/ Europe2011


Like idiots we forgot to check the mileage before leaving the UK but this **Google Map **suggests 1845 miles without any side trips. It's an underestimate anyway as we took non-motorway roads ifor most of France and all of Switzerland and although I've tried to replicate that the map isn't totally accurate of our route.

The route with campsite stops

The R20 performed brilliantly, apart from a minor problem that the driver's electric window wouldn't always wind down (an annoyance at immigration) it was perfect. Not having the exact milage I don't have the total mpg figures but the run from Friedrichshafen to Gulpen was 385 miles according to Tomtom. We probably added an extra 25 miles to that with detours and searching for a campsite, yet the fill-up next day in Gulpen was 38.2 litres giving marginally in excess of 10 mpl or 45.5mpg.

We've already added a longer a longer power cable, and found better pots and pans than our previous sets so that's two improvements for next trip. Apart from a Quick Tent replacement that has more fall and so is less water retentive we can think of nothing else we need to change.

Our van routine is well organised and we can go from bed to seating in under 5 minutes, including compression-strapping the bedding and stowing in the luton. Liz cooked most nights and although the food was fairly basic it was always excellent and little washing up to do.

Our product endorsements for the trip:

Aeropress coffee maker - I've sung its praises in the Smallmotorhomes forum and don't hesitate to do so again. Expresso coffee with no mess and no cleaning. It really does make great coffee and is much easier than a a cafetiere or an aluminium stove-top such as a Bialetti. It's a genius piece of design and doesn't even need washing out afterwards as there are no residual grounds left in the device - a quick wipe with kitchen roll after use sufficed until we got home.

Lifeadventure Trek Towels - not the normal smooth microfibre towels, these ones are slightly rough but have amazing drying qualities, dry themselves quickly in the sun and pack away into baks small enough to hang inside the van. We have two bath size ones, must get a face one.

Onechem concentrate toilet fluid - although we restricted the use of the chemical toilet to liquid waste, regular emptyings were necessary and, of course, a toilet fluid to ensure sanitaryness was essential. The Onechem concentrate comes in a bottle that appears to have been designed especially to fit upright in the R20's external locker. Being a concentrate only 20cl are needed so the small bottle easily lasted the trip. The cool bit is that it has a cunning mechanism so that squeezing the bottle allows fluid to climb up a tube into a small measuring reservoir at the top of the bottle so it's a cinch to measure out the exact quantity and pour into the waiting loo.

**Boil in the Bag food **- Liz took some rice with us but also found wheat in France and Switzerland. Made life much easier and reduced washing up time. We are currently investigating whether we can get boil in the bags to make our own up - Lakeland Plastics sell them but for rice and grain we will need perforated ones which are hard to find.

A lesson learned - blogging takes much more time than you would expect. If you plan to do a daily diary you must do it daily. Even the simple chore of taking all the photos from the camera, selecting ones for the blog and then cropping and resizing takes much longer than you might think.