Mog and I where heading north to see my mother. For part one, please click on this link.Morris Minor Road Trip, Part One.
Fixing the Minor Issues.
After saying goodbye to my friend, Mog and I headed off towards the motorway about 15 miles away. On the way stopping to fill up with fuel and hopefully find a good motor factor.
Being directed to a real gem of one. Karparts of Cainscross (01453 758282.) I wondered why the proprietor smiled so much as I pulled up. After walking into what must be one of the last proper old-fashioned car parts suppliers. The owner knowing every single part and exactly where it is. After explaining my problem, he suggested I tried this type of leak sealant and perhaps a new radiator cap. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I’d find one unless I called into a specialist and the nearest one of those wasn’t accepting over the counter customers.
After quickly getting both the cap and sealant the owner came out, asking me about Mog. It turned out he has a slightly earlier 1952 Morris Minor. Talk about landing on our feet. I changed the cap, checked Mog’s levels and headed off after thanking the gent.
Stopping twenty miles later, the cap had fixed it. The leak sealer can stay in Mog’s boot until either I or one of my friends need it. We headed off to drop in at the Morris Minor Owners Club at Derby to say hello. The further from Cornwall more Mog and I caused a stir. To see an early car on the road is unusual. To add a paddleboard on the roof and people when driving slow down, take pics, wave and generally make us feel very welcome. The majority of other drivers showing consideration and allowing us out to overtake. Sadly, a few having no idea of braking distances would pull into the larger than normal cap.
Meeting the Morris Minor Owners Club.
We made it to Derby and a very warm welcome from Ray, Liz and Kate. They were more than slightly bemused to see a moggie with such a large board on the roof. With sensible covid restrictions taken into account I had a guided tour that included seeing the progress of the restoration of the last ever car. If you have a Morris Minor, please join the club. https://www.mmoc.org.uk/
Arriving at Redcar.
After another cup of coffee, we left, heading through the centre of Derby towards Redcar and seeing my mother for the first time in 18 months.
Now with confidence in Mog, it was simply a question of taking our time.
We arrived at 5 pm, tired but pleased. My mother’s neighbour even let me borrow his garage to put Mog into. A kind act which was much appreciated.
I’ll write about our time up there on another blog post.
Yet it possible to include the return trip. The following Sunday we set off, Redcar to Penryn in a single day, 440 miles. It would have been nice to see friends in South Wales, but with restrictions becoming stronger that sadly not possible. We made good time, reaching Bristol for 1 pm after leaving at 9. I was sure we would be back for an early-ish dinner.
In the past I’ve written about the state of driving on British Roads. How it is possible to drive across France and arrive within expected times. Yet in this country, any long distant journey is like playing Russian Roulette. This time I lost, the signs warned of delays, up to an hour, but they lied.
Motorway Shut at Bristol.
A big accident at junction 19 meant that all southbound traffic was being directed up and over the junction. We reached the tail of the jam at quarter past one. After 3 hours of virtually sitting still Mog and I headed off at junction 18 and towards the southern edge of Bristol. Any movement being better than none. The traffic crawled and Mog behaved well. Clearly her cooling system was fine. Finally, by 5 we picked up the southern M5 again near Weston Super Mare. We had lost over 3 1/2 hours.
After a quick comfort stop and filling up at Exeter, we headed home down the A30. Finally arriving at 8.30 pm. A twelve hour trip. Those last few miles being hard on both of us. Mog’s only major breakdown being my fault for running to many amps through a switch never designed for it. Coming to a halt outside my place. Thankfully my neighbour moved his car to allow me to freewheel back into a parking spot.
Arrival and conclusion.
After all the problems I’d never thought it would be possible to drive a 68-year-old car so far. Yet the only major problem was due to me. We proved that a small economy car designed over 70 years ago is still capable of long-distance travel.
It makes me question what we have lost and gained in those intervening years. For some reason I struggle to imagine in 70 years time a Toyota Yaris inspiring the same passion, let alone the more disposable modern cars.
Yet, it would be possible for a Morris Minor to still be going and that makes me smile.