Inventive Car Washing

Nov. 5: Our friend and blog follower Joanie, posted this photo on her facebook with the comment that it reminded her of our adventure in driving. OK, so we didn’t meet up with elephants, only camels, horses, cows, sheep, goats and lammas. But it did remind me of our inventive car wash. It goes like this.

It seems it is illegal to wash a car on the streets in China. I don’t know if this is an effort to conserve water, or just that there are so many cars that it would create some sort of traffic jam in most cities. Anyway, our cars got very dirty- mostly dusty, but sometimes muddy from roads and rain. Jerry kept this corvette spotless, ( he actually found an underground car wash in one city) but he also had Roy, who loves to clean cars-I know, weird guy, but hey, if his car was always so clean, I had to keep Stewball just as good-looking. Ed and I have this agreement. He keeps the car running, I keep it clean and there were plenty of times that just going over him with a dry, clean (or not-so-clean as time went on) cloth, just didn’t cut it.

Roy’s solution, which I copied, was to take the trash can from the hotel room, fill it with water and carry it to the car for washing. Then I had a better idea. See, Ed keeps a pee-pot in the car. Remember there were lots of miles in Western China and Kazakhstan that were pretty barren of trees and bushes. Now, we’re not going into how I managed personal issues that’s not part of this story.

Ed’s pee-pot, is bright red. It’s the one he keeps on the sailboat for the same purpose. No decent sailor (make that male sailor) stands watch alone without one. Peeing over the rail in rough seas makes for a missing sailor. So, we brought Red Man along on this trip. You never know. My solution was this. I carried it up to the room in a black nylon bag that I originally used to keep all my car cleaning supplies in. (those got dumped on the back seat) filled it with water from the sink and carried it out to the car the same way the next morning. I’m sure there were rules about taking water from the hotel room, but I did this quietly and didn’t ask. After all, Roy was still using the trash can.

I quickly found one pee-pot container of water and one good soft rag could wash down the entire car. Well, most of the time unless we hit a really muddy section of road like this one. Then it sometimes took a second trip. Ed was always conspicuously absent when I did this. Just as he was absent when I “found” a flower to go in my bud vase. You know, if everyone was as ethical as he is… well, perhaps I won’t finish that sentence.

Just picture this. Me pouring water from a red pee-pot over the top of Stewball in the early morning Baptism? Some good luck ritual? It doesn’t take a lot to surmise what this container usually holds! I did get attention, but no one ever stopped me. Maybe they we too afraid to get close enough to ask.

Jan (with a thank to Joanie for prompting this blog!)


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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1 Response to Inventive Car Washing

  1. joanie Alexander says:

    That was a fun read Jan. Glad i got that nudge from the New Yorker.

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