Story from Disney...
Our trip to Disney started the weekend before with me going through my Series III 5-door,
Penelope. I adjusted her brakes, steering, carb., and timing, then topped off all 10 of
her fluid reservoirs and grease (damn these things are high maintenance), and finally cleaned
her up and Rain-Xed the windshield (can't trust the Lucas wipers in a heavy downpour). The trip
is 380 miles one way from Elmwood, NE to Disney, OK via the scenic route (hwy. 59) through Kansas.
I knew with Penelope we'd be lucky to average 55, i.e. it would take most of the day. After
work Thursday night I pulled her out of the garage and got to installing the Full-length roof
rack (won't fit in the garage with it). That was a chore by myself as it is fully assembled and
steel (200+ lbs.). 2 hours later I've got it on, with spare and Hi Lift, and the CB antennae
installed, too. Did I mention that it was 25 degrees outside with a 20-mph North wind? The next
morning it was 15 degrees and still blowing from the North, which was FINE with me. Highway
travel in a Series Rover is similar to sailing. I knew if we had a tail wind all the way to OK,
Penelope could avg. 65 mph! While my wife, Jennifer ran our 3 daughters to the grandparents
(FREE babysitting!) I loaded Penny and did last minute checks.
We departed at 8 am to some snow flurries and the wind had changed slightly to NNE and picked up
a bit. Unfortunately the roads we traveled in Nebraska and northern Kansas jogged from South to
East often, so our 60+mph travel was slowed to 55 while going East, not too bad, though. That
morning was uneventful except for excited talk about the trip and praise for how Penny was
running. We stopped in downtown Lawrence, KS for an excellent lunch and received quite a few
praises for our ride (a few strange looks, too). We also saw 2 Defender 90's in town, whose
drivers waved to us, and a Range Rover Classic with no driver.
Shortly South of Lawrence, I noticed we weren't going as fast as earlier (now, about 55) and
began to wonder if something was wrong with Penny. I then saw a flag flying straight out,
showing ESE winds (no wonder she was pulling to the right!). About this same time the clouds
came in and it started raining. Not too hard though - thank the Maker. I didn't even have
to turn on the wipers - thank the Rain-X.
We arrived in Disney by 5 p.m., not too tired or cold, but a little of both. The temp. was down
to 35 and it continued to mist. Our original plan was to camp, so we brought all our cold
weather gear, but now, with the rain and the forecast low of 5 degrees, we had our doubts. We
figured to try a few motels to see if it was cheap enough to wimp out. The first place we
stopped were some CUTE cabins (Roger's Cabins) but nobody was answering. Just as we were
deciding what to do next, up pulls a decked-out Range Rover Classic (winch, roof rack and all)
and driving it is Lee Garrett, from Flatland Rover Society. He, too, was planning on camping
and also wanted to wimp-out. We looked around town and didn't find any place that looked as
cozy, so we went to the Local Pub, to see if anyone knew "Roger". They all did, of course, and
said there was a town meeting going on for the next hour. Lee, Jen and I then ate at a GREASY
little diner and went back to the cabins. Sure enough, there was "Nana" Rogers and she let
us have the cabins for $35 a night, Cheap enough!
The next morning showed about 8 inches of snow and 5 degree temps! BRRRR.
It also showed a Flat tire on Penny.????? With a quick change and fluids
check, we were ready to roll again. Now, where are those OK guys? I found
out soon enough that they weren't coming due to the treacherous conditions,
but we were invited to drive to Tulsa and meet up with them. Jen and I
figured it was worth the drive to see my best friend, Erik Neal. Especially
because nobody but Lee was here. We packed up and said good-byes to Nana
and Lee, and departed.
In the 6 blocks of Disney that we drove, I saw 3+ cars out of control on the
snow and ice (Penny had no trouble). As we were approaching the big dam, I
looked up to see 2 D90s coming across at us. When I turned into the Off-Roading area to meet
them and tell them the plan, we saw 2 more D90s and a Range Rover Classic! Hot damn, we got us
a convoy! They were all Flatlanders and excited to meet us. They also couldn't
believe we'd drive a Series Rover from Nebraska in this weather (they were
all familiar with these things).
It was then that we decided to not drive to Tulsa and stay to play with the
Flatlanders. We had great fun following a local guide (in a Jeep) around on trails and rock
crawling below the dam(s). Being my first time to do serious off-roading, and trying
to sell my 109, I didn't get too crazy, but went everywhere the others did
without the rock crawling, and never needed to be rescued (wasn't trying
hard enough). Some of the FRS gang got stuck a few times to add to the
excitement. We really had a good time meeting everyone and trying to stay
warm (the FRS guys even let Jen ride with them and sit in their trucks to
warm up. I stayed warm from the adrenaline.
We went back for lunch in the cabin; then later Lee and I took his Classic
back out while Jen slept. I was really impressed with Lee's driving skill
and the capabilities of that RR (with road tires, mind you). I was also
very impressed with the capabilities of the D90s and their drivers. Later
that evening we cooked at the cabin again; then went to the local pub to
sing Karaoke. Pam and Tyler, editor of "the Oil Rag" (FRS newsletter), and
Lee joined us and we drank and sang as much as the locals, who adopted us as
their own. It was mostly country music, but I did some Old country (Hank
Sr.) and Jen some Patsy Cline to make it more bearable. 1:30 am...Bed time.
The next morning Jen and I got up at 5:30am and said our good-byes. Did I
mention Nana gave us the cabin for $10 that night? What a sweetheart!
We got going with little head wind and averaged about 45 on the ice up into
Kansas, where the road equipment was. Then Penny picked up to 55+, but she
just wouldn't warm up (25 degrees outside). Again we ate in Lawrence and
saw an 88" Series IIa drive by (man, this place is Rover-friendly). When we
left Lawrence, things took a turn for the worse to the tune of a 30-mph
straight-on head wind! Penny would do more than 50 on the flats and 35
uphill. The outside temp. dropped to 10 and it got ass-cold. DAMN! We
pushed on with the accelerator to the floor, and Jen kicked her shoes off
and planted her feet to the firewall, the warmest part of Penelope. All
this added 1 1/2 hours to our trip and made for a miserable 5 hours of
All in all, though, we decided it was one of the best weekends we had had in
quite a while. We definitely have to do it again, soon.