Sunday, 21 September 2014

The Next Move.....

It must be over a year ago that I first mentioned the plan to move from Purple Towers and head off on a new adventure....
The general idea was to re-locate to the county of Devon and then set off on a UK and European Grand Tour and that is still the plan...but there have been some changes.

First....We WILL be leaving Purple Towers on the 31st March 2015, however up to now we have still not found a place in Devon to re-locate to, but we have decided that we are not going to let that stop us setting off. If a new location isn't found before our tour start date Anne and I will still be heading off on our full timing Grand Tour anyway......
  
In some ways, not having a permanent base for sometime will actually add to our commitment to the tour. We will become proper Nomads...taking a temporary roof over our heads along with us....much in the same way as I have when I've packed my tent and been backpacking and cycletouring.... only this time in a bigger way.

This brings me on to the next change....the roof over our heads...
We had almost made our minds up on a Motorhome.....indeed I even posted a picture of the model we had selected on this blog.
However something held me back from actually placing an order....some level of doubt still kept niggling in my head although I was unsure what it was.

I continued to research all the pros and cons and finally it dawned on me that for the kind of touring Anne and I were planning to do, the motorhome was not ideal. 
If we were planning on constantly moving on every day or two a motorhome would be perfect, however our plan is to base ourselves in places for two or three weeks at a time and for that a touring trailer caravan seemed more suited to our needs.

Unfortunately I tend to think that most traditional touring caravans look a bit like a 'fridge on wheels'. If I was going to go along the caravan route, it would need to be something a little different to most standard caravan designs...

I have always liked the look of the American Airstream trailer caravans, however I don't have a vehicle capable of towing one and have no wish to buy a vehicle that powerful anyway.... 
No, what I needed was something as Iconic as an Airstream but smaller... maybe more European... 
Enter the Hymer Eriba Troll 540........

An ERIBA TROLL 540
 The Eriba range of touring caravans are retro, iconic and quirky...... luckily only three miles from Bournemouth is one of only two suppliers in the UK of new Eriba vans.
One visit had us both hooked and in early summer we placed an order for a brand new 2015 Eriba Troll 540 model to be built with our own list of individual options etc....and to be delivered to us early in 2015..... My Honda CRV 2.2 i-DTEC will also be able to tow it..... a perfect match according to the What Tow Car site...

They are built in Germany (although they used to be made in France) and have developed an almost cult like following......

The range starts with the 'Puck' which is the smallest (I understand this is no longer made) then comes the 'Familia'...the 'Triton'....and then the largest model the 'Troll'. 
Each of the models is available in various layouts.... they all have a pop up roof or 'Pop Top' as it is often referred to and they are all built with a metal frame similar to the way an airframe is constructed, unlike the traditional 'fridge like' caravans which usually have a timber construction.....
Some of the New and Secondhand Eribas at the dealers compound..
Over the coming months I will tell you more about the Eriba vans and why Anne and I like them so much......

Sunday, 14 September 2014

It's Gone...!!

The more observant regular visitors of this blog will have noticed that my bright orange Mountain Bike is no longer listed on the 'Bike Stable' section of The Purpletraveller...
The reason for this is simple......it's gone......moved on....in actual fact I have sold it.

Now don't get me wrong...it was a very nice bike but I just didn't get on with it...
Like two lovers splitting up "it wasn't her, it was me".

After 50+years of road riding I thought that I should give MTBs a try..... unfortunately to put it bluntly I just didn't enjoy it..... 
If nothing else it has confirmed what I always knew.....I just enjoy road bike riding too much..

I owned it for just over nine months...a personal record as it is the shortest time that I have ever owned a bike... usually when I buy a bike it is with me for many years.

Mind you the bike is not the only thing that has gone recently.....

Anne and I have now set a date for moving out of Purple Towers, that date is the 31st March 2015. We now have just under 7 months to sort out all the things that we have jointly hoarded away over the past years...
Each week now sees us having visits to the municipal tip disposing of all sorts of things...

Due to the type of adventure we are both setting off on next year, it's important for us to almost dismantle our current lives...certainly the lives that we have got used to....

I will share our plans with you in my next post......

Sunday, 7 September 2014

A Mistake.......!!

This time last week I had just set off on the Bournemouth-Holyhead-Bournemouth ride that I have wanted to do for the past three years.... With the benefit of hindsight that WAS a mistake.....

Each time over the past few years whenever a date has been set to attempt this ride, something has always cropped up and prevented the ride taking place.
This year seemed to be no different....

Regular readers of this blog will be aware that just three weeks prior to the start of the ride I was rushed into hospital where I had a heart procedure completed due to a constant racing heartbeat of 155bpm. 
The Doctors had advised that if I didn't suffer too many side effects from the procedure I 'might' be OK to attempt the ride....
That was all I needed to go ahead.....ignoring what were obviously warning signs I gave it a go, only to be forced to abandon the trip half way through the third day........
This is what happened........ 

Peter and I met up as planned at about 0900hrs on the Sunday morning......
We headed north passing through Wimborne and heading towards Blandford....
At about a mile short of Blandford town there was a sound like a pistol crack and I realised at once that my rear tyre had blown....

After removing the wheel and checking the cause, it was obvious that the inner tube had split. This in turn had blown the tyre off the rim. Even though I had stopped almost immediately, with the weight of the panniers the tyre itself had been damaged as well...

Peter and I tried to patch the tyre using tape. We then fitted a new inner tube, but on trying to inflate the tyre it became obvious that the tyre was damaged beyond any form of temporary repair........

We were then forced to phone Peter's son-in-law Chris, who lives in Blandford and kindly drove out to give us some help.... It was decided that Chris would drive Peter back home in order to pick up a used but serviceable tyre that we could use whilst I stayed with the bikes...

In about an hour and a half they were back... the tyre was fitted and inflated...all seemed OK.....Chris went on his way...panniers were loaded back on the bike and then we noticed the tyre had deflated again!! 
We took off all the panniers... removed the tyre... checked out the valve and inner tube etc etc... and we tried two more inner tubes before we found one that actually seemed to hold any air....

To be honest, we should have seen the 'writing on the wall' for the trip at this early stage.....
In total we lost four hours faffing around at the side of the road....but....we did finally arrive at our day's destination at Frome, albeit four hours later than we had planned....

Stuck at the side of the road...
We had phoned Howard to re-arrange meeting up with him as we had been unsure if we were actually going to make it to Frome... The new plan was to meet up with him the next morning....
We arranged to meet up at the 'Live to Ride' bike shop in the town where I had decided to have new tyres and inner tubes fitted just to be on the safe side...

Up until this point I had found the cycling OK and although not as fit as I have been I seemed to be dealing with the various ascents and the loaded bike perfectly well....

We met up with Howard the next morning and after time spent in a cafe with coffee and cake and with a new set of rubber hoops on my bike we set off again to continue our ride....

The ride went well until the Tuesday morning, when I found that even after the first four miles riding on the flat I was struggling... I seemed to be breathless and lacking any energy at all....... We stopped at a cafe at an M&S store at Cribbs Causeway just north of Bristol and during our coffee stop it became obvious that I was seriously unwell....  my heart rate seemed to be all over the place and it became clear that this was going to be the end of my ride......

I could not even face getting a train back home..... I was just not well enough....
A taxi was called and within half an hour I was being whisked back home....

A visit to the hospital was to show another electrical malfunction of the heart was causing both missed and jumped beats and this in turn meant that insufficient blood/oxygen was being pumped around my body...
Some of the symptoms that can occur are Palpitations.... Feeling tired... Shortness of breath.....
Chest pain and tightness and Dizziness or light-headedness.... none of these are ideal if you want to ride a bike........

Currently I am off the bike for the next seven or eight weeks...... I have an appointment with the Cardiologist at the end of October and I will find out where this is all going to go at that stage.....

To say that I am gutted and depressed is an understatement....!!

Peter and Howard continued with a revised route of the ride and managed to save something from what we had planned......

Cabin Fever .......

 Sorry for this week's posting being three days late but like the rest of the UK last weekend saw the arrival of storm Ciara and our in...