We have just returned from our final test tour before setting off on our big tour.
We are driving our Kia Sorento, 2,5 liter turbo diesel 4x4 and pulling a Hobby 495UL caravan. We have had this car for some years and are very satisfied and confident that it is as good a towing car as you can get. (We used to tow our double horse box with it and its predecessor, an older version of the Sorrento). The caravan is a 2017 model and, after previous tours, we decided that the kitchen was too small. Also my wife wanted a non-chemical dry toilet and I was happy enough to go along with the idea.
Actually we wanted to have a very different caravan, designed by us and built by a small manufacturer, but the time frame and cost would not accommodate this idea. So, being otherwise satisfied with the Hobby, we decide to remove the entire seating area, half that part of the caravan and so extend the kitchen and create a new toilet / washroom.
I also fitted a pair of 100 Watt solar panels which load two 92 Ah batteries. There's a simple volt meter showing the current status and a 12 Volt ciggy-lighter-plug to charge mobile phones etc.. I also fitted an inverter giving us 240 Volts for short periods for kitchen mixers, our computer, etc. because 12 volt just does not give enough umph. The batteries also get charged whenever we drive and there is a charger should we ever need it and have land electricity, i.e. at a campsite, available.
Our main comm’s link is my iMac, I actually hate the bloody thing, but then again I have hated all previous computers. My wife has told me that if this one gets introduced to my shotgun, thrown out of the window or down the corridor and jumped up and down on, I ain’t getting another one; so I’m being nice to the fucking thing, for now !
I have fitted a 10 Watt antenna booster which has 2xLTE and 2xWLAN antenna’s and so can receive and send simultaneously. Please don’t ask too much more about it, my step son though it up, I just put it all together and it seems to work. That is, it gives us a much better range whenever a signal is available. The German countryside is very poorly linked up.
We didn’t drive too far, we only want to do about one to two hundred kilometer steps at a time. We stopped first at an ostrich farm. Really nice people, no charge ! OK I bought a couple of beers and some bread from them, 6 € ! Then we went to friends small-holdings on the Polish border, each in small villages, very quiet and remote, perfect.
The roads, particularly the A11 moving northwards from Berlin is the worst road that I have experienced this side of South Africa ! It was restricted from ‚unlimited‘ down to 100kph, I slowed down to 60, it was embarrassing but we were being shaken to pieces. We then had to stop because our extended mirror was threatening to fall off. Later, at a bridge repair, there was a limit of 30kph when, without further warning. two sleeping-policemen-ramps, one immediately behind the other, almost threw us off the blood bridge. Just what these dipshits have got in their heads instead of brains is beyond me. On checking everything, we discovered that my batteries had freed themselves from their anchorage.
It was certainly a tough test for the equipment and a lesson to us not to trust road signs, I honestly don’t expect to find anything this bad in Spain or Portugal when we get there
So, it’s repair and improvement time. Then we are over at Steve Hugh’s memorial service after which it’s close down our house and hit the road …