessfull detour at around 5 in the morning, on which we at least spotted another five mooses, we continued to the next natural reserve and took the first somewhat agreeable rest area to set up camp.

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    We were quite tired but didn't sleep that well as it was very cold and only got reasonably warm when the sun was well up in the sky. Driving on we later discovered the next mountain pass and giant snow field were just a few miles up the road.

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    After we got used to all the white stuff covering the grounds besides the road we reached the highest point of the pass were a plough had carved it's way through snow so high that there was still 2 metres left on each side in early June.
    15 minutes further we we drove through spring and into summer again down in the harbour at Geiranger Fjord. It's hard to grasp that the water is not a lake high up in the mountains but the sea and the little town at the foot of the snowy pass road is as high as Venice.

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    The Knuten of the old road near Geiranger, pic by Jan

    Soon after the road took us up to a platform overlooking the fjord and we had the famous surreal scene of a cruise ship between the steep cliffs and waterfalls with the snow caps in the background.

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    The rest of the day was spent driving to Ålesund, a pleasant little city near the open sea, and then on towards east again to find a place for the night. As it had proven a bit difficult the day before we left the more populated area and finally found a great spot directly at the waterfront next to an old road that was replaced by a tunnel a few years ago. It was like a balcony overlooking the Fjord with two large stones conveniently placed for preparing dinner.

    Meat was really expensive compared to Germany but fish was very reasonable. And since we fancied it anyways we cooked salmon steaks with potatoes and salad in a beautiful all-night sunset.

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    pic by Jan

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    ...end of part one...
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  3. #3
    TophattedSupercar's Avatar
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    Wow those pics are amazing. Closest I ever been to something like that was a Hatchback through the Appalachians. How many total miles was your trip.

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    Around 4400 miles from Frankfurt to Frankfurt.

    More pics of the rest of the trip will follow.
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    you passed straight by me on the ferry in to oslo i live 10 min by boat from that fortified island you saw, on the left hand side entering oslofjord

    beautifull photos!
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    My eyes... are melting at the beauty.

  7. #7
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    Those pictures are amazing! What did you use to take them?
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    Awesome stuff, can't wait to see more!
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    looks fantastic.. moar!
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  10. #10
    DanRoM's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beni View Post
    I'm lost for words.

  11. #11
    Wankel Wanker frankiess's Avatar
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    Awesome trip. Awesome pics.
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  12. #12
    is un-Stoppable Davetouch's Avatar
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    Wow. I really need to do this and go on a roadtrip in Scandinavia. Looks so much better than those shitty Alps... And it looks like you've got the perfect car for the trip too! *jealousysplosion*
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  13. #13
    Lastsoul's Avatar
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    Your trip sounded awesome, yet I'm still blown away by that scenery. Waiting for part 2!
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    Mr. Fedewhatever CrzRsn's Avatar
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    Where is my rep button! I want to +1 those pictures!
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    is Der Slut Der Stig's Avatar
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    Stunning photos. What an awesome trip that must have been. Also, at the Misfits sticker.
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  16. #16
    Beni's Avatar
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    here's part 2. As I won't have enough time to really finish it before the Finalgear roadtrip it's mostly pics from Finland on

    Not that early the next morning we headed for Trondheim, were we had a place for the night. Out first stop were the legendary switchbacks of Trollstigen pass. In contrast to the rest of Norway it was quite crowded, mostly by tourists, and some stretches were so narrow you had to yield for incoming traffic. The views were so spectacular though, so we weren’t bothered.





    At the top of the pass a new visitor centre was being built, already opened were platforms stretching out over the vertical cliff faces all in concrete and pre-rusted cor-ten steel, stylish!







    After spending half an hour enjoying the view we drove down again and round the fjord at the foot of the mountains. We had to take a ferry and after around an hour we reached the Atlanterhavsvejen, a series of bridges leading over several small islands on to a big island, all next to the open Atlantic Ocean. First time we saw it without island infront. The sea was very calm and so we crossed the bridges open top and staying dry on the low bridges. The curvy high one really is as great as it is to be expected from pictures, an unreal experience.











    After a picnic we drove on, had to cross a beautiful suspension bridge and another ferry which lead us to a great, smooth driving road towards Orkanger and then to Trondheim, a large town compared to it’s surroundings but still calm and filled with wooden houses, a cathedral and a fjord.
    For this night we stayed with a friend of a friend of Jan, who came from France to study hydropower stuff.









    Weather turned bad at that point and we had a lot of driving to do the next morning to be in time for our meet-up with DaBoom the day after. Our goal was to drive from one coast to the other, which meand almost all of the sweden part of our trip in one day.

    We started out on the highway which some miles later turned into a fast main road. It was raining from time to time as we headed north. Soon we decided to turn of the main road and take smaller ones towards the Swedish boarder. Good decision since the landscape was really beautiful, small houses on lakesides, snow again and soon reindeers.











    Reindeers, mooses as well, seemed to be a bit stupid. We reached them driving and they started running away. We stopped to have a look and so did they, staring at us. This game could be repeated at wish. At one point we encountered them on a narrow road and they would flee on the road rather then to the sides. So they would run infront of us, stopping when we were. We had to almost push them off the road to get rid.









    Up here the big lakes were still frozen halfway and people were living in icy surroundings in the middle of June, presumably freezing their butts off all year round, amazing.









    Further on the road got even smaller and exactly at the boarder to Sweden the pavement stopped. Living in central Europe I didn’t have much experience on gravel and unpaved roads, but grip on this road was good and the surface quite smooth.







    We reached a huge lake were the car was refuelled and the humans had lunch. Next was Stekkenjokk pass, quite different to the pass of the first night in Norway. There had been a twisty road around high cliffs whilst this one was an immense snow field with dark, round rocks lurking under the surface in every direction. It was forbidden to leave the road as the birds were breeding…there was just ice and snow and rock around, poor creatures.











    Down from Stekkenjokk, apparently the windiest place in Sweden, we reached the huge, softly sloping hills of northern sweden, huge parallel mountain spines stretching in west to east direction, one after the other.
    Roads here were very differen to the hill side hugging ones in Norway, they were mostly plowed straight through the landscape and very wide. Sometimes there were lakes with neat wooden houses surrounding them, but mostly it was just trees left and right with the additional moose or reindeer from time to time. Most of it was paved.
    Even though it was basically all the sime there were still subtle variations all the time.

















    After lots of rain there was a brighter spot of sky visible near the coast and we followed it till we found a place to camp, not easy as even though we passed only three noticable towns in 600 kms there were houses everywhere at the coastline.
    The place we found was a bit creepy, we drove via an abandoned quarry and followed a track into the woods to find some small wooden houses. They seemed abandoned as well, probably people would only come here on weekends. Since the clouds were thinner than during day it really was as light at midnight as it was at noon. The place was eerily quiet except for an infinite number of mosquitos, all desperately hungry.
    We hastily built the tent and spent the rest of our time there inside.





    The next day we had to be in Oulu in the early afternoon to meet up with DaBoom. We started early, went shopping in a lumberjack town somewhere on the road and then crossed the next boarder into Finland. We miscalculated our driving time to Oulu and so DaBoom had to wait for us but we made it and went to the excellent Burger Bar.







    Finland






    We met up with Public in Kokkola and he showed us around, told us about the local car scene and generally behaved nicely. He made some coffee for us and handed over the tiny little around-the-world viper for us to take it on the trip with us.


    The rest in pics tomorrow!

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by pepitko View Post
    Those pictures are amazing! What did you use to take them?
    It was a Nikon D3100 and D50.
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  17. #17
    Tcdoe's Avatar
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    Good stuff once again. Can't wait for the rest.
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  18. #18
    blackman's Avatar
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    Awesome trip! Do you have a map of the route youre taking?
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  19. #19
    Wankel Wanker frankiess's Avatar
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    Awestruck by this repeatedly. Must try for roadtrip.
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  20. #20
    Lastsoul's Avatar
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    The amount of want to do a similar trip is incomprehensible. I almost left the computer, went outside, started the Mazda and headed to Norway!
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