Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Back on our Winter Pitch.....

We are now settled back on to our winter pitch.....
This will be the third winter that we have spent here on Dartmoor and it is good to catch up again with the regular winter campers who we have got to know over the past couple of years....

The day we arrived it was pouring with rain even though when we left the Barley Meadow site just 26 miles away it was glorious sunshine... Dartmoor does seem to have it's own special micro climate....

The following day it was very misty with drizzle in the air but it proved to be a good day to clean the caravan in readiness for the forthcoming winter....
We used Fenwicks caravan shampoo followed with a good rinse with Fenwicks 'Bobby Dazzler' which is a hydrophobic product which gives the van a nice shiny finish and helps to keep it clean over the winter.....

We usually clean the caravan at the start of the winter and again in the spring when we prepare the van for our seven months of touring over the summer season...... 

At the end of the day Anne's son Brian who lives not far from the site brought over our winter awning and took away our summer awning for storage in his loft over the winter.....

The day after cleaning the caravan we awoke to a lovely warm and sunny day which enabled us to erect the awning and get it all fastened down in readiness for the winter storms that we usually get during our winter stay......
Erecting the Winter Awning...
I have already managed to get out on the bike and I plan on another ride tomorrow..... The weather at the moment seems to have settled down again so it is a case of making the most of it while we have it.....

One thing that happened yesterday was that our fridge decided to stop working... It works on the absorption principle unlike a normal domestic fridge which usually works with a compressor.... Absorption fridges have no moving parts so there is not too much to go wrong....
After doing a few checks I have a feeling that the problem is with the fridge heating element so a call to a local mobile caravan engineer will have to be made.....

At least it stopped working at this time of the year and not in the middle of summer when we would have missed it more...this time of the year things like milk etc can be left outside overnight and manage to keep pretty cool anyway....

Sunday, 22 October 2017

Last Move of the Year........

Since we have been here on the northern edge of Dartmoor we have had some pretty rough weather.....
I have not managed to get out on the bike around the lanes north of the National Park as much as I would have liked..... 
On one ride I picked up what a lot of people think of as the boring section of the Two Moors Way that connects Dartmoor to Exmoor along country lanes.....

When I walked the Two Moors Way I personally didn't find this section of the route boring at all..... I walked the route with a couple of soldiers who were completing the Two Moors Way and I caught them up just as we started on the 'boring' country lane section....
Having companions to walk with made the section pass quite quickly as we were exchanging stories and jokes as we made our way along so for me it turned out to be one of the highlights 
of the walk......

On my recent ride along these lanes it brought back all the memories of the walk which I enjoyed a lot....
The picture below shows 'Tiffany' my winter season bike (Fiona the Felt has now been packed away at my daughter's for the winter) at the very point on the Two Moors Way where I caught up with the two soldiers when I walked the route......
On the Two Moors Way
Since we have been back down in Devon we have had two storms....first was Ophelia and as I write this the last winds of storm Brian are blowing themselves out......

One of the problems we have had was choosing the right time to pack away our summer inflatable awning...... 
When we get to Tavistock we will be using our winter awning so it was important that we packed away the summer awning nice and dry.... 
Normally between sites I wouldn't worry about  packing the awning slightly damp as we would be using it again within two or three days but this time because it will be packed away for five months it had to be properly dry.....

As luck would have it there was a window of dry weather last Friday just before storm Brian hit us.... that window of dry weather enabled us to pack it away nice and dry.

I would have liked to have cleaned and reproofed the awning as well but we just have not had a long enough period of dry weather to allow us to do that.... Still at least we packed it away dry and our plan is that we will clean and reproof it when we set up that awning again in the spring.... hopefully the weather will be a bit kinder to us then.

One thing that happened at this site that didn't make me very happy was some minor damage to my car.....
The site owner was mowing the grass near my caravan and car and as he drove the sit on mower along the stony site road past my car he flung up a load of stones chipping the paintwork and causing a couple of small dents in both the front and rear nearside doors..... Luckily Eva the Eriba seems to have survived unscathed....

Careless mower driving by the owner...however he has said that if I send him the bill for the repair he will pay it but obviously I would have rather that it hadn't happened.... 

Oh well I will have to contact my friendly Paintless Dent Removal (PDR) man when we get to our winter seasonal pitch....

That is where we head off to tomorrow.. 
Our last move of the year is back to Tavistock and our pitch for the winter season....... 

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Cold Feet Hopefully Getting Warmer.....

Some years ago when I was walking the Southern Upland Way I used a number of bothies as an alternative to my tent.....
It made a nice change when I found a bothy to sleep under a proper roof ...a bit of a highlight along the route.....
One thing that I seemed to suffer with though was cold feet.... walking on the solid floors of the bothy certainly didn't help and even though I wore a couple of thick pairs of walking socks cold feet persisted.....

These days winter riding on the bike can give me the same problem..... Makes no difference what I cover my feet with...waterproof socks..neoprene cycling shoe bootees.... I still seem to end up with cold feet.....

As we approach our third winter in Eva the Eriba I am not going to take any chances not that I suffer with cold feet in the van though..... No what I want is to make sure that my feet warm up again nice and quickly after a ride....

That's where these little beauties come in.......
North Face Nuptse Tent Mule 111
As my tent slippers needed replacing my recent visit to Exeter had the purpose of acquiring some new in caravan/awning/tent slippers or bothy boots.....
I ended up buying a pair of North Face Nuptse Tent Mule 111s.....

I have to say that these were the style that I had in the back of my mind when I went looking to buy some replacements....and as it was these were the only ones that seemed to be available in the various outdoors shops in Exeter.....

I realise that there are lots of various makes and styles available on the internet but one of the things that you have to learn to live with when fulltiming is that buying from the internet is not really possible.

The reason for this is a lack of a permanent address..... Yes I could have them delivered to my daughters address in Dorset but then I would have to wait till next spring before I could collect them and I wanted them now.... I wanted to warm my feet up this winter not next......

The North Face blurb tells me:-
Don't let the low profile and plush finish fool you..... The Nuptse Tent Mule 111 from the North Face is a hardy slip-on slipper offering incredible warmth and comfort and boasting a toughened upper made from recycled bottles....( I hope that means Cola Bottles as I have always thought that the best thing you could do with a bottle of Cola was to throw the contents away and recycle the bottle :-) )

The main features of these are :-

The uppers are made from 100% recycled PET with ripstop finish.
The sole is a nylon mesh base with rubber fine-mould traction lugs.
Insulation is Primaloft Thermoball (equivalent to 600 fill down)
Durable and water-resistant.
Die-cut EVA sockliner.
Slip on slipper.
Weight 220g
Note the Rubber Fine-Mould Traction Lugs.
I can't say how good these slippers are..... only time will tell. 
This post is not a recommendation it is just a report on what I have purchased......
If they live up to the North Face product description then I should have nice warm feet throughout the winter.... if I don't then you will certainly hear about it!!

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Back in Devon..

A week ago we rolled out of Verwood in Dorset and are now back in Devon....
Before we left Dorset we said goodbye to family and friends again and on the Monday morning just before we left the site Richard the manager popped over to say goodbye as did Andy and his wife Jayne the site assistants....

Next year Andy and Jayne will be at the Veryan site in Cornwall ....Richard and his wife Angela will be staying at Verwood for another year and my old walking buddy Gideon and his partner Angie will be joining them for the season from spring to autumn at Verwood....

This is where we are now:-
 This was the very first site that we pitched up at when we set out on this fulltiming caper two and a half years ago....
We thought that it was time that we made a return visit and it is also just a short drive from where Anne's mother lives....

It had been my plan to drive out this past week and meet up with Howard a friend from the Backpackers club who was leading a three night backpack up on the moor.... 
On one of the nights they were planning on camping at Princetown and I was hoping to catch up with them at the pub..... 

However, as is often the case with a good idea the day after we arrived here I was struck with a really bad cold and had to spend a few days in bed.... It was a great pity because I haven't seen him for over two years and I hate the thought of losing touch....
Entrance to the Site (our unit can be seen 2nd on the left)
 We have another couple of weeks here and then we will re-locate again to our winter seasonal pitch at Tavistock....
Tavistock is only 26 miles away from here so it really is just a short hop to get there......

While we are here we will have a few walks along the Two Moors Way (TMW) as it passes the site just a couple of hundred yards up the road..... There is a nice pub at Drewsteignton which is on the TMW route..... 

I am also hoping to get a few rides in as there is a nice road route that appears to be popular with a lot of local road riders....

I think that we are planning on a day in Exeter tomorrow.....
Evening view from Eva the Eriba.....
When we pack up the inflatable awning prior to leaving here we are hoping for some nice weather as it will be packed away for the winter so we need it to be nice and dry for winter storage.....
When we are at Tavistock we will be using our poled winter awning again......

A step closer to what is normal........

Over this past week our campsite has taken a step closer to what we think of as normality...  The sign that was put out at the entrance to ...