Killarney? Isn't that some kind of Beer?
by Christian Szpilfogel
Well, one late Friday afternoon, I called Dixon about something or other. We got to talking about Land Rovers as we tend to do and then he mentions that a friend south of Sudbury is giving up a couple of parts machines. "Oh," says I. "I may be willing to go along for the trip just for fun. Would either of them have a Safari Top?" "I don't know," replies Dixon. "but, I'll check." Ten minutes later, I get another call from Dixon "They both have safari tops."
"Hello! I'm there!"
Wednesday morning my alarm went off at 5:30 as it always does. Should I get up and get ready? Naw, Dixon will probably sleep in so why bother.
At 6:15am I get a call. "Hi, its me. I'm on my way, get the coffee on." Oh shit! So much for that theory. By 8am we were on the road. The Disco was packed to the brim with every tool I could think of that we might need and a large trailer in tow.
The trip itself was rather uneventful until we realized we had sailed clear through Matawa and were on our way down Hell's road. A quick blink through Matawa again and we were back on course. Dixon and I kept ourselves entertained by talking about middle- east politics.
The town we were heading for was Killarney (as in the town next to the Provincial Park). It turns out we were on our way to a quartzite mine which exists on an island in the vicinity. We grabbed a handful of tools and got on the mine's launch out to the i sland. There we met Rod Steele, the Mine's manager and OVLR member. He introduced us to his chief mechanic (and jack of all trades) John. We were then given a tour of the mine and finally the derelict Land Rovers. Rod looked at our tools and said, "you won't be needing those."
That night, we were put up in the local hotel and wined (well beered actually) and dined. While all the miners had gone to sleep, Dixon and I kept going until 2am. Would we hear that 6am wake-up call? Only time would tell.
We did in fact make it up and onto the boat with the morning shift by 7am. By 8am, John had backed up his trucks to the Land-Rovers complete with all the industrial gear you would want.
"Well looky here, a big Oxy-Aceteline torch. He he he. Dixon, do you know how to fire this thing up?"
"No. All I remember is A before O or up you go."
Well that was sufficient to cool my jets for a minute. John came back from doing an hydraulic flush on one of the big 50 tonne mining trucks and set up the equipment. Before you know it I was cuttin' and slashin with a big blue wrench! Here a fender; the re a fender; slash a frame; cut a bulkhead; and out popped a very fine steering relay assembly.
By 11am we had the two Land-Rovers down to the essential pieces and strapped onto pallettes. With the aid of fork-lifts, trucks, and of course John we loaded onto the barge and ready to go.
Now I must admit that with a slight hang-over, 30C temperatures, coveralls, an O-A torch and serious dehydration, I was very very glad that we were done and that all this machinery was available.
As images of engines danced in his head, Dixon suddenly realizes that the engine he so desperately needed was in fact a SII engine not a IIa! Fortunately it will mate with the the IIa bell housing so he was smiling again when he got back to Ottawa. Until then it was hard to tell whether he was disappointed or still just hung-over. You see Dixon's "temporary" engine which he has been using for the past four years had finally given up the ghost (I guess the last two cylinders finally gave out). Now, when Dixon says his engine his dead you need to believe him since you have never seen someone who has soaked every last mile out of an engine as he does.
We packed up our not so small trailer to the brim (again with the help of John and his fork-lift), said good-bye to our newly found friends, and hit the road for Ottawa. Now for all that is said about the Disco's gas mileage, it barely suffered on the way back even though it was hauling between 1/2 and 3/4 of a tonne up and down the hills of Northern Ontario (or as the region is properly called, the Near North).
In all, we pretty much got what we set out for. The Safari-top needs a little work before I can use it and Dixon still has to mate the SII engine to his 109. The trip was made very much more comfortable by Rod who was helpful to the extreme, Dixon and I b oth wanted to lie about the hard-ships but then we would not have given Rod his due credit. Thanks Rod!
Reprinted from the Ottawa Valley Land Rovers newsletter, October 1996