Demobilization

Almost two years ago when this blog was started just before we purchased the beat-up 15+ year old Land Rover Defender for restoration we contemplated some of the possible options for disposal at the end (See Posts in Planning Category). Since that time the list of possible options has grown and evolved ifrom  selling in Ghana, selling in Morocco, or shipping to Canada to include shipping to South Africa to explore southern and eastern Africa and retaining in Ghana, perhaps on a shared ownership basis,  for future use in the region.  At the time we wound up our trip  all of those options save the Morocco one were still on the table.  I had obtained quotes for shipping to South Africa and expressions of interest to purchase from within Ghana,   We had weighed all these for some time and each had its merits, and its downsides.  If we sent it to South Africa it would open up whole new horizons in southern and eastern Africa, but would carry a large financial cost associated with shipping and storage.   Selling it or retaining it in Ghana would provide an incentive to return to try to get to Mali and other West African locations like Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, etc.

One week before leaving Ghana we decided to ship our Defender back to Canada.  This was not at all an easy decision.  It was certainly the most convenient choice, as we were packing a container to return to Canada at the end of our posting and there was no additional cost to us or to the Government of Canada as my employer to sending the vehicle to Canada.  The question is how well will a older diesel that has never wintered fare in the Canadian climate.

Before we packed up the vehicle we took the time to do some maintenance (wheel alignment; oil and filter changes; replacement of some pulley bearings that were getting noisy; etc)  We also had a little end of trip party at Opere’s shop under the tree to recognize all the people who had worked on the restoration.  I gave Opere a few days notice, invited others around town and then our last Saturday before pack-up Laura and I loaded the fridge with Guinness, Malta, beer, soft drinks and juice; bought some meat patties and pizza and went and set up at Opere’s shop for a late afternoon party.   It was a crazy party, there were no women, but some of the boys started chanting “music! music! music!” and when we put some Ebo Taylor Ghanaian high life music on the stereo they started dancing.  Then everyone wanted a group picture.  I don’t have those pictures now but will upload them next week. (see separate post)

When the movers came they brought a flat-bed truck that the Defender could be driven on to and from there into the container. This was the culmination of two days with the packers at our house, who first packed all our personal belonging into 127 cardboard boxes, then loaded the boxes into wooden crates in the container parked in the street in front of the house.  The Land Rover came last and it was by no means a straightforward process.  They did not have ramps large enough to reach, so they ordered a truck that with a tilting flatbed that we drove onto, the idea being that then we would drive the Land Rover into the container.  The  container was still a good 24″ higher than the highest point the lift truck could get to.  The difference was closed by parking the lift truck on a speed bump down the road and backing the container up to it.  There was still almost a 12″ different in the height but we piled some 2x4s to create a sort of slope and clambered up that.  Unusual terrain, but terrain nonetheless and it is a Land Rover.    By the time we were finally done it was well after dark.

Loading the Landy onto a High-Cube container bound for Canada
After disconnecting the batteries a lot of time was spent fixing the vehicle in place, which included strapping it the base of the container and nailing wood strapping down around all the wheels.

So now I have to start to plan to receive the Defender in Ottawa in approximately two months time.  I do not think it is going to be useable in the winter and it is not going to fit in our garage so we will need a place to winter it.  In the spring we can begin to use it as a seasonal recreational vehicle that will no doubt turn a lot of heads.