Motorhoming with NEILMAC

Welcome to 'Motorhoming with NEILMAC', our blog which is our way of recording our motorhoming adventures.


It's 10 years since we bought our first motorhome, a 2002 Swift Bel-Air 730 and started our European travels. 60,000 miles on we changed to a 2006 A Class Carthago and 30.000 miles later we downsized to a 2018 Challenger PVC - we are still loving every trip!

NEILMAC and wife caromac have spent roughly half of each year travelling in their motorhome.
2011 saw an addition to their family, a Spanish stray dog called Digger.
2014 saw a change of motorhome and then following storm damage in 2018 another change of motorhome downsizing to a PVC.

Cleaning

Cleaned

Nearly 5000kms under our belts and first chance to clean the camper...

What a palaver!

So many nooks and crannies to clean especially behind and around the bike carrier on the back. The roof has to be cleaned from the sides rather than getting up onto it and the large tinted window covers have to be cleaned behind by opening them.

It was a lot easier cleaning the much larger Carthago but I'm sure I'll get used to it

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Recent Comments
Rodders
Well thank you for making me feel guilty and inadequate, well almost This is one of those interminable questions, we regularly ... Read More
Tuesday, 22 January 2019 10:45
Rodders
Why did this post end up above your original Neil, can you put it where it should be, no ribald comments from the rest please.
Tuesday, 22 January 2019 10:48
Tom1
You also must realise your getting old now Boss, so it's not all the campers fault! :3
Wednesday, 23 January 2019 09:10
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Downsizing to a PVC

A New Year and a revival of our blogging!

Downsizing - We planned to do this at sometime in the future but circumstances brought our plans forward some years.

Our previous van was a 2006 7.8mtr Carthago A-class and we now have a 2018 5.99mtr Challenger PVC and our first impressions of the change are as follows:

PROs

Drivability - much like a car.... Easy to manouver and park
No additional speed limits to abide with so faster journey times
No additional weight limits to consider
Much less affected by crosswinds
Better fuel economy
Quicker to heat internally
Very comfortable ride
No special categories required on driving licence
Standard glass/bodyparts should replacements be needed in future
Less problem getting on tight fuel forecourts
No need to consider waving to other motorhomers because they don't realise you are driving one until its too late :)

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Planning? What planning?

We don’t normally plan much for upcoming travels, only the destination and an idea of the route along the way.

This trip is a little different because we will be touring in a big loop with the start being the same as the finish. That is, we’re not just going from A to B, we’re going from A to A! - With loads of places in between…

There is no real time pressure on this trip either other than a couple of commitments in December, although still in the motorhome and at the tail end of this trip. So that’s a good 3 months to wander about.

So we set off mid September(ish) from south of Valencia for the rest of the year…

 

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kontiki645
my nav and i trust your wheels will stay round and your hearts stay strong. have a great trip. stay safe. regards. kontiki645.
Monday, 14 September 2015 10:31
stevegos
Sounds like an amazing trip. Sadly we are in the final week of our 2 month trip and making our way north through France.Apart from... Read More
Monday, 21 September 2015 21:57
NEILMAC
Hi kontiki645, sorry I missed your comment. Thank you
Thursday, 24 September 2015 16:03
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Onwards to France

All went quiet and we got our peaceful night. By next morning the snow had cleared on the roads a little making progress much more enjoyable. Other than TomTom taking us into a residential area via a single track, meaning a reverse out of maybe a kilometre!

Once on the way the main roads were easy. The A15 towards San Sebastian is newish and free and stays far enough south of the mountains to keep fairly clear.

On entering France we headed to our old favourite stopover at Hendaye Plage only to find it had been redeveloped into a new barrier entry parking at a whopping 10€ a night for what amounts to a station carpark, services also no longer free and now require 4€. We pressed on to Biarritz. Also a new barrier entry to the Aire and now 12€ but that does include electricity and services and it IS Biarritz! 

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Comfort zone and then the opposite

Our next night was at a campsite we often use in the heart of Huesca. It's cheap in the winter due to a seasonal discount and we usually treat ourselves to a meal in their bar restaurant. The steaks are cooked over wood embers and are usually very good, sadly not this time though but never mind.

Our plan from here was to look at some Aires along our route towards the western end of the Pyrenees where we planned to cross into France.

This is where our comfort zone finished! As we left Huesca in freezing weather the skies soon changed from bright and sunny blue to heavy grey and all the roadside warnings were telling us the obvious - snow!

Well it wasn't long before the white stuff appeared and increased in strength. Our target was Jaca to some official parking by the fort. We got to Jaca, which was lovely in the snow, but there was no way we would have been able to access the parking with maybe a foot of snow on the side roads leading to it. So finding somewhere to turn around, no mean feat, we headed off towards Pamplona. This meant missing out on a couple or three Aires further into the Pyrenees - what had I been thinking of?

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Wind in the night

We got the early night that we wanted but there was little sleep to be had - howling gales all night. It was like trying to sleep in a boat that was being rocked by waves. It was possible to hear the gusts coming before they hit the van, then bam! I got up during the night to check the security of the roof-lights as they were being torn at by the gusts. Even the folding shower doors has to be clipped back into place as they were swinging and clattering with the motion of the van.

I'm writing this over morning coffee and the wind is still howling. It's going to make interesting driving on today's mountain roads!

So today the roads have actually been quite good, not like the wind which has been atrocious! I had to literally fight the steering wheel to keep a straight line for a lot of the day. Before long we had persistent rain to accompany the wind. Anyway we found a couple of Aires that we wanted to review. One being quite nice, in a big wine growing area. We stopped there for some lunch before setting off for the other which was an odd sort of affair.

Our satnav wanted to take us in via a very narrow route so we chose to ignore it. We then found a motorhome parking sign indicating 100 metres, then about a kilometre on another saying 100 metres, then another arrowing to turn left down a riverside track and then another indicating an impossible turn left into some big trees. We manoeuvred in but then gave up as there was no sign of services so reversed the entry procedure and carried on to our night-stop at Teruel.

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Heading North in winter!

To coincide with MOT time for this van we need to be in the UK for March/April so we left our relatively warm and certainly sunny Spanish base with a view to meandering up through France to get a Tunnel crossing on the 11th of February. In order to enjoy what might be the last of our good weather for a while we made a small detour and spent the first 3 nights of our trip at Calpe with some of our friends that had been there since before Christmas.

They're good planners these friends, so on arrival we were immediately whisked off to attend their alfresco Australia Day group lunch. Wow what a treat they laid on! Lots of barbecuing going on obviously and a fair amount of alcohol too.....

The next day another lunch was hosted by other friends (and Club Motorhome members) Starters, mains and desserts from all directions and lots more alcohol..... Not quite sure how we would cope if we stayed here very long .

Our last full day was a little more laid back but somehow still, very nicely, included afternoon teas and more alcohol!

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