Our Stay in Tongoy

As you know from the previous blog post, we now had an unplanned day off from driving due to the car charging off a lower power. Despite us all having vast quantities of work to catch up on, the day can only be summarised as pure bliss!

To set the scene, I better describe the hotel in a little more detail. It is a small place set right on the sea with a balcony and lounge in full view of the extensive bay and beach. Small fishing boats gently bob up and down right outside the window, and the air permanently smells of a fresh sea breeze. The hotel only has a few rooms with nothing special about them, but it is the communal areas which we enjoyed so much.

The lounge, as I mentioned, had a panoramic view of the bay, and a number of comfy armchairs and sofas to recline on. In addition, there is a never ending supply of soft lounge music playing in the background, and there are relics from ancient sea exploits all around. My favourite was a fully intact diving suit standing in the lobby, complete with lead weights and shoes, and alien-looking helmet! At night it gives you quite a startle! The management of the hotel were exceptionally kind and accommodating, and a more homely place can surely not be imagined!

And so this is where we spent the entirety of our day; sitting in the lounge and working! It was a very relaxing as well as productive time, and that’s about all there was to our day, except lunch. As you may expect, being so close to the sea, we were eager to eat some fresh seafood. So in a break from the work, we walked just down the road to a building which had a fresh fish market on one side, and a row of tiny restaurants on the other. It was here that we enjoyed some quality local cuisine, and the shrimp empanadas we had were the best we have had on the trip so far! Dinner was a similarly fishy affair, and that effectively summarises our day; eating, and working!

I often mention the fact that the team is working, and you may be wondering what this work consists of exactly. Keeping this project not just afloat, but also improving, is a daily mission for the team, and there are a number of activities that we do on a daily basis.

Firstly, and most obviously given that you’re reading this, the blogs need writing and uploading. I have come to really enjoy writing these summaries of the day as they really help collect my thoughts on the trip’s proceedings, but nonetheless, this is a time consuming process. In addition, all those lovely pictures in our Flickr albums which accompany each and every blog do not appear from nowhere. Andy is the main man behind our photo effort, and out of around 400 quality pictures that are taken each day, the best 30 or so are selected, occasionally edited, and uploaded.

As an interesting side note, by the end of the trip we will have accumulated about 30,000 high resolution pictures, all of an exceptionally high standard (i.e. Edited from a much larger number of pictures taken). In line with our message to encourage and inspire, the best of these pictures are available for anyone to download for free.

Where do we go next? What route? Which hotel? Can we charge there? Who’s our main contact there? What’s the day’s schedule for the press events? What local knowledge do we have about the road conditions, weather, altitude etc? These questions and more are solved on a daily basis as part of our logistics effort which everyone chips in on, but which is spearheaded by Clemens. Some of our events are so carefully coordinated that they are organised many weeks in advance, and without having a dedicated response to these challenges, we would be extremely disorganised. Fortunately, we all recognise this and so more often than not we have a plan B, and this means that apart from the 3 big delays (shipping, fire, and crash) we have always arrived when and where we say we would arrive.

Then there is the car, and despite it working superbly, it is still a prototype which was built in just 9 months. As often as we can, we check that everything is still working smoothly, and we analyse the data we have collected. We are constantly learning more about how the car works, and how certain components respond to varying circumstances, with particular attention to the batteries. So, very often when the rest of us are working on the computer, you’ll see Nik, Toby, and often myself, working on something to do with the car.

There is of course the issue of charging every day that we drive. As we require 30 amps to charge at full speed, you cannot just plug into a normal wall outlet if a) you want to charge quickly, and b) you don’t want to trip the circuit breaker when somebody turns on the kettle for example. As such, we are often wiring into rather unconventional sources, and this takes quite some time on occasion.

There is also a documentary being filmed of the project, and the filming of this and the background work of actually getting the documentary onto the BBC is very time consuming. This work is mainly done by Claudio, Paul, and Jonathan who are all doing a fantastic job, however we often need to chip in with various things.

So there you have an insight on what exactly we were doing on our “day off”. Certainly a lot of work, but never would any of us EVER swap it for anything else. Every day we fall even more in love with what we are doing, and it is a real privilege to be in a position to be able to do it. It’s not a walk, in the park, but we would never have it any other way!

One Response to “Our Stay in Tongoy”

  • Charles H Schulmann says:

    Dear RGET ,
    we admire how you ( plural ) have managed this prototype project like a
    business with such aplomb considering that you are not doing it in your
    own backyard with all the respective support and infrastructure , however
    it would seem that RGET@Pan.American.Highway.com has been adopted as your platform and domain from which you operate and have been doing so for the
    last few months while some of the incidents have proven to be your baptism
    of fire which it would seem , it has firmly entrenched RGET into the highway’s urban legend .

    We wish you all the very best from Ladysmith ( Kwazulu Natal ) in a hot
    windy corner of South Africa , with an identity crisis for this time of
    the year , Charles and friends .

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