Monday, 19 January 2015

Overlanding with Richard and Tracey Allen

I recently had a message from Richard and Tracey through my Facebook page; fellow Hiace 4WD owners and travellers, they had been on the road for some time, were just leaving Morocco and heading my way, would I like to meet up?



I'm always keen to meet fellow camper van travellers out there, and share experiences, check out each others vans and enjoy the outdoor life. Rio too is very excited to meet new people and isn't long in making himself at home in their deckchair or van!

We arranged to meet at a favourite spot of mine on the Algarve coast. There we shared a few glasses of wine and sat around our camp fire chatting about life on the road. Richard and Tracey told me that this trip began back in August 2014, and that up to this point they have covered approximately 14,000 miles. Some of the countries they visited en route have included Italy, Greece, Turkey, Georgia, and most recently Morocco, before crossing over to Spain and heading across to the Algarve.

Richard and Tracey's Hiace, 'Fay' parked next to another trusty traveller

I was both impressed and inspired by their journey, and also keen to know how they had fared as a couple in the relatively small space of the Hiace camper van; but for those accustomed to travelling by motorcycle, a camper is relative luxury. I've had a similar conversation with other travellers in recent weeks when we have compared the different styles of vehicle overlanding, from converted busses and lorries, to 4x4s with roof tents, to campers, with each type of set up engendering a different approach to living on the road, and making the most of the space the vehicle offers, inside and out.
Early morning at camp

I was also keen to see how the Allen's had set up their camper for the trip, and compare it with my own, being the same basic vehicle. The main difference between our vans is that their Hiace is a later model with full-time 4WD. The main modifications they had made to the vehicle were a heavy duty steel bull bar and a similar rear bumper, a front skid plate to protect the underside of the engine bay, and a larger capacity fuel tank that would almost double the distance between fill-ups. The standard tyres had been changed for B F Goodrich All Terrain, 215 70 15s. This set up had served them well on the trip, including some tough and rocky assents and descents in Morocco.

Power came from 80 watts of solar with an 110ah battery; enough to run a compressor fridge. Fay also has a toilet and shower inside (unlike my van) with makes for a bit of extra comfort, and having installed a diesel heater the Allens would be comfortable on colder desert mornings, and in mountainous regions. Also, not using the top bed for extra storage allows plenty of extra head room for two people. One of the reasons they had chosen a Toyota Hiace is because of their reputation for reliability, and on the entire trip so far only a cv joint boot has had to be replaced - pretty impressive for an older vehicle don't you think?

I really enjoyed meeting up with Richard and Tracey, and hearing about their adventures on the road. If you'd like to see more photos, and read all about the trip, no problems, they have a blog called Not Lost Just Exploring - just click the link to view it. More coming soon too about how things have been going here in Portugal for Rio and me, stay tuned..

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Photo credit: Many thanks to Kay Kay for her picture of Tracey & Richard.

1 comment:

  1. Ooh where is this spot? We'll be down there later in the spring. Thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete