Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Disaster struck Wanderoos - laptop died and was only repaired once home in Oz!

So, sadly from 31 May 2016, our posts were AWFULLY delayed, although readers will be happy to know that GlobalTrek 2016 itself continued to completion!
Entries are now being added to blog gradually when there is a space in daily life traffic...
Happy New Year 2017 xx

PS Please be aware of subtle address changes to this blog: 


Tues 31 May 2016. In Schweinfurt

Tues 31 May 2016. In Schweinfurt
Good rest overnight, GirlRob's cough finally moving towards recovery stage. Lovely sunny morning, cereal with kiwi fruit and yogurt outside watching blackbirds, starlings, pigeons, white wagtails pecking among grass, and ducks and herons flying overhead.

White Wagtail

BoyRob tested hot water - yay, another system working, and emptied toilet cassette (thankful yet again that the outdoor shower hose is on the same side, for easy rinsing). Wanderoos fortified themselves with hot showers, then went to pick up batteries, and took them back to Mercedes to install. GirlRob again set up devices for charging, opening mini iPad ready to write up blog notes in canteen. Turned on SIM card, roaming briefly to download emails - devastated to read one from Computer Kister that laptop's on/off switch is irretrievably broken and can't be repaired in Europe (Toshiba Radius was only released in Australia). Oh no, oh no! can continue to take photos and write blog notes, but can't download and edit photos or post notes to blog and insert images. This is a disaster for GirlRob, however will the blog posts be kept up to date?? Rang son-in-law Neil in Oz, who agreed to try to organise warranty repair on laptop if sent back to Oz, plus resend to us along track - eg Athens? Sent message to Julia and Eskil re contacting friend in Bratislava that we now can’t be there before 4th June.

Vehicle batteries were successfully installed, so off we went to a different supplier and ordered ones for house (nobody keeps anything in stock - it comes from central warehouse overnight), then found fabricator to see if they could enlarge holders for new batteries. They were on lunch, so we sat in truck and had our salami salad too. The guy who looked at job was not enthusiastic about our small fiddly job and sent us off to "squeeze" batteries in! Nothing more could be done on vehicle today, so went on to computer store, gave them portable drive for backup of laptop hard drive (spent an inordinate amount of time at counter while owner filled in his report in English of why he couldn't repair anything!) and ordered a car charger with 4USB ports (to use whilst driving, and to avoid using internal inverter/ house batteries for charging). At information centre located a different Stellplatz with access to washing machines, found out Schweinfurt does actually stand for Pig City which we’d assumed, bought piggy key ring for GirlRob’s camper door key which keeps being misplaced, (Little Pig, Little Pig, let me come in..."), and bought piggy postcards - the oldest grandson should enjoy Albert Schweinstein!! 

Located new Stellplatz along forest track, and given machines were actually available, GirlRob collected sheets, towels and clothes for hours of washing and drying. BoyRob took opportunity to fit to the ceiling, the new fan he'd brought over from Oz. Unfortunately the wires shorted out in the process. He gave it up in favour of concocting a salami pasta dinner. Over our cuppa Wanderoos agreed this has been a "one step forward, two steps back" trip to date...

Monday, 30 May 2016

Mon 30 May 2016. Bad Kissingen to Schweinfurt

Mon 30 May 2016. Bad Kissingen to Schweinfurt
Another torrential storm - Wanderoos were lucky they remained undercover overnight (and cheeky to manage to recharge all the devices before the organisers removed power cords from the exhibits!) GirlRob fortunate to find remains of hot water in public shower; sadly the mens were depleted by the time BoyRob tried their amenities. Battery power was critically low so we ran vehicle for 15 minutes. Andrew had located three addresses for auto workshops. The first, an auto electrician, had gone out of business; the second was parts and cars only. Manager had poor English, but even using iTranslate was not prone to helpfulness. Stopped at bakery for coffee and egg rolls, then headed for third address (parts only), but saw Mecedes sign on road and stopped for advice. They said there's no such thing as an auto electrician in Germany, only specialists at big dealerships. Gave us name/ address for Mercedes-Daimler (who nowadays manage Mitsubishi cantors) in next town. We located Schweinfurt on our Pocket Earth app and headed off in rain (what would Guy say? "...and so it begins...."

Schweinfurt Town Square

Hours later following battery tests, the bad news was that we needed new sets of batteries for both vehicle AND house, and the really bad news was that German batteries did not fit the battery space in our house "come back tomorrow, we'll keep looking". Meanwhile, in the moving of armfuls of electronic equipment from canteen upstairs (where GirlRob'd been charging devices and editing photos) to the customer lounge downstairs, the brand new laptop decided to no longer open at switch!! Un-b-lievable. Helpful girl on front desk located shop where they conducted repairs in Old Town, so off we went with arms full of electronics. Much discussion later: "we will open up inside, maybe loose connection, easy-peasy, maybe microscopic problem, no parts in Germany, not so easy for you". Left it for them to research and contact us by email. (What is going on?? suddenly nothing is "easy-peasy"!!

At Info Centre in town square located nearby Stellplatz. It turned out to be a reasonable choice, no amenities, water didn't work, but had a place to dump black water in morning. Went for stroll along river, swan and cygnets, ducks, wild flowers, well-tendered garden allotments. Cut rest of pork hock from bone, cherry tomatoes and fried-up rosti for dinner. Cut rest of squat peaches for dessert, good hot cuppa. Watched rabbits munching grass. Went to bed to read after mostly disappointing day.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Sunday 29 May 2016. Bad Kissingen, Germany

Sunday 29 May 2016. Bad Kissingen, Germany
Thunder, lightening, rained steadily until well after midnight; surprised to wake to a fine morning. GirlRob’s cough has gone deep into chest, everyone said go find a doctor, but we think we'll follow the Travel Doctor’s Stage Two advice first. Showered, washed hair, and checked out exhibits on way back to tent. 

Surely you jest??

Built with money....
Built with love...

Lance and BoyRob continued fitting new steps - followed instructions carefully to wire up, and both mighty pleased with results! Not such a good story with power though - definitely a house battery failure somewhere. Andrew obligingly found names/ addresses of recommended auto electricians for us to try tomorrow morning. Wanderoos not particularly happy with delay leaving Bad Kissingen, but better here than in countries coming up on itinerary. Farewelled Lance and Michelle, off to visit her sister on their way home. Walked over to Vernon and Wanita at Tray-On campers - promised to look them up at Maroochydore on our return. Day stayed very warm. Packed up at 5pm as show finally wound down. 

Had final drinks, showed off photos of our children/ grandchildren - surprised at how heartfelt our goodbyes were to our new Swiss companions- we've become fast friends in our four days together. Will be lovely to see them again in September. Secured our cupboards, cleaned dishes, swept out grass clippings, shook mats, threw out old steps (very soon collected by another camper!!) Unpacked our valuables from side lockers into the vehicle’s front well ready for tomorrow's departure. Organisers allowed some to stay o/n in our rapidly emptying tent - not quiet with all the packing/ unpacking going on around us, but what luxury to remain undercover (if toilets /shower open in morning will be real bonus!) BoyRob had pork hock, cheese and crackers for supper but GirlRob not at all hungry, and went to bed early.

Our Swiss friends all have Swiss army knives!!
Group photo - EarthCruiser Rocks!!

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Saturday 28 May 2016. Bad Kissingen, Germany

Saturday 28 May 2016. Bad Kissingen, Germany
Bright sunny morning, slow start to crowd. GirlRob wrote 5 postcards to grandkidlings. BoyRob tried to make sense of two invoices he’s received for ongoing house renovations in Oz. Frustrating, neither gelling with records we have taken with us.

Juris is kindly leaving us with the Swiss battery charger - we love our new friends! BoyRob has been managing battery power as carefully as possible considering we’ve not been running vehicle, parked undercover throughout, and with the single power cord to tent exhibits turned off overnight. We are definitely getting to point where our devices need to be charged though. 

Used Lance and Michelle's hire car to go into township. Happiness is: 
  * Finding a self service laundromat in a foreign country
  * Finding an obliging woman in laundromat prepared to spend time translating German signs and demonstrating how to use both washer and dryer
  * Finding a spare electrical outlet in laundromat to charge rapidly expiring devices
  * Finding unlocked internet in laundromat to download mail, photos, and update apps
(Gotta love German efficiency!!)
  * Finding good supermarket with an enticing deli, clean toilet, and post office for postcards -sigh, this is a GOOD day!!

Lance has generously given us the replacement steps in lieu of our contribution to the show. Once exhibitions were finished for day BoyRob loosened all nuts holding old steps in place (a struggle with his bad shoulder), then Lance and later Andrew came to help. It took an hour to get them off and then struggle with newer heavier ones to fit in place. By then it was getting late and the group was expected for dinner/networking at a supplier’s stand. Boys decided to leave electrics until morning (new steps can be wired to close with door which we don't want).

A flutter went around camp with news of impending storm. A couple of hours later an interesting line formed across the sky followed by a dust storm with strong cold winds. 
Wanderoos helped secure camp more tightly, particularly moving the show television from its vulnerable position. 

4 of us caught ride to town in new EC to go to a special A&A show BBQ smorgasbord at Faber Bistro. Delicious steak, spare ribs, sausages and burgers, range of grilled veggies, salads and decadent chocolate sweets. Great company, many many toasts in different languages, and lots of laughs.

Once back at camp, storm arrived with thunder and lightening overhead. We felt just as secure in our canvas top as the monoliths sharing the grounds.