The big tour

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Bill Bentley
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The big tour

Postby Bill Bentley » Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:05 am

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 …

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27
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Re: The big tour

Postby 27 » Tue Sep 04, 2018 9:16 am

Bill.

Good luck on your travels. :D :D :D :D

27,
YOU SIGN PHIL JONES :-( :-( :-( WE SIGN KUN AGUERO :-) :-) :-)
C.T.I.D. :-) :-) :-) ⓜⓒⓕⓒ I WAS THERE WHEN WE WERE SHIT ¿? ¿? ¿?

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PINKY
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Re: The big tour

Postby PINKY » Tue Sep 04, 2018 5:03 pm

Hi Bill,
I'm guessing area's of the old East Germany are still in need of road repairs and improvements. Lots of luck on your journey! When is D Day?
ATB
Pinky

Arnie
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Re: The big tour

Postby Arnie » Fri Sep 07, 2018 7:22 am

Bill and Rahi, BOB VOYAGE, keep us in the picture or the loop whichever is easier. Arnie and Brenda

Bill Bentley
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Re: The big tour

Postby Bill Bentley » Thu Oct 04, 2018 6:05 pm

Hi everyone,

here we are, 5 nights and six days into our tour and only just starting to catch our breath after the enormous effort of getting going. I suppose that we could have waited a couple of days longer and started in October, but the weather was turning and I wanted to be moving in September. Gone are the high 20’s and low 30’s°C of just a couple of weeks ago. Now we are lucky to top 10°C during the day and just avoid frost at night.

Our first two nights we spent on the edge of a field / forest, bordering the garden of an old mansion which still has the artificially made lakes immediately behind us, in the once fine gardens, now reclaimed by nature. We could have stayed longer (free of charge) but our aim is much further South and West. Still it was a great walking area for the dogs and we visited the farmers pigs and horses etc..

The third night was spent on the outskirts of Dresden, a really spectacular City, easily a match for Berlin, Paris or London ! I am not talking about the famous Frauen Kirche, which Aunty Betty supported the rebuilding of, after we had bombed the city to bits AFTER WWII, which was insignificant in the shadow of the other magnificent buildings. Our location was behind the Fritz Berger camping shop (again free). There was a very fairly priced mains electricity connection, so we distilled as much drinking water as we have capacity to carry (10 liters). It does not sound very spectacular but once the grounds were locked up at night we could also let the dogs roam freely. We also had a key incase we wanted to go out, but we chose to rest up again.




How can I add a photo ? The attachments block below does not seem to want to help me :? :?





Night four was spent on a rather ramshackle farm on a rather wet and windy day/night. Here we experienced that the plastic wedges, which we had bought at Fritz Berger, to replace our old wooden chocks, didn’t survive their first usage ! Not to worry we can reclaim this, when we get further South, at another of their shops.

Last night and tonight we are at a small private distillery. They also keep sheep in their orchard and that’s where we are camped. The weather has cleared up and so all is looking fine. We tasted a selection of their schnaps’s yesterday and will take a couple of the best with us, just in case it gets really cold. Ah yes, with the sheep in their shed, our dogs can run freely within the orchard, a welcome change, not being on a lead all the time, more like home.

We have added a dent in the side of the car and scraped the back feet of the caravan, ripping off the elephants feet, but no real damage. The roads and tracks are at times very steep and narrow ! The caravan seems to need regular attention, a drawer flew out during the drive, two days in a row and is, for now being secured with masking tape during future journeys. A mirror had also been freeing itself from the wall, but I hope to have solved that problem …

It seems that everything is made for show and not really built for purpose. OK, if you just drive down motorways and then onto ‚Holiday - Campsites things would probably suffice, but in my view, that ain’t camping - caravanning. I expect to be able to use steep country lanes and, carefully, some dirt roads / tracks.

The next major issue that itches us is getting resupplies of gas. Not a problem in Germany, using their UN 11 kg cylinders which are swappable almost everywhere. It seems however that, in spite of 40 years of EU mismanagement, there are still over 300 different gas fittings in use. While we have bought an EU adapter set so that, in theory, we can have our cylinders refilled, we can’t actually find anywhere in France, Spain or Portugal, that will actually refill our bottles. Each country wants you to convert to their system, but what do you then do with your old gas cylinders ? And it costs several hundred €uro’s every time for their new (rented) cylinders and valves etc.. In Spain we read that you have to ‚make a contracto‘ and for this you also need a new gas MOT as well … more cost !

Can anybody give us any tips ?
Surely there must be a list of gas (propane / butane) refill stations that are willing to refill our German (UN !) cylinders.
There are seemingly millions of people moaning about this madness on the internet but, to date, no practical solutions …

Best wishes to everyone send

Bill & Rahi



It seems that the pictures have not been included in my copy and paste action. I shall try again soon !

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PINKY
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Re: The big tour

Postby PINKY » Fri Oct 05, 2018 5:33 pm

Hi Bill,
Interesting journey log and you've only just started. Frustrating situation about the propane cylinders, which reminds me - when I came to Canada I brought all my beer making equipment only to find the c02 cylinder I had was not compatible nor convertible to anything remotely North American...….pissed off to say the least. NO HOMEBREW.
Hopefully your issue will resolve itself with some luck and British ingenuity!!

Good Luck
Pinky

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Re: The big tour

Postby mick burgess » Sun Oct 07, 2018 8:01 pm

Hi Bill,
Thanks for the info glad you are both having a great time. As you are staying rural what about a paraffin/kerosene
stove or cooker that fuel is easier to find. Failing that mate there-s always the old Benghazi Burner never failed.
Thought with your ingenuity you would have had solar panels on the roof and a little cooker,
Take care safe trip.
Mick and Marion
PS Hi Pinky does that mean you are Teetotal !!!!!!!!!!! :lol: :oops: :cry: :roll:

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PINKY
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Re: The big tour

Postby PINKY » Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:29 pm

PS Hi Pinky does that mean you are Teetotal !!!!!!!!!!! :lol: :oops: :cry: :roll:[/quote]

Hi Mick,
NOT IN THE SLIGHTEST.
I tell folk over here that for a while I was a member of the biggest drinking club in the world ie: BAOR.
I remember waiting on in the officers mess when you were dined out in Munster........was it 1990?

Al Beveridge was QM-T I think and he brought a bottle of vintage port for the evening, he had a few and asked us which year to use.......I suggested the 1966 because it was the year England won the world Cup. We decantered it correctly and a few of us waiters got the dregs.........lol. The good old days.
ATB
Pinky

YES ITS SNOWING HERE.......


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