Archive | May, 2015

More alternative caravans and carrying bikes when towing.

30 May

trigano silver 270trigano silver mini 290fiamma bike carrier

The Trigano Silver Mini 290 can have a shower fitted from new. The even smaller 270 version has no shower but comes with a huge rear door so that you can carry bikes or a variety of objects subject to the weight limits. You could probably convert the 270 with an in-floor shower tray as described in the post below of 26th May. For bike carrying you can buy many different carriers. There is not enough space to carry bikes on the back of the Kampa when towing due to interference with the front of the caravan. We did see a couple of small caravans on our trip to Cornwall which had bikes on the rear of the caravan. A quick look under our Microlite shows a cross member and an almost central spine member crying out for a tow ball to be bolted to the back of the caravan. This would take our Thule towball mounted carrier. With our existing number plate board we would be geared up. Balance the nose weight and as we travel lean and mean (ish !!!) this should not be an issue.

thule bike rackOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMuch more convenient to have own bikes with us. Correctly adjusted seats and handlebars etc.  We can cycle until it goes dark without worrying about returning hired cycles to the rental cabin.

predom n126 train top_gear_caravan_train

That’s a Freedom Jetstream above with a smart rear carrier. This Vee Dub fan is brave enough to fit a tow ball to at least one Predom N126 ( Freedom Microlite) and tow a mini train ! Tow this with a Campervan and you could have a suite of rooms with you. Fixed bed, huge shower room, kitchen, lounge ……….. How much torque to do you have? How far would you get before getting pulled by the “feds”? Better than Top Gear’s railway caravan train in my opinion. I do like a bit of a nutter!

What’s on in June?

29 May

flaming junelondon in summer I can hardly believe it that it’s almost June. At some point we are taking the Kampa , solo, into London for family events. The NV200 is small enough not to create any concerns about driving, even in Central London. We rarely stray into the congestion zone and lucky enough to be able to park right where we stay. Then it’s regrouping for a trek to France in July. Don’t think that we shall be following the Tour de France cycle race this year as the route fairly swiftly heads South following the start in Belgium. We would not be able to actually be there that early in the month. tour de france old 1 The route and destinations are not yet set for the trip to France, so more on this later. There’s certainly no shortage of possible places to visit. We still have not retraced a life changing visit we made way back in 1986. These next two, planned trips away could not really be more different. London, an intense, City experience, visiting lots of Museums, Galleries and places of interest (avoiding anything too commercial) with perhaps a show or Theatre trip thrown in? France, a leisurely meander from place to place, Bar B Q at the ready and trying not to drink too much alcohol. Hoping for sun but a cool breeze always welcome. Got to sort out how to take our own bikes. Better get busy……..pam gorgeous in france France 1986. Zut Alors!

Oh ! and today we met an elderly Gent on a supermarket car park. He told us that he had recently swapped his campervan for a rather expensive looking  4 x 4 euro wagen and now regretted it badly. He said that the NV200 would be ideal for him and where could he buy one like ours. I verbally gave him some info but impatient customers wishing to park cut our chat short. So I circled around and re-parked. I left written info for him under his wiper blade. Good Hunting if you are reading this old chap!

A Short tribute to RNAS Culdrose, Cornwall

27 May

culdrose flypast may 2015culdrose sea hawk

We were lucky enough to witness the flypast of 6 helicopters on 21st May whilst at The Beacon, St Agnes. To illustrate the demand met by these fine men, women and machines, one chopper was called away to an incident for a while and rejoined the other 5  between Portreath and St Agnes. Even as we watched , a Lady standing nearby told of a demonstration at a local beach involving the Lifeboat and other emergency services when the Helicopter from Culdrose was also called away to rescue a Bee Sting anaphylactic shock victim who was taken to Treliske Hospital. Difficult to put a price on this. I think Helicopters have been at Culdrose since about 1953 and they are a very familiar sight in Cornwall. Things are changing for Culdrose but we send a big thank you to all who have served, past and present. Respect to Royal Navy Air Station Culdrose. 

Exploring some options for a replacement Caravan.

26 May

elddis xplore 302freedom jetstream 2015go podgo pod loungego pod kitchen(Go Pod. Big sofas. Space for shower tray?)

We have been doing a “reality check” on whether we could improve anything in our on-site living perhaps by changing the caravan. We are very limited for parking space at home and so overall size of any new caravan needs to fit what space we have. Thus far we have seen a couple of Elddis Xplore 302s. Very well equipped with blown air heating, hot water, shower room and spacious “L” shaped lounge. Bit concerned about risk of damp though. All makes seem to have issues with aluminium construction. Around £10K gets a minter.

The latest Freedom Jetstream has heating , hot water and shower too in a very compact package. A foot longer than our Microlite and 4 inches wider. The main benefit is longer sofas , much better for lounging and more headroom. (Not that we need it……….). £10.5k for a brand new one.

The Go Pod is surprisingly spacious inside. You just cannot imagine the generous lounging area inside one of these stylish, modern looking, fibreglass vehicles. There’s no shower but I am convinced that one could be fitted. If you look at what Adria have done with their shower in the new Twin 500S motorhome, the same could easily be done just inside the door of a Go Pod. About £8k I think but DIY work needed to fit a shower tray in the floor, oh and we would want a bigger washbasin. Adria Twin 500S :

adria twin 500s

The shower tray lays between the kitchen unit and the toilet space and is fitted with a lift-out cover which is strong enough to stand on. I am reposting a pic which  frequently draws viewers to the Blog:


This is what I would envisage from inside a converted GO POD. We have actually viewed one and had a quick measure to see if it could be done.  BUT, if a change of caravan would need some DIY then why not save some cash, put a bit of effort in and further customise our Microlite LE? We have an emerging plan of how we could create a longer sofa. We lose the gas fridge in the caravan but have a super compressor one and a cooler in the campervan. I love puzzling out the best option.LOL

VW Syncro Camper. Tempted to go off road. I mean really off road.

25 May

synchro vw camperIMG_0343IMG_0344

This is the VW Syncro Crew Cab we saw in Perranporth. To me it conjures up the sort of Spirit of Adventure when you see a very old sailing ship. You just want to climb aboard and set off for pastures new. It’s probably capable of taking you from Paris to Beijing ( warzones permitting……. sadly.) or to the southern most tip of Africa. Chile looks nice. You get the idea. What a PIECE OF KIT !

You can read more about the history of VW Syncro and much much more at this fabulous website:

Just returned from a week at St. Agnes, The Beacon Caravan Club site

24 May

IMG_0342rainbow the beaconIMG_0338

Had a most enjoyable week away. The Beacon is the Caravan Club’s oldest site, I believe. It has no showerblock or toilets but the location is quiet and atmospheric. There is lots to write about, so here is just a taste of what’s to come.

In Perranporth we spotted this VW Synchro Crew Cab with a back pack camping pod. I wanted to start restoring it, on the spot, but got dragged away (eventually !) by my wife. This “Globe” traveller was fitted with a river breathing snorkel, 4 x 4 obviously and had a huge ground clearance for those “let us drive across the alligator-strewn riverbed moments which we all have. (we do don’t we… not just me?)

The centre pic above shows that there really is a Caravan at the end of the rainbow. The third pic is just one of three National Trust properties which we visited during our week away. In the garden here, my eagle eyed wife spotted a beautiful young cat , scoffing something it had just caught in the wildflower section. As soon as that was eaten, the cat immediately began scouring for it’s next prey. A prolific hunter no doubt!

grouse the beaconIMG_0340 IMG_0368

Sitting with a cuppa on-site, we heard the sound of what could surely only be, a veteran car horn? Then a wrapping, drumming and thudding of a Tom Tom drum? No it was, what turned out to be, a very tame and chubby, Grouse inspecting the Kampa. Obviously it has good taste too, if you will excuse the pun! The centre pic just provides evidence that we visited Holywell Bay. Two of our neighbours’ families have holidayed there in the last few weeks. You have to have something to talk about at our weekly get togethers over a drink.

Enlarge the pic on the right to zoom in. It shows the 76 th Birthday celebration fly past by Sea King helicopters from Royal Naval Air Station (RNAS) Culdrose. Sadly it marks the end of this fine establishment. More in a later post. We were standing on the cliff top at Wheal Coates adjacent to the campsite.



You will need to enlarge the left hand photo. It shows a kit car, rather like an MG TF ? towing a bijou caravan. I tried desperately to reach the gentleman before he left the motorway services but sadly did not make it in time. We later passed him heading North up the M5. There was a 60 mile tailback on the Southbound side heading into bank holiday weekend Cornwall. Yes ! Sixty miles of stop start traffic!

The other pic shows our outfit at a comfort break close to the Devon/Cornwall border not far from the River Tamar and town of Liftondown. There is one place called Broadwoodwidger. I am struggling not to make further comment………..

Lightweight, Pop-Top Caravans with all mod cons.

12 May

eriba eribelle

The Freedom Microlite is now cleaned and serviced, ready to go again. I have not managed to be as thorough as usual due to a still aching arm following a fall from the roof of the caravan. I have also re-kitted the cab curtains on the NV 200 Kampa. We have been thinking of “updating” our 1996 LE but searching around for a low height caravan which will not obstruct our view of the Village Pool has not turned up many options. If you add in a shower room then the choice falls even further. We did come across the Eriba Eribelle similar to that shown above behind a lovely VW campervan. The layout is similar to the Freedom LE Microlite but has what seems to be larger washroom with more headroom in the “potentially” shower area. Having done it once, I could fairly simply fit out an Eribelle with a more plush shower/washroom. Would love any feedback from Eribelle owners. Just click the comments button beneath this posting please.

Did see the picture below of a proud owner Cleaning His Roof !!! That got my danger alert sounding ! But it has to be done.

eriba eribelle roof cleaning

Please see their website  at

We also liked the new TAB 400L but it would block our view from the frontage of the house. I do not like paying for storage as I think it defeats the object somewhat of value for money holidays.

What do you tow behind your campervan?


A new conversion commences.

9 May

mikmel 1mikmel 2

Some time ago, a contributor wrote in with plans for campervan conversion based on an NV200. The couple have now sent in their first pictures of a very high spec NV200 Combi Acenta which they collected a short time ago. Their plans include leather cab seats and a list of goodies for the habitation area which are tantalising ! This is going to be a NICE ONE ! The convertors are Coast2Coast who appear to have focussed previously on VW base vehicles. We have been promised photos of progress with this metallic black beauty! It’s a 110ps engine with air con., all the airbags, a built in sat nav., 6 speed gearbox and the lift up rear door which comes with the Combi. Although more expensive to buy than an NV200 van, the combi has road fund licence of £130 per annum compared to the £200 plus for a van. This should carry over once converted. Thanks to Mel and Mik ! Watch this space.

Currently there are several convertors promising photos of their versions of NV200 campervans but they are at different stages with some being self conversions, taking some time to complete. It’s a niche choice at present, but demand for these super compact Kampers seems to be gaining momentum!

Freedom Caravans moving to Little Haywood

7 May

snip k and c mod

We were passing through Stafford today and called in at Freedom Caravans to have a nosy at the latest versions of our own little “LE” model which dates from 1996. We were surprised to see that they are well under way in moving to Haywood Garage, Main Road, Little Haywood not far from Stafford. Apparently their telephone number will remain the same as previously according to posts on Facebook. The current site is being taken by ALDI supermarkets for a new store.



Some more pictures from Cape St Vincent, Portugal

7 May

photo 4 One of our most frequent and well respected, contributors pictured in front of a matching pair of Panel Van conversions at the most Westerly point in Europe. Loads of French visitors again reported. photo 3 Another picture of our perfectly proportioned friend sitting on a giant chair outside the visitor centre. Before you write in, Daz, I know that “Dinkum” does indeed resemble this scale when sitting on a normal dining room chair………   That’s why we are so very comfy in our Microlite with the Pop Top Down………… photo 5 This “overlander” almost certainly provides for a huge habitation space. A good DIY-er can put together a super low cost motorhome using a 7 1/2 tonner  if you can cope with the “new age traveller” image. Not sure how well received you would be on some Caravan Club sites that we have experienced! I love the “Ice Cold in Alex” feel to it ! But, each to his own. One of the pleasures of using a campervan is the travelling itself. I enjoy driving and I think that it would be great fun to cruise down across France and Spain to Portugal. Seeing the sights. Stopping for lunch with the roof up and a sunny picnic, calling at village shops and trying new foods as you go. Not to mention the wines , beers and local liqueurs as you go. Pitch up early and relaxing for the evening. Swapping stories with fellow travellers (that want to “mix”. Some don’t and that’s OK too !). Being retired helps and allows this type of travel. We should count our blessings and enjoy!