Subscribe via RSS Feed

The Fifth Wheel Arrives

May 30, 2015 5 Comments

Saturday, 30 May 2015

I have recently joined the PMF crew for about eight weeks travelling through Thailand Laos and China.

I feel incredibly privileged to be invited onto the tour. I well remember the first time Alan mentioned he was thinking about doing it. I was overwhelmed by the audacity and scale of the undertaking. I had little doubt Alan could make it happen as he’s undoubtedly the most pigheadedly stubborn individual on the planet when he puts his mind to something. I briefly considered doing the whole trip but circumstance and finances made that impractical.

When asked if I would like to do the China tour the only possible answer I could give is where in Asia do you want to meet?!

The answer to that question was originally Vientiane in Laos. However the delays the crew experienced in Indonesia saw me travel into southern Thailand to meet them at a place called Hua Hin on May 26. I’ve been with them four days with much of it hard driving. We leave Thailand tomorrow and cross into Laos. Unfortunately we are going to miss about 90 percent of that country due to the necessity of getting into China by June 3.

Some brief observations and a short story to finish my initial blog: The trip is shaping up to be one of the greatest experiences in the lives of all involved.

Alan Taylor in Singapore

Singapore was lulled into a false sense of security before the PMF-ers arrived!

The underlying rivalry between Alan and Barry over who has the best car is as unrelenting as it is amusing to the unconcerned spectators. It actually spills over into many aspects of the trip.

I didn’t know Barry and Donna that well before the trip so I had the obvious concerns about how we would gel together.

I’m really glad they are here; what a great group of people.

I’ll finish with a story about Alan that may well be a defining point of the tour.

On the first day of driving, about two hours into the trip we were heading up towards Bangkok. It was around 11am when Alan asked Lyn to pass him a beer (or a Carlsberg sandwich as he calls them). I’ve known Alan for 35 years and few things surprise me but I did raise my eyebrows at the request.

He had taken only a few sips from the can when he turned to me in the passenger seat with a big smirk on his face and said “well Pete, how’re you enjoying the trip so far?”

I never got a chance to answer because no sooner was the question out of his mouth than the highway we were travelling on merged with the main north-south freeway. What initially looked like a simple merge of two roads rapidly turned into an unmarked clover leaf turn.

Alan hit that clover leaf with one hand on the wheel and a beer in the other at about 80kmh in a three-tonne vehicle. Alan is a very experienced racing car driver and it took every bit of that experience to keep three of the four car wheels on the road at the same time as keeping the car in the turn required to keep the car about 10cm away from and parallel to the metre-high cement guard rail.

When the turn was successfully completed and everyone’s sphincters had unclenched I turned to him and answered him “pretty much as I expected mate!”

The bastard never spilt a drop…

Filed in: Diary

About the Author:

Comments (5)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Jeff Brown says:

    Note to Al: Remember you have valuable cargo (in the form of my poor, long-suffering sister) on board, so please follow the road signs – particularly when they’re not there!

  2. Vic Watts says:

    Onya Hendo !!!!
    I’d have been hugely disappointed if Alan HAD spilt a drop.
    Have a great trip.

    • Peter Henderson says:

      Hey Vic
      It’s Hendo
      nice comment
      I was wondering ifyou coulddome a huge favour
      my main form of communication with friends (otherthan this blog) is through facebook & gmail.
      Both sites are totally blocked in CHina I have been unable to communicate with anyone in over a week
      Could you email the following people in Australia letting them know the situation & tell them I am alive and having a great time

      • pmfweb says:

        Hi Peter,
        This Alan Stewart the webmaster for this blog. I have removed the full email addresses to avoid them being picked up by spam bots. I have sent the full email addresses to Vic by email.
        If I don’t hear from him I will keep chasing him down until I get a reply. 😉
        Alan 🙂

  3. Barry says:

    Hey Pete,

    The barstard never told me about that driving incident. We can now add that to the many other incidents too numerous to mention.

    Thanks Pete

Leave a Reply