I've had Lottie the Volkswagen LT35 for a few weeks now, everything seems okay but I still need to do a couple of little jobs before heading off on new adventures. I took Lottie to the Peck district of Derbyshire, an area of England I really enjoy, although the weather was far from ideal, with lots of rain and strong winds. I found Lottie comfortable, even though I now have to make up my bed each night. The fridge didn't seem to be working quite right, I have to change manually between gas, mains electric or 12 volt operation, so perhaps I just need to get used to it, although I'll keep an eye on things in case there is a problem with the fridge itself.
After a damp weekend in Derbyshire and a couple of days in Bedford I set off to Dover and the English Channel. I booked an early morning ferry with My Ferry Line and crossed to Calais in France for £43.50. After a few hours sleep I set off across France then Switzerland before crossing into Italy at Chiasso, near Lake Como.I then continued on to the Castelli area of Rome. The journey went well and I found a couple of good camperstop's in Italy that I hadn't stayed at before. Lottie ran well returning 27 mpg, almost exactly the same as my Rapido, which both surprised and delighted me as Tony the previous owner said he was getting only 23 mpg.
Before leaving England I replaced the single 100 AH leisure battery with a couple of heavy duty ones, which I'd bought a year ago, giving me a total of 270 AH. Lottie doesn't have any solar panels so that's one of the first things for me to do. Free or wild camping as much as I do it's important to be able to have the leisure batteries charged up when not hooked up to the mains. I have an 80 watt panel, which I bought in Morocco earlier this year and a Fox regulator with a separate digital display unit. So I bought some fixing brackets, cable and some adhesive / sealant and spent a day fixing the panel onto the roof and wiring everything up. When I bought Lottie Tony gave me a new 60 watt folding solar panel that can be used outside the van and angled to catch the best of the sun. Using both panels I should have no problems with keeping the leisure batteries topped up.
Another small job that needed doing was to the bathroom door, which annoyingly would open when driving along. It was a simple fix as all I needed to do was put a little bit of packing behind the catch side of the lock, easy. There are a few other little jobs I want to do but there's no rush as I'm going to be in Rome for a couple more weeks yet.
It seems I've been travelling all my life. For the past eight years I've been following a simple, nomadic lifestyle full time touring in a camper van and meeting with other like minded travellers.
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