If I were a Chinese parent…

Gobi Desert Flower

June 15: I would encourage my child to become a civil engineer. Forget the computer software or even hardware, the construction of highways, dams, elevated rail beds (for the high-speed trains China is developing, streets and roads for new apartment buildings are proceeding at a mind-boggling rate. This country is trying to put together an infrastructure for the future. There is a lot they don’t yet have, clean air and drinkable water and sanitation standards. If your child isn’t material for engineering, then send them to school to become a trunk mechanic. The number of trucks on the roads here must outdo the cars and most of them are in bad repair with diesel fumes emitting from the back. They are all so overloaded they breakdown on a regular basis, clogging the already overcrowed roads.

So much has happened since I was last able to get online, that I hardly know where to begin.

Stewball half way from NY to Paris.

But the most imporant thing is Stewball. We may have a very serious problem. Yesterday it was cutting out in low rpm. Ed changed the spark plugs and leaned out the fuel since we were at high altitudes-nearly 8,000 ft. Today by the afternoon it was running even worse. Now he has determined that the compression is seriously low on #3 valve. The best news would be that it is  out of adjustment. He is out now with Stewball trying to determine that. The worst news would be a burned valve which of course he is not prepared to deal with. One choice may be to truck the car to Almaty, Kazakhstan. We know there is a garage there that can do this work. Right now we just don’t know. It may be that we can’t move with the group tomorrow. I will let you know the outcome as soon as I am back on-line.

Hopefully still on the road to Paris,


About ejhowle23

Authors and adventurers, participated in the World Race 2011, an automobile rally from New York to Paris, crossing three continents and 14,000 land miles. Following much the same route as the setting for our debut novel, The Long Road to Paris. This blog describes our own adventures and challenges. And now you can follow our Bahamas sailing adventure that provides the setting for our second novel, Night Watch. Our rally, the African Safari Challenge, crossed five countries in South Africa in May 2014 and in 2015 we participated in the second Trans-American rally this time from Nova Scotia to San Francisco. Spring of 2016 we travelled 28 days around Australia with friends from previous rallies and in the fall participated in our most exhausting rally through Argentina, Chili and Peru- the Rally of the Incas. We were awarded the Against All Odds award. We're still not sure if this was for us or our car. Stewball never broke down and we hardly did. We will soon take on Iceland as a self-drive tour and in the fall of 2017 we will participate in the Odyssey Italia and then back to Africa for a do-over (almost) of the Africa Safari Challenge.
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6 Responses to If I were a Chinese parent…

  1. TBC says:

    Ouch! Let’s hope it is reparable, sooner rather than later. We keep our fingers and toes crossed for you. At least you know of a place further on that can deal with the problem, so all will not be lost.

    Hugs and Hopes,

    TBC and Arnie

  2. joanie Alexander says:

    Fingers crossed that you keep going on Stewball power. I am loving your travel narrative.

    If you are stuck and have time, see NPR review of “In Asia, the Perils of Aborting Girls and keeping Boys” at http://www.npr.org/2011/06/15/137106354/in-asia-the-perils-of-aborting-girls-and-keeping-boys – then give some reporting re what you see in this regard.

    Love to you both


  3. Cathy Howle says:

    Am hoping and praying Stewball is not seriously ill. At least you have a Plan B if that turns out to be the case! Love following your travels, pictures, and reporting. Will check in tomorrow! Much love to you.

  4. jackie salitan says:

    Thinking of you and hoping Stewball will make a fast recovery. Post more photos!

  5. dan pierce says:

    Higher altitudes you richen the fuel mixture, lower elevations you lean it out, otherwise you will run hot and have the engine miss and eventually burn valves (ah I see you figured the last part out). Luckilly changing a head out is very easy and can even be done on the side of the road as there are no head gaskets on an air cooled vw. Just take out the head bolts, remove the valve train (two bolts), remove the pushrods and then pull on the head and voila off comes the head. After the head is repaired or replaced then just reverse the process but you will need a torque wrench to reinstall (available at any parts store, heck there all made there!). Stewball will be up and running in no time. Good luck!!


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