Road trip preparation begins

As I type this, I’m watching Nico Rosberg crush all comers at the German Grand Prix. Seeing Felipe Massa’s failed attempt to keep his Williams rubber-side down has spurred me to prepare for my own road trip this summer to the hallowed grounds of Spa-Francorchamps for the 2014 Belgian Grand Prix. So far, the only marker of success I’ve attained is that I’ve just paid off the holiday. Nevertheless, in amongst the dull comparisons of travel insurance quotes and ferry prices, I’ve been daydreaming about how best to use my time abroad in Europe.

So, should I detour hundreds of miles south to visit hauntingly evocative Reims-Gueux? Or, do we arrive in Amsterdam instead of Zeebrugge for a more cultured sidenote to our motoring holiday? We definitely need to fit some European clubbing experiences in there somewhere in our classy escapades. So far, the only certainty is that we will be visiting Deutschland; not only for a top speed run in the 320i, but also to pay a visit to the world’s most famous toll road. Even now, we still cannot decide which mode of transport we’ll use to get round the circuit. Taking your own car around the track is thrilling, but also more than a little terrifying. Track-prepared Suzuki Swifts with sticky tyres, uprated brakes, 4-point harnesses and roll cages do seem mighty tempting, however…

Speaking of the BMW, the Topasblau saloon has had some TLC in the last few weeks to prepare for its expedition. As it stands, I’m proud to say that I’m the owner and operator of a non-leaking M54B22 powerhouse. Well, I think it’s fixed, at least. My dad and I switched the brittle oil filter housing gasket out for a new one, cleaning both the block and the underside of the car in the process. The amount of coagulated oil on the underside of my car rendered it the automotive version of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill:

Pre-clean

Minty fresh. Now I need to source an undertray.

With that sorted, I definitely need to tighten the handbrake before I go, as it merely suggests that the car remains stationary at present. The serpentine belt does look a little frayed, too. I’ve spent more time in front of a PC than on the car recently, as attentive readers will note that the URL for this bimonthly ramble has changed to motormessenger.co.uk. The new colour scheme should make things easier to read; as ever, your thoughts on both are appreciated.

If I don’t attend to the car now, I certainly don’t want to have to do it in Europe. It would be embarrassing to make it all the way to Spa and the ‘Ring just to have a belt snap…

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