Hi and Welcome to our website.
Written mainly to keep as a record for ourselves, and our travels. in Trustyrusty our camper. The information contained in or on the web pages are our opinions and observations on our travel’s. All are welcome to read or follow what we do but please be aware, there maybe inaccuracy in the information. So please check all facts before hopping off to use them.
We did a lot of travelling before I decided to write up this website. Our first documented journey actually starts from our return from Portugal. We were there for quite a while before this website came about. and did several undocumented journeys back and fourth. Some of our travels and all that we have documented begin from the link at the bottom of this page.
We are a retired couple, or at least I am. Teresa is know where near it and the way the pensions are going will never get one. I have travelled extensively. I spent over 8 years In India. Most of it riding around on an Enfield Motorcycle. A truly amazing Place to visit, and great thing to do. As long as I live This is a journey I will never forget. I have photographs but no mobile phone cameras in those days. I am going to try and digitalis some and add them here. I also in other years have driven all the way around Australia and crisscrossed it, twice!! mainly In an old Holden estate car exactly like the one below.
Holden HQ Estate, or Wagon as the Aussies call them
I Also did a lot on or in other vehicles. A Nissan camper van and Honda Motorcycle. Respectively. The Holden was the best tool here without a doubt, and did most of it. You can’t beat these for massive long distances. Straight 6 engine, with auto box, Simple technology, like Trusty. And bullet proof like her. But I expect a classic car in Auz these days and pricey. The Camper was rubbish to be honest sold it after 3000 miles and bought a Motorbike and that was a whole different story. From that to owning and living on a narrow boat on the canals of England, these are just a few of the things I have done? Not much in way of savings amassed and definitely no property.
Teresa. Ex retail manageress of several charity organisations, and well known High Street Stores, Qualified Hairdresser, Beauty Consultant Carer Bar Person, and very good cook. Travelled quite a bit herself. And a lot more these days and the best Partner I ever had.
They used to rob you with a Spear!! Now, they do it with a Pen.
The Silver Lining
Well. We got fed up with the Rat race in UK. never ending envelopes coming through the letter box, Demanding money with menaces so we decided to get out of it all.
Since we purchased Trusty we have saved over 40 grand in landlords rent 6 grand in council tax 6 grand on gas electricity. These are the figures based on actual spending in our rented flat in the UK, for 8 years and we are better off and less poor but it doesn’t mean it’s all in our pockets just not in anyone else’s. We have used some of it to Travel and live in the last 4 Years, and to do and see amazing things which you cant from a flat window.
Its not all plain Sailing though. Some serious sacrifices have to be made from everyday living and comforts That you take for granted in a fixed home, they no longer either exist and or have to be greatly overhauled or modified, but its worth it for the Freedom you gain and after all if its no longer for you or health takes a turn for the worst, or homesick etc You can always return and get a flat.
The choice of van and why?
A camper? Well That’s How it began, just go out and buy one and off you go. Great. Uh Oh! Not so simple. First of all like many we have very modest means and next to bugger all savings so choices were limited for us, also we did not want to spend a small fortune on an expensive camper and find out the life was not for us. We looked at no end of total rubbish on eBay dozens of them and to be honest they ranged from reasonably well done but very pricey, to absolute junk and again pricey.
Self-builds versus the A class. A choice
The A class: Well at our budget level most were beyond us being able to buy one and do the first trip. They also like the self builds and custom campers ranged from junk to good. All of them being too pricey for there age and what they were for us. So after a good deal of thought and searching we decided to buy budget and build our own. (The builds and rebuilds are in the main menu) or this link if you want a quick look.
Trustys Builds From 2014 to 2023 **
The First thing for us and a must!! for most Travellers, is reliability. Many modern second-hand campers or vans need some sort of electronic wizardry to keep them on the road. As they get older with more miles on the clock, things inevitability will give out. OK if your in the UK and a million outlets at your disposal but not so good if your in France or Morocco etc. Although you would have a better chance in Morocco than France with an old transit.
Its great if it does 40 mpg but no good if an injector or a pump or a sensor pack up, and it has to go to a main dealers for fitting and re-calibration. Even if you can fit the parts yourself and also find an outlet or a dealer to calibrate the vehicle its still very cost prohibitive, plus the stress of actually trying to find dealers and garages to do it abroad. plus the language barrier and also one that wont take advantage of the situation, and ripp you off. (and they do!) I have a slight advantage though over most other people in general, being a retired Motor Mechanic. It helps a lot.
So Trusty averages around 30/40 Mpg on a good day depending what type of situation she is in, and being almost fully loaded all the time. I also can fix her with a bit of chewing gum and a piece of string well almost !! and so far at the time of writing we have done over 40.000 miles without any serious problems, and the mileage is going up all the time.
On the first trip we had a front wheel bearing giving problems on the way back to UK. Fixed it temporarily, and it got us back from Le Man area France, to UK. Where I replaced it. Then a blow out rear on the nearside rear wheel on the 2nd journey returning to Portugal, and on the motorway in France. That was Interesting to say the least!! picture of this below. I put the spare on which wasn’t much better. I Missed the fact that the rear two tires were 6 ply and should be 8 both put on by previous owner. I had already replaced the Front with new 8 ply Firestone’s. So a quick couple of new Firestone’s fitted in France (same price as UK)
There is a lesson to be learned here; The rear tires were under inflated. They had the right pressure in for an empty van on British cool roads 40 psi but we was fully loaded and towing a heavy bike trailer with the motorbike on. Recommended pressure then would be around 50 psi. But I now run them at 70 psi. which in 5 years on the same tires seems to be just right especially when the road surfaces in Spain and Portugal, and indeed France, can exceed 100 degrees in summer and you can fry an egg on them
Trusty wore out a front ball joint on the second return journey. Replaced it for the mot back in UK. Temporarily fixed the Exhaust in Portugal-stopped it rattling, (loose bracket), and corroded). Replaced The rear exhaust in UK for the next mot. bits and bobs minor stuff, Apart from these no Major issues until I bumped into the back of a French car in Dieppe 10 mins off ferry (patched up Trusty picture above) 5 years on.
Joint fault accident but of course no such thing really. However the silver lining is French driver never made a claim. We don’t know why but she just did not. But not withstanding, Trusty got us all the way through France/Spain, and to Portugal with the help of Tones wonder patching. Patched it up on route, in France, Spain, and Portugal.
Below is the link to our first Web sited Trip.