Aug. 2006
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Check out Weeks ending: [5 Aug 06] [12 Aug 06] [19 Aug 06] [26 Aug 06]

Week ending 5 Aug 06 (Bob)

Medical Checks - All routine

Selling our Motorhome - We have decided to sell it using magazines and the internet, and have listed it with two magazines and their associated websites.  We chose the magazines based on which ones ended up highest when we did a Google search for motorhomes like ours.  The week was spent cleaning corners and crevices, varnishing some of the woodwork, touching up paint dings, having an annual vehicle inspection, and the like.  By the end of the week we had several calls and one visit - we're off to a good start.

Week ending 12 Aug 06 (Bob)

The Motorhome Sells - Much quicker than we expected, a couple rushed to see it on Tuesday, left us a substantial deposit, and by Friday brought us a bank draft for the balance.  And we were homeless!  By Friday afternoon we had all of our travel belongings packed into our diminutive Ford Escort, and we were driving into the sunset - feeling a little disoriented at the prospect of now paying £70-90 per night for lodging and eating out at all of our meals until we returned to Long Passages in Mallorca.  And a 2d complication was...

Our Laptop Packed Up - After 2 1/2 years of dutiful service, our Toshiba laptop died and after an abortive attempt to have it fixed locally we sent it to the Toshiba service facility in the UK to find out that it was still under warranty and they could fix it in 3-5 days - all good news, all we had to do was find a couple of places to visit for a few days.

Isle of Wight - On the first part of our 'homeless' tour we crossed the Solent by ferry to visit our friends Debi and Marcus (first met in Marmaris) and Debi's Mum, Lyn.  We had a delightful weekend being wined, dined, and shown the sights by this lovely couple.  The IOW is a laid-back place, with beautiful homes, lots of open space, and feel much like Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. 

Week ending 19 Aug 06 (Bob)

Lessons Learned with Motorhome Sale - Based on our experience we reached the following conclusions:

  • We listed in the Auto Trader magazine, and they put it on the website and this brought us lots of calls - this was a good move.
  • We listed the motorhome on Google AdWords and our ad was presented about 1100 times in 10 days and 34 people followed it to our website - this was a good move.
  • We had built a website with lots of photos and details, plus a downloadable brochure.  People could reach it via a standard Google search (low probability), a Google AdWord (moderate probability) or via Auto Trader (high probability.  We had about 400 hits on the site over a 2-week period - overall a very good move.  One oversight on the website was that we did not include our phone number so people could only reach us by email - probably a poor move.
  • We also advertised on the UK magazine MMM; unfortunately the long lead time for getting an ad into print means that by the time it reaches the news-stand, the motorhome will be long gone - this was a bad move.

Oxford - Early in the week the Toshiba repair facility was predicting a 2-week repair period and would not return the unit to us in Spain, so while we negotiated with them we visited Oxford again, an interesting and dynamic town with the world-famous university.  We walked along the Thames, visited tacky exhibits, and generally had a good time.

Ely and Cambridge - By the week end Toshiba had figured out a way to find all of the parts they needed (motherboard, DVD player, cooling fan) and promised the computer by next Monday, so we decided to go to the repair facility in Colchester and pick it up as soon as it was ready.  On the way to Cambridge we stopped at Ely, a beautiful village with clean streets, friendly people, a quaint old hotel, and a HUGE cathedral. We spent a day touring the cathedral, one of the largest in England, and visiting the Stained Glass Museum - perhaps the only one devoted solely to stained glass. On to Cambridge, another of England's centers of learning which, like Oxford, is divided into colleges that are the focus of a student's life during his/her 3-5 year studies. 

Week ending 26 Aug 06 (Bob)

Laptop in hand - Just as promised, our laptop was ready on Monday afternoon - we hung around the loading dock eagerly awaiting its return at a repair facility in Colchester, England.  As each courier truck arrived it would unload pallets with several hundred computers to add to the several thousand that were stacked in the shipping & receiving area - the repair company was making lots of money even if Toshiba wasn't.

Last Night in England - With the laptop in hand we headed south for Lymington and our new favorite Inn, The Mayflower, where we could relax in a comfy room and have unlimited use of the internet as we filled up on our last 'fish & chips' for a while.

Ferry Crossing with LD Lines - We chose to cross from Portsmouth the Le Havre, an overnight trip that starts at 11 PM and ends with a wake-up call at 0630.  By 0730 we had switched our driving habits from the left side of the road to the right and by early afternoon were napping in Hotel Beau Rivage, a modest seaside hotel in Le Viviere sur Mer, trying to recover from 3 hours of sleep in a ferry seat.  Next time we should pay for a premium seat or a cabin!

St Malo - Last time we were here the inner harbor was full of Tall Ships preparing for a race to Plymouth - now the streets were clogged with tourists, mostly French with a few other nationalities mixed in, trying to squeeze in the last few days of summer before schools reconvene in a week.  We stayed at the Hotel Elizabeth, a cozy 2-star inside the walled city, and enjoyed a sunny day of watching boats come and go while nibbling our baguettes on a bench overlooking the English Channel. Being summer, musicians of all sorts and tourists strolled the streets of the Intra Muros, or inner medieval city. In the harbor, yachts, fishing boats, and ferries vied for the small amount of deep water, while boats dried out on the mud during low tides that range over 20'.

Typical street musicians

Hard aground at low tide

Sailboats in outer harbor

St Malo busy street

Brittany Coast - For the next two days we drove along this beautiful coastline, deeply indented with bays and coves, well-protected by off-shore rocks and islets, and navigators are warned off by numerous lighthouses, old and new.  We had heard how pretty it was but were not prepared for the real thing, and can now see why it gets such good press.  Tourists and motorhomes abound, but it never felt crowded.  Judi compared it to the Pacific Northwest coasts for California and Oregon, I saw comparisons with Martha's Vineyard and New England - whichever, it is a magic place.  We spent a night at Brignogan-Plage, a cute town and even cuter hotel on the sea - it would have been easy to stay for a month and watch the tides, read, write and relax. 

 

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