Day 4, Kiel to Jönköping. “What is LDV?”, ferry, nearly losing it.
The van’s gears weren’t really working. That much was clear, and we needed to get it looked at. Question was, where? Niels wasn’t sure where was a good mechanic nearby, so I had a look online and found a DAF garage nearby. We were driving an LDV Maxus, LDV stands for Leyland DAF Vans, so it seemed to make sense. We pulled into the garage, went in, and that’s where it started to go a bit wrong. They agreed to have a look at it, we got it onto the ramp, and then the mechanic asked (via some translations/Chinese whispers) “Is Maxus? Make is Maxus?” Yes, it’s a Maxus, an LDV Maxus. “What is LDV?”
A bit more back and forth, and we established that no, they didn’t know anything about LDV vans in particular. A bit of Google work also established that LDV had actually gone bust last year, and hadn’t really made it that far in Europe when it had been going. The mechanic pointed out that some lever to do with the gears was the problem. We couldn’t get too much information as to exactly what, because of the language issue. So we decided we’d have to do the sensible thing with a van that was limping along.
We drove 400 miles across three countries.
Headed to Puttgarden and got the ferry to Denmark (good move, seeing as beer on the ferry was 48 cans for €18, and we knew it would be expensive in Scandinavia). By this point I’d figured out that I could shift gears if I got the speed exactly right for the gear I was going into. Only problem with this was getting the van actually moving to start with – starting it in first wasn’t a good plan. Still, six guys in the back of the van doing nothing. Watch the first couple of minutes of this, but instead of four Jamaicans with a bobsled, imagine six drunk Dutch and Welsh guys with a big white van. That’s how we got started from petrol stations, onto the ferry, off the ferry, etc.
Ferry was a good break from the drive. Took a few pictures on there as well.
The guy who had to pull a gig in Jönköping was still putting us up, so we figured we’d get the van recovered there. If it took more than a day, we could get a hire van from the insurance, and then pick the van up on the way after either the Stockholm or Gothenburg. Drove through Denmark, and then over one of the most insane bridges around – the Øresund Bridge. Have a read up on Wikipedia, but essentially it’s an 8km bridge which dives through an artificial island into a 4km tunnel. The mix means that it doesn’t cut off the end of Copenhagen airport, and large ships can still travel through the strait. After that, it was into Sweden with the van still acting like a bitch. Remember those 48 cans for €18 on the ferry? The rest were working through them, I was struggling to concentrate on the road, it was boiling hot still, and I was pretty tired. Not the best combination. The good point was when we did the bobsled start to get a broken down car moving. The bad points where when Rofe nearly ran in front of an HGV truck coming the other way after push starting the van, and Tom jumping on the back plate instead of in the van another time. That in itself wasn’t too bad. It was more bad that I lost it, and started speeding up to head for the motorway until Niels suggested I might be going a bit far. You know you might be a bit too stressed out when Crz Nls is telling you to calm down. Anyhow, finally made it to Jönköping, called the breakdown service and put the van contents in the guy’s house.