Reading material for those who love the camping life

Text and Photo: Olav Barhaugen
Motorhome and Caravan magazine, No. 5, 2015 October

Norway Around: First summer in motorhome

The previous issue could read about my process of selling apartment and move into the mobile home. In writing, I spent four months on the road and want to share my impressions with you.

A sunny morning in May I turned in my house key to a new owner and drove away from the place that had been my home for the past few years. It is not denied that there were many thoughts of the head the first twenty miles. What on earth had I done that swapped the beautiful apartment in 14 m2 by car? Would I feel comfortable with the new existence, I would miss the neighbors, I would be restless? Briefly, the answer is yes. I enjoy but miss the nice neighbors and it took some time before I again had rest in the body. Fortunately I have been able to swing by and say hello to the neighbors sometimes, but must admit that it feels a little weird staying in the guest parking lot outside what used to be my home. Meanwhile, I had a summer rich in experiences.

Where to park

After saving certain assets and celebrated the national day with the family, I was ready to embark on tour in earnest. We drove over Sognefjellet and hoped was with me fruit flowering season. The weather gods decided otherwise and served both me and fruit farmers a cold and wet weather. After a couple weeks of rain, landslides and an increasing number of closed roads, I found it safer to get on the east side of the mountains again. I also had some contracts and agreements in the East, so the month of June was mostly spent there. I began to get a little feel for the motorhome life, and knew that this was the right so pleasant. I tend mostly to fricampe, but is stopped by campgrounds and RV parking facilities occasionally. There is seldom a problem finding a place to stand. Only one has eyes open, it is right that there is a turnoff that leads onto a plain in the woods, or down to the water.

I sought out some marinas and asked people I met I was left there. It was generally okay. They saw it as positive that there were people present in the area then it could deter potential thieves.

Emptying and filling

At first it was a challenge to make sure to empty the toilets and gray water and fill fresh water. Unfortunately in some places far from empty seats, and it was not that easy to find an available water hose when it was finally in fresh water. Eventually I learned that it is best to empty / fill when the opportunity is there and when the need arises. It also took some time before I learned how to save on gas and only heat water when it was needed. The first gas bottle was empty a few days, but now they hold gladly 14 days, even with the rather cool summer we had. My challenge is that I've been looking bottles of LPG, depending upon coming to an LPG station for filling or exchange. In parts of the country there are far between, and I have experienced running out on both bottles before I got filled. Considering therefore to switch them to conventional composite bottles.

technical challenges

The car has worked its magic. That is until I appeared in July should explore around Femunden. Suddenly an alarm signal in the rear and control panel showed low voltage on both batteries. Having debugged and checked fuses I found no errors, while the battery capacity was steadily decreasing. The batteries took simply not charging from the car's alternator. Nearest merkeforhandler was in Trondheim, so I called there and agreed to run up and be there when they opened the next morning. After a few hours of troubleshooting, they had ascertained that it was a mistake, but where it lay was less clear. Having conferred with Askjem Tonsberg, which I had bought the car off, we agreed that they should take over the job. Then we found out that charging from 220 volts going well, so I again had a little battery capacity. Charging from alternator to starter battery was also in order, so that the problem only applied living area. Valleys and Romerike was passed at a rapid pace, and right after midnight I could park outside the gate of Askjem. Where they started with troubleshooting in the morning, but ended up just as well replace the entire electronics unit Superstructure. New battery was also mounted, and on top of that car was washed. They probably thought there were too many fluelik front.

Top service from Askjem on a busy day in the holiday home stretch.

The car that office

Working from the car worked surprisingly well. With mobile broadband, I have good coverage in most places. Mostly 4G along highways and in urban areas. Far from buildings can be poor coverage, but it's not so stupid to log off once in a while. A small inverter gives me enough power to charge both computer and camera batteries. With the car that office, I have had the opportunity to be present at events and have opportunities to prepare and publish material online for my other clients. I cover including motorsport, and by staying in the car close to the athletes gets a different impression of how things going on off the pitch.

In daily use, I usually morning hours and noon to sit inside and write. When you get peace to work, while watching the world wakes up around you. With the weather we've had this summer, it has not been so bad to sit inside the car and work.

Contact with other campers

As mentioned, I have mostly fricampet but have used both mobile homes and regular campsites to meet more people and get a feel for this part of camp life as well. I feel more included in the motorhome parking facilities, for which we are all in the same situation. We find a place to park for the night, have a chat with your neighbor and exchange experiences before continuing the next day. At campsites with many permanent pitch, I have the impression that the firm will remain little for themselves, and maybe looking at us with an engine and wheels in the wagon as some oddballs. It may well be the perception goes the other way too. Probably all ourselves closest. It is a little strange is that many mobile home owners greet great along the way, but inside the campsite there barely one says hello. For me running alone I could certainly thought me a little more contact with other campers.

Election of roads

You're getting a lot of plans and observations along the way. I deliberately tried to avoid main roads, but rather riding on back roads to see more of both buildings and landscapes. There are many hidden gems in this country those who hurry off the fastest way between A and B miss. I've always been curious to me, and take a short detour when I see something interesting along the way. A thrilling sign at the roadside has more than once given me an unforgettable experience. Maybe you should more just traveled around haphazardly, and let the journey become a larger part of the experience rather than to rush toward a fixed goal.

This experience with looking around in the beautiful scenery our however could have been done a lot better with simple measures. Regrowth is the key word. Many places along our beautiful valleys and fjords growing forest again and screens for the view. Instead it feels many places like driving through a green tunnel. Here both Vegvesen and landowners a job to do. Open up along the roads so we can again enjoy the beautiful views. An upgrade of rest areas and a few more exits where we can stop safely and take pictures are also on the wish list. Admittedly NPRA done a great job of upgrading the seats along the national tourist roads, but it could easily have been taken action other veistubber too. An hour job with a chainsaw and a gravel lass had done wonders in many places.

Project Norwegian Municipalities

To add an extra spice to my journey around the country, I have set myself the goal of visiting all the country's municipalities. Preferably I will drive the car up in front of the town hall, and take a picture of it to document. Where this is not practically possible, I take a picture of a well-known point in the municipality. This has led to some extra driving and expensive ferry trips, but it is a fun project, especially considering that with today's discussions about merging municipalities, many of these will be history in a few years. At the time of writing, I have visited and documented over 160 municipalities. In addition, I have visited several that for various reasons have not been documented yet. What remains is mainly the southern part of Vestlandone, as well as the whole country north of Trondheim. The hope is to be able to drive in northern Norway next summer, but time will tell.

autumn is coming

At the moment, the worst ever summer about to go over to the fall. My plans are to leave the old country for a while and explore the southern parts of Europe. Winter and cold I've had enough of, so now I want to try something new. Where the journey goes and how I prepare for a winter in exile can read about in the next issue.

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