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My Flying Control Jeep - The Ongoing Story


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The Whitburn memorial was only a few hundred yards further from the pond.

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The sky had been getting darker the whoel trip, despite the forecast and while at Whitburn, it started to rain heavily. We quickly unpacked the canvas and got the roof fitted, creating flashbacks of our October run out in less than ideal weather!

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Test Drive - March 18th By mid March 2020, the coronavirus had caused the cancellation of the York Crank Up, "Against the Odds" at Elvington, Blyth Battery Goes to War, Heugh Battery and Barnard

Once everything was set, we all got changed for some pictures. I hadn't got my proper boots on at this point and forgot to hide my foot for the pictures!

Back in September, we had a Jeep trip out to Hett village, where we'd spotted a Nissen hut being used as the village hall. We found it as a result of a casual house hunt and spotted the hut while chec

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From there we turned West again, heading home through Boldon where we stopped for our last memorial visit.

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While it had turned damp, it was a nice run out and I was pleased to be able to complete my Remembrance Day ambition. With a Covid dominated year, where many people have sacrificed time with friends and family and some loosing the chance for Christmas with family, it still pales to insignificance when compared to the sacrifices made by those in WW1 and WW2.

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Christmas Run - December 27th

To end the year, I had run out with another Jeep owner. Meeting at B&Q in Washington, I led the way to Tanfield railway, via the back roads and Beamish museum. We didn't really have a plan on where to drive so stopped at Marley Hill by Tanfield's main yard to work out a route.

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We turned around at Marley Hill and headed back parallel to the railway, cutting across the track at Bobgins crossing near Causey Arch. From there we took the country lanes to East Tanfield station where we stopped for coffee. By chance, Colin, one of the Tanfiled 1940's weekend organisers was on car park duty, so we had a good chat about how the railway was managing through 2020 and the planned return of events in 2021.

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After some time, we set off again, heading through Stanley and on to Annfield Plain. With occasional showers and lots of spray on the roads, it was hard to keep my windscreen clear for the dashcam pictures. Quite a bit of the driving was directly into the sun which was also bad for the images and didn't help visibility either. For some of that time when the glare was particularly bad, I ended up with my head out of the side of the Jeep to see.

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From Annfield we went on to Lanchester, then Burnhope and Quaking Houses, before turning right passed my old radio model club flying site a little West of Craghead village.

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We continued East through Craghead, descending all the way to Chester-le-Street and then cut up passed Rickleton into the South of Washington and back home. We were out for around three and a half hours and despite wearing a hat, my head felt quite numb by the time I got home. I gave the Jeep a hose down before putting it to bed.

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23 hours ago, Jessie The Jeep said:

We continued East through Craghead, descending all the way to Chester-le-Street and then cut up passed Rickleton into the South of Washington and back home. We were out for around three and a half hours and despite wearing a hat, my head felt quite numb by the time I got home. I gave the Jeep a hose down before putting it to bed.

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That photograph stopped at junction  about to cross towards Quebec, road Lanchester to Cornsay/Esh ,  nice summer day a fav. spot for hand held speed gun @  south/west grass verge .  Catches drivers cresting Wilk's Hill , myself - I had left Quebec and turned left, still in second gear , Astra 2L diesel  LoL

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Back in September, we had a Jeep trip out to Hett village, where we'd spotted a Nissen hut being used as the village hall. We found it as a result of a casual house hunt and spotted the hut while checking the surrounding area on Google Earth. The house hunt wasn't a serious search for a new property, as Lynne really just wanted a kitchen with a little more space. We just wondered what was out there. It turned out that nothing was suitble and we ended up putting a deposit on a new kitchen for our current house.

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Finding a new house would be a challenge anyway; needing space for three green vehicles, two normal cars, two trailers, somewhere for a workshop, a home office and a garden with a dark sky and a good southern view for my astronomy! Despite the deposit on the new kitchen, we carried on casually browsing for non-existant houses.

On the last day of October, we actually found a suitable house in a Durham village, much to our surprise. It had just been put on the market three days earlier. In early November, just before the lockdown, we managed a viewing and placed an offer the same day. It was accepted. Needless to say, we cancelled the kitchen makeover!

So rolling the calendar on through the November lockdown, through December and Christmas and into January and another lockdown. Now here we are in February, with an expected completion before the month is finished. Of course covid and Christmas slowed things down and while things could still go wrong, even at this late stage; it's only a three house chain, so fingers crossed.

So what does this all mean for the vehicle fleet?

Well, the new house has a large double garage. If I raise one door lintel by three courses of bricks, I should be able to get the Dodge through the opening, plus both Jeeps and the Jeep trailer all together under one roof. This will save me money on the current Dodge storage and make looking after it more practical. There should also be room for shelving for all the camping and 1940's gear. I plan to build a trailerport on the side of the garage to keep the aircraft/flatbed trailer under cover. The trailer used to live in the garage until I got the second Jeep in 2012 and has lived on the drive since then.

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A large room on the back of the house will become my new workshop. It is slightly bigger than my existing workshop at around 20ft x 16ft. I'm planning to transfer all my units and benches to the new workshop and should be able to reuse them all without having to buy anything new. I still plan to have a small bench in the garage for any messy work, but it's not far between the garage and workshop for jobs where I want more warmth and space. If I did need more space to take a Jeep tub off for some work, I'd still have the option of parking one Jeep in the trailerport to clear some floor for a while.

The move also gets Lynne the bigger kitchen she wanted!

So providing all goes to plan, the first trip of 2021 for all the vehicles, should be to the new house. While the Dodge won't fit in the garage yet, I may well take it over before the building works to double check on how much the lintel needs raising before the work starts. It can survive under a plastic sheet for a few weeks until the work is done, or could be returned to the container for a while.

Hopefully more news soon.

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We were informed of our house move date today; a week tomorrow - Feb 24th! The two Jeeps and Roset trailer will be among the first belongings to move, as this will leave the current garage empty. This will make it easier to strip the current workshop units and benches  and carry them through the garage to load them into the trailer for moving. I'm planning on sticking my action cameras to "Jessie" for the trip over, to catch a few pictures of the journey for my website. I'm also going for a "Trailer's Eye View", adding one camera looking forwards at the Jeep from the back of the trailer. My first Jeep rides of 2021 are just a week away!

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Move date tomorrow!

With the move date set, I spent some time on February 21st, preparing for the first step of the move. Some loose items were removed from the aircraft trailer and the B-17 and P-47 secured, along with a few other things. This trailer needs to be empty to move the rest of our things.

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Since the M201 will be moving in the first trip, it will be towing the Roset trailer. I unpacked the camo netting and ridge tents and instead, packed the dining room table, study desk and bedding. If I was taking the trailer over, it was best to have it full of useful stuff!

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The Big Move Day - February 24th

We found out the owners were going to wait at the house to hand us the keys, rather than us collecting the keys from the agent. This meant we could drive across in convoy, me with the M201 and Lynne with the normal car towing the B-17 trailer. Originally Lynne planned to get the keys from the agent with just a car, as parking at the estate agent was limited. However, collecting the keys from the owners meant we could both tow trailers and get more stuff over sooner.

It was around a 12 mile drive via the back roads through Houghton-le-Spring. I always try to avoid motorways if I can, as I don't feel safe with other drivers travelling well over the speed limit. Most of the trip to Durham was on 30mph limit roads and it was a pleasant drive that passed too quickly.

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Arriving at the back garden of the new house and reversing the trailer to the garage.

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Touchdown! "Jessie the Jeep" and "Terry the Trailer" arrive at their new home. The garage door is just tall enough for the Jeep with the roof up.

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It won't be tall enough for the "Follow Me" light box, so I may have to raise both garage doors when I get some builders in to raise the door to allow the Dodge to fit. The Jeep and trailer were parked up on the left, with the P-47N in front. Everything will be shuffled around again when the GPW arrives.

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Again, for now, the B-17 and my late father's model railway are on the right of the garage. I need to leave space in front to store all my workshop units when they are brought over. They can then be moved to the workshop as needed as I fit it out, without them being in the way.

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This is the master plan for the garage. The three vehicles towards the front of the garage and the trailer at the back. There will be a small workbench across the back, along with shelving for all the camping gear and 1940's kit. I'll keep my sand blaster and big compressor out there, but most of my tools will be in the new workshop.

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There's a large annex on the back of the house which will become my new workshop. It's a bit bigger than my existing workshop and the different shaped room gives me the opportunity to redesign a few things to make some processes easier. It's the closest part of the house to the garage and with patio doors, should be easy to get any larger jobs in and out.

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Here's the new workshop plan. It's an odd shape, but I think this will work better for me than my old workshop. There's a guest room off the side, with ensuite and this may end up my GOTO bedroom if I've been out doing astronomy all night. The new observatory is yet another project, but one that will have to wait a while. I should be able to reuse all my old units and benches in the new layout.

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Here's the view from the door, shown bottom left in the plan above.

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52 minutes ago, Jessie The Jeep said:

The Big Move Day - February 24th

We found out the owners were going to wait at the house to hand us the keys, rather than us collecting the keys from the agent. This meant we could drive across in convoy, me with the M201 and Lynne with the normal car towing the B-17 trailer. Originally Lynne planned to get the keys from the agent with just a car, as parking at the estate agent was limited. However, collecting the keys from the owners meant we could both tow trailers and get more stuff over sooner.

It was around a 12 mile drive via the back roads through Houghton-le-Spring. I always try to avoid motorways if I can, as I don't feel safe with other drivers travelling well over the speed limit. Most of the trip to Durham was on 30mph limit roads and it was a pleasant drive that passed too quickly.

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Arriving at the back garden of the new house and reversing the trailer to the garage.

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You've got me on that  'roadview'  it's not on the A690  ,   methinks it is the Old A1  going south from Neville's Cross  ?

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