On the road the practicalities.

So after years of planning this motorhome adventure we are now on the road, with only 1 month’s lifetime motorhoming experience and that was over 10 years ago, this is a whole new ball game. We are lucky enough to be in a new Elddis Encore 254, which has a fixed bed which has proved marvellous, the motorhome is very well finished and drives like a dream. That said going away in it for a year with no overnight test runs has meant it has taken us a lot of time to get used to doing anything in it. We studied the various ‘How to’ books on the subject, the best one we found being ‘Go Motorhoming and Campervanning’ from Vicarious Books. It has loads of information on all topics set out in logical order. We also read many blog’s www.ourtour.co.uk being particularly useful and Jason and Julie have been extremely kind and helpful to us.

Stuff we bought for the trip

As much as you may read about something, doing it is the thing that excites and exercises the mind. Part of any adventure is the buying of things you ‘need’ for the trip. The best advice we got was ‘there are shops in Spain’. We still bought many things for the ‘Van’ before we set off, and so far only one has proved utterly useless. I bought a 24v inverter (to charge or electric bikes when we were off grid) and we have a 12v van, stupid mistake and most annoying to wasted so much money.

We have found there is much more storage space than you think and you don’t actually need all you take. That said, buying things for the van was fun and enjoyable, and they have for the most part proved their worth. Euro connector for the electricity was a must, as our first stop Vejer does not have a standard connector, it uses a standard Spanish plug in common with most campsites in Spain. The polarity tester also did the job.

The collapsible bucket was gift and it is a wonder, enabling us to empty the grey waste without an issue, a fantastic product. Karen also decided it was the ideal thing to use to shave here legs in! We have not as yet had much use of the outdoor chairs as it is still too cold for them, but in testing they are wonderful. As we mentioned the bed in the van is a full size double and is so so comfortable, the addition of silk duvet was a good one, light weight and warm.

We decided to buy a Safefill refillable gas tank and thus far we had no issues with refilling it. Very light weight and simple to see how much gas you have. That said it all could go wrong when we move around Spain. To date we have refilled it four times twice here and twice in the UK.

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View from our Classroom
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And another view from the classroom hard to learn with these views.

At this time, we are stationary on a campsite near Vejer De La Frontera, as we are in Spain for a year we decided to go back to School in Vejer to learn a bit of Spanish to enable us to be part of Spain while we are here. It is much harder that we thought, the idea is to live, see and taste Spain for a year, to do this we will need to get better at Spanish.  So to be near the school we are staying at Camp Vejer, it is about 3km outside Vejer and has electric hook up, fresh water, clean toilet and shower block with hot water 24 / 7.  It is empty at this time so the bar and café are not open,but the family that run it Miguel and Eva, their daughter Sala and Willy have made us welcome and we feel that staying here is like being part of a family! We ha ve been to birthday party and had the most wonderful homemade paella. The weather turned bad on Wednesday and Miguel took us with his daughter to school. This is now the routine and we are not allowed speak English at camp as Eva says we will never learn otherwise, all great fun.

The toilet on the van is very simple and we have shower also. Though as we are at a campsite and use their facilities we still use our own from time to time. The least pleasant job is emptying what is called the ‘black’ waste, it takes more time than you think, but done properly is not that bad and in general has been allocated to the male of the team. Though Karen did a whole cycle just to show she could and can.

Out and About
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Arcos Del Frontera

Finding places to park near the centre of towns, is not as simple as you might hope. NiKi is a big van 8’10” wide and around 27’ long. So you must consider the roads you need to use before you use them.

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Arcos Del Frontera Can you Spot NiKi

There are many apps that will assist you finding the parking spot you need. But as we have found out when we went to Cadiz at the weekend some roads will only give you inches of clearance. ‘Squeaky bum time’ to coin a phrase. Again an error in navigation this weekend took us straight through the centre of a town. Again only inches to spare, also virtually every car you see in Spain seems to be scratched on all four corners. So though to date we are doing ok it is touch and go!

The people we have met, to a man and women have been so kind helpful and thoughtful. From our teacher, our fellow pupils and the people we meet in shops cafes and on the street all want to help and make your day a better one.

 

 

 

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This weekend we went to Arcos Del Frontera it was even prettier than Vejer, the streets were extremely narrow but cars were whizzing around.

The Website

Being a bit of a techno junkie David has been working on the website and there are some things he can’t get to work, such as the route map. It will happen and as we are in Vejer de la Frontera for another week at school, it is not that urgent. Though we want to show the route we are planning and if you have any views how we can improve it we would be grateful.

We have been asked how are we getting on in our confined space? Well to be fair with all the planning, preparations and finally traveling to Spain it IS confined and all bottled up issues need to be resolved quicker, that said no blood yet.

Locals taking the air at Barbate. It's 20 degrees.
Locals taking the air at Barbate. It’s 20 degrees.
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We are Not alone.

9 Comments

  1. I hope you both have a great year . I have camper contact on an app it costs approx six euro a year and is kept up dated all the time also Ido not need to be on line to get co rods and details when travelling and maps .me i hope these ma be of some help to you Tom

  2. Just taken the time to catch up on your blogs. Sounds like you’re getting to grips with the food & drink even if the Spanish is a struggle! We are in Tamar in Portugal now heading slowly south as have some family meeting us in the Algarve on 11th Feb. Seeing some amazing places on route too. Parked in a car park in town for tonight courtesy of camperstops book – a great investment if you don’t have a copy. Have fun xxx

    • Thanks for the email we are following your adventure though the north and down through Portugal. The campsite we are on sounds similar to your one in Portugal. The difference being hot water all day very clean and the owners have adopted us, taking us to school each day, with their daughter.
      These are campsites for locals that keep their caravans permanently on site, along with everything they need for summer. We have had some come and spend last weekend polishing their pitch for forthcoming Easter celebrations.
      Different countries different ways.

    • We have been known to assist Bailey owners to fill their thunder boxes, but they can empty them on their own assuming their thunder box works!

  3. Hi. Interesting blog. I am in the process of choosing a motorhome and am worried about the payload. I yours a 3500kg van? How do you manage for weight? How heavy are your bikes? A post about payload would be very useful!

    Thanks

    • Roger, thanks for the feedback, have never done a post specifically on payload, it is an odd subject. Will do a short one as this was a huge worry before we set off. Now common sense has kicked in. We weighed the Van fully loaded including a full tank of water in Portsmouth before we set off. we had 45 – 50KG left of our 3500kg and we simply have not added much more stuff to the van. Common sense is make sure that you empty all waste before you leave camp. If you are going to be staying on campsites don’t fill your fresh tank beyond 35%. We have found that you bring more than you need. So if you bring your van for a few test weekends and there is stuff you don’t use. Think about it and don’t take it with you next time.
      As for our bikes they are electric and are approx 22kgs each without the batteries. We always travel with the batteries in the van behind the passenger seat. By the way electric bikes are not a luxury, but a must have! They give you masssive options on where to stay with a range for approx. 60km we have found. hope all this helps.

      Regards David

      • Thanks for that. I am hoping for 500kg payload when I get the figures back from the dealer. You seem pleased with your bikes, would you telling me what make they are?

      • Hiya Grey gappers, We are loving your blogs, we’ve just bought an Elddis Encore 255 – I would think virtually the same as yours and we’re planning a Portugal trip and concerned about the weight. Under the bench seats are two heavy metal framed passenger seats which we’ve took out as we’ll never use them and hope to gain a bit extra from that, did yours have those? I’m hoping that through other planned trips we can thin out to take only what we really need and the temptation to take everything subsides Regards Maggie

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