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Everything posted by Valkrider

  1. See you in September Brian although we may be in France until about the 15th.
  2. It is not just Spain and Portugal it is virtually all of Europe except the UK where A frames are illegal. They are neither legal or illegal in the UK. The UK never adopted the international regulations on trailers which most other countries did, although the D o T in the UK are looking at adopting the regulations according to their website. Basically a motorised vehicle is not, according to the European legislation, a trailer and can never be considered as such as a trailer must not have any method of motive power. This means in most of Europe you cannot even tow a broken down vehicle with a tow rope.
  3. 90 days the same as the rest of Europe.
  4. An FPN is a Fixed Penalty Notice given out by Police or Parking wardens for traffic infringements. It has a fixed amount to pay in a certain time or you end up in court.
  5. We moved from a caravan to a MH last year. Our caravan was 8m long plus the car so it made for a large lump our MH is only 7.5m so in some respects is easier. We visited the UK last year in our MH and did not experience any problems and we did a circle from Portsmouth to Cumbria and then back down the East side of England and back to Portsmouth. We chose our parking spots carefully, the biggest issue as already mentioned was the height barriers particularly at supermarket car parks. A bike or taxi sorted out other trips. Certainly in Europe a MH is less of an issue than the UK. A MH is a different experience from a caravan, we certainly wouldn't go back.
  6. If you are in the UK then it should work with any Sky or Freesat receiver. If you are in Europe then that is a different matter. It should still work close to channel on that setup but further south you need something different. Then you would need your Oyster re-programmed to lock onto Intelsat 907 and you would then need a special receiver as these channels are not intended for use by the public and you will need an 85cm dish.
  7. Take a look at this YouTube video from the French Ministry of the Environment. Shows it on the passenger side of a LHD vehicle in the lower corner of the windscreen.
  8. Will do Brian, as I said only voluntary for Spanish vehicles at the moment.
  9. Get the GreenZones app for your smart phone. It shows you all the zones where the restrictions can apply, not just in France it is for the whole of Europe. Whilst on the motorway near Bordeaux last summer there was an accident on the opposite carriageway with many kilometers of stationary traffic, the gantry signs our side put up a temporary very low speed limit and it said it was to reduce pollution. Madrid and Barcelona in Spain are following suit with restricting vehicles from the centre and a voluntary Spanish version of Critair has been introduced that will become compulsory later.
  10. That's what it is in Spain, can't even fit LED bulbs in indicators for instance if they weren't fitted when it was made. Same make and model and tread pattern on tyres and so ti goes on. You don't know how lucky you are in the UK. Although it looks to be tightening up there too.
  11. The handbrake extension is available in the UK and providing that it is properly attached I cannot see anything under type approval or con and use regs that would prevent it being fitted in the UK. However, in Spain I think I would not pass its ITV (MOT equivalent) with it fitted. They are in fact called Kobran Motorhome Handbrake Extenders and cost £65 from https://www.outdoorbits.com/kobran-motorhome-handbrake-extender-p-173.html
  12. It is the backup satellite for the UK TV channels to the DTV masts. It is not intended for general use, however, with an appropriate receiver and the decoding BISS numbers they can be decoded and watched. The satellite has a large footprint over most of Europe and the channels are receivable on an 85cm dish over most of Europe and there are reports of good reception on a 65cm dish. I was looking for specific recommendations for currently available receivers as the ones I was shown was a discontinued model.
  13. I was amazed this week when I was shown what channels were available with an 85cm dish this week here in Spain. As a result I am considering getting a dish and receiver. Does anyone have any specific recommendations for a suitable receiver that is easy to set up with the necessary BISS codes for the UK channels?
  14. I am at odds with David & Gordon we swapped from a caravan to a 7.5m motorhome 15 months ago. Whilst we miss the independence of a second vehicle we would not go for anything smaller as we do like the room and the facilities and not having to make the bed up every night. Living in Europe, my comments may not be appropriate for the UK but we haven't had any issues so far with 7.5m BUT I would not like to go for any longer. The second vehicle issue can be overcome by bikes, electric bikes or a scooter without increasing the size of towing a second vehicle, also by choosing your stop off locations appropriately it can be less of an issue. Cabs, car hire and public transport all cost but don't have the capital outlay of an additional vehicle. Colin
  15. The ITV test for the import of a vehicle (transfer on to Spanish registration from another registration) is a different test, costs more and needs more documentation including a Certificate of Conformity from the MH manufacturer and requires payment of registration tax which can be several thousands of Euros depending on the 'blue book' value of the vehicle concerned. Not something to be undertaken lightly, I have done it twice with a car and a motorcycle.
  16. A couple of things to bear in mind: 1: The ITV station in Spain may not inspect your vehicle as it is not Spanish registered. They are private companies and it is their choice whether they do or not, they are not government owned stations. 2: The test certificate if one is issued is probably invalid for a Dutch registered vehicle (it certainly is for British registered vehicles). 3: To drive a vehicle in Spain it must be 100% legal in its country of registration so it should have a valid Dutch ITV certificate. (Enforcement of this is patchy though) 4: Your insurance may be invalid. You will need a Fiat Professional dealer to service it for you. If you go to fiatcamper.com it will list the closest appropriate garages to where you are.
  17. Gordon, Only fitted it this week for the first time, so am unsure how we will use it yet. When we are on site previously we often opened the side blind on the opposite side to the sun and raised the front one part way to let in some light. With this attached we won't need to use the internal blinds. The external blind is made to fold down half of the centre section and you can buy an additional mesh screen that covers the top half when open to give privacy but we haven't bothered with that. We are off again in a couple of weeks time so will report back after we have used it in anger, at least now it is keeping the sun out if I need to go and tinker in the van before we go away.
  18. As I live in Spain and we have the occasional hot day here I decided it might be a good idea to get a reflective screen for my Adria Sonic A class. I looked at Silverscreens and was not impressed with the way that the screen attached to the window side being trapped in the window and then making up a piece of wood to keep the window closed. I then looked at Taylormade and saw that they attach awning rail to the side of the van and the screen slots in there, a much better solution imho. I contacted them and they did not have a Sonic pattern and as I was a long way from them a visit for pattern making was not on the cards. I found a lady on the Adria Motorhome Owners group on Facebook who would visit their offices for a pattern to be made. This she did but on speaking to Taylormade after she had visited her Sonic was different to mine in the location of the mirrors so as a result her pattern was unsuitable. So Plan B ended up being what we did. I visited the UK in my van in August and during our tour of the UK we stayed at a site near Macclesfield which was about an hour from Taylormade in Huddersfield. Carolyn from Taylormade made the journey to meet us on a Sunday afternoon. She made a complete new template for my model of Sonic. On Monday evening she rang to say the cover was made and would be despatched on Tuesday to my son in Hampshire who we were visiting at the end of our holiday. The cover arrived on the Wednesday. The only problem was that the awning rail that has to be suck to the side of the van was silver aluminium and where it was to go on my van was satin black. I had the two strips painted by a friend who is a custom car restorer and airbrush painter here in Spain. I fitted the strips with the supplied adhesive and left it for twice as long as recommended before trying the screen for the first time. The screen fitted perfectly. To visit me like this to make the pattern and the prompt delivery were excellent in my opinion. Now for the photos: 1 shows the strip on the side of the van 2 shows the screen fitted
  19. You are mistaken about the Alko suspension / chassis extensions. A large number motorhomes are now built on Fiat Ducato chassis, these re suplied with strut front suspension and leaf spring rear as standard. The Alko chassis extensions are exactly that chassis extensions and nothing to do with the suspension. Fiat also supply chassis extensions, Fiat are aluminium and Alko are steel. The reason for the chassis extensions is that motorhomes have more bodywork behind the rear axle than the parcel van that was originally intended by Fiat. Alko do make suspesnion systems for motorhomes but this is usually in the form of air suspension bladders that are added as assistance to the rear suspension leaf springs.
  20. Having just driven some 2000km's in a LHD motorhome on a recent visit to the UK I found no issue with it. It is not like a car where you will be looking to overtake slow moving vehicles on single carriageway roads. Also, should you eventually want to explore Europe it will be ideal. Check your insurance premium though I have heard of some companies loading LHD vehicles in the UK. My thoughts are if it is the van you want at a price you can afford then go for it.
  21. We had a 4600km trip from Spain to the UK and back. We travelled through France to the Portsmouth > Caen ferry. This is a brief review of the campsites that we visited: Municipal Camping, Zaragoza, Spain A municipal site with gravel pitches of reasonable size. Water and electric on pitch. Wifi access free. OK toilet block. Poor on-site restaurant. Score 6/10 Camping Beau Rivage, Navarrenz, France A nice site with grass pitches and partial shade, close to town. Water and electric on pitch. Only pizzas available in on site restaurant. Score 7.5/10 Camping Du Plan d'Eau, Angouleme, France We stayed in the Aire parking for the night, gravel pitch with electricity. Unisex toilet block. Central water and waste disposal site. Score 7/10 Ferme Auberge La Maison Nueve, France A grass field with electric on a farm. Poor unisex toilet block. Water available outside wash block no waste disposal. Score 4/10 Bridge Villa Campsite, Wallingford UK Large grass pitch with electricity. Water from central point. Free wifi. Good clean wash block. Score 7.5/10 Briarfields Campsite, Cheltenham, UK A well planned site with concrete hard standing for the motorhome with separate grass and gravel area. Good free wifi and toilet block. Bus stop outside the gate. Score 9/10 Capesthorne Hall, Nr Macclesfield, UK Very efficient booking system, pre-allocated grass pitch with water and electric. Modern luxury toilet block. Stately home setting. Score 9/10 Dalston Hall Campsite, Dalston Cumbria, UK Large grass pitch with electric, water and waste. Poor wifi. Adequate toilet block. Score 6.5/10 Manor Farm Campsite,York, UK A grass pitch on a working farm with electric. Water from a central point and central waste disposal. Toilet block was average. No wifi. Bus stop outside gate. Score 6/10 Delph Bank, Holbeach, UK A modern luxury site with gravel pitch and all services. Best toilet facilities of all the sites we stayed in, close to village. £3 single night additional fee. Wifi expensive paid for. Score 9/10 (would have been 10/10 but for the 1 night excess charge and wifi paid for) Scotts Farm, East Wittering, UK A very expensive grass pitch with only electric. Wifi unusable. Ideal for children or tents. Close to village and shops. Toilet block OK. Grey waste disposal a problem. Score 4/10 Portsmouth Truck Stop, Portsmouth, UK Gravel car park with electric. Poor toilet block. No wifi. Noisy with trucks arriving and leaving at all hours. Convenient for ferry. Score 4/10 Le Vieux Moulin, Nr Le Mans, France Large grass pitch with water and electric. Very expensive for the facilities. Very quiet close to village. Poor free wifi. Unisex toilet block. Score 6/10 Camping Park du Val de L’Eyre, Salles, France Large grass pitch with electric and water. Quiet site, great water park on site for children. Unisex toilet block. Supermarket opposite gate, close to A23 motorway. Score 7.5/10 Camping San Jorge, Huesca, Spain Looks to be a municipal site, in need of maintenance particularly the toilet block. Shaded grass pitches with electric. Central water point and waste disposal. Free wifi needed booster then good. Close to large town and supermarkets. Quiet. Score 5/10
  22. There was an accident on the motorway around Bordeaux when we passed in early August and as a result the motorway signs showed a reduced speed limit due to pollution. In one service area where we stopped for lunch probably 40% of the French registered vehicles had Crit Air stickers as did several of the non French motorhomes. When in the UK in Maidenhead I was parked next to a UK registered Nissan QuasQai and that had a Crit Air sticker in the windscreen! So it looks as though they are becoming more popular whether required or not.
  23. @Kermit My Adria has the Fiat chassis extensions and has a very nose down attitude, I think it is part of the modern design to help airflow and economy, or maybe that is wishful thinking.
  24. The Green Zones app that I mentioned above shows that for France that the restrictions areas can be large and not just city centres IF pollution is bad on any particular day and the restrictions are enabled. So for me for €4 it was a no brainer to get the sticker just in case, particularly as it is a one off charge per vehicle and that it stays with the vehicle for life.
  25. During our recent holiday around Spain we did not visit all the places that we had planned due to the poor weather on the north coast which is unusual for this time of year. However, we had a great time away for an extended period in our Adria Sonic, we covered a total of 2163 kilometres and this consumed 255 litres of diesel which cost €308 and we stayed in 6 different campsites for a cost of €309. A brief review of our campsites in order: Camping Entrerobbles near Soria - this was our second visit to this site and nothing has changed in the 12 months since our last visit, there was still no wifi, the pool wasn't yet open despite the 32 degree temperature. The mushroom meal in the campsite restaurant was very good like last time. The site is remote and transport is needed for a longer stay. Cost €23pn. Caravanning Oyambre near Comillas - again this was our second visit to this site and nothing had changed in the year since we had last stayed here. We stayed in the same area as last year. Unfortunately the weather was poor with rain, wind and grey skies every day. The campsite restaurant was as good as before and the staff as usual were very helpful. The taxi into Comillas for the Friday market was only €6 each way. ACSI site. Cost €19pn. Camping Cudillero near Cudillero - a nice grassy site with large pitches and excellent fast wifi. The campsite restaurant was just OK and nothing special. This was another site where transport was required to do any local exploring as it was some distance from town and a steep climb down to the beach down a twisty road. The weather here was terrible with torrential rain, hail storms and high winds. ACSI site. Cost €17pn. Camping Pedro Ponce in Sahagun - this site is a municipal one and is right on the pilgrim route from Santiago de Compostella. The touring pitches are large grass areas with unmarked pitches so that you can take as much room as you need. We stayed here for some time as we liked the site and it was only 10 minutes walk into town. There was lots to see in the town as well as a large Dia supermarket. The campsite restaurant looked nothing and the menu was nothing special, however, the chef was excellent and everything was home-made from local produce and was excellent and very cheap. Refurbished wash blocks and modern facilities with free wifi made this a remarkably cheap site and was a favourite. €15pn Camping Ruta de la Plata near Salamanca - this site was very disappointing given that it was an ACSI site, the wash blocks and in fact the entire site was old and tired and in need of some time and money spending on it. The earth pitches were over grown with weeds, the trees were in need of pruning as they scraped both the sides and the roof of the motorhome. There was only one fresh water tap for the whole site and manoeuvring into the grey waste disposal point was not easy. The campsite restaurant was only open for light breakfast and closed for the rest of the day. The only thing to recommend it was the bus stop right outside the door to Salamanca itself. Cost €19.20pn. Kiko Park Rural near Villargodo de Cabril - again this was our second visit to this site in 12 months and nothing had changed. Reasonably large fully serviced gravel pitches with little shade and can be quite windy at times. The onsite restaurant is good and the free wifi speed is OK for emails and browsing but little else. The wash room facilities are starting to look a bit tired with shower doors rotting at the bottom and toilet cisterns not attached to the wall. Our most expensive site and not really worth the money in comparison with other sites that we stayed at on this trip. Transport would be needed if staying for any period of time as it is in the middle of nowhere. ACSI site that cost €28pn.
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