All posts by Thomas Kaiser

Home to the Refuge

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After the last night among wild boars on Spanish soil, another crossing followed, which brought us to Portbou/Spain. With great tension we climbed up to the border pass “Coll dels Belitres”, where we expected a large control and many officials. Chantal was also prepared to do all the talking with the officials, as she speaks French much better than I do. Read More

Capitulation!

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Yes, we capitulate – for now! Corona brought us to our knees.
It was already clear in Portugal; we were going home. Holding out any longer was not our thing and in three months we would have gone this way – one way or the other. For a long time, however, we didn’t know which way to go and how fast our journey north would be. Read More

In the trap

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…caught in the southwest of Portugal
Did we bet on the wrong horse by fleeing from Spain to Portugal? In the south-western corner we received daily news about some more corona measures. Even from Spain the news were not particularly encouraging and from a certain date a negative PCR test (corona test) had to be carried along. On our departure from Andalusia we hoped for an early weakening of the protective measures. Read More

To the West; to Portugal

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The news about the tightened corona measures in Spain left us no peace. From midnight of the same day these restrictions came into force! We rummaged around on the internet for a longer time to get as much and more detailed information as possible, so that we could make a decision accordingly. Soon we also knew that the southernmost region in Portugal still had very low levels of new infections and that no major restrictions for tourists were to be feared. After an intensive study of the map we found out that we could cross the border to Portugal before midnight and thus move freely for the next time. Hopefully! Read More

Almería

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…trapped in the province
We arrived in time in the eastern province of Andalusia before the gates closed and further restricted the freedom of movement. Soon we no longer felt like reading the latest Corona news every day; more and more restrictions are being imposed for the welfare of the people. Crazy! Read More

…and the technology!

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 (The information is listed consecutively and contains partly very interesting details. Just scroll through for more details).

 

19 October 2020 / Km 63’828; Cases d’Alcanar (Ebro Delta / E)
The rubber boot of the steering damper (OME) was damaged, i.e. partially torn, by an upper OME retrofit component.

Because such spare parts are not immediately available in Spain, I mounted half a plastic bottle between the metal bracket and the rubber sleeve, so that the sleeve can continue to protect the piston rod – more or less – and is not further destroyed.

After a little more than 3’000 km, many of them off-road passages, the handicraft work still holds and half of the 1-Euro-bottle withstood the stress.

 

 

 

5 October 2020 / Km 60’779; Vitoria-Gasteiz (E)
After more “cracking noises” in the front left, both on the off-road terrain and on the road, we went to the jeep workshop in Vitoria-Gasteiz.

The vehicle was immediately examined by the workshop manager and a mechanic. We were afraid that the front left wheel bearing might be defective. This was discovered during a vehicle check in Shrewsbury (GB). After about half an hour the all-clear was given; according to the Spanish diagnosis, the “cracking” came from the steering gear and not from the wheel bearing and this would be a mechanical noise that could just happen. We need not worry about this!

The play at the wheel bearing is absolutely normal and within tolerance. They wished us a good journey and a lot of fun on the trails.

Very friendly and helpful workshop boss, although the language barrier was very high. The vehicle check was free of charge for us.

 

28 September 2020 / Km 60’276; Donaldson prefilter to snorkel
Above Santa Fe/Navarra (E) in the forest the pre-filter on a tree is smashed! 199 Euro were still a pile of useless plastic parts!


Still in the forest the original inlet head from Safari (snorkel head) was mounted.

 

18.September 2020 / consumption check
After more than 38,678 kilometres we calculated the consumption of our Rubicon. The vehicle is fully equipped, tank and water supplies full; 3’300 kilograms on the scales.

For the distance travelled we needed 4’646 litres of diesel, which corresponds to a consumption of just over 12 litres per 100 km.

This also means that our new Jeep Wrangler with automatic transmission consumes 1.5 litres more than the old Wrangler, vintage 2007 with manual transmission with the same equipment. The automatic transmission is very poorly graded for the diesel engine – a purely personal sensation – in first and second gear. On mountainous roads the transmission often shifts back to first gear and even then the clutch opens, so that the engine always “howls” out of a tight curve. This never happened with the manual gearbox; the diesel always steered the whole load with sovereignty and a lot of power through such situations!

In this question the owner and importer of the jeeps should think about the essentials and offer the diesel engine with manual transmission again. Many off-roaders would be grateful and this version would be even cheaper than the automatic transmission.

 

Spain; east side

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….escape to the South!
With new energy, clean clothes and a well maintained jeep we started the next stage and the goal was clear right from the beginning; we finally want to go to the south, where it will certainly be a little warmer than on the windy camping site near the Ebro Delta. No, again we did not follow the easiest way along the coast, but climbed again over countless sierras in the interior. Read More

Spain across

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…to the Mediterranean Sea
In Santiago de Compostela we decided to postpone our trip to Portugal for the time being, as we would probably have to be in quarantine for a fortnight if we returned to Spain. At the same time we heard that even the Spanish government wants to put the inhabitants back on a “shorter leash”; the Corona pandemic is far from being eradicated! The weather was also very changeable and cold, which we both don’t quite like. Therefore we decided to drive across the huge country to the Mediterranean coast, where probably the tourist infrastructure has not yet completely gone into hibernation and the weather will probably be a bit more stable. Read More

Spain’s north coast

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In the footsteps of the Camino de Santiago
The crossing to Spain we experienced without any control, and already we were – despite a stricter corona entry – in the huge country in the southwest corner of Europe. And, speaking of corona, in Spain there is an obligation to wear masks everywhere and this obligation is really being observed. The fear of further measures is extremely high; the daily pictures from the screened quarters and suburbs of Madrid really got under your skin. They want to prevent a second lockdown at all costs. Read More

French coasts

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North and west coast
After a short ferry crossing we reached Quistreham, the offshore port of Caen. We enjoyed the warming sun on the ship deck until the last moment, as if we had had to wait a long time for this moment. Read More