My air suspension is one of the best things on my wagon, it’s like driving cupped in a waterbed, makes cruising along a pleasure. I also have a posh airbed that pumps up in seconds using the 240 volts that fits snugly width ways into the van, so when I’m sleeping on an airbed with air underneath keeping the wagon up it’s like the double cheeseburger of rest, a double air nights sleep.
However on the negative it needs occasional fixing, so luckily I found the people that made the suspension in the first place, went to visit and got some professional attention whilst spending a day at the workshop.
I found out that I needed some new parts, a filter needed replacing and the air pressure needed re-setting, but it is now ready for another 200,000 miles as that’s how many miles it has done so far!
I enjoyed spending a day at the liverpool branch of Glide-Rite, it’s a professional space but they’re warm and welcoming, I had stuff explained to me well and they were open about what needed doing, so I left feeling like I had made a few friends rather than simply having a van fixed.
I also got to see some of the other stuff they now do, so it’s worth checking them out to see how they can improve your campervan as air suspension has come on a long way, am glad to have benefitted from some of it.
One of my favourite places in the lakes to swim is the small, stone, Birks Bridge over the River Duddon in Dunnerdale.
I like it so much because the water tumbles down into various small pools, frothing up water that is like a chilly jacuzzi if you can manage to climb into them, then down into a gorge that narrows under the bridge where it speeds up and gets deep enough at points to jump into.
Be careful though because there are rocks just under the surface, that can be very dangerous if people were to jump from the bridge in the wrong place.
But on my way there I stopped first near the southern end of the river to swim in some of the pools and for various reasons took a while to make it down to the bridge on Friday, but when I got there I was just as happy as when I first found the place.
I put on a pair of clear goggles and a pair of boots, I wanted to be able to see underwater and the boots were so I could walk over some of the sharp rocks, then got into the water around thirty metres down river from the bridge where the rocks get low enough.
The water is crystal clear, but at first too fast to swim against so I swam down to the bottom where the water is slower. The air is the same in that is is slower near the ground than high up because of the resistance it gets from objects. The water is also slower at the edges, so I made it quite a way up the river and then stood up and walked a short distance using the booties I was wearing to get over the rocks.
Near the bridge the water gets faster, but I managed to get under the bridge and past it to stand on a stone that is nearly at the surface, it felt like quite a mission as the water was quite fast after a few days of heavy rain.
Under the bridge the water can be quite deep, there are eery spaces where some tolkienesque gollum figure would be happy chewing on fish, there’s an arch that you can swim under, nooks and crannies, then when the water is slower you can clamber up the stones into the pools higher up, but this time the water wouldn’t let me.
I was cold when I got out as I must have been in there half an hour, I almost lost my balance because I was colder than I thought, but I felt invigorated as always and left feeling happy that I found my favourite swim spot again.
It is a Mercedes 416 Sprinter with a 5 cylinder 2.7 litre turbo engine, I finished it to be a work, swim, sleep and travel vehicle so it has electricity, a lot of space, a very comfortable bed and speakers in the back for some good sounds.
It has had many parts replaced, the air bags and the suspension recently given an overhaul by the people who actually made the suspension in the first place, dual mass clutch, alternator, water pump, starter motor, has had some of the injectors re-seated, the turbo was repaired and it has a spare mercedes alternator, plus headlights and other bits and pieces should they go wrong.
It has 4 fully seat belted seats with the front seats able to be turned to face backwards, it has side seats in the back which can be used for dining or relaxing, USB, a 3kw inverter for 240 volts, USB slots for re-charging devices, a lot of storage space and surround speakers, plus LED lighting in the ceiling and on the sides, the latter can be changed to any colour so it can be bright or soft for a gently nights sleep, it can also be set to change colour automatically which is soothing together with some good music.
There are outside lights, a night heater for winter and a ceiling fan for summer, it has been painted and carpeted so it looks very glamorous too.
But the main idea is that it’s versatile. There is a lot of space to store what you want, so a cooker is stored in one of the big storage spaces, then placed on a table in the space in front of the bed, this table can be taken to pieces and stored over the drivers cabin. A portable shower can be hung over the back door and filled from a river and if you need to toilet you can put one in a box, I keep a large water container in one of the overhead storage lockers so there’s water, so you can make what might be the most important thing which is a cuppa.
If you need to store tools there is the room for them and the electrics so you can use power tools, if you want to store sports equipment there is room for the gear and the van has seats for 4 people.
If you need to carry mountain bikes, or canoes, there’s room inside, not outside, just configure it how you want and you’re off.
To sleep I use a posh air bed that pumps up using the 240 volts, it takes a few minutes to fill up and is the best nights sleep I have ever had.
I personally also used it as a mobile work space, and a swim van, I make websites so I could use my phone internet to plug in wherever I was and sit at the table using a laptop, then I could go and swim in a mountain river and spend the night wherever I wanted. I never found anywhere that was far from the internet when I needed it, so I could find places to swim or stay easily using the mobile wifi on my phone via a laptop I plugged into the inverter, or a tablet I plugged into the USB.
One of the handiest things if you live in London is that it is allowed into the LEZ zone without charge.
Basically it’s a powerful mercedes with a bed in the back, for those who know how to be truly free.
It is listed on ebay in London because I will head to London and Brighton soon, for now I am in West Yorkshire.
The selling price is £6500 ono, so either send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 07799532823
Many years ago I went up to Wastwater Youth Hostel with a friend of mine and fell in love with the place. It’s in a gorgeous valley that has Scafell Pike at one end, has the deepest lake in England on the doorstep and was built as someone’s fine country mansion, so I thought that it would be Continue reading Wastwater YHA Birthday Weekend→
Tis almost two years since my last post, so I took a look back over the years since I set-up Cyber Gypsy and had a few thoughts before heading back into the world of on-line personal biography writing.
It hasn’t really felt like winter’s as I remember them, but then again I do remember some pretty grim winters. Miner’s strikes cutting power to damp cities, shoes that never seemed to dry out, England and I are in a better place now.
I missed the snowy antics at the lido last weekend and thought that it could have been the last chance this year. However as lady luck may have it not only did it start snowing again last night, but it was also Ian’s birthday hence the lido had a bit of the Sunday atmosphere about it this morning. Happy birthday Ian! Continue reading Snow!→
Whilst roasting in the Tooting Bec Lido sauna the other day someone referred to the current weather as a heat wave. The water, hovering at 5 degrees seems to some to be a balmy bath compared to what it could be at this time of year, so people wander about virtually naked but for a lick of cloth and occasionally a pair of Liz Taylor sunglasses, chit chatting as if we were in Benalmadena minus the palms. Anyone looking in through the security fence might see people who are locked in for their own good. Continue reading What Winter→
I can’t believe it was the 19th of May that I returned to Blighty, it seems like an age since then.
I have done few of the things I had lined up for my return and many of the things I had not, for instance I have only been to one festival though I had lined up myself a good few more to attend, yet have been busy work-wise plus have been helping a fellow turn his pub into an art gallery. Continue reading English Summer→
On my way to the airport from Roseville (how lovely Roseville sounds and it is, a leafy flowery suburb of Sydney) I stood on the train platform in the bright, breezy Autumn sun and watched the myna birds pivot on the track-side bushes, the cockatoos flap like rags, rosellas flash and spark in noisy conversation, the world was alight colour. It was at that moment that I realised I could make Australia my home. Continue reading Patpong, Nana plaza, dentist chairs and The Atlanta Hotel!→
I arrived in Australia and had a little shindig with friends I know in Sydney. The hospitality of the Krasnowskis knows no limits, so Jon, Rob, Sean and Dai all had a great evening out topped Continue reading Australia→
For a last wave at South America Valparaiso was a double edged sword, but certainly an interesting one. I loved the place but should have tucked myself in bed safely after dark, but the alternative certainly leads to an interesting life. Continue reading Santiago to New Zealand→
Valparaiso is one of those places that defines a country. It is a loud mouth of a city, colourful, unapologetic, it has trade and a good climate that puts Santiago to shame, Continue reading Valparaiso→
The bus journey from Castro to Puerto Montt was a lovely journey. Green rolling hills, a ferry across the Canal de Chacao standing on deck with spray in the face from a wind flecked sea. Continue reading Puerto Montt→