Maiden Voyage of the Good Ship Herman

A momentous day in motoring history!

This morning my tax disc arrived in the post, and Herman was officially road legal. I was itching to get out in him all day but unfortunately had work. I might have inadvertently let my afternoon class out a wee bit early, but this was entirely due to the fact it was the last day of term before Easter and not in any way connected with the fact I wanted to get home early so I could take Herman for his ‘maiden voyage’.

T’was just a shortish run of about five or six miles either way. We just went to the Asda opposite the Trafford Centre for the weekly shopping. When we got back, in a further burst of adrenaline-fuelled bravado I reversed him in through the gates leading to the carpark at the flats and did a tidy reverse park in my space [OK - I did have Mazza scurrying around the back of the van like a blue-arsed fly, ready to thump on the side if I came within a foot of gatepost, wall, or anyone else’s car, but I’m still feeling pretty pleased with myself].

This mad old bat turned up and smashed a bottle of champagne on the van as we tried to drive off -should be given a bloody ASBO!
This mad old bat turned up and smashed a bottle of champagne on the van as we tried to drive off -should be given a bloody ASBO!

Bullet points from the journey:

  • I think I’ll get into the habit of pulling off in 1st - even tho’ it’s ridiculously low-geared. Pulling off in 2nd works most of the time, but I had a couple of hill starts in 2nd and it really struggled to get going.
  • I’ve got a very slight pull to the left while driving, a bit worse on braking, so obviously one of the brakes is binding. It must be very slight tho’ - I had a feel round the wheels after the journey and none of them was noticeably hotter than the others. I hope it is the brakes and not my front wheels out of alignment [Thinks back to all those smacking into the kerb incidents on my first tentative spin round the block].
  • Engine didnae overheat. OK it was a short journey, but quite a warm day, so I’d have expected to get a hint of any probs in that area, but the temp guage stayed right down on the ‘Normal’ line.
  • Have to get used to lifting my foot right off the clutch? It’s got quite a high biting point and I’ve got a bad habit of resting my foot on the clutch pedal while driving. I did it a couple of times today on those hill starts in 2nd and smelt that lovely smell of hot clutch plates when I slowed down at the next traffic lights.
  • I still don’t know what top speed he’s capable off. There was too much traffic about to get a good straight run, so I didnae have him above about 40. I reckon he’d be lucky to get much over 60 tho’. Still who cares about a slow journey when you’ve got [or will have] a motor with a comfy Home-From-Home in the back?
  • It feels like you’re going a lot quicker than you are. I dunno if this is all down to the size of the van. I think it might have more to do with the fact that GULG was a Jap import with a speedo in Km/h only. I’ve kinda got used to thinking in Km now, so when my head tells me I’m doing about sixty and I look down and see the speedo showing about twenty-five; it seems a bit strange.
  • Gearchange is a zillion times better since I sorted out the linkage. I still missed the gear I was aiming for once or twice, but that’s to be expected at this stage. I reckon a couple more trips and I’ll be stirring that porridge like a good ‘un!

Well, that’s about it. Now celebrating the maiden voyage with a few bottles of Ruddles County. Tomorrow, if winds are favourable, I may take a spin down the motorway and see if I can hit the dizzy heights of 60mph!

Meta TAGS: travelssteering
AUTHOR: stíobhart matulevicz