Monday, 13 October 2014

The Campbell’s have arrived

The Campbells are coming Ho-Ro, Ho-Ro!

The Campbells are coming Ho-Ro, Ho-Ro!

The Campbells are coming to sunny Albir

The Campbells are coming Ho-Ro, Ho-Ro!

Now before you think I’ve gone completely mad. If you don’t know this song, it is actually attributed to Robert Burns and is believed to be about the infamous Scottish Campbell Clan  descending on Lochleven Castle in an attempt to rescue Mary Queen of Scots.  Obviously they weren’t going to sunny Albir, (they were actually going to “bonnie Lochleven”) but I rather like the sound of it and it has quite a good beat for driving. Driving you mad actually.

I can of course adopt this song as we are Campbells but Iain’s immediate family is from Northern Ireland, not Scotland. Probably descendants of those who emigrated to Ulster in the 17th Century and of course now in England.

Anyway enough of that and I’m sure Iain will correct me if I have got it wrong.

So we are here in sunny Albir

I can’t believe we have been here over a week already so it’s time to update my blog.

Ok so my last post said that we were leaving Peniscola early and going down to Albir because the weather forecast said it was the same in both places and it meant that Albir had cooled down.

The drive from Peniscola to Albir (about 150 miles) was for a great change pretty uneventful except for a couple of irritating human/satnag errors.  Firstly I wasn’t sure what destination the satnag was taking us to so in my haste to re-program I did manage to select the wrong LPG station.  I do wish that my navigator would learn how to use the satnag so that I don’t have to press things when I’m driving.  We were intending to head south and the fuel station we were heading to was actually North West.  Luckily we had been in Peniscola a week and were familiar with the place so we went the way we wanted to, not the way the satnag told us to until I realised my error.  Reprogrammed we were off in the right direction.  Second mistake, earlier in the week I had checked out a walking route to the supermarket in Peniscola and unlike the old Tom Tom which asked you each time what sort of route you want, the Garmin defaults to the last used.  So then we were programed to go the shortest route and again, until I realised my error the satnag and the navigator wanted to go in different directions.  The wonders of modern technology!!! So there I was giving instructions on how to re-program for the fastest route.

Unlike many of our fellow motorhomers we generally use the toll-roads for convenience and fuel economy – as I’ve said, at 9 miles to the gallon you want as much fuel economy as possible. But this time I decided that the N road looked ok and we’d use that to get to the fuel station.  It wasn’t long though before we changed our minds.  In Spain, most of the lorries use the N road rather than the toll roads, so these roads are pretty congested.  Whilst we are not in a hurry and the general speed is ok for us, there are a lot of nutters on the road who have to overtake you, screaming past and then cutting back just in time to escape the oncoming juggernaut.  Also with the roads not being that wide, I do have to make sure I’m well over to the right when lorries are coming in the opposite direction.  Added to that is the stop-starting for roundabouts and traffic lights (I did speak about fuel economy) and it was no more than 20 miles before we decided to take the AP-7 and pay up.

empty stress-free roads

The toll roads in Spain are not that expensive, with some of them being only a few euros and they are pretty empty, I can virtually stick the van into cruise control and relax on our journey. So for lowered stress levels and fuel economy  that’s the way we prefer to travel.  Unfortunately unlike France, the service stations on the motorways (apart from at San Sebastian) do not have LPG, so we have to come off the toll-road, pay, get fuel and then get back on but we’re getting used to the foibles (pain) of running on LPG.

Only one stop for fuel along the way and funnily enough our nearest fuel station was the same one we had used on the way down last time.  We had been running on reserve for some time and by the time we stopped at the garage we were on all four flashing lights whilst the engine gasped for gas.  But we didn’t actually run out.  We knew this would be the last time that we would need LPG for some 6 months so we just put in enough to get us the remaining 100 miles or so.  So 100 litres later the gauge was showing 1 light, which now tells us that most of our tank is on reserve – what’s the sense in that?

Wow, I managed to ramble enough on something that I said was “uneventful”  and I’ve just remembered there is a bit more to come.

Back on the AP-7 I have to admit that once we got to the Costa Blanca I was getting quite excited.  I had forgotten just how pretty it is around here with the deep blue sea, the mountains and of course the torrential rain. Yes, once again the rain had followed us.  It was about level with Valencia when the heavens opened and we were quite high up – not like the central plains, but the road does go up and down a bit, even though it’s close to the coast.


So with visibility reduced, wet roads, our speed was down to about 40mph.  This added a bit to our journey time but not enough to worry us – we’re in no hurry, we’ve got all winter.

Cap Blanch, Albir/Altea

We stopped for lunch and arrived at the campsite at about 3pm which was a good time.  Jo and James had beaten us there and had been in situ for about a week already.  Hank and Jenny also greeted us and they had been here for two weeks.  Jo and James had emailed us the day before to say that there was plenty of space on the campsite and we were able to choose our preferred pitches the day before. However that day seemed to be the day everyone and his brother arrived and when we got there, all our preferred pitches were taken.  This meant that although we got a pitch in the area we wanted we are now up against the road.  A bit noisy but hey what difference would 20 feet make.  Iain’s not keen to move and the ones we want don’t seem to be coming available anyway so here we are, firmly ensconced on pitch D6 next to Jo and James.

The campsite is very much as earlier this year – Chelsea F**king Dave is still here, despite his threats to move back to Ireland, there is a new Doggy Douche that wasn’t there before, but apart from that it’s very much the same – still full of Dutch.  The wifi may be free but the broadband is cr*p.  It’s ok for general browsing and email but you can’t download anything big, so unfortunately we still have to go to Wyndhams to get our TV.  The dog has become really chilled and seems to have a smile on her face as if she’s “come home”.  We’ve put up a green netting fence at the back of our pitch to give Connie a visual border in case we get any neighbours like the ones last year that glared out of their window whenever the dog encroached 2 inches on their pitch even though they never had the guts to say anything.  And the weather?  Well despite the “work of fiction” as Eric calls it is VERY HOT, generally in the mid to high 20’s every day.  Much hotter than I expected for October and it doesn’t even cool down much at night.

I haven’t taken any photos yet of Albir, so here’s a library one from last time.

campsite 1


So let’s get this party started.

No comments:

Post a Comment