Category Archives: Camping

168 – Reader’s Road Trip – John and Ruth Garrett

For this edition, we join John and Ruth and their adventures in Spain.

Back in 2007 my Wife Ruth and I embarked on our
first major foreign jaunt in our Type 2 that we’d
owned since 1993. We had previously visited many
parts of the UK but decided that now was the time
to be more adventurous.
The ‘van had been reliable other than a very
occasional hot start problem, but that always
resolved itself after a few minutes, but we still felt we
needed breakdown cover for this trip abroad. Once
arranged, we booked the Portsmouth-Bilbao ferry
and in mid-July headed off.
We had a fairly loose itinerary but had arranged
to be in Madrid to meet up with Spanish friends
for a couple of days. Having successfully achieved
that, we decided to head to Cuenca, of the famous
‘hanging houses’ and La Ciudad Encantada fame.
We had earmarked a site in advance and found it
readily enough. It was a scorching hot day and so
we parked in the shade of an enormous tree outside
reception, while Ruth walked onto the site to have
a look at the facilities before we committed to stay.
She came back and said it looked good, very good
in fact and so she went back to book us in while I
fired up the van. It wouldn’t start! “Aha” I thought,
I‘ll just leave it for a few minutes and all will be well…
It wasn’t. It refused to offer any signs of life. After
an hour or so of trying, leaving it and trying
again we realised that it was not going to start.
What to do now? We decided that we had to call for
breakdown assistance.


At that time the breakdown cover was with Europ
Assistance, so there was an English speaking
number to call. They passed on our difficulty to a
local garage and a further hour went by before a
flatbed ‘relay’ type truck appeared. Panic. We did
not want the van to be taken away. Ruth speaks
some Spanish and explained as best she could that
we needed the van for our holiday to continue. He
seemed to understand so we relaxed a little.
His first act was to get under the FRONT of the van
before hauling himself out looking a bit sheepish.
Under the back he went, fiddled about, presumably
looking for the starter motor (I wasn’t sure that he
found it) and after several minutes he surfaced and
with a faint smile and went to his cab. He started to
reverse his truck to the van, at which point much
flapping of our arms and shouts of ‘no’ took place.
He stopped just short of the front, raised the flatbed
of the truck and then proceeded to winch our van
onto it.
By now we were beside ourselves but, with a shrug
of the shoulders he clambered up into our van, put
it in gear and let the handbrake off. We looked on in
horror as it very quickly rolled backwards down the
ramp with the tailpipe missing the pebbly ground
by no more than half an inch, before he let up the
clutch and it started. He had been oblivious of how
close to wrecking the engine it had got, but all was
well it seemed. Our van was now running but what
if it happened again?
A brief discussion took place and the gist of it
was that a new starter motor was needed. He
couldn’t provide one and all he could offer was
‘to was always park on a slope’. Now us seasoned
campers know that flat surfaces are best, but for
the rest of that holiday we were the only campers
looking for sloping pitches. Did we have any repeat
performances? Yes we did, but fortunately not too
often. Usually it started when cold without any
difficultly, but petrol stations were an issue as that
would almost always be a stop when the engine
was hot and then it didn’t always want to start. Ruth
became very good at pushing after several such
occasions, much to the amusement of onlookers.
We did however complete our intended holiday and
once back home had a new starter motor fitted.
At this point the van was 34 years old, had done
100k and had the original engine and ancillaries so I
thought I’d write to VW UK and ‘complain’ about the
poor quality components. This was firmly tongue in
cheek and I expected a humorous reply, but to my
disappointment the joke wasn’t spotted.
We still have the van and have since taken it on
several trips through France and Spain.


Post Covid we hope to be able to do it again, but
probably not this year

Tales from the driving seat – Wonderful Wales Part 1

With the UK’s first Covid lockdown lifted in July
2020 and some travel restrictions relaxed, we
decided to make the best of the situation and use
the time we had booked off for our now cancelled
wedding, to travel some parts of the UK in our ‘79
Bay. You can’t get much more socially distanced
than travelling and sleeping in your own vehicle.
We started our road trip by following the Welsh
coast from the Gower Peninsula in the south, to
the Isle of Anglesey in the north. The countryside
on the Gower is beautiful. Unfortunately we don’t
have long to explore as we have some miles to
cover before our next stopover and other sights
to see on the way but have just enough time
to head to the far point of the Peninsula to a
spot called Rhossili. Rhossili Bay is famous for an
excellent beach and beautiful views over the bay
to Llangennith and Worm’s Head. The beach is
popular for surfing and the surrounding area with
walkers. Rhossili is also famous for sunflower fields
that engulf the area during the summer months.
After a quick stop to appreciate the view, we head
off and make our way to Pembrokeshire. There is
some fantastic countryside here and it reminds me
very much of Devon and Cornwall. Having done
some research, we head to a spot called Martins
Haven in the hope of some seal and dolphin
spotting, maybe even some Puffins.


We walked Ruby (our Springer Spaniel) down to
the seafront, but don’t spot any Seals, or Dolphins,
or Puffins! But the trip wasn’t wasted, on our
way out of the area we spot farmers digging up
Pembrokeshire New Potatoes, also known as
Pembrokeshire Earlies, which are famous for their
distinctive, delicate and almost nutty flavour.
We come across a handwritten sign advertising
them for sale at the side of the road. We like to buy
food for our travels in this way, it’s a great way to
support local business and get an authentic taste
of the area you are visiting. We stash the “earlies”
with a plan to enjoy them with some fresh, local
fish – the search is on!
The next day, we decided to have an early-ish start
and hit the road, setting off on our route up the west
coast of Wales towards Aberystwyth. I had scouted


a few places using Google Maps that I think might
be picturesque but quiet and with somewhere to
park. One such place was Abercastle; a beautiful
bay with fishing boats bobbing on the sea. With
a break in the rain, we headed down to the water
and did some coastal foraging whilst Ruby had the
run of the beach to herself. We didn’t find much to
forage, but Ruby found part of a lobster’s head that
she paraded proudly for a while!
WONDERFUL WALES PART 1
Jumping back in the camper, we continue our
scenic route, climbing higher and higher towards
cliffs where we can see the weather rolling in from
the sea. Our destination is a working lighthouse
at Strumble Head. The lighthouse was erected in
1908 and replaced a light-vessel that moored in
the nearby Cardigan Bay. The tower is 55ft high
and one of the last lighthouses to be built in Britain.
When we arrive at the lighthouse there is one
other Motorhome there that looks like it spent the
night, the rocks under their wheels are a giveaway…
I don’t blame them though!!
The cliffs here are shear but beautiful. We watch
the lighthouse flash for a few moments before
continuing off along the coastal road to Fishguard.
Fishguard has a lovely little Harbour (presumably
the original fishing harbour) in an area called
Lower Town and you are able to drive all the way
along the harbour edge which is lined with pretty
houses and yachts bobbing gently in the water.
We park up and make a cuppa, watching the
surroundings for a while; there are gulls preening
on rocks and a cormorant fishing too. On our way
out of Fishguard, heading towards Cardigan, we
pass a dairy farm that is selling milk direct to the
consumer via vending machine! Another roadside
food purchase, perfect!


We decide to take the back roads between
Fishguard and Cardigan and end up on roads with
grass growing in the middle, the best kind for slow
paced Campervan driving, allowing you time to
appreciate the views and surroundings. On arrival
at Cardigan (and still in search of fresh fish!) we spot
a fish restaurant… closed. Ending up at a nearby
chippy for lunch, our search for fresh fish continues
as we head off from Cardigan to our campsite.
The next leg of our journey takes us further
North along some beautiful coastline and into
Snowdonia. Join us next time with more tales from
the driving seat

Upcoming event – First camp of 2022 – Are you going to Cheddar?

We are excited to announce that our first club camp and BBQ is booked in! Join us from Friday 22nd to Monday 25th April at Petruth Paddocks, Cheddar in Somerset.

You can come early, stay later and we have arranged an excellent rate with the site.

See the source image

Chill out, use it as a base for exploring, come and go as you wish. Read more about it in the next issue of Transporter Talk and see the Events page on this site for other club events this year.

Club Easter coffee morning achieves fame!

What started out as a suggestion from long time club member Paul Turner (second page, bottom left image) for sitting in your van and having a cuppa turned into the largest meeting, albeit virtual, seen by the club in many years.

We even got the event featured in Volkswagen Camper and Commercial magazine.

If you want to buy the magazine, you can get just the one from

https://magsdirect.co.uk/magazine/vw-camper-commercial-no-151/

or just take a look at the club article here

http://vwt2oc.co/wp/wp-content/uploads/coffeemorning_C151.pdf

Dubside Summer Solstice photo event – together while apart

Another wonderful turn-out from the Club! Dressing up and Stone Henge appeared in many of our members’ photos, to celebrate the Summer Solstice, in lieu of our planned Isle of Wight Club Camp. That’s been put off till next year, but you can spend a few enjoyable minutes looking over these photos instead. No ice creams, though, I’m afraid…

See more on our private Facebook page, or on our Instagram page

Barry Paxton

On the ferry
Ann Eaton dressing in style
Derek and Christie’s one owner Bay window “Daisy” enjoying the Solstice sunset
Staying safe!
Ian Jennings with the BBQ going (jealous)
Kirsteen’s stunning interior
A mini dubfest!
Lorna and Nick and “stone hinge” (yes, we need to get out more)
Dressing up for Lulu Wright
Susan Drake enjoying a drink
Malcolm and Val (and Lottie) enjoying Stonehenge in their garden
Complete with their T25 Connie and the club trailer

Virtual coffee morning – Sunday 5th April

Virtual Coffee Morning brings people together by Events Manager Lorna Williamson

In these strange times, it’s easy to feel lonely. Even the passion you feel for your VW Campervan is not always enough on its own, let alone the frustration of knowing that the open road is still out there, waiting… 

Enter stage right the VW Type 2 Owners Club. This British Club decided to create a feeling of togetherness when people can’t actually get together, with a simple event built around the joy that only a VW Campervan can bring.   

Using the Club’s Facebook and Instagram pages plus good old email, the VWT2OC encouraged its members to take their Sunday morning coffee out to their van, and get a picture.   

“Nick and I had been joking for weeks about camping out on the driveway,” said Events organiser Lorna,  “…we always sleep better in Poppy! Combined with input from a member who wanted to feel connected, and the fact that you can never have too many photos of vans, we came up with the virtual coffee format. We’ll be trying something similar on VE Day!” 

Not everyone had access to their van – some being in storage, in the workshop, at home while people were away caring for relatives, or simply not available on the oil rig where the member was based! But people valiantly entered the spirit of the thing, with well over 100 photos shared, and these are some of the results… 

Next month event – The AGM and club BBQ

The write up for the 2019 event went like this:

When several people tell you they’ve had a great weekend, including some more skeptical folks, you know you’ve got a good formula. Our club’s annual general meeting, BBQ and camp was again this year held at Great Bourton, just a few miles off the M40.

This again seemed to include a willingness to sit, chat, walk to the local pub (5 and 30 minute options), watch the footie or Eurovision, learn a new craft and drink Tea, coffee and more. Club participants on our spacious rally field this year included 21 vans, 33 adults, three dogs, one toddler and one parrot. There were also seven portions of delivered fish ‘n’ chips, 50 burgers and over 100 pieces of cake.

We had visitors from Norwich, Swansea, Sheffield and Maidstone; Four corners indeed! The essential business of the weekend (the Annual General Meeting itself) was conducted smoothly and efficiently… Thank you for supporting your club. This left plenty of time for the other important activities mentioned earlier! Many members walked away with valued, if not highly original, prizes in our Wrapped Up Raffle… I am making fine use of my Outwell bottle, kindly donated with a number of other prizes by member Ian Crawford.

Other attendees also brought along splendid and amusing options to help raise funds. Thank you all for supporting your club!

I think Kevin’s Craft workshop may have created a new sharing tradition. Who ever heard of Flower Pumelling? Not me, for sure… But along with four other ladies and one young man I became quickly addicted to perfecting the arrangement, taping, turning and subsequent bashing of foraged blooms to create something approaching art.

Mine was far from the best offering, but gives you an idea (see photo). Fab idea, Kevin, thank you so much for sharing!

2020 camps!

Is it March already? I have barely had chance to remember to write the correct year and already we are into March, the clocks “spring” forwards this month and next month was to see our first camp!

April 4-19 – Easter Club Camp, Petruth Paddocks, Cheddar, Somerset (Club camp)

Sadly due to the Coronavirus, this has had to be postponed.

Head over to http://vwt2oc.co/wp/events/ for details of other events happening this year. If you are interested in any camp, contact our lovely Events Manager on events@vwt2oc.co.uk. She doesn’t bite.

Wakey wakey!

Yes, it is that time again. Hurray! Finally, after the long winter in our non-mobile houses, we can get out our beloved vehicles.

Checklist

Hopefully you all followed the article Time for bed/ to help put your vehicle to bed for the winter. Now that spring is in the air and we are starting to think about getting out and communing in nature, this is a key time to get things ready.

Doors locks – there’s nothing more annoying than a failed lock. get it fixed now before the season really gets going. Door lock issues can be very straight forward but a simple lubrication can be key. Pun intended. A non residue lubricant is best to move the dirt away as WD40 can leave enough gunk to create issues. We favour silicon spray. A little into each lock.

Windscreen wipers – did they perish in the cold winter freezing them to the windscreen. Inspect and replace now.

Water – check the radiator if you have one. Ensure that the bottles that you emptied in the Autumn / fall have no mice, carefully hidden Christmas presents or mildew. Clean with a weak Milton solution if it is drinking water or food related.

Batteries – check the charge on each battery with a good meter. A flat battery can indicate an earth leak. A failed battery needs careful investigation.

Carburettor – Or equivalent. Check for good operation, no stuck flaps or other deterioration over winter. If you are a professional, this will be straight forward. If you are an amateur, a test drive very close to home will highlight problems! But only after the other checks.

Brakes – your vehicle should roll easily, otherwise this can indicate jammed brakes. Parking in gear for long periods of time can be better for your brake health than a jammed set of brakes. Check the brakes for operation. Check the brake fluid level. If it has been more than 5 years, change the brake fluid as it is hygroscopic and slurps up water incredibly quickly. Water is not a good fluid for applying the brake pads to the disks.

Seals – inspect all door seals for any signs of damage, water ingress or other problems and sort them out now. Glue any loose bits back down with the correct glue.

Windows – ensure that they all open and close fully. Or at least as fully as they did last year if applicable!

Ignition – Once you are feeling confident, get in to your pride and joy and turn on the ignition to number 2. Look at the lights on the dashboard. Check there ARE lights! Are they what you expect / are used to seeing? Have you got fuel (for those with a working fuel gauge)?

Crank it over – don’t expect it to start immediately but things should kick into life within a few seconds.

A little test drive on your driveway will allow you to test the brakes, maybe the steering and other important parts. Softly, softly.

Stay local, take your phone with you and warm clothing. Just in case!

Once you get home, assuming that you have a big smile on your face, make a list of snags, get indoors, put the kettle on and start planning for your summer.

Check out the events page and come and see us at a meeting soon!

Busfest tickets 2020

Have you got your BusFest tickets yet? The world’s largest transporter show is on again on 11 to 13 September. Details are at https://www.busfest.org/busfest/

It is also our club’s foremost event with over 70 club vehicles and over a hundred people in our dedicated club field in 2019.

https://www.busfest.org/busfest/ has the details of what to expect at the show. Over and above that, our dedicated club field has a members only marquee with tea and coffee, we normally have cakes, biscuits, a safe environment for the kids to run around together. For those who enjoy, we have a BBQ including vegetarian options too.

Come, see the show, enjoy the funfair rides, buy the auto jumble, eat the chips, then return to the quiet (ish) club field. Don’t forget to click on the club option and use the discount code available from the membership secretary membership@vwt2oc.co.uk.

Please note that the code is for members only.