Thursday, December 8, 2016

Roadtrip preparation for Franki

Last weekend, for the third time in six weeks, I returned to Northern Europe to pick up "Franki"

The whole idea started via a friend of mine, Frankie who offered to sell me his van to take to Cote d'Ivoire.  Thankfully Frankie is a very good friend, as he discovered (after I agreed to buy his van) that the chassis was twisted, he backed out of the deal refusing to sell it to me.  However, I was left wondering how to return to Cote d'Ivoire.

My utility room has become a dumping ground for donations going to Cote d'Ivoire.  Some of these donations have been around for 5 years or so, despite taking endless luggage on previous trips of things the centre needs.  Suitcases that take bicycles or fridges haven't yet been invented as far as I am aware!
Found Franki in Schijndel, NL

So I found Franki, a Mercedes Sprinter 211CDI van with 7 seats and a big roof rack on top in the Netherlands.  Two weeks ago I flew to Brussels, rented a car and made a 5 hour round trip to see Franki and put a deposit down.  Luckily, Frankie the friend was there to meet me & help me decide if the van was as good as the dealer said it was, the dealer was called Frank!
Bottrop boys helping get Franki ready!
This weekend, I drove Franki back from the Netherlands via Frankie's in Germany to southern France.  She purred all the way south after Ferno, a retired French Mercedes Benz employee and Frankie very kindly got her shipshape prior to leaving Bottrop, Germany.  I spent a very short night in freezing Dijon before heading southwards over the Millau bridge to home.  The following day my mechanic gave her a once over and declared her fit for purpose whilst doing an oil change.

Franki parked up in Dijon for a night
The plan is to leave soon by road loaded with bits and pieces (including a much needed fridge that is in great condition) to take to the centre.  Whilst heading south, I will be looking at the situation of trafficking in the region.  It's a route I know well and have done before but as a passenger in public bush taxis.

This is going to be a whole new adventure but I probably won't have time to be able to keep posting on here whilst driving south; hence Franki has a Facebook page

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