6th July 2015:
This is a little tribute to what is necessary to keep the cars on the road.
But before I start I need to pay tribute Robert Prisig …. The author of “Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance: An Inquiry into Values” , (first published in 1974, is a work of philosophical fiction, which is the first of his texts in which he explores his Metaphysics of Quality).
Early on I the book he says something like says beginning of his book :
“The Buddha resides equally in the gear box of my motorcycle and the circuits of the computer as it does in the lotus flower. To think otherwise is to defame the Buddha, which is to defame oneself.”
I have always considered this to mean that human ingenuity and ability to design and maintain technology is an insight and has a “quality” equal to any other human endeavour. The challenge we have is that we (humans) some times use our vast array of technology in ways that become very destructive to the world and its people.
Now back to the Peugeots ….and the challenge we have of keeping these two old cars on the road. Especially given the country we have travelled and the rest of the route still to go. It is country ( and roads ) which would have tested much newer vehicles.
To keep Mollie ( the 1960 – 403) Barry takes a lot of care. Virtually daily there is some check or other needed. And that Pete’s 504 (which I named Leckie) has been laid up for few days waiting for parts ( the clutch release bearing – Pete has written about this on pages ) it has become even more in our minds the need to keep vehicles checked as best we can.
Along the way there has been a few issues issues. Leckie needed some new spark plugs , a tune up etc and the carby re – tightened. That was back in Lao. More recently … In Mongolia we needed to refit the left rear shock absorber. The lock nuts had come completely undone on the rough Mongolian roads (tracks). Plus we have some wooden packers where rubber used to be in part Leckie’s steering.
Mollie has also suffered suspension problems … The front shock absorbers, which are an old light oil filled wish bone thing have blown their seals, plus the bump stops are cracking up and we now have rolled up rubber from the inside of truck tyre (picked up of the side of the road) helping to dampen the bounces. Barry has also replaced a bush in the suspension system where we where helped by the maintenance team here at the hotel Otar in Almati. (They have a lath here in the basement !!!! And a full workshop.
And we also need to pay tribute to the guys and girls at Peugeot here in Almati … They are in the process of fixing the 504 …. Finding / replacing / adapting parts. We hope to be on the road tomorrow.
Barry has done a great job working through these issues . He is great mechanic and much better than I remember form the days when we used to pull apart cars in our youth. We have all pitched in to figure out how to solve the mechanical problems …. Even if in my case it might only be jacking the car up …or finding tools etc. Pete has also added to the challenges with his knowledge and finding things we can use … (Like timber etc ) .
So back to the philosophical posturing of Robert Prisig …. Yes I think the Buddha resides in the gear box (etc , etc ) …as it does in the lotus flower … But it takes a special “quality” to keep the vehicles going ….!!!
One reviewer of the book says …. “ it offers some deep and powerful lessons. It’s about living an authentic life, which transcends into our actions , our ethos and our careers…”
So here is to a authentic life …..and thanks to all that have helped along the way. And let’s hope the next 10,000 odd km don’t through us to many challenges.