On The Road Again..... Adventure IV Begins

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Saturday 19 November 2016

On The Road Again..... Adventure IV Begins

We are finally on the road again! Adventure IV has begun as we sit here on the ferry to Holland this afternoon.  And feeling very excited not only to be off on another adventure but we finally have our own home again and have been reunited with our remaining things, after finishing off some of our big Spring clear-out earlier in the year! So more to follow in the next few months but for now.... we are happy to introduce 'Ithaca' (aka Homer II)......it's been a very busy 2 weeks in the UK!

First Viewing (Thursday 10th) .......

Collection Day (Thursday 17th) .....

At Harwich International Ferry Port just over 24 hours later with all our stuff loaded!


  1. What a lovely van. We made a similar change from a coachbuilt to a van conversion (we have a rapido van). Interested to hear how you get on with living in it. Does it have a fixed bed and any extras like a solar panel? Paul Redman

    1. Hi Paul, thank you. We love it. Sorry it's taken us a while to respond as we were ploughing through France and Spain with cruise control....but no WiFi. We're actually just settling into a long stay apartment we had already booked until springtime, but then we will give Ithaca a long term adventure. For now it will be weekends away from here and use as a vehicle, which is something we are equally interested in and it is important to us. We always felt with our previous motorhome, Homer, that it was not sensible as a vehicle, but Ithaca has been so easy to drive so far we're not worried. We're going into Almeria tomorrow to collect groceries from an organic supermarket we found there so will see how that goes.

      Extras wise there is the awning and bike rack, but no solar or refillable gas yet that we would like. But we can get it fitted in Spain, or France or wherever we are. No rush. She will take 2 French 13kg gas bottles, more than double compared to the 2 6kg bottles in our previous van.

      I will be writing about how we find her longer term over winter I expect.

      Best wishes,


    2. Nelson Vandweller8 January 2017 at 15:16

      Hi guy's, congratulations on living the dream. We stumbled upon your site at around 7am this morning and have spent 8 lovely hours meandering through, it's great! Almost like being there. We are looking to take our first extended trip away in a couple of months, spending a month away, and we haven't been able to make up our minds about where to go, but after reading your blog we have settled on following in your footsteps and heading for the natural park.
      We don't hike as much as you do but we enjoy a long walk. (Two little dogs to keep happy) And the idea of all that peace and quiet, frequenting the lovely cafe's, restaurants and bars sampling local wine and cuisine sounds right up our street.
      I notice in the post above that you ploughed right through France and down through Spain. Can I ask you which route you took and how long it took you?
      Also, could you suggest a good base for us to explore from when we first get there.
      We look forward to following your exploits. Warm regards, Mary.

    3. Hi Mary, Lovely to hear from you and I'm pleased you liked some of our posts. We love writing them.

      The route we took through France was fairly straightforward. We actually started in the Netherlands so depending on where you start from it may be slightly different, but for us it went something like this....

      Day 1 - Set off around 6pm. From The Hague we drove through Belgium, taking the motorways past Antwerp and around Brussels, past Waterloo and then to Mons where we turned south and crossed into France near to a town called Mauberge. We didn't plan this particularly well, it was just the way our Garmin told us to go for a toll free passage towards Paris through Belgium. We then got a little lost in the dark as we scoured our guides for a place to stay and ended up spending the night on an aire near to Avesnes-sur-Helpe arriving at midnight.

      Day 2 - Picked up the N2 for most of the way towards Paris and the Paris ring, still with the Garmin set on toll free. After Paris we went towards Orleans (still toll free as the road is pretty good here). Then we had to stop for a while to have some extra locks fitted to our new van, which meant it was dark when we set off again. Therefore we decided to break with our habit and take some toll roads. Non-toll is fine in daylight on some sections, but south of Orleans it is single carriageway in the dark, so we took tollway from Orleans to Tours and then Poitiers. Total cost was about 30 euros and well worth the saving in energy negotiating single carriageway in the pitch dark.

      At Poitiers we came off the toll road and took the non-toll to Angouleme, which is a dual carriageway/motorway good road anyway and free taking us to Bordeaux.

      After Bordeaux there is motorway south, apart from one short toll section (which we took, a few euros only and it was almost midnight) en route to Dax where we stayed at the aire outside the KFC.

      Day 3 - From Dax we headed past Bayonne and Biarritz on the toll roads. I think this cost about 10-15 euros. We took the non-toll the previous year and weaving in and out of Biarritz just didn't feel worth it. This took us to the Spanish border.

      From here I'd recommend taking the N121A to Pamplona and then onwards to Zaragoza, Teruel and Valencia. This is non-toll motorway almost the whole way and easy driving, including a 300km stretch with no turns at all. You can stay overnight outside the train station in Segorbe, we've stayed there 3 times and never had a problem and always had fellow overnighters (about an hour from Valencia) if you like. Or any of the campings nearby.

      Day 4 - Past Valencia, Murcia and Lorca en route to Cabo de Gata. The non-tolls are also fine for this section of route as well.

      **Alternatively, after crossing into Spain head to Burgos and then south past Madrid, to Granada and then cross country towards Almeria. We did use a couple of short sections of toll when we did this route, but it was less than 20 euros in total.

      We have done both routes and there's really not much in it. The roads south of Madrid are quite pretty. If you're in a hurry take tolls in Spain, they're not expensive and tend to be better than stressing about saving a few euros by detouring. If you're not in a hurry enjoy the detour.

      Apologies for my meandering response. Feel free to ask any more questions and I'll be happy to try and be more specific.

      With best wishes,

      Dan x

  2. Nelson Vandweller10 January 2017 at 11:40

    Hi Dan and Esther. How kind of you to send such a detailed response. You must be a much faster typer than me. We will be setting off from Near Preston in Lancashire. Probably drive down to the chunnel and follow your advice from there. Did you have any thoughts on what might be a good initial base in the natural park.
    Also, why the extra locks?
    Best wishes, Mary.

    1. You're welcome. Not so much a fast typist as a night of insomnia :)

      In terms of places to stay, do you prefer campings or motorome aires? For aires in the park you are spoiled for choice. El Cabo de Gata village, San Jose, La Isleta del Moro.....All beautiful places to wake up. I'd maybe start in San Jose as there are plenty of cafes and shops, it's peaceful and you'll meet a lot of other travellers with abundant recommendations.

      For campings we enjoyed Los Escullos a couple of years ago. It's ACSI and close to a lovely coastline and walking options.

      I'll probably write a post about the locks in the next few weeks. It's really just a peace of mind think. You do what you can and then don't worry if something does happen. They cost about 150 euros and help us relax when we leave the van, so over the life of the van a good investment. If someone does go in via a window etc. then you have to accept that as a risk. Touch wood we haven't had a break in before. We've met people who have and everyone seems to have a scary story, but life always has risks. The more we travel the less we tend to worry. It's only 'stuff' after all.

  3. Nelson Vandweller11 January 2017 at 17:38

    Thanks again guy's. I look forward to your blog on the locks and will hopefully get some fitted before our Spanish escape. We are going to sail to Bilbao then drive the Burgos, Madrid route you describe above.
    We are going to head for los Escullos first and use it as a base to get our bearings, and then who knows?
    The joys of having your cake and eating it. AKA, motor homing.
    No ferry on the way back, just going to drive back through France and see a bit of the countryside.

    I hope that you realise what a wonderful resource your blog is. And the advice available to everybody is pure gold dust. Takes away a lot of the mystery/uncertainty of motor homing in a foreign country. It is certainly a lot less daunting after a visit here and is very much appreciated.
    That said, I'm not having a puppy. Regards, Mary.


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