After two days of driving in a convoy of five cars and two trailers, we finally arrive in Staro Selo Topusko, Croatia. Germany was a long trek with long stretches of roadworks and a highway that never ends. We battle the trucks on the steep inclines with the poor towing vehicles running hot and straining to maintain momentum. Once we are into the Alps we realise that we are getting close to our destination and the Slovenian border beckons.
Once again the border is an old-fashioned cold-war-like experience and the last road in to camp winds through hills and forest. We are among the first to reach the open field that will serve as basecamp for the next week-and-a-half.
The main problem is that it is raining! Not ideal for pitching tents, but after a couple of hours we manage to create something that resembles a camp. A quick meal at the local restaurant and we all head for our thin camping mattresses…
The next morning we assess the Land Rover. The assumption of being prepared is quickly replaced by a lengthy list of last-minute jobs:
* The steering rod is replaced with a heavy-duty one (might be handy)
* Sand ladders are fixed in place and the ground anchor and highjack get strapped in tight
* Mobile toolbox is secured
* We drain the headlights of Polish water (read how/why it happened) Check the Aquaman video
* The back door is removed (not needed)
* Waterproofing the snorkel (some extra silicone kit)
* And then the fiddly bit…
Calibrating the Tripmaster!
Up and down a stretch of road from one spraypainted-line to the other – exactly one kilometre each way. Back and forth. And back again. “Is it done?” “Double-check?” “One more pass?” “Why is it now different?” “Okay, once more?” Patiently we finally figure it out…
By this time there are still more teams in camp along with their impressive-looking support vehicles. Our car and tiny base camp are made to look small and insignificant among the V8 thunder. But we are here! And looking forward to the challenge. A challenge aimed more at ourselves than against the competitors. But the vibe in the camp is great, we feel excited and tomorrow brings the start of the prologue …