Updated: May 13, 2019
It's the start of an exciting road trip for the 7, as we travel to the UK for the 7s first service at 1000 miles, plus we take part in the Lotus 7 Club Taffia Fish n Chip run 2019.
I hope to publish regular blog articles detailing our experience, I'll aim to keep them brief for easy reading.
Of course, our journey started with travel from the Isle of Man via the Steam Packet Company ferry Ben My Chree from the Isle of Man to the Port of Heysham just outside of Lancaster. Getting the 7 on and off the car ferry was straightforward unlike loading the Exige which has a much larger overhang and is a bit of a nightmare. The 7's diminutive size easily sat within the predefined lanes on the ferry so all good there too. The trip across the Irish sea is around 4 hours, arriving in Heysham at mid-day, it's not the most interesting of trips, but gave plenty of time to read any 7 enthusiasts favourite read, Low Flying.
I'd checked the weather before we got onto the ferry and it looked clear and dry for our first leg down to Cheshire so I set off with no weather gear. We're staying in Cheshire for just shy of a week which includes the service at the Cheshire based Lotus and Caterham dealer, Oakmere Motorgroup. Well as soon as we drove off the ferry the heavens opened and it started to rain. I've brought weather gear including a new half hood which I intend to blog about at some point, and so I was faced with the decision to either stop and put the weather gear on or to drive through the weather. The clouds certainly looked isolated, so I opted to drive through without weather gear. By the time we'd driven from the ferry port to the nearby M6 motorway junction the rain had stopped, however, I'd discovered some important points about driving in the rain without a hood. With a full screen, driving over 40 mph the rain tends to miss the drivers head, less than 40 mph, less so, and in fact between 30 mph and 40 mph, rain in the eyes is painful and not particularly pleasant. I've subsequently purchased a pair of sunglasses to help reduce future pain.
Our journey from Lancaster to Cheshire required the use of the M6 motorway, which provided the first opportunity to drive the 7 on a motorway. I was certainly pretty nervous about this aspect of the road trip, however after reaching the Thelwall Viaduct I'd gained confidence in placing the car defensively within traffic and settled into enjoying the drive. I must say driving on the motorway in a 7 gives you a new perspective to HGVs along with road surface imperfections, a large bump feels so much bigger requiring significantly more focus and reaction.
Driving down the motorway in the 7 was always going to be a noisy affair, the 7's exhaust at approximately 90dB, other cars, tyre roar, you get the idea. Now I have no issue with the exhaust noise etc, around the countryside it's great and part of the appeal as it pops and bangs on the overrun, but 2 hours down the motorway at a near constant rpm less so. I'm sure that level of noise is certainly not good for your long term hearing nevermind how you feel about it. Since I'd considered this before setting off, I'd had a chance to source some appropriate ear defenders. The trip from Lancaster to Cheshire provided a suitable opportunity to trial the ear defenders.
My overall impression and conclusion of the ear defenders is a very positive one. They're extremely comfortable and don't cause any discomfort around the ears. The tension in the bridge across the users head is sufficient to keep the ear defenders in position even at 70 mph while not causing irritation or headaches. The amount of noise suppression seems appropriate for use in the 7 on motorways, they don't silence the engine, exhaust or other cars, but certainly takes the level of all sound down to an acceptable level, and crucially a level which doesn't become tiresome. The only criticism I would offer is the tension on the bridge and size of the earpiece makes it a little difficult to put the defenders on with one hand, as result fitting them when driving is difficult. You kind of need to put them on before you start.
One of the nice features of these ear defenders is the integrated speakers, AM/FM radio and 3.5mm jack for MP3 or mobile phones. I didn't get chance to test these features during the journey between Lancaster and Cheshire, but they'll be plenty of opportunity during the run down to Chepstow for the start of the Taffia 2019.
I hope you've enjoyed reading this first blog from our road trip, I suspect the next post will provide an insight into the service at Oakmere.