Category Archives: road trip

Camp naked….

On our last day in Mont Dore Lolly, Lindi, Ian and Stella did some sightseeing and I spent some time trying to figure out the solar issues…

I’ve concluded that one of the panels is having problems working in direct sunlight, I know solar panels outputs are effected when they heat up but they shouldn’t stop working altogether, most likely something is heating up and becoming disconnected.

You can see from the picture below I’m getting a voltage that should now charge the battery when the panels are not in direct sunlight.

The manufacturers of the panel, Phoenix universe did call me back and sent me some things to try that may be able to fix the panel, if that didn’t work they also offered me a new panel at trade price which is a very kind thing to do…

Just before we left Mont Dore I saw this car parked up on the street.

I can’t remember the last time I saw an old Capri 🙂

As the title of this post suggests, we were off to a naturist site. I’m not a fan of the whole naturist thing and don’t partake, I genuinely don’t ever feel the need to wander about with my twig and berries swinging in the wind, each to their own I guess.

The drive down to Cap D’agde is about 4 hours and we didn’t leave Mont Dore till about 5 so without any stops, we should have arrived at 21.00. Four hours continuously behind the wheel is a bit much for everyone so we did make a couple of stops and arrived around 22.00.

I hate arriving anywhere at night as I find it messes with your bearings and makes things generally more difficult to find, such as the booking in office. At this point I would like to mention how lovely the staff here have been. Despite arriving at ten in the evening they made sure we had somewhere to stay for as long as we needed, security we’re helpful in directing us to where we needed to be and being cool with leaving the van in a drop off only point till we were sorted. The check-in staff on the gate explained everything we needed to know and when we registered at reception the following day the same helpfulness again.

As you may have read on my blog we stopped at a naturist place in 2015, you can read about it here, I still maintain I wasn’t made fully aware that it was a naturist site! This time around I was fully aware as it was a kind of deal, I get to go to the mountains with my bike and Lolly gets to wander about in the buff getting a awesome tan.

As I mentioned earlier, we arrived at night and as such the naked crowd had got dressed, sort of…

Turns out this is a bit more than a naturist site, as we were trying to find the night office to check in I noticed a lot of people wearing what looked like S & M gear, lots of ladies wearing string dresses with nothing on underneath and a very obvious transvestite which I have nothing against but just wasn’t really expecting.

We were all knackered so I threw together a camp for us to sleep and stash our stuff while Lolly entertained Stella, when she came back she said amongst other things she came across a couple cracking on and a few people standing around them saying, mmm, yes, very good….

We had the worst nights sleep, it must have been about 30 degrees in the van, Stella kept waking up and when we left the door open to let some air through we were both sure someone stopped to see if there was any action going on, we both agreed we wouldn’t stay here for very long.

The next day we decided to give the place a chance, all we’d seen was some odd stuff going on in the evening and a rushed camp which wasn’t the best start. I setup our spot with the aim of staying for a few days because as I’m sure I have mentioned, it’s a ball ache to get everything sorted.

I also got a chance to set up the hammock and setup the washing line as we are in dire need of doing some washing!

The campsite is massive, all of the avenues are alphabetically ordered so it’s fairly easy to find your way around, all of the avenues look like this.

Some of the properties here are amazing, none of them are permanent which is mad considering how grand some of them are.

Our neighbours in the camp are from the UK and gave us the full rundown, basically this place is whatever you want it to be, for example, when you go to the beach, go right for the family side which is still fully naked or go left to the side where people have sex and other stuff on the beach while a crowd looks on, similar thing at night, if you hang around the site not much happens and nothing is in your face, however if you want some action then it’s not difficult to find so I’m told.

We decided to head to the beach but by the time we got everything together poor Stella was exhausted and fell asleep in Laurens arms..

We all had a little snooze and then went to the beach.

The beach is about a five minute ride through camp from where we are. Back home, one of my oldest friends periodically gifts a us cool things her girls have grown out of, this has been really useful for this trip and Stella absolutely loves it, thanks Steph 🙂

Being a naturist beach it’s not the done thing to start taking loads of pictures so I’ll have to describe it, obviously we went to the family side but en route came across a couple of beach bars that look awesome and are part of the resort.

The beach is sandy and the sea isn’t far away, there is a lot of people traffic by the sea, mostly naked but definitely some wandering along from other beaches to have a look at the naked people of which there are plenty to see!

I’ve noticed there seems to be a lot of penis and testicle jewellery amongst the naturist crowd which is mostly displayed on the beach. Some of it’s piercings but others are rings made of metal or leather with your twig and berries bunched up through it, some men hang chains from their necks down to their waists and then connect it up to their goods, very strange.

Periodically a bell rings which signals the ice cream man in the area, Lolly bought Stella a cone which she consumed with a good helping of a sand.

Stella wasn’t too keen on the sea and enjoyed sending daddy to and fro to fill up the smallest bucket in the world with water, she did eventually get in and was really happy when she realised she could walk in the sea by herself while holding Daddy’s hand.

After the beach we headed home and made some food, time for a family selfie!

We’d booked for two nights but might stay for a couple more, there is no requirement to actually be naked and once you get used to people walking about in the buff it’s just like any other camp site.

The one thing that does let this place down are the toilets. Each toilet block that I have found has a tiny toilet for kids, a regular toilet with no seat and squat toilets, there is no toilet roll in any of them, just a hose to wash your bits. I suspect this is because when you are naked there is no place to stash your toilet roll so it’s quite obvious you’re off for a dump (poo for non British readers) and also it means the site doesn’t have to stock them with loo roll. The showers on the other hand are excellent, they are also open and have mirrors opposite them so at some point you just can’t escape being naked.

As you can see below, Stella has no issues with being in the buff, she’s just like her mum!

At this time of year it’s hot, this is the temperature inside the van at about midday

That alone would encourage you to take all your clothes off!

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A trip to the mountains

The day after Ian’s birthday was spent getting everything sorted to leave for the mountains the following day.

There are many things to be done to the house before it is shut down for a few days so Lindi and Ian cracked on with that while I sorted out the van and Lauren entertained Stella.

First thing to do was change the wheel…

Off with the old and on with the new

Once that was done I got the van hooked up to 240v, turned on the fridge to maximum so when we left it was properly cold and didn’t eat up the battery trying to reach a decent working temperature. Both Lauren and I went round the house getting all of our stuff together with the idea being when we came to leave at 11.30 the following day all we had to do was chuck a few bags in the van and we’d be good to go. That night we had a bbq and I took some awesome photos of the Milky Way, annoyingly they are on my DSLR and I don’t have a card reader to get them on to the iPad.

On the morning of our departure I noticed the van was only getting 9v from the solar panel, this is unusual, it should be getting double that. The system comprises of 2 x 50 watt panels wired in series which gives you 100w of power and I usually see about 18v from the panels. Not sure what is going on, fairly confident it’s not the wiring as if it was I’d get 0 volts as the positive is connected to one panel and the negative to the other, without a ground you’d get nothing, that’s what I think anyway, I proved this by removing the – leg from the controller and sure enough it thinks the sun has gone in and 0 volts is displayed, in my mind this proves the wiring continuity, it doesn’t however prove the solar cells. I didn’t have any more time to test as we were already late leaving.

Shortly after we left Ian stopped for fuel, I checked the solar controller and I was now getting 16.4 volts from the panels, weird…

The drive to Mont Dore took a couple of hours and we headed to the nicer of the two municipal campsites in town called Camping L’Esquiladou, it has a pool which Stella loved, facilities are good but the pitches are a kind of magnetic gravel, big though and they have electricity.

We planned to stay for a couple of nights so made our respective camps, chucked some food from Ians birthday on the BBQ, cracked open some booze and settled in for the night.

Morning came quicker than I would have liked mainly because the bread van comes through the camp hooting his horn to alert everyone to his arrival. The queue is something to behold, lots of bed head and dressing gowns. As I was now up and the sun was shining, I could appreciate a little more where we were camped, the view of the mountain is quite lovely.

Ian and I had planned to go out on out mountain bikes while Lolly, Lindi and Stella went into town.

We aimed for the Mont Dore cable car station which was only 5km away. Unfortunately, that 5km was uphill the whole way and in the midday sun, it was proper hard work but eventually we made it to the cable car.

The trip up was as pleasant as a cable car can be, it was pretty much as packed as one in the winter is.

At the top the view is spectacular, there is also a restaurant that sells beer.

Before heading off on the bikes I took the drone for a little fly about, shot some video and took some aerial shots which I’ve yet to process. As you can see from the picture above there are what appear to be lovely trails down the mountain, this was not the case.

The whole way down from top to bottom are paths made from massive bits of gravel, it’s a bit like riding down a really steep slope made of tennis balls, this photo doesn’t do it justice,

In the world of skiing, this is a blue run but in the world of mountain biking, this was rubbish. I managed to get down unscathed but Ian came off leaving a good portion of his leg on the mountain, ripping his shorts and smashing his bike helmet, I saw loads of walkers take a tumble so you can imagine what it was like on a bike. It took us about half an hour to get down and at the end we grabbed a beer, the day out on the bikes had been a massive disappointment, the best bit was coming home down the road we’d cycle up earlier. We did find a few small tracks and a luge that I had a go on, we headed home via the supermarket to grab some beer. Just up from the campsite is a pizza van with a few tables in a small garden with a lovely view over the valley, the pizzas were excellent as was the sunset, it’s bring your own booze if you ever go there.

During our time here the most mentioned word has been “Funicular” because there is one here and Lindi wanted to go on it. You can take your bikes up there and there is mention of a VTT course, Ian and I cycled to the funicular station while Lolly, Stella and Lindi took the bus, before we all left I got a lovely picture of me and the kiddo.

The funicular station is a lovely old building and the funicular carriage is quite nice too.

It takes about 5 mins or so to get to the top and is well worth going for a ride on. At the top there are all sorts of things you can do in summer, there is an rope adventure playground in the trees as well as the VTT and hiking trails.

There is also a lovely restaurant so we stopped for a nice but pretty expensive lunch.

Ian and I set off on the bikes, we found some signs for the trails but no maps. The VTT trails are referred to as circuits and the only one we found was the green which wasn’t particularly taxing and lead us back to where we started, we did come across a nice waterfall though.

We tried to find the red trail but didn’t manage to as the signs are non existent, this is also a ski resort so there should be some way you can ski or ride a trail all the way to the bottom, if there was we didn’t find it and ended up taking a fast road down to the town, Ian enjoyed it I suspect because he didn’t come off and got to fly down a hill, I was hoping for some technical trails that we didn’t find so left less impressed than Ian.

We stopped for a beer in the square, went to the supermarket to get more beer and then realised it was Sunday so the shop would be closed. Luckily we had enough to last the night.

We went for pizza again because it was nice and you don’t have to generate any washing up. Lindi wasn’t overly happy as she had a load of food in her fridge we could have eaten that was probably going to go off. That’s one of the tricky things about this whole motor home thing, you don’t really know what food options will be available when you stop so we generally cater for there being none which means some food does get wasted if there’s a nice food option at your destination.

I totally understand why Lindi was upset about the wasted food, we hate wasting food too but sometimes it just happens.

At the time of writing we have now left the campsite, the rest of the crew are down in the town looking around the spa building and I’m up the mountain trying to figure out the solar issue. I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the panels is definitely not working, the one closest to the roof box, I’m not sure if roof box is partially covering one of the cells which is causing the rest to fail or if the panel is just busted, I can’t see any obvious damage and they should last anywhere between 10 – 20 years. I’ve called the manufacturer to see what warranty the panel has as they are usually guaranteed for about 20 years as there isn’t too much that can go wrong with them. The puzzling bit is that I have definitely seen a voltage reading upwards of 15volts since I noticed there was an issue, I’ve checked all the connections, reset the controller but it’s still doing the same thing. It’s not the end of the world as we’re doing very little off grid stuff this trip but when things break it annoys me, especially if I can’t fix it myself…

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Annoying….

All good things must come to an end and in this case I am referring to my pleasant hassle free journey to my in-laws…

20 mins after leaving my stopover I noticed a strange noise coming from the van.

When you’ve owned a vehicle for long enough you know the difference between the weird sounds that go with it and ones you’ve not heard before, they usually indicate something is wrong, sure enough, there was…

I first tried to repair the puncture using some tyre weld but then realised there was a gaping hole in the wall at the rear so the next option was to change the wheel, one slight issue that I’ve never sorted out, no jack.

Luckily I had the sense to take out some breakdown cover prior to leaving, the cheapest I could get it for was 100 quid for a years UK breakdown cover that includes 6 weeks euro cover from Just Kampers, well worth it. I called the breakdown number and in no time at all the nice lady on the phone told me there would be a breakdown truck with me in about 30 minutes, while I waited for the truck I got the spare wheel out from under the van.

I’m pretty sure this is the original spare wheel, it’s never been used, it’s also been strapped to the bottom of the van for nearly 20 years so it’s a bit rusty, still serviceable however, in 30 minutes the truck arrived.

In no time at all the wheel was changed, I noticed the spare looked a bit flat and I couldn’t get the dust cap off so I asked the recovery dude to borrow some pliers, he brought some and had a go at removing the dust cap but as he did he must have dislodged the valve momentarily and some air came out, I’m pretty sure what he said in French was leave it alone and get as far as you can…

I drove for about 20k and wasn’t convinced the tyre would make the 180k journey in it’s current condition so I stopped off, bought a couple of pairs of pliers, got the dust cap off and topped up the tyre to the correct pressure, I then did another couple of stops every 20k or so to check the tyre wasn’t losing any air, all good and happy to sit at about 80mph without any vibrations through the steering wheel.

Lindi and Ian live in a place called Le Tourondel and it turns out there are 2 of them 50 mins drive apart, guess who has now visited both of them…

At about 17.30 I eventually arrived and was reunited with Lolly and Stella who I think were very pleased to see me, I was definitely pleased to see them!

Many cold beers were drunk and Lolly’s mum made a lovely roast which went down a treat, it’s very relaxing in Le Tourondel, it’s also dead quiet and it’s lovely to sit out the front and listen to all the wildlife. There are bats roosting in one of the buildings and right outside the house is a commune light, the light attracts insects and the insects attract the bats, you could watch them for hours….

The next day was a pretty laid back affair, Lindi and Ian had things to do in the garden ahead of Ians birthday, Lauren managed to lie in the sun for nearly 10 whole minutes without Stella putting sand on her, I made some lunch for everyone and took an aerial shot of the place..

The house with the nice grey roof is the main house, the building with the rusty roof is the barn, the building next to Bumblebee is the bat hotel and the building up at the top by the motor home is the little house which Ian has recently restored. The garden is being remodelled hence the lack of vegetation, next time we’re here I’ll take another shot to see how things have progressed.

Ian and I ventured down in to town to get the tyre fixed to find the tyre shop closed till the end of August. Ian called one of his friends who organised a new tyre for us to be fitted the following day in a town called Tulle. Lolly had organised a trip to some epic caves, Gouffre De Padirac.

Looking down the entrance is impressive…

Looking up is even more impressive…

I’ve always fascinated by underground spaces, be it tunnels, bunkers or caves and these ones are incredible, they are massive, it’s mad to think all of this has been carved out by water over millions of years.

There are numerous lakes in the caves which have been lit up beautifully.

Part of the tour takes you on a small boat along the underground river which is awesome although you aren’t allowed to take any pictures or video while on the boat.

You are given audio guides that tell you loads of interesting facts, the thing that blew me away is when the caves were discovered it was in the 1800’s, two blokes went down that entrance on a rope ladder with some candles, got as far as the river, went back up and got a canoe so they could go further. They can’t possibly have seen as much as we could until electricity came to the caves some time later.

To work out how high the halls were they got a kind of chines lantern with some string on it and sent it up to the roof, then measured the string, genius!

This picture above gives you an idea of how big the caves are, you can see people walking up the steps and this was halfway up one of the halls.

It does get cold down there so I’d recommend talking a jumper, it’s a great trip to do on a wet and rainy day, we spent two hours in the caves.

By the time we got out it was 21.30, we headed home, had a bite to eat and crashed.

The next day was get the tyre sorted day.

Unfortunately Simon hadn’t told me which tyre shop in Tulle he had made the appointment with so there was considerable cocking about while I tried to get hold of him to confirm. Turns out he thought he had sent me the address but the message didn’t send. Once I got to the shop it was to close to lunch time to get the tyre sorted so they told me to come back at 2PM after lunch.

In France, nothing gets in the way of lunch, for two hours everyone downs tools, shuts up shop and has lunch. There is also a rule that you must change either both front tyres or both rear tyres, Simon explained I only needed the one, the garage agreed but said they could not fit the wheel to the vehicle, I would have to do that myself, no worries.

We did some shopping at Noz and Decathlon, I chipped off to get the wheel and the Coups headed to Lidl to grab shopping.

Tomorrow is Ian’s 65th birthday so there is a little bit of a party going on in Le Tourondel, I can’t wait…

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AND SO IT BEGINS…..

Lolly and Stella flew to France a few days back and I’m driving to her Mum and Dads place in Argentat to meet them, from there we’ll spend three weeks travelling around France staying in what will be Bumblebees last adventure with us…

Saturday morning at 9am I was all packed up and ready to roll..

The journey to Folkestone was uneventful but the satnav did take me on a rather long winded route as one of the sections of the M20 was closed, the upside was a saw some beautiful countryside I’d not seen before.

When you get on the train, driving through the carriages always reminds me of the Death Star run and I always hope a tie fighter will come screaming past me, never does 😦

It’s all very efficient on the train and with in no time at all Bumblebee was secured and we were on our way..

I took a wander down the carriages to find the loo and saw this which made me laugh

Hopefully they’ll see the funny side of it too.

From Calais the plan was to head to Oreleans and find somewhere to plot up for the night using the trusty all the Aires book, I was aiming for a place called Beaugency which is about 4.5 hours drive. It chucked it down for the entire journey and when I got there the Aire was permanently closed. I looked up another about 25 mins away, got there and also was closed. The next one you had to be a member of a camping club to get in, finally I found a little spot that was actually far more up my street.

As you can see I was the only person there, there is a serviceable toilet, the road it’s next to is reasonably quiet and it’s right opposite a lake.

Everything happens for a reason!

The van is full of stuff so I had to empty the van to get the blinds and bed setup, then find somewhere to put everything, at this point I have realised it’s unlikely we’ll be able to stay at any aires as the space I used to store most of the stuff is where Stella sleeps, we definitely need a bigger van!

As I cracked open a beer a small Mercedes Vito turned up and the owners proceeded to beach their vehicle on a concrete kerb stone, much revving and wheel spinning later they gave up trying to sort it and went to bed.

I had a great nights sleep, probably the best one I’ll have of this trip! I woke up and started to pack up the van ready to roll to Argentat. My neighbours got their van unstuck, rolled out a table and chairs and made themselves some breakfast, very civilised..

I made some tea and munched a BLT I picked up yesterday.

There’s been a lot of activity here this morning, some dog walkers, a chap fishing on the lake and what appears to be a hunting party.

There was also a couple of vans with hunting dogs go past, this place does remind me a little of Lake Crystal from Friday the 13th, I hope they’re not hunting for the local murderer!

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All good things must come to an end…

The end of this trip is on the horizon, there wasn’t much point leaving Costa Calma as there wasn’t anywhere nearby that we wanted to go to so we elected for a beach day, we had enough water and room in the waste tank for the remainder of the trip so it made sense to stay put and relax.

The beach here is massive and when the wind isn’t blowing really quite nice, we had an umbrella up for shade and it didn’t blow away which it might well have done in other locations.

Stella absolutely loves the beach and spent most of the day eating sand and tipping the water we got for her out of the bucket.

You can’t really see it in this picture but Stella s sitting in a giant fish tail made of sand.

She also took getting sand in your face to a whole new level, some kids hate sand, Stella absolutely loves it!

We stayed on the beach till about four and then made our way up to the van, we decided to stay another night and have a BBQ, the smallest BBQ in the world.

It was really nice to sit by the sea, eat some food, drink some booze and enjoy some family time.

I left the BBQ out for the night to go out so I could dispose of it the next day. About one in the morning Lolly was concerned that the washing we had put out on the line would bow away so she went outside to bring it in, on her return she said she saw a giant guinea pig eating off the BBQ, it was probably a rat, this is the one time I regretted not getting up to go and get the washing in….

The spot we stayed at for a couple of days is the car park that overlooks the Rene Egli surf school and equipment hire.

Next morning Stella got up about sevenish which meant we got to see a lovely sunrise

We’d agreed to spend the morning and early afternoon on the beach and then when Stella was ready for an afternoon snooze, out her in the car seat and head to the nearest toilet emptying point and then to our final destination, turns out my estimation of a couple of days worth of chemical toilet space was slightly out!

It was lovely to spend 2 days on the beach soaking up rays and watching Stella play in the sand, she’s a proper beach baby which I’m sure she gets from Lolly. In what seemed like the blink of an eye it was time to hit the road to Tarajalejo to empty the toilet and then to Gran Tarajal, our last stop for the trip.

It’s a bit of a strange place is Gran Tarajal, it has a black sand beach that isn’t particularly busy and the seafront looks pretty tired, along the front are a number of restaurants, all very average, we chose one that translates to “the green dog”, I had a super oily Pizza and Lolly had a much less oily pizza. It wasn’t very busy and the curry house next door wasn’t either, then the loveliest thing happened. At about 17.30 the restaurants (apart from the curry house) started to fill up, mainly with locals, the promenades were busy with kids and families strolling along. When we finished our meal we walked out the beach and passed a kids play area which was full of kids and a few parents here and there, it was amazing. The whole front was alive with laughter and chatter, it was like the whole town headed to the beachfront, it was a lovely thing to see and be amongst.

We took Stella for one last stroll on the beach to dip her toes in the sea…

There aren’t any great places to stop for the night, we spied a few motorhomes in a car park so gravitated to them, turns out it was the local supermarket car park, not scenic in the slightest!

We had an early start in the morning, we had to drop the van off at 8am so we’d agreed on packing after we put Stella to bed. I was dreading it but it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Earlier in the night over we pizza we’d questioned what all the local kids do in a town like this, about 22.00 we found out, they all come to this car park in their cars, rev their engines and play really loud music. There were abut 20 or so cars that turned up and it really wasn’t our place to stick our heads out and ask if they wouldn’t mind keeping the noise down so we elected to move, we drove very slowly round to behind the car park onto a dirt track and stayed there for the night, we also continued the discussion as to whether we were going to clean the van or forfeit 100 euros of our deposit.

After a reasonably good nights sleep we woke up and Lolly had decided that yes, we were going to clean the van and so began a frenzied van cleaning, get everything else packed, sort Stella and get on the road effort, we still had to empty the tanks and clean the outside of the vehicle. En route was the DISA you can empty chemical waste at which also has car wash, we raced there as we were already late, I emptied the toilet (got splashed in the face, not pleasant) and washed the outside of the van, I also emptied the grey water while washing the van which I thought was a stroke of genius.

Lolly did an amazing job of cleaning the van with little help from me, we handed it back to the owners who gave us the full 300 euro deposit back in cash, sweet, well worth it.

Check in was nothing to write about as was the flight home, it all went very smoothly and Lolly did and excellent job of looking after Stella while I did the bare minimum as usual, when we landed it was chucking it down, welcome home…

So was it worth it?

It was a great way to see the island but not ver relaxing, the island isn’t geared up for motorhoming but hopefully will be in years to come. I’m not in a rush to go back but if I did I’d probably book an all inclusive so we could sit by the pool and get some sun without getting blown away, we could also have a shower without worrying how much water we’d used and use the toilet with impunity 🙂

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El Cotillo

We set off on our way to El Cotillo but thought we’d have a drive through the valley to see what it was like.

There are a lot of these goats about the place, I haven’t investigated what they are about but we come across them a lot…

Shortly after passing the goat and no more than a quarter of a mile from where we spent the night it appeared we had left earth and landed on mars…

It’s quite incredible how the landscape can change so dramatically in such a short distance…

I took the opportunity to take an arty picture of the road ahead.

We followed the road to El Cotillo, parked up and put Stella in her stroller and walked over toward the sea, Stella started to drift off to sleep and at the same time the wind died down and the sun came out, time for a cocktail. We’d spotted a place that looks out to sea called La Ballena, it had a large sign that said cocktail which is what grabbed out attention most, in no time at all I had a beer and Lolly had a mojito.

As Stella decided to have a proper snooze we ordered lunch, Lolly had the John Dory special which was basically John Dory in a white parsley sauce with mussels, prawns and boiled potatoes and I had battered John Dory and chips, both meals were awesome, just as we were about to start Stella woke up…

We asked for a high chair and one arrived on no time at all, Lolly had brought some food for Stella so we all had lunch together. It was the first time we’d had lunch at a restaurant since we’d been away and it was bloody lovely, good food, no wind and sunshine, perfect. Once we’d finished up we moved on to the little bit of beach by the harbour.

It’s literally a splodge of sand amongst the rocks but it was a nice place to sit, soak up some late afternoon sun and there was a nice rock pool for Stella to play in…

We stayed down here till the tide came in and swallowed up most of the sand, we headed off for a walk around the village and was pleasantly surprised to find a little bay with some cute little dwellings, restaurants, bars and a dude playing solo guitar which you could hear right across the bay.

We explored some other stop over options and then went back to where we parked the van and moved to an overnight spot looking out to sea, it was right by where we had lunch. There were a few other vans parked up in the area so we thought it would be OK and as it turned out it was…

The wind was still pretty minimal and I tried to film a sunset time lapse but was foiled by a massive wall of cloud on the horizon that completely blocked the sun sinking in to the sea, I consoled myself with a beer, Lolly had some wine and we went to bed.

The next morning we planned to go and find the lagoons which weren’t far from where we were parked up. I took my drone out for a fly as I wanted to get some footage for a little holiday video, the weather was overcast, not ideal when you are trying to make a sunny holiday movie!

It was also pretty windy, the drone held up and didn’t get blown away. By the time we had put Stella down for a snooze and she had woken up again the sun had come out.

Annoyingly we had to do another round of emptying and filling which meant a 45 minute drive to Corralejo as that’s the only service point on this end of the island, we also needed to pick up supplies for the next few days and right next to the service point is a good sized supermarket so we dived in there and did a good shop.

If you like fish they have an excellent fresh fish counter.

You can buy a whole frozen Octopus too!

After grabbing everything we needed It didn’t take us too long to get back to El Cotillo and not only find the lagoons and but also a spot to park up for the nigh. It’s in a square with some apartments and a bar at one end and then a completely derelict patch of land in the middle of the square..

The view from the van however is quite different.

We went for a stroll on the beach and came across a number of rock made shelters you can sit in to keep you out of the wind, we decided to have a beach bbq so went back to the van, grabbed a bbq and some food and cracked on.

We had a lovely time and so did Stella too..

I filmed another time lapse sunset and was again foiled by cloud, more beer then and an early night, the sky did look very pretty…

WE started the next morning with some breakfast and a stroll along the beach to part of where we hadn’t been and also other vans were parked up, we took Stella for a dip in the sea.

We’d also noticed before we went for a stroll that we’d managed to run out of water again so made a plan to make our next destination near one of the other points the people we rented the van from said where service points. This was to mark the start of the crappiest day we’ve had, long story short we spent three hours looking of these service places to find that one didn’t exist at all and the other was massively un-obvious and I dismissed it as not existing. So if you are over here there is a DISA service station just past the airport heading toward Caleta de Fuste and next door to IKEA.

To the far right near the car wash area is this sign which is difficult to see when other vehicles are parked in front of it which is how I managed to miss it first time around.

Look up and write down the Spanish translation for “I need to empty my chemical toilet” and show it to whoever is behind the jump, they will then come and open a manhole you pour your cassette down, it stinks and beware of splash backs, you can’t empty grey water here but you can fill up with fresh water, again, 1 euro for decent amount.

At this point we’d been in the van for about three hours and all of us needed a break so we headed into a town called Calete de Fuste which is basically Croydon by the sea. It’s nearly as awful as Corralejo. There is an English doctors, mobility scooter hire, karaoke drifting through the air, an Aberdeen steakhouse, curry house and Chinese, if I’d have looked hard enough I’m sure there would have been a kebab shop too and there were a good amount of English bars, the dog and duck was one of them. The whole resort is designed for sun seeking brits who want the Spanglish experience without having to venture too far from their package doorstep, not my cup of tea at all, anyway…..

The beach front is pretty much owned by the Barcelo group and to be fair, a lot of the complex looked quite nice. Little self catering bungalows a stones throw form the beach, we walked past all that lot and onto the beach, there was a bar at the beach, we ordered a beer, Stella need some time out of the van too so we took her down to the sea..


At this point we turned our attention to some food, as I mentioned earlier there were some poor options available and we hadn’t set our expectations high. We did notice from the beach there was a marina amend what looked like possibly a restaurant so we took a wander in that direction. The marina is part of the Barcelo complex but you can eat there if you’re not a guest, if you do end up in this neck of the woods, visit the restaurant closest to the pirate shop, we had a lovely meal and they have high chairs for kids, we both had a starter ( I had fried octopus and a Lolly had fried goats cheese) and I had the biggest fillet steak I’ve ever had , Lolly had some really nice fresh fish, they brought a high chair for Stella and gave us hot water to warm her milk, the service and staff was excellent as was the view looking out to the marina, the meal came in at 60 euros which I thought was a bargain.

We had agreed we were going to stay the night but our options once investigated were poor, we decided to head up into the mountains to Betancuria for the night, I’ll let you know how that went next time…

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A windy night and learning how to motor home….

We woke reasonably early in Playa Blanca after a very windy night, as we’ve come to find they aren’t joking about the wind, if you’re by the coast it’s windy, it doesn’t let up either…

On the plus side however we did wake up to the sound of the ocean (twinned with the sound of howling wind) and the sun was making a concerted effort to break through the cloud…

It was shortly after taking this picture we discovered there were no mugs in the van and no kettle either (first world problems) so we made some tea in a massive saucepan and shared it, we also discovered the van water tastes rank so it’s boiled bottled water for tea from now on…

The previous nights visit to the supermarket was a grab and dash affair so we concluded we should visit another supermarket and stock up on supplies to last us at least a couple of days, buy some mugs and tea towels then head on to Corralejo.

Stella had a much better time at the supermarket

Corralejo is up near the Dunes of Corralejo national park and we had this notion that we’d be able to park up by the sea, have a bbq, watch the sun go down but that wasn’t to be, there is only roadside parking to access the dunes which probably isn’t a bad thing as this motor home would have got stuck in the sand anyway, we carried on to Corralejo which is my idea of hell, it’s like your typical Spanish tourist sea side town except it’s set back from the sea because of the wind, loads of sunburnt people sitting in English bars with their beer guts on display, sky tv everywhere and loads of shops similar to home, I spend every day in a busy city and the last place I want to be is in a busy town, there were also zero parking up options, on the way into town we saw a couple of big hotels with roads down to what we thought was the beach so we headed there looking for somewhere to stop.

The first road we turned down wasn’t a bad place to stop but we thought we’d check the road by the other hotel, tuned out to be a much better option, in no time at all we were parked up..

If you are here motorhoming and looking for an overnight stop over, this isn’t a bad option, there are 2 small supermarkets within a couple of minutes, one sells mugs and the other tea towels and BBQ’s amongst other things, the road is quiet the beach is only a few minutes walk away, it’s also inland enough not to be so windy…

As you can see it’s quite a big beach, it’s also a very windy beach not that it bothered Stella.

We tried sheltering behind some sunloungers but were pretty much sand blasted so we headed over to a beach bar to grab some shelter and a beer, they let us buy a beer as they were closing up so after about ten minutes we had to leave, we took a walk along the beach getting blown about all the way till we found a little crater, we sat down in there for a bit and it was much less sand blastery….

We mooched back to the van to feed and bath Stella, put her to bed, then make some food and test the shower out, we also had some booze and for a short period of time I convinced Lolly to wear a colander while cooking…

Right by where the van parked is a massive mobile phone mast that in the day looks quite ugly, however, with a lovely sunset and the mountains in the background it looks a bit like Tatooine…

Next morning we faffed about getting ready to leave and I made breakfast, it’s been the same thing for the last couple of days but it’s really nice, spicy meat crisped in the frying pan, then eggs scrambled in the oil from the meat served on some bread and butter as we don’t have a toaster with a slice of tomato on top..

Our destination for the day was Playa de Majanicho solely because the lady we hired the van from said it was nice. Before we got there however, we headed into my least favourite place to fill the van up with water which you do from petrol stations, some charge a euro for a timed amount of water, some don’t, some also have limited water which the Disa in Corralejo does so we had to abandon that and head out, not before Lolly saw a shoe shop and successfully purchased the pair of trainers I promised her for Christmas, I also had to pick up a lead for the satnav as I’d broke it, incidentally, if you are looking for a good satnav I can highly recommend the Garmin Nuvi 1390, you can pick one up from eBay for about 40 quid and it covers the whole of Europe inlcuding where we are now, do update it though as there are a few new roads over here which will through you off course as it did us trying to find the petrol station to fill up with water.

Before filling up we also had to empty, something we don’t have to do with Bumblebee, there are various locations across the island you can empty your grey water and toilet cassette, the owners of our chariot gave us map locations for each one which I will post up at the end of the blog. We found the service stop fairly easily and proceeded to empty the tanks.

It’s not an exciting business emptying dirty water and essentially a bucket of turds into a cesspit but it was made slightly more enjoyable by the squirrel army who are incredibly tame, every one of them came over to me, nibbled my hand to see if they could eat me and then retreated, the nibbling didn’t hurt and we gave them some dry weetabix and a breadstick Stella had chucked on the floor.

Happy squirrels.

From here we made our way to the garage to fill up on water and this is when we discovered I should have updated the satnav, we missed the new turning to our destination and ended up on a 30 minute detour, It was approaching 15.00 and we’d spent the whole day in the motorhome, this isn’t what we’d come away for. We found the garage and spent about an hour there filling up, letting Stella play outside and stocking up on beer, this is the garage, it’s in La Oliva and charges 1 euro for a good amount of fresh water.

Finally we were off and on our way to our last stop, it’s was a long and empty road…

We arrived in Majanicho to discover it’s a tiny collection of shacks frequented mainly we suspect by surfers and kite surfers, to date this is the windiest place we have been, it’s very pretty but also very very windy to the point that is’t bloody freezing outside.

This was not to be our final stop, we concluded it was not the best place for an overnight so decided to head inland up into the mountains where there is much less wind, we did take Stella to the beach before we left and I took a pano of the beach.

As you can see the beach was very quiet, everyone had been blown away.

Our stop for the night was to be a car park at the foot of a track that leads to a lookout, it’s a quiet road and car park with a stunning view of the island, particularly a sacred mountain called Tindaya.

We also constructed our first camp washing line, always travel with para chord 🙂

I tired to film a time lapse sunset but the go pro blew over half way through, I was also intending to take some Astro photos but ended up drinking loads of beer and eating a lovely fish pasta Lolly made us, we settled down for the night in a not to wind blasted van..

Next morning we woke up to sunshine and a herd of wild goats, I didn’t sleep that well as it was cold and I didn’t put the heating on, it wasn’t that cold when we went to bed.

We took Stella up to the view point, the view is much like the one we have from the van only slightly higher.

You can just see the van in the distance…

We’re now back in the van ready to eat some breakfast and head off somewhere else, most likely El Costillo….

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A mobile home adventure in Fuerteventura

As our regular readers know, nearly all the holidays we take are in our van, Bumblebee. We wanted to get away before Lolly’s maternity leave expired and ideally, somewhere hot, that ruled out anywhere in England and a good part of France. We had thought about getting a ferry with Bumblebee to southern Spain with a stop in the Pyrenees to do some mountain biking, problem is, at this time of year they are still covered in snow, not ideal and definitely not hot..

Also, with Stella at the age she is we are limited to 2 hours travelling time as that’s about the max she can spend in a car seat so the “experts” say so we wouldn’t really get very far and certainly nowhere that warm before we had to turn back and come home…

Thankfully, Lolly had a plan, how about we fly to the Canary Islands, rent a motor home and spend 10 days exploring the island, then be back home for my birthday so I could go out somewhere on my downhill bike, I’d made a big deal about that last bit so bless Lolly for coming up with a solution that meant we could all go on holiday somewhere hot in a van / motorhome and I could still go out on my bike, she’s the best.

Lolly did all the research and it came down to 3 motor home providers, 2 established companies and one who to us seemed like the small business who we would much rather give our money to, the company we chose is called Ventura van, the cost for a proper motorhome with shower, wc, baby seat and pickup / drop off at the airport was about £990.00 GBP, flights with easy jet from Gatwick for all 3 of us was £440 GBP return.

Lolly booked it all and once that was done it was time to do some research about motorhoming on the island which brings me to why I’m writing about a trip not in Bumblebee. There is very little information about the motorhome experience on Fuerteventura other than a few blogs saying how expensive it is to get your van / motorhome there. There are no recommendations of places to stay or park up so I thought if I write about our experience it might give others not not an insight but inspiration to do the same.

In no time at all our departure day was upon us, we’d just returned from a weekend in Chichester where it had snowed for the entire weekend, England was very cold so a trip to somewhere warm was most welcome.

We’ve never taken Stella on a plane before and personally I was dreading it, I had visions of her screaming all the way and us upsetting every passenger on the plane, I was also worried we might not get on the flight as while we were in Chichester she broke out in what we thought was chickenpox but was actually hand foot and mouth, anyway, I couldn’t have been more wrong about the flight, Stella took the whole thing in her stride and raised lots of smiles every time I took her for a wander up and down the aisle, as you can see, Stella was having a lovely time..

The flight was about 4 hours and as I mentioned earlier was with EasyJet, I have to say, it was a great flight and the staff at EasyJet were fantastic, they helped us check in all our baggage and extra items correctly and I’d like to think made sure we had 3 seats to ourselves when we’d only paid for 2.

On arrival our home on wheels was still on it’s way so we grabbed a quick beer and remarked on how windy it was, the sun was out however so who cares about the wind!

Our ride turned up, introductions took place, the owners of the van talked to Stella a lot in Spanish and she just smiled like she usually does, we hopped in and made our way to a car park in Puerto Rosario where we were briefed in how to work the motorhome, given a list of places we could empty the grey water and toilet cassette, handed over the cash deposit and then told good luck, see you in 10 days…

This is our chariot….

Now what???

There are no campsites on the Island, not one so it’s ten days of wild camping, for those of you not familiar with what that means, basically find somewhere safe to stop for the night and hope you don’t get told to move on. One of the things I had read about the island is that wild camping is massively encouraged because there just aren’t any campsites and it’s the best way to see the island, sure you can rent an apartment and get a car but at the end of the day you will always have to drive home whereas this way you can get your driving done early doors, park up and stay for a day or two and head to the next place.

I had researched a few places to go but after the flight and being handed the keys to a behemoth vehicle I had never driven on the wrong side of the road in I did’t really fancy venturing far, we’d seen a few vans parked up by the sea so agreed to head to the supermarket, grab some food and then find a spot to stay. At this point poor Stella was shattered and we dragged her round the supermarket as we had to get food for us and her.

As soon as we got out of the supermarket we strapped Stella into her car seat and before Lauren had finished strapping her in she was soundo…

We headed back toward the airport as that is where we saw the vans parked up by the sea, before we saw them we saw a sign for Playa Blanca and swerved in there. As you come off the motorway there is a sizeable hotel, if you turn left at the roundabout before the hotel there is a dirt road with plenty of places to park up which is where we stopped, rear door facing the sea. We had planned on making something lovely for dinner but it had been a proper long day so we put Stella to bed and settled for bread, Aioli and beer, we shut up the van, set the bed up and crashed for the night…..

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Home for the next few days

A short drive later we’ve arrived at Grange Farm in Brighstone, a lovely little campsite overlooking the sea which at this time of year is nice and quiet, just how we like it. Our pitch is level and we have electricity but best of all our door opens out to a view of the sea, I grabbed a quick shot of Lolly and Bumblebee with the sea in the background.


The facilities look fine, showers, toilets, laundry, waste disposal if you have one of those big motor homes and loads of safe places for kids to run about, there are also plenty of animals too including sheeps, pigs, horses, alpacas and wild rabbits, there are chooks and ducks too but at the time of writing there is an avian flu outbreak so anything with wings is being kept in a barn till the all clear is given.

There is a costal path that runs along the bottom of the site right were we are so every now and again a bunch of ramblers wander past, when we checked in we were told that might happen but we don’t mind.

Before setting out Lolly made us a cup of tea and we scoffed a scotch egg each, I had a cake too because why not, we’re on holiday!


We’ve downloaded about 20 or so walks you can do from the National Trust of which we are both members, we picked an easy one along the coastal path from our campsite, it starts by making your way from the campsite down to the beach, the waves crashing against the shore throw up a mist that makes the coastline look almost foggy.


We looked about the beach for a little bit and noticed there was loads of plastic waste that had washed in from the sea, sad times.

I did get a nice picture of Lolly though by an abandoned lobster pot.

From here there are signs for the costal path that take you up to the cliffs edge, we followed the steps up and walked for about an hour or so without seeing anyone or anything until we came across what looked like some fly tipping Isle of Wight style.


It seems this was a regular spot for burning stuff and is probably cheaper than paying to dump it responsibly. At this point we decided to head back and go to the pub, it took us about an hour to get back to the van and 15 minutes to walk to the pub, The 3 Bishops. 


The food here was really good, I had a double patty cheese and bacon burger and Lolly had a fish pasta that had more fish than pasta in it, if you are over this way pop in.

After we finished we headed off back to the van to chill, watch a movie and then bed. 

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Day 3

Our 3rd day in France has turned out to be somewhat epic, I can honestly say this is the best view I’ve woken up to on a Tuesday in a long while. 

Our day started much like any other on this trip, tea with the added bonus of a nice lie in.  There was much faffing about and we didn’t get ourselves ready to do anything on the bikes till about two, we met a bloke in the car park called Sven who was from Norway but his accent was a mix of Scottish, Irish and Norwegian, he gave me his bike pass for five euros as he paid for the day but was too shattered to ride anymore, result, a ticket to the bike park costs 25 Euros and when I say bike park I mean a lift up 3200 meters to the glacier and a while mountain to play on. 

Being a glacier, there is snow at the top, we were wearing shorts and t shirts and there was at least one dude snowboarding, it was fairly cold. 


We decided to chip off sharpish and make our decent to warmer climes, before we set off I asked Lolly to get a picture of me on a mountain bike on an actual mountain.  


The way the tracks are marked out is a little confusing, the one we were following shared the same name ia a few runs that are sign posted for winter activities, we ended up on a few reds which I was alright with but lolly struggled, we stopped by a lake to take stock and find our way to a blue run down. 


The blue run we took was definitely not a blue, more a red in my book, I loved it but Lolly wasn’t so keen and walked a lot of the trail, when we got to the end of the blue we had the option of another blue or a green, we took the green which lolly found a lot more enjoyable. 

As if mentioned earlier, I always wanted to see what a ski resort looks like in summer, below gives you an idea, slightly like Mars! 

As we made our way down there were a few photo ops. 



Once we reached the bottom we swerved into a bar for a couple of beers to celebrate making it down in one piece. We really enjoyed the downhill trails and if you are ever in this neck of the woods it’s a great day out. 

We finished our beers and made our way back to the van to make some food, BBQ pork loins, rice and salad.

Our food was awesome, we watched the second episode of Stranger Things, loving it! 

Tomorrow we’re off to meet Lindi and Ian, 7am start, they have a shower in their motorhome, winner! 

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