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(>Pictures at the bottom!)
At the end of April, i.e. during our journey home from Spain to Switzerland, we were already planning our onward journey to Ireland and England. During our short stay in Switzerland, we planned to do some work and changes to the living quarters of our camper. The short time would have been enough for that. With a lot of confidence, we headed for our temporary domicile in Alain’s shared flat. But things turned out differently than we had hoped:
Already the incident on the Grenchenberg (falling rocks) and the subsequent repair of the windscreen were responsible for the first delay. Here I have to give a lot of praise to our authorised workshop in Basel; he reserved the last windscreen available in Switzerland after the first contact by phone, so that there should be no further delay in this material procurement. Other spare parts were and still are not available or can only be obtained with great effort. Long live the free (trading) world!
After the repair, I (Tom) could finally devote myself intensively to the desired changes. But here, too, there were some major delays in procuring materials. I don’t want to blame everything on the lack of material, but my craftsmanship sometimes takes its toll and requires a corresponding learning curve. Likewise, changes to an existing product can lead to further adjustments, etc. And, often the right screws were simply missing, or the desired item was simply not available and had to be bought somewhere in advance. In any case, our stay became longer and longer and Chantal soon asked me every evening whether I would be finished soon. I soon didn’t know what to say anymore and these answers always resembled the last excuse.
We went to the meeting of the South American travellers with an empty camper, i.e. for the night in Bad Dürrheim the spartan furnishings were barely enough and if it had rained we would definitely have left a bad impression. Many fellow travellers with their perfectly equipped motorhomes wanted to inspect our car, but they only looked into the emptiness of our camper.
Instead of continuing on to Ireland, we returned to the home barn after the meeting of the “Amigos de Panamericana”, where the conversion work was brought to completion. Actually, we rebuilt everything in the back, except for a few elements, and relied on boxes instead of cupboards. In addition, we also brought along a freshly purchased partition toilet, which will allow us to camp in urban areas without having to do the impossible to take care of a simple human need. After the storms in Iceland and the Canary Islands, we have the new option of sleeping in the car without opening the pop-up roof. Whether this change will still prove itself, we have to test extensively.
On the vehicle side, we also had to make certain changes for South America. In addition to a new gearbox software, the engine control system was adjusted so that our diesel should still chug along somehow even at 4’500 metres above sea level. On the tour to England, we can test the adjustments to the vehicle over a longer distance and have any faults rectified by the workshop that carried them out; in South America, this would be more difficult.
Before shipping, our Jeep also goes to various workshops where it is put through its paces so that there should be no major surprises over the next 50’000 km. Anyway – these appointments were soon set. More information about the changes and adjustments can be found under “About us …and the technology”.
At the beginning of July – more than a month behind schedule – the time had finally come. We finally saw light at the end of the tunnel. With some daring, or was it rather displeasure, we packed our seven things into our mobile home and were happy that finally something was moving again. A little sceptical about the completed conversion, we packed our luggage into the newly designed home. The time ahead on our shortened tour would soon tell.
With the month-long delay, the first desired country also “fell through the cracks”; the visit to Ireland was cancelled and we will go directly to England, where a whisky tasting is already booked for mid-July. Instead of “cruising”, a brisker journey will take us to the next ferry port; after all, stale whisky probably doesn’t taste very good.
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