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A 'newbe' tale of whoa....


micktheshed
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A recent acquaintance of mine (friend of a friend) arrived on site in a bit of a fluster (nothing new there then we've had previous experiences LOL). Given that he's 87, & on his own,  his 'van is 17 yo & has only been caravanning since just  BC (that's 'before covid' !) understandably  a lot of allowances have to be made. However he's very sprightly, & 'a bit of a character',  but it's a steep learning curve even for the best of us.

 

Day One: His latest tale of whoa concerned the off-side motor mover which had stuck-on temporarily. He'd managed to free it off, after a short(?)  distance, by judicious (ha, ha) use of a copper mallet. (Even old ex-engineers still rule, OK?).

 

Being fairly competent at things mechanical I offered to look at it............ the tread of the nearly new tyre had completely disappeared down to the cords, but the outer & inner  1" was untouched!!!!!! Unbelievably he'd driven over 200miles at up to 60mph......gasp! I'll spare you the long-winded story of getting a very expensive replacement.

 

Day Three: Removing the spare & replacing it was another horror story that only confirmed my hatred of Al-Co carriers. It took two of us fit & much younger men to do it! If the carrier had not been well serviced just last year I dread to think how we'd have managed. The job was made much easier by the loan of a trolley jack & a bottle jack that another friend never leaves home without. (He also carries a crowbar & many other unlikely things. I've now decided to STOP ribbing him about it. Never mind, panic over for the day........)

 

Day Four: but then his gas ran out. This had never happened before  (all eyes went skyward in disbelief) but after inquiring as to the bottle type: butane, & size: 7Kg, I googled to find a replacement. (Should have know better than to not confirm with my own eyes which had yet to return completely earthwards). By sheer luck a Fishing Tackle shop (yes really!) only 3 miles away had one in stock & was willing to hold it for us.

 

Off he went with his buddy as I was trying to keep a diplomatic distance & tending to my wounds by now. A sigh of relief went up on their rapid return only to be extinguished by the news that he actually needed a 4.5Kg! Guess what: no-one had got one with-in 25 miles or more, or had had any stock for 12 weeks min! The rest of us were on propane so we called it a day & went down the chippy....as you do.

 

Well fed I jokingly suggested we ask the chief chippy if he knew anywhere that sold calor, which some-one then did. "Yes" was the unexpected reply to the amazement of all present, "200 yards down on the right, up an ally, in the local Pet shop" (yes really, AGAIN!). Even more amazingly they were willing to change 4.5KG butane for 6Kg propane, so we would, in future, not have this problem. All we needed now was a........wait for it.........propane pigtail. The Pet shop doubtless had real pig's tails (& cow's ears!) but, surprisingly, no gas types. You might laugh (or groan) but it didn't seem at all funny at the time.

 

Google again, nearest stockist 15 miles so off they go (I was regretting getting involved, after all I supposed to be resting). The security guard on the gate at the well-known dealers demanded that they get an appointment before entry (using the well-worn covid excuse) but after much persuading entry was achieved & the item purchased.

 

Day five: rally is nearly over & he says he's enjoyed it immensely! I'm more knackered than when I arrived! Never mind there's always next time.....what am I saying? He's coming to that one as well.......what joy.

 

Some-one once told me this is a leisure pursuit.... they were obviously deluded.

 

 

 

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Well done for taking all that time out helping him.  So much horrible stuff going on its good to hear of such caravan neighbourliness.

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Caravanning is a real stress-reducer for some (especially me!) at any age of life, my step-father is 87 and my mum 76, both still touring with their 2011 Coachman 380.  I have said before on here that I genuinely believe it is the caravan that has kept Dennis (step father) both mentally and physically fit.  He's got COPD (lung disease) which is slowing him down but by encouraging them and helping them to make adjustments to make things easier, it gives them a means of enjoyment to focus on.  Over the last six months I managed to persuade them to change the car from a manual Kia Ceed (with an awful clutch) to an automatic Seat Leon and change the heavy poled awning to a lightweight inflatable porch awning & both have said they feel like those two simple changes have taken ten years off their caravanning average age!

 

Helping folks out, especially when it's a common interest gives you a good feeling that no job or money can ever pay for.

2018 Volvo V90 and 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

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 Well done micktheshed, I've been laughing for over 5 minutes. :lol::lol:

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That's lovely and we're not really laughing at the old but the disorganised or innocent caravanner-and how wonderful his friend was to give sterling help-really lovely tale-let's hope he learns from his lack of preparedness though some people do simply live like that!

 

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What a great story and very well told....I'm sure we all have similar stories to tell probably about our 1st adventure but are too shy or embarrassed to share ;-)

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We did have one trip that rivalled it in many ways, but that was some problem trip. If you look on the Calor website you would be surprised to find that different types of bottle can be exchanged in many cases but at worst with a different bottle all he would need is a different regulator.

In my case our  first problem was we had a storm and the waste water pipes blew away. We bought new ones and then found the old ones later. At the next site the jockey wheel failed as we lowered it to use the over to get us in to a tricky pitch. I then had to hook up again and manage a difficult manouvre to get the caravan.

The warden told us where the nearest dealer was and as we were passing anyway we got a new one which turned out to be faulty and had to  be taken back and exchanged for a new one. 

Then the worst was the next day when we returning to the site and had to turn left off the main road into another main road. There was a sort line of cars waiting to turnout of the road and a car coming towards us just drove round them and hit the front of our car. Luckily we had stopped and he also had seen us and braked, so the damage was not too serious, but the number plate had come off and we finished the holiday with the number plate propped up against the windscreen held there by the kitchen roll.  The front was a mess but just legal.

We still had two sites left but nothing further of note although with the number plate higher up the last site  warden was able to check us in before we entered the office as he could read the number through he window.

 

Edited by Wildwood
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Our first outing we had no leisure battery-the dealership never told us we needed one so was none the wiser-got set up on our pitch with electric hook up no problem.

Realised we had no 12 volts-a local dealer sent somebody out and found the positive and negative leads had touched in the battery box causing a fuse to blow!

He explained that we did need a leisure battery!

Family on the next pitch had a spare leisure battery so problem solved!-How friendly are caravan folk eh :-)

Next task....put up our brand new full size awning.

I don't think I've ever seen so many poles!

Luckily instruction manual was to hand and an hour and a half later calmness and a beer reigned with plenty of laughter......

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Fortunately I'm perfect.  I mean, never would we go to The Lake District in winter and forget to take any coats with us, forcing us to go coat shopping, in the rain, getting wet.  Or arriving in Norfolk and having to find a Debenhams to buy bedding.  Or buying towels from a local Tesco.  Or.............

2018 Volvo V90 and 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

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On 14/07/2021 at 10:59, Camperdom said:

Indeed. Let’s laugh at the old…

 My apologies for offending anyone by finding the post funny, but I found it well written and I could see humour in it.

 How many of us watch new arrivals to a site with the expectation (hope) that their attempts at setting up go awry? I, too, am old and don't mind if someone laughs when things go wrong. Mrs 'at usually does.:blush:

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People watching is particularly entertaining on a caravan site and a very popular spectator sport. We will always help if needed though. 

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I am not offended, it is what it is. We have all done something stupid with our caravans we can laugh at. This year however is a particularly entertaining year with all the first timers.  Some of it is understandable, other stuff is actually quite worrying and one wonders if some people should be let near a caravan….. We were once on a site and on the next pitch arrived a first timer with brand new van and brand new everything, and I mean everything. Their car and van was loaded to gunwale’s. They didn’t know how to use any of it and had clearly been taken advantage of by the salesman. We spent all weekend gradually getting them sorted. Just one example is they didn’t know the aquaroll supplied shower and tap/drinking water. Thought there was a separate supply for each. No idea about payloads, noseweight and so on….. 

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Not always the oldsters either.

We had a couple with 2 kids pitched next to us recently, it was a level hardstanding but he still set the van at an angle with the rear end nearly on the ground and then insisted that my spirit level was "wrong"

He had the float valve in his aquaroll upside down and wondered why it never worked, soon sorted that one out.

He said he thought that the van should creak loudly when towing, sorted that with brake cleaner.

I then had to explain what the breakaway cable was for and where to couple it and how to wind the jockey wheel into the slots

This was their 4th trip and I know knowledge usually comes from experience  but the van angle was just daft

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1) love watching people on site, have jumped in on more than one occasion when you can see the air starting to turn blue and knuckles starting to turn white....

2) am like others super organised and never forget anything nor do I ever ever get flustered, bad tempered or throw a tantrum......:D

3) Recent tale, not caravan related but could be. Early one sunny Sunday morning Mrs J made the decision that we would take the dogs for a walk on a local beach with the promise to me of a cooked breakfast (We have a cracking cafe near us that do one of the best breakfasts on earth..) full of anticipation we set of and a couple of miles into the journey decided that we best go back home and get the dogs!!! :D

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21 minutes ago, Jacko1 said:

full of anticipation we set of and a couple of miles into the journey decided that we best go back home and get the dogs!!! :D

 

Brilliant, genuinely laughed at that!

2018 Volvo V90 and 2018 Swift Sprite Quattro EB

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When lockdown first finished in April we went to CMC site near Cromer. Pitch was opposite the MH service point so they came and went in about 10 mins. On the Sunday noticed a MH had been there over an hour so went up to see if he needed any help. ‘Yes’ , said the ‘owner’ in a French accent, ‘I have a brain the size of a walnut’

Said I couldnt help with that but what problem had this affliction caused him?

Well he said, we hired this motorhomes the other day from near where we live in Essex to head for Norfolk. 10 miles down road low diesel light comes on so pulls into garage and filled it up with diesel.

Out onto the road again and low fuel light still on! He had filled the drinking water tank to the brim with diesel! Didnt ask him what he did with the diesel but when he arrived at Norfolk someone told him to pour Fairy Liquid into the tank and flush with water a few times. He had been there a week and apparently flushed it most days but said ‘ when you open a tap foam bubbles out…..and it still tastes and smells of diesel’

Then he said, thats not all - he had driven away from the power bollard - but not unhooked the cable - bang and a broken socket on side of van!

Then he said - when i went to try to find a new socket, i reversed the MH into a petrol pump and he had cracked the back!

He was then going to return the MH to the hirer - I bet they were really pleased to hear of his newbie adventures!

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And that is why hire companies take hefty deposits !! The only solution to that scenario is going to be a new fresh water tank, pipes, taps etc! As it’s simply impossible to fully remove the taint left by diesel. 

Expensive doesn’t come close (then there’s the loss of earnings whilst that work is carried out) 

Experience is something you acquire after you have an urgent need for it.

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That reminds me of a clip from America I saw on a TV programme where a thief trying to syphon petrol from a motorhome got the wrong cover and got a mouthful from the toilet out let. Not a mistake he would make twice. 

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You doubtless will all be relieved to know that my 87yo fellow camper (& his ex-workmate from Daventry) drove 80 miles & arrived safely at their next stop (3 days at Blackmore site, Malvern). He there proceeded to successfully erect his new porch awning again, entirely on his own, before parting ways for their respective homes. They both report having thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience (or nightmare as I'd call it)! For my p[art, I feel sure I'll manage a weak smile soon......

I have to raise my hat to him, I couldn't face 400+ miles of driving in a week & I'm 13 years younger!

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1 hour ago, micktheshed said:

 

I have to raise my hat to him, I couldn't face 400+ miles of driving in a week & I'm 13 years younger!

 

That gave me a smile - 400 miles in a week!   During the Icelandic Volcano Eruption in 2010, I was only 80 years old then.   Because all the flights were cancelled, my daughter and grandson found themselves stranded in Barcelona.   I struggled to explore ways to help them.   Eventually it was agreed they could get a coach from Barcelona to Toulouse.   So in the early hours of Saturday I caught a ferry from Dover to Calais then drove down to Toulouse, meeting them at the coach station around 5pm.   We spent the night at a Premiere Classe and drove back to London on the Sunday.   That totted up to 1340 miles in 52 hours.    Looking back, I think I enjoyed the adventure.

Citroen C5-X7 Tourer+Avondale Rialto 480/2
https://jondogoescaravanning.com

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12 hours ago, micktheshed said:

You doubtless will all be relieved to know that my 87yo fellow camper (& his ex-workmate from Daventry) drove 80 miles & arrived safely at their next stop (3 days at Blackmore site, Malvern). He there proceeded to successfully erect his new porch awning again, entirely on his own, before parting ways for their respective homes. They both report having thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience (or nightmare as I'd call it)! For my p[art, I feel sure I'll manage a weak smile soon......

I have to raise my hat to him, I couldn't face 400+ miles of driving in a week & I'm 13 years younger!

 You solved every problem that came along, gained some knowledge along the way, made a new friend, made some memories, what a lovely story with a happy ending.Daftest thing I've done was when we had a trailer tent. I'd rigged up some fluorescent strip lights that clipped to the poles and plugged into the towing socket on the back of whatever car we had at the time. One morning I forgot to unplug them before driving off for the day. Dragged them for quite a way before I realised. Surprisingly little damage done. Children then thought it was great fun to shout "Dad, the lights!" after we'd driven a few yards and laugh as I slammed the brakes on. Silly thing caravanning was leaving an empty gas bottle outside a petrol station shop, paying for a refill, picking up the empty one again and putting it in the van and driving off on holiday. 

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13 hours ago, Jaydug said:

 

That gave me a smile - 400 miles in a week!   During the Icelandic Volcano Eruption in 2010, I was only 80 years old then.   Because all the flights were cancelled, my daughter and grandson found themselves stranded in Barcelona.   I struggled to explore ways to help them.   Eventually it was agreed they could get a coach from Barcelona to Toulouse.   So in the early hours of Saturday I caught a ferry from Dover to Calais then drove down to Toulouse, meeting them at the coach station around 5pm.   We spent the night at a Premiere Classe and drove back to London on the Sunday.   That totted up to 1340 miles in 52 hours.    Looking back, I think I enjoyed the adventure.

Wow! Sooner you than me, I went off long distance driving decades ago. There,s no pleasure in it any more-far too many idiots on the road.

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But to be fair to Jaydug it was very much a case of “Needs must” rather than a “jolly” done out of choice.

Experience is something you acquire after you have an urgent need for it.

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Also good to watch more experienced vanners on site...we struggled putting up a full awning due to the weight, after we upgraded from a porch one, This changed when we watched a neighbour putting up the basic frame, then adding the side panels... He also had a set of emergency ratchet straps to secure the awning in severe windy weather....

Edited by gtepete
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