The “King is Dead”. Long live the King!

22 Feb

caravan-club

Got a letter from the Caravan Club this morning but only just opened it. Quite a surprise. It contained two window stickers stating “Caravan and Motorhome Club.”  For a moment , I was puzzled. Then it dawned on me that they have changed their name. Read all about it here:

https://www.outandaboutlive.co.uk/caravans/news/the-caravan-club-has-a-new-name

Some 40 odd percent of members use motorhomes. We certainly have in the past. Three decades ago we used a Minnie Winnie, US RV., when members of the Caravan Club. Before that, as members we had used a couple of different caravans including a Sprite Musketteer.

We now use our Drivelodge NV200 camper van AND an Elddis 302 SE Explorer caravan.

It will be interesting to see members’ reactions to this closely guarded (?) secret suddenly made public.

leaving battlesprite family caravanleaving carnon downs

motorhome racingA Minnie Winnie “Lookalike”.

newborough forest          Talbot Excalibur coachbuilt.(We were trying to keep “Ma” fit with cycling at Newborough Warren. RIP mom xx)

In October 1975 my wife and I honeymooned at the Caravan Club site adjacent to Tewkesbury. It snowed and we were given a secluded , well hedged pitch by the warden. We used my parents’ ACE caravan which had the door on the continental side. I think that it was bought from what would become Don Amott , from Eggington Junction, Derbys.

see http://www.leisurekingdom.co.uk/company-history

Oh those were the days. Skint but happy as Larry !

Taxa Cricket Camper. An unusual NASA inspired trailer.

19 Feb

taxa-cricket-camper

My son-in-law sent me details of this American creation. It is a most interesting , high tech camping system for 2 adults and 2 children.

barefoot-1 Compare it to the beautiful “Barefoot” , designed  in Britain. My first reaction to the Cricket (top pic) was that it looked like some of the home made, DIY sheds often found on garden Allotments. Made from a jumble of whatever sheets of material can be found and little thought given to the vertical or horizontal. It almost looks like a crashed caravan. Maybe that’s being too cruel? The metal spars used and the layered insulation walls are made for low weight and high strength.

The Taxa Cricket costs a massive $29,950 . The “Barefoot” is not cheap but costs somewhat less than the Taxa.

Barefoot are currently seeking a manufacturer for the U.S. Here’s more on the Taxa Cricket

taxa-2017-cricket-floorplantaxa-cricket-camper-inttaxa-cricket-rear

 

Taxa boast of being able to run for 3 days off grid. My Nevada Camper Van can easily achieve that. My choice, if I was fortunate enough to be able to spend that much on a trailer would be the Barefoot.

barefoot-lounge

 

It makes our Drivelodge made camper van look great value in comparison. All in, brand new for around £26,500. For best value, I would go with a self build NV200. There’s lots of superb examples if you keep on scrolling down through the Blog.

As my old Dad used to say, “You pays your money and makes your choice!”

A Distressing afternoon and a good animal lost, right on our doorstep.

17 Feb

gypsy-cob-and-trap

I have been writing about Gypsy cobs on my newly created Bow Top Caravan Blog.

This afternoon, I decided to clean the Camper Van. I had just sprayed wheel cleaner on the alloys and tyre shine on the tyres. I was thinking about posting one of my political rants about democracy and Tony Blair’s latest call for revoltion but that sadly has come to nothing due to an horrendous road traffic incident.

A Gas Utility van had been parked for quite some time, not far from the sharp left hand band where our house stands on the inside of the curve. The gas man was working next door and I did think of asking him if he wanted to park on our frontage access but dismissed it as I was shuffling the camper van for cleaning. I wish that I had got him to move now.

As on any “A” roads, we see a large number of lorries passing. A big tipper truck came down from the village centre around the bend and stopped behind the illegally parked gas van. No skidding tyres or drama, he was not speeding (which makes a change, I have to say !). Then almost immediately, I spotted a horse and trap behind the lorry. The horse had gone down the offside of the tipper truck and the trap was up on one wheel. It too disappeared behind the truck. There was a loud bang from the opposite side of the truck. I dropped everything and ran around to help.

The horse had ran head on into a small car coming from the opposite direction. The windscreen was smashed and there was blood on the glass. I could not tell if it was from inside or outside of the car. I checked the Lady driver and she was coherent and did not appear to be badly injured. The blood was from outside of the car. I left the Lady in capable hands of a passerby and went to check the horse and driver.

The driver had already freed the horse from it’s trap and had removed the harness tackle. The horse was standing up on the pavement.Anothe passerby, a smartly dressed young man with the appearance of a student was holding a cloth to the horse’s chest. It was pouring with blood, literally pumping out. My wife appeared quickly on the seen with two more towels and between them they tried to stem the blood. At one point whilst we waited for the police and ambulance, she returned upstairs to our house, treading blood throughout to collect 2 cotton sheets. I asked the horse driver if a Vet had been called and he confirmed that help was on it’s way. During this time, I had set up a warning triangle and was watching for speeders coming around the bend. I directed traffic around the Village Pool until at last the emergency services arrived.

Sadly it was all too little to help the horse. Despite all my wife’s and others efforts, including the male student and help from our young female friend who had previously lived in out cottage, the horse was humanely destroyed right in front of us. There was a huge pool of blood and the helpers were all covered too.I have not witnessed so many distressed people before.

I am sorry to say that anger overcame me and I went to find the gas man. He was working just out of sight of the mayhem and I rather aggressively suggested that he come out see the effects of parking on double yellow lines so close to a bad bend. He neither commented nor reacted, so I acccused him of not having the bottle to face up to the consequences ( I stress, as I saw it.) Still no comment or reaction. My feeling was, that if there had been no obstruction to traffic in the first place then the lorry would not have had to stop quickly almost on the apex of the bend and the horse would still be trotting about. One bystander did comment , that it was the duty of the vehicle following to be able to stop if the one in front stops. How quickly can a horse and trap come to a halt?

Glad to say that the Lady driving the car was shocked but uninjured and I saw her return to move the car with a helper.

I regret getting angry and I am trying to make sense of a horrible afternoon. So very sad.

I am very proud of my wife’s efforts . She was amazing !

An unplanned trip to Liverpool. Where’s me shirt ? I am a shirt short………..

16 Feb

metquarter-1

Following advice on what I shall be wearing at an upcoming Wedding, I needed to get properly measured for a decent shirt (or dozen.)  We headed for  T.M. Lewin at The Metquarter, Liverpool One. Although we have a number of relatives living in Liverpool, it’s an area that we have rarely visited. We took a different route from usual, heading North from Chester, up through the Wirral and used the tunnel to get into the city centre. A nicer route than the usual M6 and M56 or M62.

Following the signs for Queen Square car park, we almost immediately went wrong, taking a sign left into the very full, Museum car park. Did a “Huey” and quickly found the multistorey car park. I had double checked our height, 1.93 metres including the pop top, so the 2 metre warning limit did not deter me. Ho Hum…………….

queen-square-car-park

A short distance from the warning barrier, the roof seemed extremely low indeed. So I proceeded at a crawl. Our centrally mounted roof aerial flexed down as it does in these places and we carried on.

Feeling rather like an Antique electrically powered Fairground Dodgem car, we proceeded slowly

old-style-sparking-dodgem

With a “waffle” concrete roof, the aerial rattled on and off all the way to floor 3a where we found a generous spot and we parked up. Make sure we have the barrier ticket to pre-pay before leaving! and we left for the shops. I had another Harry Worth, Mr Pastry or Mr Bean moment and we walked up towards Lime Street Railway Station having exited via the Marriot Hotel entrance of the car park. Signs for pedestrians were very poor.

We did a walking tour around the area before being directed towards The Metquarter. We did a full circle and outside the entrance to the car park once more, we were actually in Whitechapel, our destination. We then swiftly found TM Lewins where we had superb, knowledgeable advice and service like the old days of Gentlemens’ Outfitters. For the elders amongst us, like Dunn & Co., used to give for example.

Back at the car park, we searched for the Pay Before You leave machines. None to seen and no signs anywhere.

Another user told us to pay on exit . Before we could reverse , I had to unscrew the aerial to avoid trapping it in the “waffles” in the roof and off we went. The car park has something called “Q” Park system

q-park-logo

Again, no signs explaining one’s options, until we get to the exit barrier. No amount of ticket fiddling, inserting debit card or what have you allowed us to pay. Hazards on and irate people behind having to use the second exit barrier (at our exit. There were others too). Eventually I got advice from the machine speaker to Pre-Pay before leaving in the Lobby. No advice on where the Lobby was until I got annoyed. Floor Zero, says the voice. No signs for floor zero but I glimpsed the machines through a gap in the concrete walls and a glass panel.

We paid and escaped into the City Traffic, roof intact and aerial safely stowed out of harms way. For Quality in Parking, I would suggest putting in some extra signage. For a first time visitor this car park not user friendly at all. Avoid.

Valentine’s Day

14 Feb

i-love-my-campervannewboro-sept-16-a

To read how Valentine’s day started see  https://www.olrl.org/lives/valentine.shtml

i-love-my-caravanelddis-xplore-302-3

“Combi Camping” is for us. Tow a caravan with your camper van. The best of both worlds!

i-love-heart-my-nissanInnovation-That-Excites

In the four years that we have we have “been together” the only fault, which was found during servicing, was a leaking rear brake cylinder. Never let us down on the road.

elddis pikup m1kampa mattress from nearside sliding doorIMG_0376IMG_0300

IMG_0026drivelodge work in progressDCFC0001.JPG

DCFC0055.JPGDCFC0058.JPGdrivelodge bed one

Just a bit of fun today. So I chose a random few pics to show off my Kampa. Here’s the real love of my life:

DCFC0007.JPG You thought that I was going to show a picture of our cat didn’t you ?

(Don’t forget to scroll down to see more  recent posts. Also see the Bow Top Blog  https://bowtopblog.wordpress.com/   )

Mostyn, Flint and North Wales

13 Feb

nv200-at-abakhanabakhan-3

The weather was bright and clear blue skies all around this morning, so we set off for the North Wales coast road and Abakhan Textiles at Mostyn, not far from Flint. We arrived at lunchtime and most of the shoppers were in the cafe so we joined them for a rather expensive lunch. I got quickly bored with fabrics and textiles and left my wife to shop and went outside for a nosy round. I quickly came across a couple of motorbikes. One, a Honda Goldwing and the other something quite special indeed. A trike, with two front wheels. At first, I thought that it was a customised Gold Wing but a closer look and a chat with the Lady owner proved otherwise.

can-am-descriptioncan-am-5can-am-6

Before the owner arrived to catch me taking pics of her pride and joy, I noticed the belt drive , the very comfy looking seats with back rests and the obviously high specification. Before I had chance to actually read the little poster on the inside of the windscreen, I got a verbal explanation from the Lady pictured on the poster itself. Her husband had just left on the black Honda Gold Wing.

They had been all over Europe to “Wing Dings” and I told her of my trip to the Bol D’Or in 1998 on my Yamaha FZ 750. I had seen many trikes at the Bol. Most were converted to thumb throttle and highly modified for disabled and accident amputees but this Can Am Spyder RT Limited was manufactured  as a trike and not a conversion. It came from BRP and shared quite a lot with “Ski Doo” snowmobiles made by them. This one had a 3 cylinder Rotax engine of almost 1.4 litres. A six speed box plus reverse gear. A whopping price tag of £27,000 and a WOW factor of immense proportions! Searching the web produced lists of jargon based features but these were serious things to have on a sophisticated trike with a hefty power to weight ratio. 400 kg and about 115 bhp anyone?

Featuring  A.B.S.,  Traction Control, Stability Control, Dynamic Power Steering and a Digital Security System, you want for nothing! You Tube has this :

This incredible piece of kit is from my late fathers homeland of Canada. There is some link with Bombardier of military trail bike and railway engineering fame, I believe.

Coming soon, you will be able to read of my adventures to the Bol D’Or . Details of the book to follow.

I chatted with the owner for some time, mentioning my very recent post on my Bow Top Caravan Blog about the Morgan 3 Wheeler and a test  ride in a manic JZR Pan European.  see   http://www.bowtopblog.wordpress.com/

I thanked the Lady for her time and wandered off to take long distance pics of the old “Funship” which is anchored nearby and used to be used for selling bargain basement items and latterly, Antiques I believe. Pretty sure that Salvage Hunter, Drew Pritchard has been seen visiting on his TV show.

funship-2funship-4

To continue the self imposed embarrassment that I seem to create. I also mentioned to the Can Am owner that there used to be a “similar looking, Classic British Leyland Mini based trike ” called as I claimed wrongly as it turned out a “Scorpion. ” Investigation this evening showed my memory had let me down and I was thinking of the ” Stimson Scorcher”. Gulp ! here’s an example:

stimson-scorcher

Bloody Hell ! It’s only similarity is three wheels! It looks like something that Fred Flintstone got rid of for being obsolete! I offer my humble apologies to the Lady owner of the Can Am Spyder. My face is bright red right now……

Postscript : I think that I may even have been thinking about THIS “Scorpion”. Maybe I am forgiven?

scorpion

The weather held out all day. What a day it was too! I love the unusual and I certainly found that today!

From the Land of “Micro Compact”, Japan

11 Feb

tentmushi-t-po

Whilst taking a break from prepping his own caravan for Loch Lomond, Martin took time out over a coffee to send some links to YouTube about the TENTMUSHI Japanese micro campers. They even have a tiny model of their tiny model including a Campervan towing a caravan in the “Dinkum Manner”. I am going to call this Combi Camping from now on.

tentmushi-combi-camping_

Regular readers will know that I am an advocate of Combi Camping. An all singing, all dancing, well equipped caravan as a base, coupled  with a day to day mobile unit for those beach trips or forest foraging. ( Do not confuse this with Nigel Farage, although I always try for a quiet, “soft exit” when closing the camper doors on site especially at night…………) 

see      https://youtu.be/rsx92RUril8

There was also a link to Japanese made NV200 Camper Van:

see       https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=qTlL15RlNPk

The Tentmushi range is the most popular of RVs in Japan. Here’s some more:

tentmushi-chichitentmushi-layouts

There’s even a 6 Wheeler !

tentmushi-6wheeler

Tentmushi sleep up to four people, two in the roof, which must be reinforced? I always took the weight restriction on the NV200 roof as 100kg? so two in the roof is probably too much.

I am off to get some Sushi in my Tentmushi. Bye for now.