Finally, we are on the road! Not without the usual list of issues and problems to solve but it really feels good to be on the move under our own steam.
I guess to put this into perspective, we have had 3 nights in the car… not a really great achievement but all great things start with little things and I am seeing this from where we have had to come from rather than where we are going. So where have we come from lately?
We moved out of the holiday park in North Wales from what felt like a month long stay… It wasn’t far off it, 2 weeks at Pontins Prestatyn Sands is a long time. If you ever feel like really knowing how our two weeks was, spend a little time reading the reviews left by other holiday makers on Trip Adviser. I am mixed about our decision to NOT read them before we booked. Had we read them we may not have booked and would have then been up for at least another 300 pounds of cost to stay anywhere else. We would have also missed experiencing a lot of new things, Pub Bingo comes to mind..
We finally received delivery of the car when Michelle got the cash from New Zealand. We think it went through a dozen banks somehow. It left our account straight away but took 4 further business days to reach her in Wales. Maybe the GCSB were looking at it? We then had the car! Straight away we sent it off to Phill at APB Trading. His business services Land Rover and Range Rover 4x4 cars and prepares them for overland trips like the one we are undertaking. We are not too sure exactly what he thought about having a Toyota in his workshop. He remained professional throughout and was happy that our money was the same as the stuff that came from the pockets of the Land Rover drivers. As we didn’t know when we would be receiving the car, neither did he. We were happy that he really did make an effort to complete all the work in less than 1 week and I think he picked up some tools himself to make sure the job was done quickly.
While the work was being done at APB, we moved to Birmingham. It’s closer to Phills workshop (and was the cheapest we could find.) It ended up being great accommodation. Room 8A at Manu’s Hostel. Simple but the room was close to the shared toilet and shower and the hostel has its own cat! Cool, a cat! I guess from that point it could have been a bed amongst a pile of rubble for all I cared. I did my usual thing and met the neighbors who were great people so the time passed quickly and we had a little fun as well, thanks Hayden. Birmingham also had all the ‘big box’ stores that we needed to fit out the car with useful things so before long we were ready to hit the road.
Our first stop was Stonehenge. It wasn’t too far from where we had been staying. When we arrived, we took the cheap option and walked down the road to see the stones from the poor man’s barricade. It’s the one 10 feet back from the 18 pounds each bussed in people’s barricade. You cannot get too close to them now days. It’s a far cry from when they used to use them for target practice in the 1930’s. Perhaps the best view of the stones was from the car heading to the site… One day they will work out what they are for. We think that they may have been erected by a wealthy person as a folly or a show of wealth! They don’t actually have to mean anything though, do they?
At the Adventure and Overland show when we were looking at roof tents, we wondered into a few campsites to look at peoples ‘setup’. One of the people we bumped into was Pete West who has a Land Rover all set up with the tent we wanted installed the way we wanted to have ours done. I just walked up and started to measure the tent and we started chatting. Well, it ends up Pete has a farm not far from Oxford and has taken in travelers like us in the past, so our very first night in the car on this trip was at his place near Oxford. We met at Wantage Market Place and had dinner at the lovely town square then headed to the farm. We had practiced putting the tent up, twice, so we managed to do it in under 10 minutes… The first night was excellent! We were warm even though it was very cold outside, we were comfortable and we slept really well… IT WORKS!! The next morning, we put on all the annex sides and rolled out the awning just to see it all set up. To have the first night at Pete’s place was something special.
So, why are we hanging around here then? We said good bye to the UK by spending the day in London. We did a park and ride and went into the city via the tube and did a double decker bus tour. Not normally our style, bus tours, but his one wasn’t too bad. All they did was drive around and around the city adding to the already mega congested streets but we got to see most of the sights. We also did a great river tour (well, 30 minutes floating down the Thames) as well. That night we slept next to the M4 again not too far from Dover and the Channel Tunnel. Do they call it the Chunnel still? We paid extra for the tunnel experience just so we could say we’ve done it. (I am glad the car went through facing the right way!) That same day we drove all the way to The Netherlands and spent the night in a small caravan park. We are now staying at Vanessa’s place in Amsterdam for a week while I finish off a few small additions to the car. Its nice to relax but we are both looking forward to the first trip we will make, Sweden to see the northern lights.
it's Our Epic Trip...
David & Christine are from New Zealand and are embarking on a trip around the world the slow way, on foot and by personal vehicle. This could get interesting!