Friday, 4 October 2013

Who thought LPG was a good idea?

One last post about our holiday  final practice for full timing.
We were in Alton in Hampshire and had to get to home – about 120 miles – Sunday morning we needed LPG – the tank was on reserve.  Got the sat nag out and checked the nearest garage.  Oh here’s one – Shell – great – only about 6 miles away – typical when we got there it happened to be on the wrong side of a dual carriageway.  A roundabout up ahead but we hadn’t passed one for some miles so a decision here – turn around and use it or go to the next?  We decided that we’d push on, LPG isn’t that hard to find in England - is it? On a Sunday morning?  In hindsight not a good idea.  It’s like supermarkets, you know you need one and you find one but what you don’t know is how far it is to the next so USE it when you can.
According to the sat nag, there’s another garage in Farnborough – not too far away – sat nag takes us off down a B road and onto an industrial estate.  I didn’t think there was much hope as soon as we went onto a B road.  Absolutely no sign of any LPG filling station, luckily not too far from the route so hadn’t wasted too much of our reserve.
Next stop along the route, Asda in High Wycombe – over 40 miles away. Decision now – go back to the one on the wrong side of the dual carriageway or push on to Asda.  12 miles round trip back – that’s over a gallon of fuel – we’ll push on and hope we get there.  Sat nag took us off the right junction of the motorway – only to put us into John Lewis car park – fantastic – not!  Had to wiggle our way around their car park and find Asda, not too difficult a job, next step to find where the gas pump is – that might sound strange but it’s amazing how they can hide these LPG pumps sometimes.  We often have to stop at the entrance to a garage while the other one walks around to find the pump BEFORE we commit our behemoth to the pumps.  Yes there it is on pump No 8. Fantastic we got there without running on Petrol - not so fantastic  – out of action.  That’s now 2 wild goose chases and still no LPG.  Next stop WARWICK services on the M40.  I said we were already on the red when we left Alton, so we had now done over 40 miles with another 50 to go to the nearest LPG. 
The lights on the LPG gauge were totally confused – flashed red, constant red, all green again – hey that’s magic, we’re full again.  No lights at all, back to red, and all this time, STILL running on gas.  We were within just 22 miles of Warwick Services when beep, beep, beep, beep we tripped over to petrol.  Stupid thing is if we hadn’t been on the wild goose chases we might have got there. So 22 miles of running on petrol – what!!!! At 9 miles to the gallon!!!!!!!!!!  Not something that we want to do very often.  Having said that when we first got Jan we didn’t really know how the LPG switches worked and I found that we had run all the way to Devon on petrol - £75 worth!!  What a biga mistake to maka – paranoid about doing that again.
Lesson learned – 1. Check you are running on gas
2. We can actually do about 90 miles when we are on reserve.

One last thing – totting up the mileage and fuel usage we have now calculated that Jan does an average of 9.6 miles to the gallon if driven at motorway speeds and around 6.7 if we go through towns – so back to an earlier question To paeage or not to paeage – well EVERY journey has to be considered on the length, stress levels and time to get there and then decide.  There’s really no hard and fast rules. 

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