Motorhoming for Bill Bentley

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Ian Neilson
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Motorhoming for Bill Bentley

Post by Ian Neilson » Thu Mar 15, 2018 6:36 pm

Hi Bill,
Some time ago you asked if I had any motorhome tips.
After 3200 miles of quite enjoyable touring around England and Southern Scotland I do have some points to make. With the benefit of experience I can say we have been there and done it (enough anyway).
After some discussion we have sold our motorhome at this time prior to the summer following an assessment of the pro and cons.
The obvious pleasure of having a bed and brew with you at all times is only part of the story. We are tourers and not static vanners so our needs are different to those people who enjoy a weeks caravanning at the seaside.
We will save a great deal of expenses by not having the van. Winter storage, road tax, insurance and servicing costs approaching a grand per year.
The time and extra cost of fuel with a motorhome to get anywhere versus a car to a B&B or hotel is vastly outweighed by the convenience of having a car. We have a comfortable estate car that can carry anything extra we might need (like a toaster) on a road trip.
In the motorhome we often could not find anywhere to park the van near a point of interest or town centre and ended up giving up and driving away or getting a bus back to the town. Andover was a good example of such a town. Low bridges and back roads is another consideration.
We also got fed up of making up the bed every night and having to go outside to the park toilet and shower facilities and in the cold morning. Both of us had to go, for me to guard my wife in the dark lol (and perhaps in the rain). Our van did have a bathroom but on a site we are already paying for those facilities.
Selling the motorhome has given us enough money in the bank to use for holiday purposes for years, in comfort and without being any poorer from our regular income.
Ian.

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Hawk195
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Re: Motorhoming for Bill Bentley

Post by Hawk195 » Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:33 am

Hi Margaret and Ian

Russia is good this time of year. Don't know about the B & B though. Well at last you have decided to give the Gypsy life up. Still at your age I suppose it is time to put down roots somewhere. How are you both? well I hope. just saw this so I thought I would say hello,

Tony
A word is enough for a wise man

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Re: Motorhoming for Bill Bentley

Post by Bill Bentley » Fri Mar 16, 2018 8:40 pm

Ian,

many thanks for your input !

Like you we are (hope to be) more the gipsy types than going to campsites. Your comments about not finding anywhere to park near places of interest was exactly why we decided on a caravan pulled by a car: you can always leave the caravan somewhere safe and drive into town / up into the mountains for the day.

We have already fitted the caravan with solar and have 2 x 92ah batteries which can also be charged whilst driving and when landline electricity is available. To this we have an inverter which gives us a little 230V supply for small kitchen machines and our computer - maps etc..

Comm's has been a big issue and we have just decided on a 10W booster ae for LTI with a Wlan back up, this should give us, my wife, the ability to use her smartphone almost anywhere. Don't ask me to go into any further details, I'm letting our eldest son do the thinking, I just hope it all works ! I don't do smartphones !!

As for finding places to stop: there are people who have collected data of where one can stop for free, often on a restaurant / organic food stores/farms / cinema / car parks etc., they hope of course that you will use their facilities when there and why not. We have ordered the 2018 listing which should arrive shortly.

As for running costs, we intend to live in our caravan and so the costs become minimal compared to running a house. We fancy Spain and Portugal in winter and more northerly in summer, just following the mild weather and visiting friends; so the theory.

Here, tonight, we are back down to -5, tomorrow -10°C and I don't suffer the cold like in days of old so it's a question of making the most of it while we still can. Time and Tide wait for no man !

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Re: Motorhoming for Bill Bentley

Post by PINKY » Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:02 pm

One of the happiest days ( I’ve had lots) of my married life was buying an awesome travel trailer for the whole family to enjoy, living close to the Rockies we were able to enjoy the outdoors so much. The second happiest day ( had lots of them too) was selling the bugger.............
Do whatever makes you happy in life. It’s too short not to.
Atb
Pinky

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Ian Neilson
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Re: Motorhoming for Bill Bentley

Post by Ian Neilson » Sat Mar 17, 2018 10:36 am

Hi Tony,
Yes we are still here but our wanderlust is as strong as ever. There will be plenty of time for roots when we are scattered somewhere together. Thank you for your regards.
I prefer touring with comfort so to that end our next trip is to the the outer Hebrides when the weather improves. The Neilson name is part of the McNeil clan from the island of Barra and the lairds original home, Kismel Castle, in the bay, now restored is open to visitors accesses by small boat. The journey is long and arduous with a ferry ride from Oban but we are looking forward to seeing the land of our ancestors.

Hi Bill,
We wish you well on your travels. Planning and preparation is the key of course with a back up plan if the wheel falls off. Nuff said.
My only advice (which of course you should know) is to carry an extensive medical kit including antibiotics. I bought some strong 1000mg amoxillin over the counter in Spain one time and that saved the day when I had an eyeball banging infection in my ear while on Vancouver Island heading to Port Angeles. Washington State.

Hi Pinky,
You made me laugh. I too had a tow trailer in Calgary and felt the same when we got rid of it. As well you know Canada is the place to go "camping" and we did that too. Cooking trout I caught and looking at the black sky covered in stars in the mountains.
Our wheel fell off, figuratively when we headed for Phoenix in the winter. We got as far as crossing the Rockies south of Helena Montana. Turning back with 6 feet roadside drifts we decided there are limits. We found that our car was just not up to it. We sold the trailer and went back to using hotels, the Hampton chain was one of our favourites and we stayed at the one in pincher Creek a few times. Heaven.

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Re: Motorhoming for Bill Bentley

Post by PINKY » Sun Mar 18, 2018 7:06 am

I agree, hotels are the way to go. Stayed in Helena last year. Fantastic scenery etc, John Wayne could of rode over every hill chasing Indians.
Love Montana
Atb
Pinky

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Ian Neilson
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Re: Motorhoming for Bill Bentley

Post by Ian Neilson » Sun Mar 18, 2018 2:16 pm

Pinky,
John Wayne, his horse and Indians.
I drove down to Monument Valley in the Navajo Indian Nation on the Arizona-Utah border near to the four corners. I'd booked a personal guided tour starting from the Monument visitor centre supposedly to see parts the public are not normally allowed into.
Sure enough our guide turned out to be a very pleasant (Indian) guy called Aaron who led us to the most dilapidated minibus that has never driven on a real road. Nevertheless we had a great tour that towards the end arrived at a John Wayne dedicated site with a few market stalls selling souvenirs and boards telling the story of how John Wayne made so many of his movies in and around this spot.
Aaron pointed out an outcrop of land overlooking the valley where John reared his horse up in one of his famous movies, Sagecoach I believe. Anyway I asked if we could walk down there and was given the go ahead.
Margaret followed me gingerly watching out for rattlesnakes until we got to the point where I told her to stand still while I took some photos and a video. Afterwards she looked down to see a pile of horse manure at her feet. The shit wasn't petrified so I suppose it must have been a pile of recent indian horse shit. It just goes to show how you have to watch where you put your feet in Indian territory. lol.

Bill Bentley
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Re: Motorhoming for Bill Bentley

Post by Bill Bentley » Sun Mar 18, 2018 5:51 pm

Thanks for the humour and the tips guys !

I did Navada and Arisona back in the 80's, sleeping in the back of a hire car with my first wife. Of course the Grand Canyon was awesome and so was the Meteor Crater. We walked down to the bottom of the canyon and stayed overnight at the Bright Angel Ranch, memories never to be forgotten. One day we picked up an Indian who was hitch-hiking, the son of a bitch pissed himself on the back seat - which we only noticed when we made up our bed, scumbag !

I should not want to be up in the mountains, as a former mountaineer, climber/skier, I know that I would have teased myself beyond the limit. The only way to be sure not to get burned is not to play with fire !

I understand that many of the western movies were made in Spain, but don't understand why they were called spaghetti westerns :?: Of course they could never have imitated places like Monument Valley or cowboys like big John. I still like to watch western movies, but have to tell my wife that my main interest is in how they rigged and rode their horses back then. Often the indians had a saddle hidden under their blankets and rode with harsh bits and were merciless to the horses; not my kind of cowboys or indians ! We have ridden bit-less for many years and bare-back whenever we were not on public roads. Alas we have just sold our horses but the memories will endure.

Like you, these days we are focused on comfort, modern motorhomes and caravans have everything one could want, just compacted. Reducing is not a bad thing when you are getting on, then the kids don't have so much to throw away when the time comes. But as I keep trying to tell our friends, who mostly think that we are mad, it's all about living as well as we can for as long as we have. They mostly worry about their next doctors appointment and usually have two a week ! As for antibiotics, a few weeks ago I ended a course of last resort antibiotics because my elbow had turned black and my hand was almost purple. Not that any of the five doctors that I had to see could find a cause ... so they ended up sending me back to my GP, but I didn't bother to go, she hasn't got a clue anyway. The colouring is fading steadily, there is no pain and I can still use my hand, so I remain optimistic :).

Up and at 'em, that's my motto !

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