After running the Museum of Witchcraft in Boscastle, Cornwall for 17 years, Graham King, his partner Kerriann Godwin, and their Chihuahua Yorkie cross Hugo are spending their retirement traveling around Europe in their beloved Hymer 508 motorhome, 'Dickie'.
TomTom sat nav disaster rectified! I have managed to reload the campervan settings so we can go back to using just one satnav at a time.
Kerriann driving Dickie
I know that many of you prefer maps to Satnavs and I can
understand your reasons, but I have to say that I agree with Anthony and Donna
who say that the Sat Nav provides marital bliss – that is to say it stops
arguments. Trying to find aires and campsites in far away lands with
instructions in foreign languages can be a real pain. Our second-hand unit (a
TomTom Start 25 with the Europe Camper maps added) is a godsend. It warns us
when we are going over the speed limit, and it is programmed so that (in campervan
mode) it avoids ‘lower than Dickie’ bridges and ‘narrower that Dickie’ roads.
It also speaks to us when we are near an LPG station so that we get plenty of
warning if we need to top up our gas. Having said that there is enough gas emanating
from Kerriann’s backside to power the whole trip – if only I could collect it! (Charming! - K)
The Satnav is also programmed
to tell us when we are near an ancient site in the UK – it does however have a
problem pronouncing ‘megalith’. TomTom says me-gar-lith with a lot of
emphasis on the gar which causes us endless amusement. We now refer to all ancient
monuments as meGARliths. We have kept our very old Snooper 2000 (camper
edition) as a back up but much prefer the TomTom. The Camper editions of these
satnavs already have lots of useful points of interest loaded but we add LPG
stations (as already mentioned), Camping Car Aires (for European free wild camping
sites), Wildcamping (for UK wild camping sites), and Motorhome Stopovers
(similar to aires).
On a previous trip Kerriann discovered that she could
download and change the SatNav voice. She loaded an American born-again
preacher who kept telling us that ‘by the
grace of god you have reached your destination’. I am pleased to say she
hasn’t (yet) discovered how to alter many of the settings on this unit. We have
toyed with the idea of creating our own ‘witches' directions' – ‘deosil at the next roundabout’ or ‘at the next junction take the left hand
path’. What do you think? We currently have a polite female voice on Tommy
but I must say my intuition tells me that a male voice would give more precise
and accurate directions? (Harumph - K)
I have resolved one of our other problems with the aide
of technology – Kerriann likes watching tele occasionally. I find that when the
tele is on it distracts me from reading or doing my many other tasks so I
brought with us a tiny fm radio transmitter that can be plugged into the sound
output jack on the television. We can then listen to the TV through the motorhome radio speakers – far better quality - or Kerriann
can tune into the retransmitted audio signal on the radio in her smartphone. This means that she can listen to the tele on headphones whilst wandering
around the van and I can read in silence. Perfect!
The other wonderful bit of technology is our external
wifi arial. This is a box of tricks with a long wire that plugs into a laptop
usb port. It enables us to easily pick up wifi HotSpots. It is so good that, touch
wood, we have managed to get free wifi at every single overnight stop in Europe
so far. We are now in our 5th country – Cornwall, England,
France, Belgium and Holland.
The roads were horribly busy with massive trucks on our drive around Antwerp this morning but my nerves held out (I don’t think Kerrian’s did) and we
eventually ended up winding our way through some tiny single track roads to this
lovely stopover in a yacht marina at Strijensas. By the way, if you ever come here in a motorhome please ignore your sat nav (whether you've just rectified a disaster on it or not) and just follow the road signs.
Feeding the sheep in Strijensis
It’s been raining but now the
sun has got its hat on - hip hip hip hooray!