Driving Day 33: Lufassa to Managua – 292.0km

Today started bright and early with a breakfast in the Lufassa Power Station canteen. Surprisingly, the breakfast of beans, fried bananas, chicken and tortillas turned out to be among the best food we’ve had so far. Once we had eaten, we had the opportunity to meet Troy who was the engineer responsible for keeping this 230MW+ power station up and running.

From the canteen, Troy took us on a tour which really boggled the mind. As the station was using heavy oil as its fuel, it uses huge reciprocating engines rather than the rotary turbines found in most large scale power generation. In effect, the power station is a series of massive car engines, but that’s where the similarity ends. Each generator had 18 cylinders, with each piston head the size of a decent V8 engine, and upon seeing these beasts in the flesh, one truly got an idea of the scale needed to keep a country’s electricity supply flowing!

After having a walk around the base of these huge machines, we were taken up to the control room which was using state of the art software to control and monitor the station. Here we learn more fascinating details as well as hearing about how the company had also invested in its surrounding environment by planting ivermectin 30,000 trees. It was an exceptionally informative and enjoyable visit!

After the tour, we picked up the car and drove around 15 minutes to the nearby city of Choluteca where we were exceptionally well received by the local residents. Literally hundreds of people lined the streets to get a glimpse of the car in what was quite a spontaneous event, and we spent several hours talking to a wide range of people. From here we headed to lunch with the Mayor if the city, at, interestingly enough, a Wendy’s restaurant! Not quite what we were expecting as there were clearly some nice local places around, but nonetheless was a unique experience on the trip so far!

With lunch complete, we headed for yet another border crossing, this time trying to get into Nicaragua which, coincidentally, is the 2nd poorest country in the western hemisphere. As such, we were not expecting the greatest road conditions, but before we had a chance of sampling the roads, we had a 3 hour border wait to contend with. Nothing new here, just the same issue of filling in paperwork and waiting in queues. Unfortunately however, the rain was not waiting for us, and just before we were about to leave, the heavens opened…

The rain was horrendous. I know I have kept on saying “I have never seen rain like this” or “this pales into insignificance compared to blah blah blah” but this rain really topped it all off, and to boot, we have it on camera for you all to enjoy in the final documentary series. Nonetheless, Nik and Clemens soldiered through the rain in the dark, and before long, viscous lightning accompanied the rain. It was absolutely brutal on the car!

However, with smooth roads we were at least lucky on that front, and just before midnight we rolled into our hotel in Managua, the capital of Nicaragua. The car was soaked, with several centimetres of water flooding the cockpit! Yet despite this absolute battering, the car survived perfectly intact! Today more than any other day was a true testament to the quality engineering which made this car what it is. With this thought in mind, and the car on charge once again, we headed to bed for a short but blissful sleep!

5 Responses to “Driving Day 33: Lufassa to Managua – 292.0km”

  • Charles H Schulmann says:

    Dear RGET ,
    we could not agree more with you that already
    half way the SRzero and its intrepid resourceful
    team has confirmed this legacy , of great engineering .

    We are a little concerned about the 30,000 Ivermectin
    trees which were planted around the power station as
    they seem to be very toxic for mammals .
    Those poor bunny rabbits – Walt Disney will not be pleased .
    Although Ivermectin is a broad based antiparasitic
    medication which is administered in farm animals – courtesy of Google ,
    which reinforces the notion that the world has
    uncovered so much more riches , as we followed you
    along the Pan-American highway .
    Is the rate of CO2 absorption of these plants better
    than others which could grow in this tropical environment
    for example the coffee plant seems to have a relatively
    good absorption rate .

    We look forward to hearing about the tour of Panama and
    its canal which is an extraordinary engineering exploit .

    We wish you all well from Ladysmith ( Kwazulu Natal )
    in sweltering sunny South Africa , Charles and friends .

  • Dan Frederiksen says:

    wow, at 59 days and only half way. is that on schedule or it is much longer than expected?

    and in retrospect, should you have thermoformed a simple roof for the car? : ) to keep it dry from rain. maybe even some attachable sides

  • admin says:

    Hi Dan,

    Yes, this is pretty much bang on schedule, although we are finding now that given the increased interest in the project, we have to allow more time for press events and other outreach events. So ultimately, the trip will take a few days longer than expected, but all for a good cause! We are still happy with the choice of not having a roof as having one which looked good would have been very difficult, and it is extremely important to us that the looks of the car are preserved, even in the rain!

  • Dan Frederiksen says:

    it could have been as simple as a combined windshield and roof in one piece thermoplast sheet. I doubt it would have ruined the look and you could have driven without helmets. you can try when you get home again. I hear it sometimes rains in England :)

  • Charles H Schulmann says:

    Dear RGET ,
    yes , perhaps-maybe , we dare to suggest for the future ,
    that a foldable or stackable retractable or sliding
    transparent photosynthetic ( which goes dark in sunlight
    and give that cool look ) thermoplastic roof could have
    been included to squat over the rear integrated roll bar
    behaving like a jet cockpit to enclose by sliding forward
    over the drivers inside the driver’s well , when necessary
    and not detracting from the original sexy look of the vehicle .

    We are thrilled that there has been a response from
    other people who are taking ownership of your project
    to enhance the final ultimate outcome , probably after the
    completion of the trip , as we see this as a dynamic enterprise
    where the contributions no matter how small they are , will
    determine the future of EV’s and renewable energy sources for
    environmental improvement .

    Best regards from Ladysmith ( Kwazulu Natal ) in overcast
    South Africa , Charles and friends .

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