Saturday, 29 December 2012

The Rain and the Sea


I woke up by the sea this morning, and the sounds outside, mingling with memories of a conversation with a friend, brought this story alive in my mind..
Two monks stood by the sea.
A light shower was falling.
One monk asked, 'When the rain falls on the sea, does it get less salty?'
His elder did not reply, but stood gazing out to sea.
The rain kept on falling on the sea..


Friday, 28 December 2012

Winterising the van ~ part deux


You've probably all seen those silver window insulators that many motorhomers have in their front windows at night? Well, with all the glass in my bus, its going to be losing a lot of heat through the windows. I recently found out about aluminium foil bubble wrap insulation that can be bought from hardware and DIY centres, and decided to do some much needed window insulation in the back of the van. It turned out that a 6 metre roll of this stuff costs less than £10 at B&Q at the minute, so I got to work yesterday evening.

I decided to do all the rear windows, except for half of the sliding door window and the rear gate window - this gives me enough light during the day, along with the skylight, and leaves me good visibility while driving. It ended up being a simple job to fit it flush within all the window frames, cutting with a craft knife, and easing it into place with a teaspoon; no glue or taping required. There was enough left on the roll to put a second layer, loose, behind the curtains on the two biggest windows.

It turns out to have 4 main advantages:
1. Helps keep the van warmer.
2. Stops condensation forming on the windows.
3. Makes the van quieter on the inside.
4. Makes things more private (people can't see the lights on from outside).
I didn't realize about 3 & 4, they were an added bonus for me - I noticed after fitting it.
I made a video showing you the windows all insulated - also look out for the damage done by some idiot with too much to drink on Christmas eve..


Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Winter Living in the Van


So its been getting pretty cold out recently, especially at night, so no bare feet for a while. I've actually been looking forward to it, since the whole thing is a real adventure to me, but when it gets down to below freezing every night, it does become a real matter of survival. I have a diesel heater in the van, but it has turned out to be pretty useless - it uses up the house battery far too quickly and I'm not driving far enough to charge it, nor is there enough solar power in the winter to keep it charged up. As you know - I am opting not to charge from mains electricity, nor do I often have access to it. I do have enough power for all my other needs though.

Instead I have gone for a small propane heater. I've linked it up to my cooking 6kg propane cylinder using a small 3 way valve, and a quick release coupling, with rubber tubing. The 3 way valve has a control knob, allowing me to reduce the flow of gas to the heater, and also to shut off the gas flow to that hose completely. If I pop the quick release the heater can be removed and stored away in the summer months. I have used enough rubber hose to enable me to position the heater in a few useful locations in the van. So far, one 6kg bottle of propane is lasting me 1 month in the winter weather - One bottle lasted me 5 months over the summer.

I've also now purchased a good 4 season sleeping bag. A Mountain Hardware Lamina 0, which is good down to -15 deg C (0 deg F). I found it to be very warm, roomy and comfortable, and I've been using it with a liner so it won't have to be washed so often, important with a bag that will be used every night. For extremely cold nights (below 0), or when I have a head cold I don't want to be breathing freezing air, so I do need heat to be on in the van throughout the night in order to stay healthy. I have installed a carbon monoxide detector so I can leave the heater on safely all night if needed. With good ventilation from the sky light, there is a good flow of fresh air, without the van getting cold inside. I only intend to do this when the outside temp drops below zero, in order to save fuel.

Another addition for winter is an Indoor/Outdoor temp gauge which I have fitted alongside my electrical sockets, plainly visible form my sofa/bed. I routed the outside sensor though an existing hole in the floor and attached it to the van's chassis. I can now keep an eye on the actual temp where I am parked and see the difference inside and outside. It is actually very cosy sitting in the van on a winter evening by the heater, watching TV on the laptop, reading or listening to music, and its not draughty - I've even found that some friends houses are colder!
I made this video in which I show you some of the things I've talked about here and show my heater running, enjoy, and keep warm and safe this winter:


Thursday, 6 September 2012

Alone


“God has to nearly kill us sometimes, to teach us lessons.”
― John Muir

I discovered this video recently, and although its quite long (the entire season is in one video), its well worth watching start to finish if you're interested in the harsh reality of trying to survive alone in the wild. This gives one the chance to become more immersed in the adventurer's world as he struggles to survive, and find enough food, in an environment that we might expect to find  natural sustenance in abundance. Cooking my simple dinner on my propane stove that evening, just after watching this, I appreciated it more than ever, and considered the time, and hardships I may have had to endure to obtain my meal if I were in a survival situation..




Saturday, 1 September 2012

More camping videos..


“The grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dried all at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls. ”
― John Muir
Here are a few videos from the camping trip. It was a quiet time, just sitting around the fire, watching the sun go down, and then the amazing moon and stars, the smoke drifting through the trees.. I’ll let the pictures do the talking..
A look at the camping spot 
After dark 
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Tending the fire
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Moonlight
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…through the trees
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Star gazing
This is a video of the track that we had to go up to get to the camping spot. I shot this the next day as we went back down the track in the rain, though it had been a beautiful sunny day on the way up. There were a lot of ruts and rocks in the track, and I was really quite amazed how easily the van climbed the steep sections, it was pretty much a smooth ride too. Its great to be able to get to places that are inaccessible in a car or 2wd van, more peace and quiet and its fun getting there too.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Rest & Recovery


“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”
― John Muir
I’ve just finished a run of night shifts at work, and I’m pretty tired, on top of that I’ve managed to catch a nasty cold. So not to be deterred I found a great place to park up until I’m recovered:

It’s so peaceful up here, and it’s been pleasantly sunny all afternoon. I’ve just been wandering around here, and relaxing, watching the giant dragonflies which are in abundance here.

Walk a short way in one direction and there is a view over the valley and out to the Irish sea, and in the other the rocky mountain summits can be seen.

I think I’ll just lay here and watch the sun go down through the trees… A good evening to all!
If you’d like something interesting to watch, there is a great documentary on iplayer about John Muir hosted by none other than the noble Scotsman, Neil Oliver. Saw it last night. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

90's New Age Travellers documentary


A reminder of what happened in the UK in the 90′s when more and more people started to form mobile communities:
Unless there are places to go, and move between, living in community on the road is going to lead to trouble. 

I think the main issue with the peace convoy was that it grew so large, and the vehicles became bigger and more elaborate. Where could there possibly be to park and live in a sustainable way with such a group on the road? Especially in the UK where the land is so overpopulated to begin with and almost all rural land is privately owned.

Its a very different story if you are a single person, or a couple travelling. Of course the economics of the situation are always questionable - even if those questions are only asked when a large community starts to cause problems for the existing settled communities. It was a fascinating time, looking back, and raised many questions for society about the meaning of freedom.

Thanks for visiting!

I'm really interested in your opinion on the subject - comment below..

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See you soon..

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Toyota Hiace overdrive solenoid bypass mod | Overdrive not working automatic gearbox


Today the van underwent surgery – in fact it turned out to be like a trip to the dentists..
Recently my o/d (overdrive, top gear) stopped working, and I have been stuck with four gears, and a safe top speed of around 45mph without too much over revving of the engine.
The automatic Hiace has a ‘o/d off’ button on the gear stick. You might use this if you wanted to hold 4th gear, for example when towing a heavy load downhill, to take advantage of engine braking, or to stop the engine jumping in and out of top gear on a gentle climb.
The ability for the gearbox to shift into top gear is governed by a solenoid mounted on the rear transmission casing. It can be controlled by this switch, but is also governed by certain other conditions being met in the circuit controlled by an o/d ECU. (for example temp, and speed sensors can play a part in this).
To try and repair my van, initially the transmission fluid had been changed, and the filter cleaned, and the engine temp sensor bypassed neither of which cured the problem. Then I had an auto electrician check the circuits for response – it appeared that it was unlikely the problem lay there.
If it were possible to mechanically (hydraulically) bypass the o/d solenoid that would eliminate all electrics from the system, and mean that the gearbox will always shift into o/d at the appropriate speed. It is possible!

Here is how I did it:
Tools needed:
Spanners, 12mm & 10mm
Philips screwdriver
Large G-clamp
Hi speed drill with grinding bits
Inspection lamp
Oil pan – (clean)
Cloth
Masking tape
One of the girlfriends stockings
Small funnel
Bench vice with soft grips
1. Go under the van on the passenger side (RHD van) and remove the rear driveshaft protection shield – 3x 12mm bolts.
2. Using inspection lamp to get a clear view, locate the o/d solenoid on the side of the transmission case. Clean the area as well as possible – you don’t want to get any dirt into the transmission. Remove the cable clamps with appropriate spanners and then locate the solenoid plug and unplug it. Its located here: (bottom right of pic with cable attached, you don’t need to remove the gearbox – just an example pic)
3. Remove the rubber cap from the sensor beside the solenoid and remove the earth cable with Philips screw.


Earth cable and solenoid plug
4. Now you can either drain the transmission fluid from the gearbox, or as I did, put an oil pan in position, remove the two 12mm bolts from the solenoid and quickly position a clean g-clamp over the hole when you remove the solenoid (make sure the outer o-ring remains in place to seal the hole, and the clamp can grip onto the trans pan – don’t over tighten) Catch leaking oil, which will spurt out, in the oil pan.
5. Now you have the solenoid in your hand:

Remove the small rubber o-ring, and clean the solenoid well with a clean cloth, removing any loose particles, and as much trans oil as you can from the holes. You can now connect the solenoid to a 12v battery to test it – in the case of mine it did not operate. This means that the fluid never gets a chance to flow freely through the solenoid via these holes and allow the o/d gear to engage. To bypass this we must grind a channel to the depth of the small o-ring groove, between the holes.

Look closely behind the bigger hole, there’s a gap behind it – you don’t want to get any dirt or filings in here when you start grinding – it would not be easy to flush out, so block up the holes with little pieces of cloth and tape it up:

6. Now, clamp the solenoid in a vice with soft grips and use the grinding bits in the drill to grind the channel. Bringing back all your memories of trips to the dentists. You want it to end up looking like this:

I used an air line to blast away any filings before removing the tape and the cloth. Make sure its as clean as possible prior to re-assembly.
7. Now fit the solenoid back on the transmission case using the outer o-ring only this time. If you didn’t drain the transmission and used a g-clamp this will be messy, make sure and catch the oil that spills out.
8. You could just cut the wires off. I connected mine all back up (except the plug) in case I want to replace the solenoid in the future – I will have all the parts in the right places.
9. Filter the oil you caught through a stocking for example, to make sure its clean, and then using a funnel pour it back into the transmission through the transmission dip stick hole. (Or change your transmission oil if you drained the gearbox. Good idea to do this if it hasn’t been done in a while.) I recommend a full drain of the ATF oil to do this job, and a clean refill of oil afterward. Especially if it hasn't been changed in a while.
10. When everything is properly reassembled go for a test drive – you should now have your overdrive back again! (only now you cannot switch it off from the button on the gear stick). Mine changes super smooth at 45 mph – it always feels like it changes at the appropriate point for the driving conditions, revs etc.
11. Check for leaks around the solenoid when you get back, and over the next few days to make sure the seal is intact.
12. Remember to check the transmission fluid level after a day or two. I discovered that mine was a bit too high (possibly some had been trapped in the overdrive and released when the solenoid was freed up) as it had been last done with the solenoid out of action.

Do leave your thoughts and experiences in the comments section and we can build up an additional resource for the future SC Hiace owners..

If this post helped you get your van back on the road, you have saved yourself a lot of money! If you can afford it, please consider making me a reasonable donation (the button is on the right side-bar) - I could certainly use it! Thanks!

Take care, and see you soon! 

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Quiet Sunday Spot


I parked in a quiet place to sleep after working night shift and did a bit of 4WD on the way there:
Finally ran out of propane after 5 months ; )

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

August Zen Sesshin


At the weekend I attended BMZCs August sesshin with Paul Haller, at Benburb priory near Armagh. I was unable to attend the whole retreat (from tues to Sunday) due to other commitments, but know from past experience that a weekend can be a great opportunity to settle the body/mind and reconnect with a deeper more connected way of living. Also I have the comfort of my own bed in the van each night, and the option to prepare my own meals when I prefer to.

I arrived on Friday evening and decided to give my full and best effort to the weekends sitting and walking meditation. There are two hours of zazen/kinhin (sitting/walking) and I endeavoured to be alert and present with all my energy. This is usually possible at the beginning of a retreat, before the body and mind rebel, and it becomes much more of a challenge over the following day.

I had an amazingly peaceful and restful nights sleeping Friday night, which is not always to be expected on sesshin. Often intense dreams and restlessness can be the case as one settles in. The first sit of Saturday was at 6:20am and the day proceeded to be a mix of times of clarity, times of sleepiness, troubles invading my mind, and the perception of time taking different shapes and forms at different periods of the day.

There is always the option to find encouragement through a personal encounter with the teacher (Dokusan) but previous experience has taught me that if I give my full attention to the morning dharma talk, and find inspiration and some feeling of the way on a deeper than words level from that, then simply making the best effort to sit with and through whatever bodily, emotional, mental weather I encounter, leads to a growing spaciousness and freedom after a day or so of storms coming and going.

So this was just what happened. Expanding the circle of acceptance to just bear witness to whatever arose, and even my judgements and reactions to it brought me through the dense woods into a peaceful forest clearing where birds sang and butterflies coloured the sun dappled greens and yellows of a warm breeze, the hints of dark clouds dispersing, nourishing the lushness with its gentle humidity.

Of course life is not perfect now, then, and never will be but it is ok to be alive and if you watch & listen carefully, you know, you just might enjoy it.

I was inspired to make these photos on Saturday night as I lay on my couch in the van on that humid evening listening to the Benburb crow colony, settling down for their night among the treetops, perched high above my house, side door open, listening to the life of the night..
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A student doing some night walking meditation
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View through my scarf curtain on the main house at Benburb Priory

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

VW Westfalia camper van fridge repair


So for a while now, my fridge has been a bit temperamental running on propane, sometimes it won’t spark to light, and it doesn’t get that cold on gas. I’ve just discovered a few Youtube videos on how to fix it and I have the fridge service manual pdf as well. It seems that the ignition needs the gap adjusted, and the burner just needs a good clean out. Here is a great video on the subject:
I’ll add this to my list of jobs to do soon.
Update: 9th May 2013 - I've now had the fridge repaired a week or so by following these instructions. Its very simple and less cleaning out was needed than in the video. My fridge is now ice-cold running on propane gas.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Travels and Camping


Just back from a trip to Cavan, Leitrim and Down visiting friends and generally having a great time camping. Here’s a photo taken at my friends place, off the grid in Cavan.
This picture is taken from a mobile home on his land, looking down into the forestry land where I was set up with the van. The mobile has a wood burning stove for winter heat as well as cooking, hot water etc. His cottage also has solar power (3 x 70 watt panels) and there is a compost toilet in the woods. It’s always been one of my favourite destinations to get away from city life.
I set up my awning when camping in the woods now, and it’s been great for hanging out wet clothes to dry. It rained quite a bit there and it was like having another room – the plastic awning extends out, doubling the width of the van. I have plans to use tarps to close in the ends too now – lets see how that goes…

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Sunshine


Chilling in the sunshine after a swim..
Let’s go for a Chinese – I can’t think of a better idea :)

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Delica off road - looks like fun


I just came across this on YouTube during my lunch break – looks like a lot of fun…
Delica off-road camping trip..

Monday, 6 August 2012

Van Zendo - Zen meditation in a Hiace Camper Van


Sometimes people ask me, ‘How do you meditate in there? There doesn’t seem to be much room to sit.’ Well the answer is typically a camper van solution – the space is converted into whichever room you need:
Living room, dining room, bedroom, or.. Zendo: 
van-zendo
As you can see there is plenty of room for a zafu, and zabuton, a blank surface to face, and I can even sit on a raised platform – something I could never do in a real house. It is also very peaceful and comfortable to sit there, and if you want a city zendo, you have a city zendo, if you want a forest zendo you have a forest zendo, the same applies to coastal zendo, mountain zendo, seaside living room, mountain restaurant etc ;) It also feels very much that you are connected to your surrounding environment in a more intimate way – the feeling is a bit like camping, but without the cold and wet when its raining, and with just enough extra comfort.
So I hope my answer has enlightened you!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Testing the roof rack on the Hiace camper van Hitop


Yesterday evening a friend helped me load a boat onto the roof to test the set-up and experiment with ways of loading/unloading and securing the boat on the roof. We also took it for a test drive, and everything was solid. (click to enlarge)
kayak-on-roof
It is very high up to load however and a ladder is needed, as well as two people, though I am working on a way of doing it single-handedly that I’m confident will work out. I also think the addition of some kayak cradles on the roof bars would add to my confidence, especially on longer journeys. Something like this is the usual solution:
Although I think that this is an interesting idea, and would be easy to make up from a piece of foam:
Its good to have this job done as I’ve been thinking about the best way to do it for a long time. I’ll get the things I need to make loading easier next week hopefully.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Fitting roof bars to a Hiace Hitop camper van / Solar power update


I finally got my roof bars fitted for the kayaks! (and routed the solar panel cable through the roof). I ended up doing it all myself, as the guy I had tried to organise to do it didn’t come through in the end. I actually think I have done a better job though, and my roof bar solution looks much more in keeping with the van than the one that had been suggested:
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To get there I first had to find a set of bars that have flat feet and holes for roof mounting. This turned out not to be so easy, as most roof racks are vehicle specific these days, and have all manner of clamps and devices to mount them. After a bit of investigation it turned out that a Renault Kangoo van has threaded holes in its roof, and so I was able to get the bars and feet made for it.
After removing the head cloth and plywood ceiling, I mounted two alloy channels on the inside of the glass fibre roof to give support and strength, placing them above the roof bulkheads for extra support:
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Here you can also see the roof insulation which explains why it stays so toasty up there on cold nights.
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The feet where then mounted on the roof, having drilled right through the roof and the alloy channels, sealed with marine silicone sealant, and bolted in place with 3/8 fasteners:
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You can also see the solar panel cable going through the roof here too, through a rubber grommet, and also sealed in. It was great to get it all finally finished and a neat job well done!
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All I have to do now is test it out with the boats – hopefully this sunday will be the day. Obviously its quite high up, but with the use of a ladder it will be possible to secure the boats up there. Using a trailer may be easier to load, but makes it more difficult to manoeuvre, and also increases the cost of ferry crossings quite a bit. I am already thinking up a solution to loading a kayak single handed – lets see how that goes!
I’ve been using the solar panel for about a month now, and its surpassing my expectations. If I use lights and the computer in the evening for a few hours, it always reaches full charge again in a couple of hours in the morning with the battery monitor flashing. I have also fitted a battery voltage gauge to show me the battery condition:
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The solar charge controller:
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Thursday, 5 July 2012

Black Jesus, by Simone Felice


So today was a pretty quiet day. I just finished a run of night shifts, so after breakfast this morning I went to bed in a car park, and slept right through until about 2pm : ) After getting up I went to use a cafe bathroom, and bumped into an old school friend I hadn’t seen in at least 15 years and had a burger with him, and a great time catching up – that was nice. It turned out he also has a camper now, though being married with a young child, and another on the way (in about a weeks time!) obviously they just use it for camping trips. Still this guy was my best friend in school for a number of years, and we still got along great : )
I spent the rest of the afternoon finishing off Simone Felice’s novel ‘Black Jesus‘ – a great read. Back in April I was at his gig and he signed the book for me when we bought it after the gig. I’ve really enjoyed it, but had got out of the way of reading for a while, so got back to it last night. Anyway, I can highly recommend it, thanks Simone.
‘Reaching for what?
Maybe for the thing we’re all reaching for. That big feeling. The one we can’t put our finger on, can’t say its name.
Joy.
Love.
A clean conscience.
A cure for emptiness.
A warm putty to fill in all the holes that gape.
These things might approach it. But we reach for more. Its got to be out there. It just has to be.’
Simone Felice
from, Black Jesus

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Peace & Quiet


Today there was some sun so I just had to connect up the solar panel temporarily – how can i waste this strong sunlight – lol : ) Anyway, its a great feeling knowing its charging away dawn to dusk when the van is parked anywhere. It was reading ‘battery-full’ for a while earlier, but I’ve been listening to music and using the laptop a bit since that, happy days!
I saved a picture from a while back that I wanted to share, along with its story, so last night wrote a great post about it and the whole damn thing disappeared when I tried to upload it – writing and all – that has got to be the most frustrating thing about technology, grrrr! So take two:
A few weeks ago, I had been spending a lovely sunny afternoon by the river, it was one of those humid hot days where the cool riverside air is so refreshing and still, that you could just sit there for hours, and I did. Later, I decided to park by a deserted playing field to cook dinner, and leave my side door open with the evening sunlight streaming in, the breeze keeping me cool, and not a soul in sight.
So there I am relaxing as the pot bubbles away, looking forward to my meal, when I hear loud music and clamoring voices. This van had pulled up beside me:
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Look at that! One by one a whole Romanian football team of car wash attendants was piling out of it, ready to invade the peaceful scene! They parked right beside my van for easiest access to the green, away from the big nets. Of course I couldn’t move away with the gas on and dinner nearly ready, so I just had to switch my peace and quiet for a different kind of entertainment, haha : ) They were friendly, equally bemused by who it could be chilling out in the camper van at their football training spot : )

Monday, 2 July 2012

This is the life! - Kayaking at Brown's Bay


Yesterday, out kayaking with a good friend, in the bay were moored two large yachts. There was a sizable swell, and it was fun paddling, rising and falling with the yachts rising and breaking the horizon, cables ringing in the sea breeze. We paddled close and conversed with one of the sailors. From the Netherlands, they had been sailing around Ireland and the British Isles. Waiting for that evenings wind, predicted to pick up, next stop the Scots isle of Jura. Telling the guy about my recent visit to Skye in the camper van, he told me about traveling around New-Zealand in a camper. Before paddling on further around the coast, we all agreed, this is the life!

Solar panel on a Hiace Hitop camper van


Recently a friend has lent me a much better bike for going about on, so I dont have to use as much fuel, and can stay in one spot for a few days if I like. Of course this means my electricity runs out after a few days, especially if using the computer a lot. So, the solution, 80 watts mounted on the roof with stainless pipe fittings and aircraft fasteners. This is actually a portable panel, so it can be removed and folds in half, has latches and a carrying handle. Its permanently mounted now though.
I’ll post more pics showing how I have it hinged at the front, and wing nuts release it at the back – it can be angled up to 45 deg to capture more sunlight when I’m parked up for a few days. I’ve also installed a very good needle gauge type volt meter so I can always see the house battery condition. So now – just to get the cable connected. A local motorhome guy will be fitting my kayak roof bars soon, and he’ll put the cable through the roof and seal it when we are installing the brackets.
Its a strange feeling having the panel there, but not connected yet – feels like wasted sunlight every day, as soon as the sun rises! Once its wired in – it’ll basically be trickle charging the battery, all day every day, from dawn to dusk, keeping me topped up. A good feeling : )
Update: I’ve recently added this video to Youtube describing my solar system in detail:
Thanks for looking!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Off road - Green laneing in the Mournes in a Hiace camper van


My van is capable of full 4×4 capabilities, and of course its not something that gets put to use very often, but I’d been looking forward to trying it out at the first available opportunity. The time came at the beginning of May when I headed down to the Mourne mountains for a couple of days. I was looking for some wild camping spots in nice locations, and planned to survey the area for future trips too. So first heading into the mountains I parked here:
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Carpark in the woods
This was a lovely spot to stop for maybe a picnic, or to head out for a walk, but it’s actually pretty close to the main road going through that section of the Mournes, which made it not quite the best place to settle in for a couple of days. I went for a little walk around the area and discovered that there was a forestry track leading much further into the valley, and the iron bar gate was un-padlocked! After walking along the track a few hundred yards to check it out I decided to see how far I could get along it and use 4×4 if necessary. So I went back to the van and started out.
So, heading along the track, it soon became loose and steep and stony in places so I locked the free-wheeling front hubs and switched into low 4×4 – suddenly it was a different beast and it was no problem to negotiate the rough steep sections. Of course, being a camper van, there is plenty of stuff to rattle about and fall off shelves etc, but I have most things pretty well secured, and nothing got damaged. I ended up finding a little ‘layby’ below some trees and, avoiding some large boulders that might damage the underside, parked here:
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The camping spot in the valley
This turned out to be one of the quietest locations I have ever spent the night. After slowly watching the sunset, and the shadows of the trees closing in around me, I settled down to a night so quiet, all I could hear was the sound of my own pulse, and the occasional rustle in the trees as ‘something’ checked out the van in the night. It was one of those timeless, endless nights of broken sleep, when 1/2 hour seems like three hours. Awakening early (it felt like a lay in) I was surrounded by mist and the rains of the day were already beginning to pelt the fibreglass above my head. Only a stong coffee, and bacon sandwiches were going to get me moving this morning!
During breakfast a farmer in a landrover drove past and gave me the nod and one finger wave from the steering wheel, so I know I can return here without upsetting the natives ;) Then I set off again in the rain to re-negotiate the track, now much wetter and more slippery – back to the road, and further into the hills.
The drive that morning (Music, Martin Simpson, never any good)
That day it got so wet and stormy that there were waves like the sea on the mountain reservoirs, and driving rain so I went back to lower ground. So, for the rest of the day I checked out all the little roads leading to the coastal dead-ends, and found a few other quiet spots on the shore for future stays.