I missed my 6:30 train, so I caught the 6:59. 1 stop at reading and I was in paddington, asked a nice helpful man where on earth to go... then went to the tube, switched tube at baker st. and went to london bridge. Got on a train at london bridge and cruised on down to Slade Green, hopped off, and had a nice brisk (probably 1* or 2* C) walk to Caterham. All told it was about 2 hours and 10 minutes.
Got met by a great nice guy who showed me around (sorry no pictures, I was too busy ogling and later he said no). But the building isn't big, they house parts, and have a two lane assembly line. One side the body arrives ready to go, it gets drilled and prepped for paint, then it moves on to front suspension and engine, then on to rear suspension, then fenders, moldings, final prep on the ground, then final checks and testing and driving etc.
That was just the start of my day!
I left dartford at about 10:15, started heading for my country road out of town... just a couple wrong turns later, I break out the map book, turn around, and find my way back. That was #1 (keep count...) so then on my nice country piece of road, driving having fun, getting use to the feeling... I suddenly realize i had taken several turns from the main road... :-D well... anyway, I pull over, look around... grey skys and... white fields? SNOW! I thought it was cold! So I start looking through my map book (really really need something with way more detail...), kinda sorta not really find out where I am, then look up to see this white thing fall into my car and melt... hmmmmm time to vacate the snow strom... Before I moved off I decide to trace my steps back to where I stopped turning (good thing I remember roads very well)... Eventually I found my way to the M25 and decided to blast up there to get to the M3 like I planned.... After getting a face full of COLD, there was a jam at the A3 (heaven, my face could warm up again). So I get on to the A3... some miles down the road I get lost, again... No idea how, anyway, after many a turn, and map reading (while stationary) I made it back to the A3 south. Eventually making it all the way to the M4, by this time I had spent another hour getting lost (so not a bad thing) but it was also 2 PM, and if I took my planned route I'd be home after dark... didn't really want that, so blasted down the M4 to the A34 and home.
The muffler saved my right hand! It's like they knew you'd be cold, so they put this heater beside you!
Yes, lots of words, words words words... Videos up soon, and lovely lovely pictures of the car resting in the garage after a wonderful first day of driving. I am very very glad to know I can drive the car for 5 hours straight and be full of energy (albeit bloody cold) by the end of it. no aching bones. No def ears (I think :-P) and I can NEVER get tired of the noise, it's amazing, majestic, a symphony of highly tuned epicness blasting forth from a metal heart.
I will do my very best to get the video uploaded ASAP, it will be by then end of my night (4pm for my many many US fans :-D). The video starts in dartford, leaving the caterham factory, then runs from ummmmm there till... somewhere... sometime... not really sure when the batteries died and the cards were full, but it was after all the good bits, and after I had decided to find the M4 and head home the "boring" way. But I tell you, when your eyes are at the exact right level to read the wheel size of a big rig, nothing's ever boring!
I seriously can't stop smiling, I'm so happy :-D :-D.
Now I just need to collect my uncles golf from the long term train parking...