Sunday, 21 April 2019

Contrasts......

We'll you didn't need to have some sort of second sight to have predicted that the campsite here would be jam packed for the Easter break...

Most Easter campers arrived on Thursday with a few more turning up on Good Friday...

With the campsite busy our plan was to go out walking on the Saturday and Sunday to areas where there would be very few people and just a few miles from where we were camped...
What we wanted was a real contrast to the temporary small town that had built up around Eva the Eriba....

A few miles up the road we found it...


All pitched neat and tidy but a small town just the same.

Not another person to be seen.....

Lovely bluebell woods..... Still nobody else around

Thursday, 18 April 2019

A Friendly Visitor...

Last weekend we had a visitor who came and camped for a couple of nights next to Eva the Eriba...
It was my friend Peter Calcutt....

Over the years Peter and I have had lots of adventures together.... Some of our many backpacking trips include the Pennine Way and various routes in Wales and many more wild area routes too many to mention...

Then there are the many cycling trips we have had together including a couple of enjoyable touring trips in France....

When Peter was here over the weekend we managed to fit in a nice cycle ride up on to the Purbeck Ridge near Corfe...the views from the ridge always make the uphill sections worth the extra effort required.

While he was here we spent the evenings reminiscing about our past adventures including the night we spent in a haunted bothy...

Since Anne and I have been travelling in Eva Peter has visited us in Devon... Dorset... Somerset...Suffolk and even while we were pitched on a site in Lincolnshire.

The tent that Peter used for his weekend camp with us which can be seen in the photo is a Hilleberg Akto which has been one of the best backpacking tents available over many years....

There are some tents that are lighter and others that might offer a bit more space but the Akto is a very reliable shelter that has been popular with backpackers for year round use since it was first introduced in 1995..

For many years it was the gold standard for solo all season expedition quality tents...
I still own an Akto and will probably use it on the cycle trip that I am planning in Europe next year...

If you look at the background in the photo of Peter with his bike and tent you will see a mainly empty camping field.....
One thing that you can be sure of is that it will not be empty this Easter weekend....
The campsite will be crammed full..

Indeed .....caravans ..motorhomes..campervans and tents have been arriving all day and tomorrow even more will arrive.

It could well be camping hell......
I will let you know how we get on.



Thursday, 11 April 2019

AL Social Event...

Last Saturday Automotive Leisure had their annual social event....

We have been to this event every year since we have had our Eriba.
It is always good to meet up with other owners and exchange ideas and knowledge about these quirky caravans....
It is also good to see the latest models and layouts although I have to say that we thought long and hard about which layout to go for before we bought our caravan and have not found one yet that would improve on our choice.

As well as Eribas and food and drink there was also music to lull us all into a spending state of mind....
Well it worked because I actually spent some more money (bearing in mind that I had purchased a new awning just 4 days earlier).

No I didn't buy a new caravan but I did buy an Isabella Shadow Touring Sun Canopy for those short stays when we don't want to put up our awning....
I am planning to use it when we leave this location and move on to the next campsite because three days after moving from here the caravan is booked in back at Automotive Leisure for it's annual service... 

I will post a picture of the canopy during that first use... In the meantime you will have to make do with some images taken at the social event.....
Stripped back Eriba showing the steel frame

r
A Red Rockabilly model.

Soft music to lull everyone into spending mode....

Monday, 8 April 2019

New Awning......

The day after we arrived at Moreton in Dorset one of the first things that we did was to drive over to Automotive Leisure to pick up our new awning.....
I had arranged a deal with Cameron the sales manager on an ex display Clairval EuroVent Twin Air awning...
Although it was ex display it had only been displayed indoors in the showroom so had never been subjected to any weather of any kind......

The first awning we purchased when we bought the caravan was a Clairval Twin the only difference was that it was a standard model with fibreglass poles..... That awning got destroyed in a storm in the spring of 2018 and we really liked it...
We liked the material it was made from which was a Vinyl / PVC type of material.... This was very hardwearing and was very easy to keep clean with just a wipe over with a damp cloth...

That first awning had lasted for two summers and three winters of continuous use....If if it hadn't been for an error of mine I am pretty sure that it would have lasted far longer...

This new awning is an inflatable version of that first awning......
We like air awnings even though we had a bad experience with the Kampa awning that lasted for only two summers.  

The destruction of our first awning was partially down to my error... It was supplied initially with rubber rings which were used to peg the awning down and worked like a damper in strong winds...
As they perished over time I replaced them with the rubber ladder style instead of the plain rubber rings that were supplied initially... This was because I couldn't get hold of any replacements..
This proved to be a huge mistake because the ladder style had almost no stretch in them at all this meant that there was virtually no damping effect whatsoever and the result of that was that all the strain was put on the seams which in the end caused the fabric to rip.....
I won't ever use the ladder style of pegging attachments again......

Anyway we went over to Automotive Leisure took down the awning and packed it into the bag then into the car and after paying for it came back to the site and errected it in the afternoon.

Cameron had allowed us to take it down so that we could understand how it all fitted together which proved to be a good idea due to the instructions being only supplied in French.....

One mistake that we did make due to erring on the cautious side was that we only inflated it to 5.00psi....
That night we had very heavy rain which meant that due to the awning being under inflated water pooled  on the  roof which eventually caused the awning to collapse.....

We have now corrected that and it is now inflated to 7.5psi which has made all the difference....

So what does our new awning look like? Below is an image taken after we had altered the pressure in the tubes.....


Wednesday, 3 April 2019

The Start of our Fifth Touring Season.....

On Monday April 1st ( April Fools Day ) we left the Dartmoor Caravan Park where we have spent the winter and headed back up into Dorset....

We had really enjoyed our stay in Devon and made new friends at the site.... The location of the site suited us better than the Tavistock C&CC site did as it was closer to where Anne's son lives which meant it was ideal for Anne to carry out 'Granny duties' with her year old Grandson....

It suited my cycling better as well as I was able to have a couple of miles warm up before hitting the first major hills....
Devon is full of hills but it was nice to have a couple of miles of almost flat roads on which to warm up on before having to put any big effort through the pedals... 

The site was a privately owned site and Peter the owner has spent a lot of money over the years in creating a gem of a site.. 
The improvement work is still going on too with new edging stones and gravel being laid on all the hardstandings.... See images below..
We loved the site and we have booked again for next winter...
Peter popped down to our pitch to see us off as did a number of other campers...

It's an interesting point that some of our favourite sites have been the smaller private ones...We will be making a point this year of seeking out more of these smaller and privately owned camp sites...
They are more economical to stay on amongst other things.....
For instance an EHU on a C&CC site will cost about £35pw...typically we pay about £10pw at the smaller private sites...

Having said that we are currently staying at a C&CC site at Moreton... We have stayed here a number of times before as it's good easy access for me to attend the hospital in both Bournemouth and Poole for my regular scans etc and access to the Purbeck hills is also good for my cycling.. 



April 1st 2015 was when we started this fulltiming adventure and we had no idea how we would get on or indeed how long we would be doing it for...
As we start this fifth summer touring season we can both say that we really love the way of life...It seems like the more we do it the more we are enjoying it.     


Sunday, 24 March 2019

Spring Clean....

After a week of gale force winds the weather finally settled down at the beginning of this past week.....  During the gales we had the pop top roof closed for eight days which was the longest period since we have been fulltiming that we have had the roof locked down....

Last Monday we awoke to a nice dry and sunny day with just a hint of a breeze so Anne and I decided that with not long left until we leave this site we should get some spring cleaning done...... 

 Anne worked on the inside of Eva while I did the exterior....
The dimple finish of our Eriba can make it a little more difficult to clean properly but I have found that Fenwick's Caravan Cleaner seems to work well in removing all the dirt that accumulates on the caravan roof and body over the winter...
Having said that, this year there didn't seem to be too much muck on the caravan....the fact that we have not been pitched near any over hanging tree branches has probably helped to stop it getting too dirty... Also all the rain and wind of the recent weeks has helped to wash off any dirt that had accumulated....





After I had cleaned the van with the caravan cleaner I used Fenwicks Bobby Dazzler to rinse off all the shampoo. The Bobby Dazzler leaves a lovely clean and shiny surface which helps the rain to just bead off the van's body and roof...

I receive no incentive from Fenwick's for the mention of their products it's just that I have found them to work really well with Eva's dimple finish.... 
The caravan gets a full clean twice a year like this...Spring and Autumn....

During the summer while we are touring around I use a waterless wash and wax cleaner which helps to remove traffic film...dead flies...tree sap etc. It's quick and easy to use when I don't want to be spending more time than I need to on cleaning.  However for a deep clean the Fenwicks seems to be the best product I've found......



Sunday, 10 March 2019

Return of winter and schoolboy errors....

We'll I was right not to trust the spring like weather that we enjoyed a couple of weeks ago....we have now been plunged straight back into winter weather.
Very strong gale force winds.... Lots of rain and now very cold again.....

Before the weather changed and we were still enjoying the spring like weather I was out on one of my regular Dartmoor cycling loops when I had a front wheel puncture.
After negotiating a 40mph downhill section into a river valley I crossed the bridge and then had a two mile up hill section of about 8% to pull me back out of the valley again.

Just as I got to the top of the climb I heard a sharp pop and the dreaded hissing sound of escaping air.....
The moment it happened my first thought was how lucky I was that it hadn't happened whilst I was zipping downhill at 40mph.... Front wheel punctures can be quite dangerous and difficult to control on fast descents.

My second bit of luck was that there was a bench just 100yds ahead of me...somewhere nice and comfortable to sit down and mend the puncture I thought.

 I removed the front wheel and took off the tyre and inner tube and then took out the spare inner tube that I keep under the saddle.
It was then that I realised that the spare tube would not be any good with the wheel.... The pro-lite wheels that the bike is currently fitted with have quite a deep rim and the tube had a short valve....this if fitted would barely be long enough to go through the deep section rim let alone have enough valve showing to attach my mini pump to in order to inflate the tyre again.

School boy error number one.... I can't believe that I have been carrying that inner tube around for at least a couple of years when it was in fact useless as a spare on this bike with those deep section rims.....

Oh well I thought I will just have to repair the puncture instead...
At first I couldn't find where it was...I finally spotted it on the inside of the tube.

(It had been caused because a bike shop mechanic when replacing a spoke had just made a hole in the rim tape to fit the spoke nipple and had not made good or replaced with new rim tape so the tube had been rubbing on the edge of the spoke hole.)

Anyway...now for schoolboy error number two....when I checked out my puncture repair kit I found that the patch glue was rock hard..totally useless.... I also wasn't carrying any self adhesive patches as an alternative so I was well and truly stumped....

The fact is that over the past ten years I have only ever had two punctures when out riding. One big blowout on my touring bike fully loaded. That was a rear wheel puncture which caused the rim to also damage the tyre.....and once on the Felt which again was a rear wheel...

Because I had never had a puncture when out riding the Tifosi I had neglected to check that tube and puncture kit were all ok.

As I have said schoolboy errors... caused by complacency I suppose. Just goes to show that even with 60+ years of riding under your wheels you can still make stupid errors..
I was pretty embarrassed having to phone Anne and having to ask her to come out and rescue me...

Moving on.....
Below are a couple of images taken from inside Eva the Eriba during the current return to wintry weather...
Also the last image is of a Rolls Royce Dart engine taken at a 1940s themed cafe at the nearby ex RAF Harrowbeer about a mile from our campsite.
The airfield was operational between 1941 to 1945 and was under the control of 10 Group Fighter Command... (Lots more information on the internet if you are interested)
The aerodrome was built from rubble from Plymouth after the blitz...

The cafe has a small museum attached to it and the 1940s theme even runs to the cups and saucers that your tea is poured into...interesting and quirky with 1940s music played in the background....we loved it!