Where did October go?

Zagan gets two new tyres from dustcap.co.uk
New tyres and wheel trims!

It’s as if the travelling gods are telling us to get back on the road. Either that, or I’m just not cut out for an English Autumn.

For the last few weeks I’ve had a stinking cold, that turned into chest infection which has wiped me out. I’ve spent a good few weeks not venturing far from the sofa, and taking plenty of naps. It’s times like these when I am so glad that we made the push to financial freedom, otherwise I’d be dragging my sorry self into work. The second load of antibiotics now seem to be making an impact, but I’ve basically missed most of October. However, this hasn’t stopped me from getting Zagan ready for his next adventure in the New Year.

From the comfort of the sofa I arranged to have two new tyres fitted by the guys at dustcap.co.uk. No need to drive anywhere, they came to Zagan at his storage place and the price of the tyres was about £2 more than we paid when we bought them at a tyre place. Jason and Rhys did everything including swapping his wheels around so we have the new ones on the back, and fitting some new wheel trims I had bought. A great service if you are based in the East Midlands.

Motorhome preparation getting new tyres from dustcap.co.uk
New tyres and wheel trims (which will be cable tied on again, hopefully the Italian roads won’t claim another!)

More sofa surfing solved a problem we had sourcing a replacement end part for Zagan’s exhaust. Being left hand drive and on an ALKO chassis meant that the standard Fiat exhaust wouldn’t fit. Jay had patched it up for almost a year, but it seriously needed sorting. Just half a mile away from our house, tucked away on a small industrial estate, is a company that make custom exhausts. Their website mainly focuses on sports cars, but they weren’t daunted when I got in touch. We dropped off the bit we needed and a day later we were greeted with a shining work of art – it was almost a shame to hide it under Zagan.

custom made exhaust for motorhome

Our 12v TV had developed a blue line on the screen, it disappeared after a while but I was worried one day it wouldn’t, so I got in touch with the manufacturers. They confirmed it would be fixed under warranty and sent a courier to pick it up. He arrived on Monday, complete with a box to put it in, a fantastic service so far.

The blue line!
The thin blue line!

After talking about getting a pure sine inverter for ages, (we’ve had to replace a few laptop batteries which we think might have been caused by the inverter) we went mad and bought a 1000W one. The plan being that we could run our small electric heater as a fan when it gets too hot. When it arrived it was a lot bigger than expected and weighed 4kg – we didn’t think to check these minor details! Due to its size, we couldn’t fit it anywhere near the leisure batteries, which are housed under the seats, so sadly it had to go back. Undeterred we had a rethink and bought a 300W pure sine inverter which turned out to be smaller and quieter than the one we currently have. We’ll get a 12V fan to keep Charlie cool in the summer instead.

Playing on the local park
It hasn’t all been sofa surfing, especially when Charlie’s walk takes us past the local park!

The Zagan ‘to do’ list written on our return from our last trip – while we remembered all the bits that need TLC – included a service for the fridge and boiler. It’s not something we’d had done on a motorhome before, so when I spotted someone offering advice on what to do on one of the Facebook motorhome forums (fantastic sources of information if you aren’t already a member), I set to work. On the Gas Safe Register website I searched for engineers nearby that were certified to work on LPG and caravans. I called a few of them explained what I wanted doing and got quotes. The prices ranged from £80 – £105, with some places charging per appliance. Zagan now has a Gas Safety Certificate and we can sleep peacefully knowing that we don’t have any leaks or big gas repairs to do in the near future.

Dog in socks
Charlie isn’t impressed with his new non-slip dog socks

Zagan is booked for a full service and MOT at his favourite garage on Friday. As always, Norman, a fellow motorhomer, and his team have the remit to sort anything that might need fixing in the next year. We’ve had good experiences in garages while on the road, but we find it better to get Zagan in tip top shape between trips. I guess we learned from having to spend four nights in a hotel while Dave, his predecessor, had his clutch repaired in France.

The spooky red sun and sky caused by Storm Opheila

Jay now has 22 (and a half) working days left on is contract. After that we can start discussing where we want to go for our next trip, I can’t torture him with that kind of talk while he’s counting down the days. We’re staying at home for Christmas and New Year, then plan to head off somewhere in January. While I am cocooned here in The Cooler I am more than happy to stay here and not go anywhere. But as soon as I get in Zagan, I remember how much I love life on the road and the simplicity of it. It’s great that I love both of my lives!

playing in Sahara sand
THANK YOU to everyone who voted for this photo of me in a recent competition on Facebook (taken at Ksar Ghilane in Tunisia). Your voting won us £250 worth of holiday vouchers – we’re thinking we might have a sneaky weekend away somewhere, with a bath!

Ju x

 

6 Comments

  1. I have to agree about Autumn as going back and forth to the shared office I work from in almost darkness is already getting me down! Do you have a rough plan for your travels in 2018 and apologies if I missed this in an earlier post?

      • Ha :) We now have our motorhome and a rough plan to head to Holland in May 2018 before going North into Scandinavia. We will then head back south towards Germany and travel through France, Spain & hopefully arrive in Portugal around November 2018 but that’s all subject to change based on how we feel when on the road. Your all tours maps page is going to be an AMAZING help when we start planning tings in more detail!

  2. Bruce never liked his non slip socks! He used to run outside in them when we were distracted and manage to ‘lose’ 1 or more of them!! Many hours spent hunting the socks afterwards!

  3. Hi Guys

    I have been following your travels since your very early days and always look forward to your daily and now weekly blogs.

    Looking at your maps of previous travels you don’t seem to have made much of a dent into central France.
    We spent all of September travelling there and throughly enjoyed it. Like you we stayed 90% of our time on the FREE aires and enjoyed the freedom it gave us. We averaged about 50 miles per day.

    We live in Spain on the Costa Blanca and just returned from a 10 day trip exploring Almeria and Cartagena.

    Looking forward to seeing you three on the road again.

    P.S. Ozzie our Westie say Charlie looks very dashing in his new boots.

    Steve

  4. Having never travelled this late in the year before, (a change of lifestyle now making this possible), I can honestly say the autumn colours are just glorious particularly in France. For the first time we ventured to the Dordogne which I could tell would definitely not be my cup of tea during high season. Finally ticked off one of those things I’ve always wanted to do and that was to canoe down the river, with good weather and so few people around it was a really peaceful experience. We found some very scenic Aires and cheap campsites, now we have progressed through Spain into Portugal on the Alentejo coast. The closer we get to the Algarve the number of motor homes dotted around increases, I’m really in no rush to follow the crowd whilst the weather remains as good as the forecast suggest. What friendly people the Portuguese are and so far I haven’t found the driving experience difficult here. Found your country guides very useful, thank you.

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