Back on the road again. From early January to mid March. From Kent to Cornwall, Somerset to Scotland. Whose bright idea was this? Oh!
To explain. After our Autumn trip through France we spotted a few places where we could make improvements to the van. Not faults exactly, but, in a flashback to my Civil Service report writing days, “developmental opportunities”.
All of the improvements focus on the need for wifi connection and a better use of the electricity we are generating.
Firstly our electrical needs. We have a solar panel as well as two leisure batteries. This creates far more 12v power than we can think of using so how best to harness it? We have decided to buy a sine wave converter. This is a brilliant piece of kit that converts the solar and alternator created 12 volt direct current to 230 volt alternate current, thus freeing up a need to connect to mains supply when we want to recharge laptops, speakers, etc, etc. It also means that we will be able to use a fan-heater and an electric hob at any time and obviously cut down on our gas usage.
All of the above could be done easily here in Germany through either online buying or getting out to the shops. However, our second area of improvement, our wifi connection, was not so straightforward. We tried countless phone shops, internet providers and van dealers in an attempt to find out how to get van wifi installed. As one, all of the people we spoke to looked at us as if this was some sort of witchcraft. They could install a satellite dish that could get nearly every available TV station, but a mobile wifi connection? Pass the smelling salts!
Our problem was solved by going back to the oracle on all things campervanny, aka the Ourtour blog and website run by Jay and Ju Buckley. This was one of the first blogs we read on touring and we knew that they had installed a mobile wifi set-up. And lo and behold, there’s the advert on their front page! So, a couple of phone-calls later, first to motorhomewifi.com and then to as-suspension.co.uk and I had a solution and a date for installation, 21st January.
This was the perfect excuse to take the van across to the UK and catch up with friends and family so the next challenge was to fit in all the visits as well as doing a bit of campervan travelling. We had set dates for the channel crossing, the first trip to Liverpool, then Cornwall, followed by Exmoor and Edinburgh. Finally we had confirmed dates for Oxford as well as the Brexit-fleeing escape back under the channel.
As to how all the above pans out I’ll be blogging over the next eight weeks or so. I’ll be particularly looking at how campervans are considered in the UK as opposed to how they are regarded on the European mainland.
And so for the rest of the year ahead.
- April. A couple of weeks down-time in March before we jet off to Crete for a long-planned 18th birthday present for the middle one. We’re on Crete, without the van, until the end of April.
- May. In the van to Basel for the second half of the month to help the oldest one set up for a six-month, final-year university placement.
- June. Take our time coming back from Basel, probably the first two weeks.
- July. And breathe.
- August. Catch up with friends in Denmark in the first half of the month and then off to Spain and Portugal via Germany and France.
- September. Spain and Portugal.
- October. Still in Spain and Portugal.
- November. Slowly dragging ourselves away from the Iberian peninsula and possible back to Basel to help the oldest one in relocating back to Edinburgh for her final five months of university.
- December. Back to Brandenburg, Christmas and writing a blog on the plans for the year ahead.
So, all that’s left is to wish everyone a Happy New Year and thanks for reading.
*Ourvanhelsing translation service – Winterreise is German for “winter trip”.