Adventure Overland Show Sept 2018

Saturday morning and I’m making my annual trip to the Adventure Overland Show at Stratford on Avon racecourse.

Adventure Overland Show

The weather forecast wasn’t good, predicting rain at 4 pm. Well they lied, it rained at 12 pm. In typical British spirit, a drop of rain wasn’t going to put me off, especially as I paid an entrance fee.

I find it difficult to judge whether the show is bigger or busier than the previous show as the layout varies each year.

It’s always a good show with a laidback feel and some interesting characters. I must admit after a long conversation with an overland travel writer he showed me places off the beaten track in Spain that were stunning and accessible in our campervan.

There is always something in the car park that catches the eye and this VW T4 Doka certainly did.

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I managed to meet up with fellow blogger Mike Brailey the director and editor of the Overland Journal European issue.

Overland Rover

Overland Journal

Overland Portal

The Overland Journal is a massively popular publication in the States and finally the UK has its own edition published 5 times a year and edited by Mike.

It’s easy to think of it as just another magazine, but it is a journal in the truest sense, imagine an oversized paperback book and you would be nearer the mark.

It’s not all about size though; the content gives a fascinating insight into travelling the world by various means of transport with superb photographs.

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The Overland Journal Landrover

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I’m a glutten for teardrop trailers and this example made by Boondock Trailers was perfect. Comfortable and rugged.

Boondock

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The Mercedes Sprinter 4 x 4 van has really taken off here and in the States as the must have campervan.

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This Ford Transit by Lifes Adventure Overland had the best Raptor paint finish I ever seen and their bespoke fabrications were top quality.

Lifes Adventure Overland

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Gull wing side door, a powerful BMW engine and large split rim wheels make this Renault Traffic van a jaw dropper

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Unimogs galore this year

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The Camper Van Culture Managon

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And finally the arse end of the post A bumper dumper and a rifle case, just what every camper needs.

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I hear the sound of breaking glass

Don’t you hate that heart wrenching moment when you hear the crack of breaking glass and the thought of an expensive repair?

I bent down to pick something up off the floor and my phone slipped out of my shirt pocket onto the hard tiled floor. It dropped about half a metre and landed screen down on a hard tiled floor. The cracking sound made me wince.

The result of the fall

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Luckily because of my work, my phone is protected by a silicone skin and has a tempered glass screen protector. I carefully removed the screen protector to reveal an unbroken phone screen

 

The relief

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The tempered glass screen protector cracked.

This screen saver cost £2.99  from e bay and has saved me from having to replace my phone.

With the cost of phones and tablets they are worth fitting and they don’t affect the touch operation of the screen.

As you can see. Its been an uneventful month, work and commitments stopping us getting away.

Puffin past her MOT test without any advisories. We are road taxed and have renewed the insurance, so we are legal and ready to travel.

I did mange to successfully reseal the leaking roof vent, but in all the excitement I forgot to take loads of photos.

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The hole in the roof after I had cleaned the old sealant away.

I took Puffin to the local weighbridge and she weighs in at a lightweight 2150 kg which gives us a useful 500kg payload allowance.

I can highly recommend anyone in the Warwickshire/Worcestershire area to use the Public weighbridge at Simon & Deans Ltd in Brickyard Lane, Studley B80 7EE. cost £3.50

The Camper Van Bible

Fame at last. Today, whilst browsing around Waterstones book shop I came across Martin Doreys new book “The Campervan Bible” published by Bloomsbury.

Low and behold on page 422 I found a short quote that I submitted for the section called “what does a camper mean to you”.

http://martindorey.com/product/camper-van-bible/

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A night by the stones

The last few weeks have been challenging and we needed to escape again even if it was for one night.

The school holidays were over and weekday travel was less of a hassle. A fairly late start for us saw Puffin hurtling down the M5 motorway towards Bristol. We turned off at junction 19 for the Gordano services and drove towards the Clifton suspension bridge that crosses the River Avon Gorge. The extreme knitter likes to be surprised and I always try to include a fear factor if I can as it keeps the blood pumping. I excelled myself this time as I’m not good with heights and as we had never driven over the suspension bridge before I felt it had to be done. Crikey it’s high, Bum cheek clenchingly high and to pick up the road to our next destination we had to turn around and go back over it.

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Safely back on a lower ground level we drove towards Cheddar Gorge where we stopped in one of the lay-bys in the gorge for lunch.

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Next destination was Wells for a little sightseeing and retail therapy for the extreme knitter.

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Wells is a small city with an amazing Cathedral and lots of nooks and crannies to explore.

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Back on the road again and we joined the east bound A303. The signs for the Stonehenge visitor centre appeared at a roundabout, but I wasn’t going there. A little further along the A303 we turned left into a bye way called the Drove. It is just a dirt track that runs up beside the famous Stonehenge. The drove is used by campers from all walks of life to wild camp with a view of the stones across the field. New age travellers, Hippies, Over Landers and Motor home owners and now us.

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The look on the extreme knitters face was priceless when I announced that this was our campsite for the night, but as always she’s a game girl and embraced the madness.

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Stonehenge has become a major tourist attraction that can only be visited by paying substantial amount to the English Heritage. They had the roads around closed and blocked off to stop the common people sneaking a crafty look, but the Drove has survived for now. It’s a Bye way running close by with a public right of way. I’ve been wanting to stopover here for sometime and I thought that if we didn’t do it soon the powers that be will eventually close it and our chance would pass.

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The Autumn Solstice occurred on Friday 23rd September, so it could have been a mistake visiting so soon after the mass visit by hundreds of Druids on Friday. I expected it to be messy and littered after so many people had visited, but it was a pleasant surprise to find it litter free. There weren’t many campers and it was easy to find a fairly level place to park with a good view of the stones.

The paying visitors arrive by bus from the visitor centre having paid to park, then coughing up £18 a head to wander around the circumference of the stones, never getting close enough to touch them.

The meatballs in tomato sauce made another appearance, but sadly no Bacardi just in case we needed to drive off in the middle of the night.

It was suggested that I should dance naked in the middle of the stones at sunrise, but sadly I cancelled the dance as the sun didn’t rise in the morning. Well I suppose it must have risen, but I couldn’t see it for the rain and mist.

We had a peaceful, quiet and safe night. The extreme knitter was at ease there, which is a good sign because if she’s not comfortable with an overnight stay she will say so.

Bacon sandwiches for a late breakfast. We then wandered down the drove to the point where the visitor buses stop. This entrance was guarded and gated off. After walking on a little further we found a public footpath that appeared to lead to the stones.

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Not only did it lead to the stones, we were only about 15 metres further away than the paying punters and only separated by a wooden fence.

We had briefly passed through Marlborough when we had previously visited our Grandson at his Larkhill barracks and said we must visit when we had time to explore. We did try to park there on the way back, but failed.

On the trip back, just north of Tidworth we saw a tank coming down the road towards us with a squaddie under driving instruction. The extreme knitter suddenly waved to them out of the blue. I dread to think what the instructor said to the Squaddie.

 

Adventure Overland Show 2016

It’s late September and here we are again driving Puffin to the Adventure and Overland show at the Stratford on Avon racecourse.

On the way we had called into the local clinic for our Flu jabs and returned some clothes to Marks & Spencer’s.

I like to be productive. I did think about dropping a load of rubbish at the local tip as we passed by, but they have height barriers.

I look forward to this show every year. It fuels my dreams, makes me want to travel more and perhaps push some boundaries.

The stands selling natural products made from leather and wood always draw me in.

I can wander the tools and parts stalls all day, trying to stop myself from buying that must have set of spanners.

Obviously the vehicles are the stars here and the mix is so varied.

I will just let the photos tell the tale.

The French made Gazell demount caught my eye. It’s being sold in the UK by SBS

SBS Adventure Campers

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There was a good turn out of Ex army conversions

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beetle

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This Unimog is Mowgli as seen on the blog

http://mowgli-adventures.com/meet-our-unimog-camper-named-mowgli/

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Cooking was high on my agenda. I was hoping to find the Hawkins pressure cooker. A simple, but effective cooker made in India since 1959. The small 2 litre capacity cooker would be ideal for our campervan allowing us the cook fresh local produce in a greatly reduced time. If there was one there, I didn’t find it.

Hawkins Pressure Cookers

I was also looking for a silicone mould for our Omnia oven, but it seems that Omnia don’t have any in stock in Sweden, let alone the UK.

 

 

 

 

I am a Cider drinker

This holiday post is a little late. We actually went away on 13th August. Better late than never.

The camp site had been booked months in advance because of the school holidays. Ruby was sleeping over at The feral daughters house.

The camper was packed to its limits with stuff that probably would not be used or required.

The reason for all this extra stuff was? We were going to Chard in Somerset taking our Granddaughter along for a week long camping trip. It’s been two years since she last went away with us and eleven year old girls need lots of stuff, or so I’m told. We will see.

Heading south on the M5 on Saturday morning is never going to be a pleasant affair and the usual travel time of 2 hrs 15 minutes turned into 4 hrs 30 minutes.

We had opted for a well tried and tested campsite. Alpine Grove is an excellent camp site set amongst the trees that we have visited many times before with our grandchildren and it has never failed to keep them active and happy

Alpine Grove

The first day always means a lot of fettling and resetting as I tweak the awning to get it just right. I’ve noticed that I’m not the only man on campsites that does this. The male species are builders of camps and if we were given the go ahead by our wives the next step would be hunting for our dinner. Luckily for the local wildlife we brought our own food.

Yes, the first night specialility made an appearance. Meatballs in a home made tomato sauce.

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Being the gentleman that I am, I let the girls have the comfort of the camper and I rediscovered my wild man roots and kipped in the awning. My back could regret that decision later.

I lay in the awning on the first night listening to a concert in the park blasting out from nearby Chard. The main group for the night were the Wurzels who played into the night. They had three encores and in each one they played “I’ve got a combine harvester” and “I am a cider drinker. Luckily, probably because of their age the concert ended at 11pm. I expect their beds were calling and before anyone calls me ageist, I’m about the same age and my bed had already called me.

The Wurzels

The week was spent relaxing whilst our granddaughter spent most of her time either in the swimming pool or making friends in the play area.

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We did some day trips out, but it soon became apparent that the parking facilities along the Devon and Dorset coast had changed since our last visit. Virtually all the car parks in the various towns banned any motor home/ campervan parking day or night. Our first visit to Lyme Regis was aborted as we couldn’t find any parking. I later searched the internet and eventually found a temporality park and ride for Lyme Regis on the Charmouth Road, which proved to be an excellent service for a later revisit.

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Six nights sleeping on an air bed in the awning was taking its toll on my aging bones and the weather forecast was for heavy rain on the Friday. We decided to leave the camp site one day early to avoid the rain and the Saturday morning traffic.

The rain arrived earlier than forecast and we had to break camp in the rain with a soaking awning.

After a fairly uneventful drive we arrived home and emptied all the stuff that we took with us and didn’t use.

 

Having a Ball

Look away Deb, this is going to be boring.

Just Kampers delivered the gear linkage bushes as promised and I set about changing them this weekend.

Firstly I removed the Swivel head by releasing the two 6mm bolts that hold it to the Selector lever on top of the gearbox.

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Once the Swivel head was removed it was obvious that the nylon ball on the end of the shaft was badly worn. The ball came off the shaft with little effort.

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The old and new ball

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Once everything was cleaned up and the replacement ball was soaked in boiling water to soften it. I managed to lever the new ball into place. (no photos as I needed both hands)

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The Swivel head was refitted with a dollop of grease to aid lubrication.

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A quick test drive around the area was a delight. The gear change was so smooth and easy. Better than it’s ever been.

To do the job properly I should have got underneath and removed all the gear linkage from the gear lever and methodically replaced all the many balls and bushes, but I didn’t have time to faff about with any major work as we are going away next weekend and I was looking for a quick repair.

I had checked the ball and the bush on the opposite side of the linkage rod for wear and it was Ok, so I just replaced the badly worn ball. A full replacement of the other bushes is on the cards for autumn/ winter.