Archive | April, 2014

A failed video tour and hence some interior photos

25 Apr

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The Kamper was very clean yesterday following the first service and the weather beautifully sunny around early teatime. I took the opportunity to film the forecast video tour. I planned to film a daytime layout and then a night time view with the bed made up. I put the roof up, positioned the kamper for 360 degree access to all doors and popped outside with the video camera.
Two delightful ladies were passing by and seeing the roof up, realised that it was indeed a camper van. A few questions ensued and they enjoyed a guided tour. We chatted for some time. Mother and daughter, they had owned a VW camper bus previously. They shared their memories and compared our modern vehicle with their obviously much loved VW which was badly missed. The big draw seemed to be the daily usability of Dinkum’s Kamper as a sole vehicle.
The chat extended to cover the Microlite caravan, then teatime called and they were gone.
I returned to my planned video production (LOL) and……. the battery was flat as a roadkill wabbit! I now need a replacement battery as it has died. I took some photos (seen here) and dropped the roof.
Pictures show the swivelled seats and I hope the significant space available for lounging.
Daniel at Sussex campervans makes his video tours look sooooooo easy! Kudos to you Daniel!

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First year service done

23 Apr

nissan express service

Although Dinkum’s Kamper has only completed some 6,600 miles from new, it is 12 months old. That is, the van is 12 months old. It was not until early October 2013 that the conversion was completed. We have enjoyed 7 months of being impressed with Drivelodge’s conversion. Thanks again to David and his crew!
Our nearest Nissan dealer gave me an appointment within 24 hours for a service while you wait. It’s a 12,000 mile designated service with an oil and filter change and comprehensive inspection.
We still have 7 mm of tread on all four tyres. I think they start off with 8mm. Not bad for the mileage?
A computer plug-in diagnostic check was also done for things like air bags (loads of these on our NV200), engine sensors and brake circuit sensors and devices. Apparently this check is the same for Qashqai and the NV200 version we have.
It took about 1 1/2 hours. It cost £173 , cheaper than the original £200 quotation, which I found a little strange. Anyway, the service record is now stamped with a Nissan dealer icon. Until the 3 year Nissan roadside recovery period is up and the warranty expires, I will probably pay the extra to get Nissan do the servicing.
We were not really treated as respected customers, which is somewhat unusual compared to our experience with Ford dealers of late, but the site was very busy and having problems with it’s admin computers. Overall about average rating apart from being most impressed with the computerised diagnostics. Not sure that my favourite , back street garage could have done this?

One year on. St George’s day again.

23 Apr

st george by chris gilmour in cardboard

This fantastic sculpture is by Chris Gilmour and is made from cardboard.
It is one year to the day since we insured the NV200 for collection on the 24th April 2013.
We now get substantially more visitors to Dinkum’s Blog, from outside the UK than from within but the world wide web reaches many people indeed!
Although my father was born in Canada, I am proud to be English. I have a Scottish Christian name and my brother is known to closest family by the name George, after our grandfather.
To learn more about all things English please visit http://www.stgeorgesday.com Have a great day!

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Looking Good aged one……………

Where we went in the Kamper this Easter

22 Apr

trentham monkey forest

Trentham Monkey Forest. Had a very pleasant couple of hours watching the monkeys. Well worth a visit if you like wildlife and woodland. The staff were knowledgeable and enthusiastic.

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shugborough hall

National Trust property in co-operation with Staffordshire County Council, Shugborough Hall was inherited by Royal photographer and ’60’s icon, Patrick Lichfield. Another super day out with the family. Picnic by the Kamper for 6 , on the grass. My son in law tried hard to encourage my daughter to take up the offer to borrow the Kamper for a holiday break. Greatly enjoyed seeing Patrick Lichfield’s former apartment. He sadly passed away in November 2005. We met him briefly by chance in amusing circumstances in France in the early 1990’s. He almost rode into me on his tatty old racer bike alongside Lac de Maine. Quite a character. “What a stupid place to stand !” he said. Still managed to smile for my wife though.
patrick lichfield
The Kamper goes in for the first year’s service tomorrow at Nissan.

Easter Fairs, Dodgem/Bumping cars and Petrol heads.

21 Apr

tom wright one

Regular visitors to the Blog will know by now that I love compact vehicles. Daz forwarded some photos from Al Frost ( thanks guys!) that I just love ! They show Tom Wright’s custom Dodgem cars from California. They are road legal, have 4 cylinder motorcycle engines and definitely draw attention.
Hope that you like them too.

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tom wright three
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For a better feeling for the scale of these monster toys:
tom wright with driver

Caravan waxed and bikes trial-fitted on the carrier.

18 Apr

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Cleaned all the algae and road dirt from the caravan then painstakingly waxed the whole lot, including the roof. Should be set up now for the whole summer. Glassfibre responds well to wax. It makes it much easier to wash and prevents a lot of the streaks forming.
Then decided to make sure that my wife’s new French bike from Carrefour would fit onto the towball mounted carrying rack. Sorted ! We are now set to head off almost anywhere.
We cannot take the bikes if we tow the caravan unless we find a different rack. Still got to decide if we are keeping this particular caravan first before we commit to another rack. Great for day trips out cycling with perhaps an overnighter (or two ! or three) at our favourite cycle paths.
Going away for Kamper van break very soon. Saw about 8 to 10 lovely VW buses and campervans convoy past on the route to mid-Wales today whilst fitting the bikes. They seemed to have a VW Touareg 4 x 4 as backup. My favourite was a lovely left hand drive Westfalia (?) version . Immaculate in a lovely green colour. Everyone in the whole convoy was smiling.vw westy
Were you in that convoy? Please comment below. We would love to know where you were headed.
We will have to use the trailer board when carrying the bikes. The tail lights and number plate are obscured and we do not want to get any points on our driving licences

Compact, small or Micro?

12 Apr

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We are consistently getting large numbers of viewings of postings where comparisons are made between the sizes of VW and Nissan NV200 camper vans.

I did an internet search for “small”, “micro” and “compact” camper vans and found massive differences in the interpretation of where the “size” line is drawn.

Compact: “closely and neatly packed together.”
Small: “of a size less than normal or usual.”
Micro: “extremely small, very small in comparison with others of it’s kind.”

So where does this leave the Drivelodge Nevada? Dinkum’s Kamper. The finished package is slightly smaller than the short wheel base VW’s. It’s slightly smaller than quite a few other camper vans. I would place this Drivelodge version of the NV200 into the “compact” description. “Closely and neatly packed together.” It is very comprehensively kitted out. “full size” washbasin and hob, bed compatible with the regs for motor caravan. Fridge freezer like those fitted in most other campervans. Even blown air heating. As said before, the swivel seats open up full use of the cab floor area. Something which cannot be said of some bigger camper vans such as the much loved Bongo.
To all those viewers wondering if they could make the move to this slightly smaller camper van from say a VW version, I would say “go ahead”. It’s a most usable and economical package. Sweet !
As always, ALL comments welcomed!
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The above picture is NOT our camper van. It shows the lovely swivel seats from our German friends at zooom.biz but it does show how much space can be put to good use !

A little more preparation for the year’s travel

6 Apr

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Our little caravan is currently covered with a light dusting of Saharan sand, blown North in recent weather conditions. This sand contamination is not something new. In my handful of decades of sweet life, I have seen this at least once per decade. The caravan needs a spring clean before we head off in search of sun, exercise and fun.
It was, of course winterised in a clean state and it’s fibreglass body is frequently waxed including the roof which is no easy task. Although in good condition, ideally it would look great with a respray in Nissan White to match Dinkum’s Kamper. Regular readers will know that the caravan has a shower room and toilet which I converted to a wet room so that we can stay on Caravan Club Cert ified Locations (CL’s) where there are little or no facilities.
I searched the internet recently for “all things Freedom caravans” and came across this picture below of a cleverly resprayed Microlite. The sculptured body panels have been painted black to look like much larger window areas which transforms the caravan’s appearance. I love this look. What do you think ? Please comment.
Plus, what a fabulous, customised VW crew cab pick up ! It makes me want to take up surfing again but with my belly, even a belly board would take up too much fibreglass! LOL (secretly shedding a private tear for lost physique…………)

freedom microlite le with respray

Is this vw /caravan combo cool? or is it COOL?
Now, here is a cool kamper:DCFC0052.JPG

A day out in The Peak District

5 Apr

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Had a lovely day out today to Buxton Pavillion. Another Antiques search for my wife. The weather was dreadful on the road between Leek (in the Staffordshire Moorlands) and Buxton. Very low cloud and extremely poor visibility. We saw far too many drivers not using headlights, let alone foglights. The silver grey vehicles in particular, being very difficult to see until the last few metres or so. Apparently Silver grey is the most popular “colour” for cars. They blend in wonderfully to foggy damp asphalt and no horizon conditions. Should we introduce IQ tests alongside the driving test ? I wonder……..
Had a very pleasant couple of hours at the Antiques Fair, then a coffee in town before heading up to the Goyt Valley and the reservoirs off the Whaley Bridge road , high above Buxton town. We parked up for a sandwich and a read of the newspapers and the sun popped out for a short while. Saw some mountain bikers and some road race cyclists having great fun. Just off the far shore there were a dozen or so kayakers braving the chill. Then as I was photographing the Kamper, one of two yachts turned over and the rescue inflatable attended. You can see the incident in the above picture, directly in line with the centre of the campervan, high up in the image. It was soon back in action, circling the Lake.

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The drive home up through the Valley is narrow, twisting and has some unguarded drops on the passenger side. Once marshalled on a 12 car road rally here in the early 1970’s. Now it’s a great place to view wildlife or watch crazy teenagers jump off one of the bridges (against all bylaws of course !) into the waters. Well worth a visit if you like rambling, cycling or just for a picnic. Not quite Loch Lomond but still beautiful to experience.
Almost forgot. On the way down from the Whaley Bridge road to the dam, a hare ran across our path. It looked fresh and full of life. Spring is upon us!

Almost ready to properly commence the year’s touring

3 Apr

david carvey pic of cornwall

This lovely photo of Cornish coast by David Carvey

Pretty sure that this is close to the National Trust beach at Chapel Porth, the home of “belly boarding” in the 1960’s. I watched the solar eclipse from the cliff tops here. A marvellous experience.
Despite being retired, we have had to recently refurbish the second rental property but it’s almost complete ready for carpets. Then we shall probably head off for Cornwall with the Freedom Microlite caravan behind. We can test out the new tunnel tent/awning and see how we cope without cruise control. Retrofit cruise control can be fitted for just under £600. Not convinced if this is worthwhile despite being very desirable when towing in my opinion. Hence this trial run. If it’s a pain, we could still get it fitted before the French trips later this year.
We have been known to turn left not right when actually leaving the village and head for Wales or The Lakes instead of our intended Cornish destination. We rarely book sites in advance especially out of season.
I can taste the seafood from Rick Stein’s chippy already !