Reading material for those who love the camping life

By: Tone Hasle and Finn Bjurvoll Hansen
Motorhome and Caravan magazine, No. 5 October

With Motorhome in Europe for a whole year - part 1

Tone and Finn Bjurvoll Hansen will spend the next year in a motorhome. The trip goes all over Europe, and in each issue of the Motorhome and Caravan Magazine they will tell about their experiences.

Planning for "European tour" 2018 / 19

Planning a trip that will last for about 6 months is difficult. We have had many options on the table, but it has been difficult to decide which option to choose.

The plan has always been to drive down to the Mediterranean and then take us by ferry over to Corsica. From Corsica, we have moved on with a ferry to Sardinia before we, as a final part of this island hopping, end up in Sicily. If we are really lucky we may also be able to participate in olive harvesting and pressing of olive oil in Sicily in November. Many alternatives have been on the table. The first option was to drive east in Germany, through the Czech Republic and Austria to end up in Livorno in Italy. From Livorno, the ferry leaves for Corsica. We have heard and read that the road standard through the Czech Republic is relatively poor, and since we travel so late in the year, the stretch from Norway and down to the Mediterranean will be more or less a transport stage.

Fastest way

We have ended up driving the fastest route through Germany and down to Nice on the French Riviera. From Nice, there is also a ferry to Corsica. The plan with the other islands is also fixed. After visiting Sicily as the last island, we continue by ferry to Regia Calabria in Italy. From here we will cross up Italy until we again end up on the French Riviera. The time aspect of this is not set, and we want to be able to spend some time on this trip upwards in Italy.

Spanish North Coast

From the French Riviera, we cross straight west to the Spanish North Coast. Here we will, as on the previous trip, start in San Sebastian. San Sebastian is a paradise for food lovers, and there will probably be some Pinxo rounds before heading further west along the coast. This is a fantastic stretch we have been driving previously, and allows the weather there so we also take a trip into Galicia. The stretch of the Cantabrian Sea is amazing, and we are looking forward to exploring several of the small fishing villages. This area towards the Bay of Biscay can be relatively harsh, which also offers exciting nature experiences.

kiting

From the north coast of Spain, we have many options, but an important sub-goal is to get to Tarifa in early February. Here we will again meet friends from the previous trip. We stay in Tarifa for a while. Finn intends to try his hand at courses in Kiting, and that may take some time. From Tarifa, we have not yet made any plans, and want to take the trip up a bit as it comes. We will at least stop by some friends and acquaintances on the Costa Blanca before we put our noses north again. The plan is to be back in Norway by Easter 2019.

insurances

On such a long trip as this, insurance will be one of the themes that are important. The travel insurance is extremely important if something should happen along the way, whether it is illness, theft or other things such insurance covers. Most year-round travel insurance covers only overseas stays of up to two months consecutively. Most companies offer an expansion beyond the 60 days that are standard, and prices will also vary from company to company. For our part, we have chosen a solution that can be combined with the insurance we have today. We use the 60 days we have in our regular travel insurance, and buy the expansion in World Nomads. This is a company that specializes in insurance for long-term travelers, and offers good solutions at prices one can live with. This company is widely used by lay travelers, whether in connection with work or as a nomad. Helfo and green cards must of course also be included. We have also subscribed to NAF with road assistance across Europe.

The gas problem in Europe?

On the previous trip we experienced some of the problems surrounding this with getting filled gas. There are probably seven different systems around Europe. This means that we may need to bring a stock of transitions and links to make sure that we can fill the gas bottles at all times. For a while we found out that if we had a system of self-filling, then this problem was solved once and for all. We have therefore mounted two pcs. Self-priming bottles with coupling in the side of the car. This system requires only two transitions to get filled wherever you are in Europe. LPG has also created a separate app that shows all filling points. Other advantages of such a system are that gas meters are mounted inside the car so that we can constantly see how much gas we have on the bottles. We have some equipment that goes on gas, including Cinderellato toilet, and we where totally dependent on being able to easily fill or top the bottles.

The power we need

On the last trip there was a lot of fricamping, and we have also thought about this when we go out on this trip. One of the problems was to have enough power in the car to be able to freeze over slightly longer periods of time. There are also many parking spaces that do not have electricity, and where it costs extra with electricity it is okay to be able to have a choice. Since we both work from the car, we rely on being able to keep a couple of PCs running many hours each day, charging phones and iPad, and not least the large freezer box we have in the cargo compartment requires its batteries. The washing machine is also one of the important things we have with us that require its power. It's not just 12 Volt, but we're also dependent on having enough 230 Volt without connecting to an external power source.

solar panels

We have solved this by mounting the equipment required to keep the car fully self-propelled with power. On the roof we have two solar panels of a total of 300 W, and these work together with an Efoy fuel cell in the cargo space. If the solar cells fail to provide the charging current needed, the Efoy automatically connects. We have replaced the old lead batteries with two new 100 Ah LiFePo4 Lithium batteries. For the 230 Volt, a Dometic DSP1812T inverter with network priority is mounted. We have hard-tested this over a good period now in the late summer, and we are very pleased with the result. The car is self-propelled at all 12 and 230 volts. The only thing we have to take care of is having a jug or two with extra ethanol for the Efoy.

Where to park

An important part of such a trip is also to find places we can park the motorhome, perhaps for just one night or five. This is one of the questions we often get, how do you find places you can stand? This is difficult to plan in detail in advance, and the experiences we made on the previous one is that this is very easy with the right tools. Today, there are apps for both iPhone and Android that easily give you an overview of care places, campsites and service places for emptying gray / black water and possibly filling new drinking water.

apps

We have a clear favorite, namely the app Parkings from Camper Contact. The app contains over 27.000 locations in NUMBER of countries. We can post filters so that the app e.g. only shows parking spaces with electricity and / or with space for cars of over 51 meters. Every location also contains user experiences so that we can read a little about how others have experienced the space. It's also sometimes a bit about safety, and whether someone has experienced burglary or other unpleasant things. The planning of the next stopover is usually done over a cup of coffee in the evening in advance. For us this has become a very enjoyable evening activity where we plan how long we will be driving and where to park the next day. As mentioned, we take a lot of this on the kick, and if we like a good place, then we will be happy to spend a day or two.

Security

Safety on tour is important. On our previous trip, we were attempted to rob just north of Barcelona, ​​but we quickly realized what was happening, and fortunately got rid of the situation. This gave us a little reminder that we have to choose the stops carefully. It is important to use common sense in combination with some healthy skepticism. The car has also been equipped with both external and internal alarm systems with motion sensors. We are not afraid that we will be exposed to anything, but it is okay to invest in some preventative security.

Links

World Nomads: https://www.worldnomads.com Camper Contact: https://www.campercontact.com Gas filling stations in Europe: https://www.mylpg.eu/

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