Categories
Living New Zealand Truck

Keeping food cold – off grid

We have been Finally getting some work done on the truck.  You know, trying again to take care of the essentials. We figure why not giving keeping food cool or cold another shot.  I am happy to say that we have made strides in this area.  As you know, we have chosen to live off grid with solar, and some gas bottles. Not as earth friendly as we want but some steps in the right direction. A huge problem for us is keeping our food from spoiling. I am now pleased to say that for the first time since we have gotten our truck we have a working system in which our food doesnt go bad faster than we think it should.. I have done heaps of research and still doing more but here is what I have come up with, so far.

[nzs_heading heading=”3″] Pantry [/nzs_heading] Keep in mind that this is in the kitchen cabinet and not in the sun. Following the advice of Beth who has traveled the world in a boat without refrigeration, in addition to the normal non-refrigerated items I keep jam and sauces, including mayo out of the fridge. My sauces, especially mayo, are in squeeze bottles to keep from contamination, which causes spoilage. Following the advice of an apauled frenchman, i buy aged real cheese and take it out of the plastic and wrap it in a clean cloth and put it on the shelf. My eggs are also here. my onions, garlic, citrus and kiwi fruit are also here.

[nzs_heading heading=”3″] windowsill [/nzs_heading] Many things can be seen sprouting from my windowsills. Including a head of lettuce or spinach that I find with the roots somewhat in tact. I put it in a flowerpot with water instead of soil. The leaves keep fresh longer and they are handy for grazing when we get the munchies.saladbr

 [nzs_heading heading=”3″] Cool box [/nzs_heading]Following the example of the Romany (Gypsies), I keep a cool box in the floor of the centre of my truck. this place is surprisingly cool and dark and has ventilation. I keep extra butter in here, on a small shelf, with my fruit and veg. i take care to keep foods separate that will cause the other to ripen faster. i keep potatoes here but not onions. i keep apples here but not kiwi fruit.
[nzs_heading heading=”3″] Fridge [/nzs_heading]You can probably tell that by this point, we dont need a big fridge. We have a 45 litre three way chest fridge that I keep in a bench seat with good ventilation going to the outside of the truck. We need to fill the gas bottle once a month. All we need in here is milk, yogurt, soft cheeses and meat. We run this fridge off gas after figuring out that to run a fridge off solar we would probably need a way more expensive fridge. A small chest fridge is good because it doesnt use as much gas. We scored this one quite cheap but if it dies we plan on replacing it with our own version of a “Coolgardie Safe”, which celebrares Australian inginuity, that doesnt use gas or electricity.

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[nzs_heading heading=”3″] Crab pot [/nzs_heading]pot. We do have a collapsing crab pot that we drop in the water to cool drinks more than carching crustacians. Have you noticed that I have not mentioned cold drinks before? Over the years we have become accustomed to cool drinks rather than cold ones because we have been outside the states.

Next.[nzs_heading heading=”3″] Next? [/nzs_heading]I am thinking we will never get an expensive fridge. It just isnt a priority. A higher priority for us is figuring out how to keep more food out of the fridge. Salted fish, time to go fishing again, and hanging sausages are some of the next foods we want to try. We may even try potted meats.

Categories
Germany New Zealand

Ro-Ro and Problems with Shipping

Categories
Travel

Campgrounds, or not, in Europe… and beyond

When the blog carnival theme came up this month for “RV Parks and Kids” my mind came up with a bit of a blank because we just don’t go to them very much any more. A couple of reasons come to mind. They are too dang expensive. With our amount of people we have paid €65 for just one night at a campground. Also, many of the higher end campgrounds can tend to smell, look, feel and act way too much like suburbia for our tastes. These ones also tend to cater to older clientele with visiting grandkids or small families.  We end up getting lots of photos taken of us but not much conversation.

However, sometimes we need a break from our wild camping ways. We look for a small treat when we are especially tired.  So, I will start off with some of these jewels and end up with alternatives to campgrounds in Europe and beyond. As you read our recommendations please be aware that we are a bit of a …. ferrell family and a great place for camping for us might not be your choice. We prefer to dive into local culture rather than find the perfect pool or shower temperature.

Here are some places we have camped.

First, some ground rules.

Look for places that are more down to earth, where you see lots of local license plates and away from touristy cities. The best places you find will be the ones that you discover on your own that fulfill your own specific needs.

In all of Europe an R.V., motorhome, camping car is the way to go. Do not think a caravan gives you the same privledges. A caravan reminds people of gypsies and you will be limited to camping grounds or your friends driveways.

Germany. Our favourite campground was one that we found when our car broke down. We took a taxi with our tent to a campground (their website) outside the village of Grunberg while our vehicle got repaired. In a great display of the German precision they have 7 stainless steel pools each age appropriate from infant to olympic swimmer. It is a set of community pools with campground attached. We go every year for a bit of a break. We also love camping at Edersee. Lots of campgrounds to choose from. We went to Teichmann (their website). It is a family paradise. Lake, daily family activities including BBQ and pancakes. Book ahead because they are crowded.

Spain. Campgrounds are expensive. Wild camping is dangerous. If we hear about anyone being robbed at night while they are sleeping in their RV it is always in Spain.  You can get a good deal on a campground here if you stay in the same campground for 2 months or more. That is not for us though. We rarely spend a great deal of time here, unless we are staying with friends. We did find a campground (TJs post) that was perfect for our needs north of Barcelona once.  Expensive, but it was only for a couple of days and we loved it.

Portugal. Our favourite camping experience is at Conscious Earth (their website) (our post). Great people. Great place. Say hi for us if you go.

Italy.  A couple of our favourite campgrounds are here. Asissi had a great campground (their website) and hostel in an olive grove with a giant, open air, family-style restaurant under a grape arbour. The type of things dreams are made of. You know how sometimes a place seems so perfect in your memory you wonder if it was real. Halfway down the country we found a huge, simple campground on the coast, next to a fishing village.

Croatia. Stay away from places with big, flash signs. Take the smaller road and look for small signs. Hope you find that farmer who was fortunate to have a bit of land on the coast and welcomes you to his family style campground. These special gems have no website just a friendly host and reasonable prices.

Macedonia. Our favourite campground here is outside of Lake Ohrid. Ask the locals in the town – they will all point you to the same place. It is called Autokamp Gradiste. No website. We went just before the main season and had the place mostly to ourselves. It is very popular during the main summer season. If you walk along the rocks on the small bridges you will find many cafes, clubs and even a cave church from the 1400s.

Albania. First of all, a bit of warning on the roads here. Only drive during the day and stay alert. People steel the huge manhole covers and leave huge holes in the middle of the road. Also, seems EU gave money for divided freeways but nothing for onramps. So, you will find a divided freeway coming off a dirt road with people going both ways on both sides of the road. Road signs are also frequently missing. Your GPS will be of little or no use as the information is not kept up to date. Beware also of speed traps. The speed limit will drop to 20 km for no reason except to give the police a chance to get money from the unknowing tourists. In reference, to camping, we only saw 2 campgrounds in the entire country. The route to Campground Praemer (their website) takes you through 10km of a road that is sinking back into the swamp from whence it came. 4X4 only. Nice campground and nice people, if you can get there. It is the heart project of a great couple. Strange, doesn’t mention the difficult route on the website.

Czech Republic. Did I ever say that we love the Czech Republic? Great campgrounds with pubs and cheap restaurants. The places we have stayed, on a lazy river, in the middle of the green countryside and the hopfields. Ahhhh.

U.K. Campgrounds generally charge by the vehicle and not the person. Much better prices than on the continent. Had some problems because we have a self-build motorhome and they are a bit scared of the Irish Travelers in England. Motorhome clubs are good to join if you stay around for a while because they offer “registered sites” and “farm sites”.

New Zealand. DOC campgrounds (our post) are great. These are government campgrounds. Off the beaten path. Some are quite standard, some are the idyllic, some are quite adventurous. We saw some great wildlife rooting around our campsites. Best to get your maps sent to you before you get to New Zealand as they can be difficult to find.  Our favourite “normal” campground (our post) was coming south from Rotorua and almost into Taupo. It was marked by a blue teapot and full of semi-wild chickens and peacocks. Heaven for us.

Now for the UN-CAMPGROUNDING.

Ground rules here.

If you park near some local businesses support them. Get coffee at the cafe. A beer at the pub and talk to the owners. Ask if it is ok to park for the night. One wild camping spot in Silves was emptied by the local police until the local complained that the police were putting them out of business. They petitioned to get the wild camping spot reopened.

Do not spend the night anywhere that is within 40 km of an international border. That is unless you want to get robbed, caught in an international dispute or accosted by prostitutes.

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In France and Germany, remember this… In France, “Aire-de-campingcar”… In Germany “Stellplatz”. These beautiful places can be found in a magical book “ADAC Stellplatzfuhrer”.  It is possible to get on amazon.de or from any large bookstore once you get to Europe. DO NOT go motorhoming in Europe without this book. We bought our handy, dandy book in Germany and keep it in the front of the truck with a German dictionary. Good to have a GPS as well as many of these places are difficult to find. We have been to a beachfront parking lot in France with electricity, water and bread delivery in the morning for €3.00 a night. We have stayed in parking lots of camping grounds with use of all the facilities for a 10th of the price of those staying in the camping ground. We have stayed next to swimming pools for free. Horse riding clubs. lakes. rivers. pubs. etc. Facilities can be very limited but it keeps us flexible and creative. The book lists a few sites in other EU countries but none in Spain. A couple of our posts on Aires are here and here.

Would also like to mention that we have friends whose parking lots and fields they are generous enough to let us use. We are currently parked next to a castle. We have a key to the front door and use the facilities inside. Before this we were in a forest where other friends are renovating an old farmhouse and restaurant. We have stayed in hippie communities, squats, driveways, farms, fields and festivals. From here we will go to visit a friend who, with his invitation to come, told us where we can stay in our truck.

And beyond….

New Zealand. The ONLY way to see NZ is in a self-contained campervan. Many places to rent from . We thought the funniest ones were with a company called “Wicked”. The back of one said “They call it pms because mad cow disease was already taken”. OK, well, appeals to my sense of humour. Maybe not yours. So….where were we. If you have a self-contained motorhome you can go and park just about anywhere. We had tents and stayed at the DOC campgrounds. DOC campgrounds are cheap government campgrounds that can take you to some of the most idyllic places or on bizarre adventures.

OK, that is it. Have I wet your appetite? So, who is coming to Europe… or New Zealand?

This post is part of the FOTR Blog Carnival.

Categories
Spain

Happy Birthday Lizzy

Yesterday was Lizzy’s 17 birthday. Wow, my little girl. So big. You know she checked our heights this week and she is officially taller than me. Yup! I must be shrinking. I am just so happy with the woman she is becoming. I am excited that she is so beautiful on the inside as well as the outside. I am excited that the child inside her is still alive. I love the things that make her Lizzy. Her determination to do her best. You know, she took up the saxophone this year. She practices at least an hour a day. She sounds so great now. She has so many dreams. So many creative dreams. When she was a little girl she taught me to see beauty. I hope she will find a way to share this gift. She will probably be going to stay with Jessica in Austin, Texas in just a couple of months. She will be gone until June. What a difficult stage to be a mum. If you do your job well, your children fly off to follow their dreams. Hmmmmm.

OK enough of that, you old sob story of a mum. I get way too sappy at 4 am.

Here was our day.

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We started off with a sweetie from one of the many sweetie stalls on the road. Abi especially liked this lady because of all the pink.

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Me and Lizzy and Abi went into Tarifa and went to some cafes. Partly because we wanted tea or juice. Partly because we enjoyed talking and dreaming. Partly because we couldnt figure out when siesta would be.

Dang, they have a long siesta. It goes from 1-5:30 here.

Another coffee shop.

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Andrew made a great BBQ complete with ribs and smores. I’m not quite sure why Sam is glowing here. Could be all that rapid movement.

spblizbdayhat.jpg Elizabeth created a birthday hat from the broken base of our mini globe and is sporting her new shades. She likes them because they remind her of the goggles she wore in science class.

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Abi made a great birthday cake (14 carrot cake) in our flat-pack coleman camp oven (thanks Mercy for the oven).

Happy Birthday Lizzy.

Categories
Spain

Mature Travellers

Just met another amazing retired couple. This couple is German. I am starting to see more and more of these amazing older couples that I cant help but admire. There are some couples that buy their “white plastic” for part-time fun and keep their “bricks and mortar” to come back to. There is this complete other breed, however, that demands respect.

One of the first couples I met recently that I would put into this category would be a couple I met in the South of England. He came up to our truck at a “Camping and Caravanning Club” Site at an old Nursery. He knocked on my door, introduced himself and said

“We are terminal”.

“Excuse me? What was that?”

“I have terminal cancer. I am travelling with an old friend from school. She has emphysema. She is terminal too. We were told to wait around in some old home. Wait to die. We thought this would be better. We cant leave UK because of insurance. We need electricity for the oxygen. I pull a small van behind the motorhome that holds our 2 mobility scooters. We thought this was a better way to live out our last days. We have been travelling like this for 3 years now.”

You just gotta respect this couple.

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I met another German overland couple yesterday. There is something very amazing about this couple. They have been traveling their whole lives. In Germany they say it was with them in the cradle of their birth. I like that. However, Peter is now retired so they have enough money to go where they want. They have been traveling full-time for 7 years now. They have just come back from Morocco and will go to Asia this summer. OK a little math. That would make him at least 72 right? This couple is strong. I would not consider anything about them frail.

They travel the world in their Mercedes, ex-military, self-build overlander. It is an honour to spend time with them. It is worth learning German just to learn from them. There is this thing that they carry too. They are strong, self-assured, confident. They dont brag – they dont need to. In the last 7 years they have put on 400,000 km and been all over the world with her. Literally, in our short time together she talked to me about their trips to Africa, India, Alaska, United States and talked to me about their 3 weeks in a freighter bringing their truck back from South America. Not really bragging. Talking about it as if it was the most natural thing in the world to do.

I couldn’t imagine them fading away in an old folks home. They will probably die parachuting off some cliff or something. Yeah.

They are not the first German couple we have met like this. Ooooh they are their own breed. They are…. wow I have run out of good adjectives – I think you get the idea.

This reminds me of an old man I met in Orkney. He was there in his motorhome. He was living in it full-time. He told me, “I’ve only been living in my motorhome a few years. I was in a Narrow boat for about 20 years but then it got too difficult moving it around everyday.”

“How old were you when you moved into the narrow boat?”

“Oh, 63 or so.”

That means this man of 83+ is travelling the world solo.

I mean why are we not hearing more about these really amazing older people? Their mere existence screams out “I WILL NOT GO QUIETLY INTO THE NIGHT”. They aren’t waiting. They are LIVING.

I havent completely figured out this group of people. I probably never will. You see, I have seen a lot of hedonists travelling too. Travelling for the pleasure of it. Expecting the world to deliver every pleasure they desire. That is not what these people are about. It is the heart and soul of the adventurer they possess. It is more about witnessing the beauty and diversity of the world. Of standing up in their big, functional, well worn hiking boots or their mobility scooter and saying “I am a witness”. As a people that stand up high and are worthy of heaps of respect and saying “I respect that”. I want to hover in their shadows and look at where their fingers are pointing and learn from them.

Our world is too infatuated with youth. It is really quite ridiculous. First, we have make-up and hair dye. Now, we have moved on with all our heroes getting surgery to make them look younger. Am I the only one seeing this as sorta weird. Yeah, yeah, I know I’m no spring chicken myself but I have been thinking about this for a while now.

We shove our old people aside like garbage. Sure we look after them. Kinda. We help their bodies live that little bit longer but what about their souls. What about listening to them. Learning from them. They have so much to give.

With this couple I met yesterday I didn’t even know what to ask. I must have sat there, staring with my mouth gaping open looking like an idiot. They had so much to teach me. Being wise they gave out precious morsels from time to time. I think that the most I learned from them though was not so much in what they said or did but who they are. What they have been becoming. Just being in the same space with them taught my soul volumes. Does that make any sense? Am I getting weird now? I am just not sure how to word it. Like being in the room with ripe fruit – true maturity. I feel empowered, like I can see better.

I feel my spirit soar.

Yeah, that’s it.

Categories
Portugal

Silves and the grooviest campground in the Algarve

We went to Silves, Portugal and met some more nice people, including Klaus, “Like Santa he says”. We looked around a bit. We like Silves but were feeling really scruffy and were kind of dissapointed after determining that the pool was way over priced for us. It also required speedos for men, one piece suits for girls and bathing caps for both. Lizzy had a sort of ‘sour grapes’ response and decided we didnt LIKE the pool anyways because they had too many rules and decided to look for other options. We agreed but were still feeling scruffy. Looking to the internet for answers in the WIFI zone next to the pool like others would look into a crystal ball, Andrew came bouncing back to the truck. “I have found the place. The best place ever. Debbie, you will love it. It is called ‘Conscious Earth‘ and is only a few km away.”

Conscious Earth is the “grooviest campground in the Algarve’ so we just HAD to see it. Our GPS proved again to be clueless so we went old school. We noticed on their not-so-detailed map that the place was north of Silves. OK, north, so we drove on unmarked roads, through the ancient village of Silves with our giant truck trying to keep to the north of the village looking for the road that nuvi said didnt exist. I tried to resist images of last Easter Sunday in the north of Portugal and join Andrew in his enthusiasm. We finally found a 2 lane unmarked road going north into the hills and decided to take it. After going up a ways and finding several potential wild camping spots we started looking for a place to turn around and was greeted by the driver of an oncoming car. “We knew you would be coming. I saw you in Silves this morning and knew you would be coming to camp at our place.” We looked into the back of the truck and saw the looks on the kids faces. Mixed looks of disbelief, joy and shock. He and his wife turned around and took us over the next hill to ‘Conscious Earth’. Oh yeah, Andrew was right. I think this is the best campground ever for us.

So, we are now camping at Conscious Earth in the middle of an orange grove with Hammock island, Teepees, Outdoor kitchen, pizza nite, wood-fired sauna, all you can eat oranges and…..this little piece of heaven is run by…

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a family that lived on the road for 4 years with their New Zealand housetruck! No lie! So we are having a great time here – all of us.

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We have the local eccentric, Adi and his 16 year old dog (TJ figured out 112 in people years). Seen here burning 2 days of packaging. He says that if you compress your packaging into a cube it can create alot of heat and keep the elderly warm. He said he got 45 minutes heat from one cube of packaging. Worth thinking about. He has a 4 berth camper. He sleeps on one bed and keeps his recording studio on the other. Complete with speakers, amps, lights and electric instruments.

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Living here is a great family with 3 kids +1 that our kids get along with great. Jason is the dad and here he is, hosting pizza night with his glorious pizza oven.

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It was so cold that we had severe frost one morning, we had an earthquake in the middle of the night and we have again brought our rain curse, oops blessing, they need rain here.

Still, having an amazing time.

Categories
Portugal

Wild camping in Portugal

So, it is post-RockonChristmas Festival and we are supposed to be in Morocco. We are being held up by paperwork. But, you know we have been working hard so decided to take a bit of a break. We started discussing among ourselves, “You know people come to the Algarve that dont know Edna and Paulo. There are other great things down here”. We have reluctantly flown the nest to see the Algarve. We are tired, broke and dont like touristy stuff but we decided to go out for a look anyways.

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Our explorations brought us to Armacao de Pera. OK I guess there ARE very touristy areas of the Algarve.

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We still find interesting things to do – like… uh… torture ants.

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However, it seems always possible to meet eccentric gems with words of wisdom. Like Sebastian. He has been on the road for over 20 years. Said he went into a house for 3 days and started twitching. Had to get back to his truck and the road. I was talking to Sebastian about our electric problem giving the appropriate excuse that we dont have alot of confidence with the electrics because we dont have alot of experience with it. With a smile on his face, he says, “Confidence comes AFTER the experience. Don’t you know, with small successes comes confidence. You never get confidence before.” Ouch, I needed that.

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Next we went away from the coast because try as we could to take in the coast with style it was COLD and well, touristy.

So, feeling a little bit wiser, we ventured away from the famous coast on a long and winding road that our Nuvi declared did not exist and spent the nite at Dam 1, Barragem do Funcho.pordam1.jpg

We had the beautiful place all to ourselves. It was great but after a few accoustic experiments (talking in normal voices off the top of the dam to be heard at the truck) we decided to venture on because, hey, we are exploring. We soon found dam 2, Barragem de Arade, and seeing it was already inhabited by a couple of impressively tough overland trucks and their german owners.

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We were surrounded by tough old germans that had been doing this for 8, 10 and 16 years. An impressive lot. Andrew refused to accept any alternative but to spend a couple of nights here to hang with the big guys, practice a little german and learn from some tough overlanders. We have realized that overlanders, however, are not a very social lot. I am beginning to think they might have overlander, go anywhere vehicles so they can run away from people.

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This place was also great because it was next to an abandoned restaurant that the 18 year olds used to set up camp.

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We also took this opportunity to try out a new Friday Nite pizza recipe. We tried pizza on a stick. We put some pizza dough on the end of an oiled stick and when it was cooked we took it off and filled it with cheese and sauce. Yummy. So, everyone at the dam was talking about Silves as a place to get water, food, internet and a pool so we continued our adventure and checked it out.

Categories
England Truck

Inside photos of Maggie

Did a good Saturday morning clean this morning and thought she looked so pretty I would take some photos of her.

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Categories
Truck

Fixing up Maggie, getting up to date

Finally putting together some of our photos of fixing up Maggie. Here’s some that start from when we bought Maggie in November,2008. We think she has come a long way to become our home on wheels.

We found her at a farm a couple of islands over from ours in Orkney. Doug went with his son to pick up the truck so he could take the family on an adventure to Nepal. His wife said no. He kept the truck for a year waiting for her to change her mind. We bought it a year later.

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Bringing maggie home through scapa flow.

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Trying to source some windows from a local wreckers.

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Maggie was a shell. She came with the metal framework and some fibreglass on the outside. The framework for the back benches was there. The floor is just junk pieces of wood laying on the framework. You see, the box used to be on a Bedford cab. The Bedford cab broke an axle because of carrying a heavy load on bad roads in Africa. The box was taken off the broken Bedford and put on the Iveco / Magirus Deutz cab. When the truck was shipped back to Germany the box was stripped and reshaped to fit the new cab better. To be honest I was a bit scared. It was hard to find a place to step without falling through the floor. In the gale force winds at the farm. The truck seemed to be breathing. The fibreglass flapping in and out with every wind. I wasnt sure I could ever trust her. She did not seem safe. However, Andrew was smitten by Maggie and there was no turning back.

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The cab needs a little tlc.

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Doug had new fenders made but hadn’t had the chance to apply them. Here we have Andrew applying the new fenders on a very cold and windy day in Orkney. No, he did not just gain a bunch of weight. That is cold Northern winds filling up his boiler suit.

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TJ found a good place to do her exercises while we were working.

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We are showing off our new window. Now with one window and a few other simple changes she can be licensed and insured as a motorhome.

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Starting to put in insulation and the floor. Being in the middle of the winter we were quite motivated to spend good money on getting the best insulation. We chose 40mm “kingspan” insulation. We didnt realize at the time what a good choice this insulation was. It not only keeps things warm in the winter but cool in the summer. We also used it to give stability to the fibreglass. We cut the fibreglass to fit around the metal frame and glued the insulation to the fibreglass with “sticks like sh*t”. Later we would glue the insulation to some large sheets of 3.5 mm ply and screwed the ply into the metal frame with self-tapping screws. This creates what we called an “insulation sandwich” and added alot of stability to the walls.

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Andrew loves his new grinder. After grinding off everything that even hinted of a rough edge he was looking for more to grind. I took this manly picture of him through the open floor.

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Bjorn the Orkney welder took off TJs exercise bar to put the spare tire under the back of the truck. Sorry TJ.

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Bjorn using his grinder. I think it is bigger than Andrew’s grinder. Hmmmm, No Andrew we do not need a bigger grinder!

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We had no parking at our flat so we got permission to work on Maggie in a parking lot a 5 minute walk from our flat. We got permission to use electricity from the shed next to us. He didnt charge us any money but we gave him a bottle of good whisky to say thank you at the end. Whisky as a preferred currency in Orkney.

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Remember the corner with the insulation up above. Oh yeah, we’ve been working. The wood is now up. We have a solid floor and Samuel has started putting in his bed which is just behind the cab and will work as a bench while driving. A note on the floor. It was put in by Samuels friend, Ross. He is 16 and has completed school to be a joiner. This floor is his first paid joiner job. He did a fantastic job. There is a solid layer of 1x3s with sheets of 18mm ply on top. I am SOOOOOO happy.

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The ceiling is finished. The insulation is in. Ooooh look a window in the back. Isnt it pretty! Oh yeah we are a real motorhome we have a window. Well almost a real motorhome.

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The beginnings of the girls bed. Chris Rowell found some nice strong pieces of mahogony hardwood that were perfect for the framework of the girls bunk. Notice the old mattress foam filling the gap between the cab and the cabin. We keep in working on this gap. The big problem is it must be flexible because the cab and cabin can move independently on rough roads.

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Samuel working on his bed. Behind him is pieces of a kitchen unit from a van. We were going to use the whole unit in our truck but opted for just the sink with the foot pedal pump mounted into an old table top.

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We decided to use the old kitchenette from our flat. I am happy. I love this kitchenette. The kids are scared. Hmmmm.

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Andrew is pleased too and attaches it to the wall and framework with metal l joints.

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A photo taken of the family with Maggie. We think she is looking beautiful but we are still getting kicked out of campgrounds at this stage. They say we look like gypsys and our Maggie looks like a furniture truck. Clearly we have more work to do on the outside. We might even need more than one window.

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Portugal was great for Maggie. She got lots of tlc from Nuno’s friend and mechanic and a great welder that just came over from Africa. After spending 3 weeks in our Tipi at a campground we get her back. Look more windows. Barbara had given us 2 old bus windows that the mechanics put in. They made a ladder on the back and mounted the sandmats behind it. We had the sandmats mounted underneath before but figure they are normally visible and shown off because they are a signature of an overlander. They spray painted her and…

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gave her 4 beautiful boxes. 2 on each side. They spray painted everything black underneath. We even found a spray painted bungy cord later on. They did a GREAT job. We think she is really looking like an overlander now.

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Oooh look there is our third window. We are wild camping in Spain for the night.

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Andrew thinks the wheels need to be red. He thought red might be too crazy until me and the kids came up with the idea of painting the wheels to look like kiwi fruit that would look like they were rolling when we drove. He decided red wheels was the tamer of the options we wanted.

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The wood on the benches in the back broke. Hmmmmm, well, I never said I was a carpenter! While visiting Wolfgang in Germany he employs the services of a real German carpenter to remake the benches. Check out the corduroy shorts. He did a great job.

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Did you notice we now have more bikes. They don’t fit on our bike rack anymore so we get a second bike rack to go on top.

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the Jones village set up at the derilect monastery for the slot festival, an arts festival, in Poland. You see our HUGE tipi looking quite small next to maggie. We got a small army of quechua tents because alot of friends are coming with no tents. We love quechua and their 2 second tents. Dont we look like a quechua advert, especially since the tarps are also quechua and Andrew’s shoes, and….hmmmm.

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TJ has found a new favourite place to hang out.

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Oh yeah. This is what maggie likes to do. WIld camping on some old dirt path in the mountains at the border of Czech Republic.

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The inside is looking a bit better. At the top is CD racks put on their side with some round storage things from the IKEA kids area and a bungy cord to keep them from falling on our heads while we drive. The wallpaper on the walls we bought a couple of years ago at a charity shop. We think it really is from the 70s complete with gold specs. Yes that is fake leopard fur on those cushions. So, I like colour. Now maybe Andrew is getting scared. Oh yeah, you see that thing that looks like Abi has a halo. That is my chandelier. A work in progress. Frame and broken lights from IKEA. Glass flowers from France. Dragonfly lights from Portugal and lots of big dangly earings securely attached to the ceiling with 3 hooks.
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Time to put up the awning I sewed up in Germany

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Isnt it beautiful. We now have some shade.

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We found a printing shop around the corner from our stellplatz in Berlin that makes Auto Foils for 35 euros for 1 metre of print. After some quick design work by Andrew we are looking more legit. It says Jonesberries.com, the intrepid journey of the Jones family.

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Our outdoor kitchen set up for feeding up to 70 people.

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Our old kitchen cabinet is showing some signs of wear. Another german carpenter giving it some tlc. He doesnt have corduroy shorts, He has black suede ones and a very cool hat. I bet you have never had such a well dressed carpenter. Actually he is part of a special ancient travelling carpenter tradition in Germany. That is for another story.

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The inside of the back of the truck. The bungy cords that hold in the round storage things also makes a great clothes line. Note we now have 2 more bookshelves in the back. The kids are doing their studies.

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The front of the truck at bedtime. Girls bunk up top accessed by a climbing wall that abi made. Liz is on Samuel’s bed, he is out walking the Camino de Santiago for a month with Donald. She is geting ready to read from “the Princess Bride” for our bedtime story. I think she is annoyed we havent let her start yet.

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Our temporary toilet for wild camping. Also makes a great changing room. How do you like the boogie board backrest. Hey, we be stylin now.

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Getting blog

We just started this blog called Jonesberries. Its for our family – the Joneses – who are traveling in a motorhome not very different from the Thornburys cartoon on TV. It should be a good place for the whole family to let the world know whats going on with us.