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December 2019 - 1 

2 - December 2019


‘2’. We were so excited when we launched the magazine at the NEC Motorhome Show last month. We had no idea how this new magazine would be received but the response was amazing. For most of the week we were in the top 10 most popular apps in both app stores. On the last weekend of the show we were sat in position number three, above the Times and the Guardian! So, you can imagine how pleased we were. In fact, a screenshot of the top charts has been my mobile phone screen wallpaper ever since!  Thousands of people have downloaded the app from the App Store as well as reading it online.  We are fast on the way to becoming the most read motorhome publication in the country, if we aren’t already.  The feedback has been great, the five-star reviews we’ve received already outnumber the reviews of other Motorhome Magazines by 10 to 1. This month sees the start of our Agony Aunt, in Dear Dorothy.  Doris will answer any of your delicate questions whether or not motorhome related. Please contact her with your questions at and your anonymity is assured. We have an article about using your van in the winter, so if you are one of those who’s wheels don’t move between Bonfire night and Easter, maybe these pictures can persuade you. Enjoy the Magazine - Jim Brown elcome to issue

December 2019 - 3 



Adam from MotorhomeWifi Takes us through some options


DEAR DORIS Agony Aunt Dorothy Helps motorhomers with a predicament

12 SHOPPING THAT’S FUN Wino ina French Supermarket Aisle


CONFESSIONS The dodgy dealer let’s us in on some of his secrets


THE FLT Another diary entry from our friendly FLT


MOROCCO IN THE MOTORHOME Terry and Phil in Morocco


WINTER IN THE VAN Using your van in the winter and what to do if you dont


SUN LIVING A70DK A review of this family van from the Adria stable


Marrakesh Market Stall, 4 - December 2019

PAYLOAD PANDORA’S BOX Asking questions about motorhome payloads Issue 2, December 2019

December 2019 - 5 

Streaming TV


Adam from Motorhome Wifi discusses your best options for keeping up with the soaps while away in your van

TV is a popular pastime for Brits at home or abroad and while it’s not popular to admit it, on average each of us watch over 3 hours a day. TV broadcast schedules have been dictating the routine and lives of millions of households who love to gather around the goggle box at a set time to get their fix of the latest soap, drama, sporting event, blockbuster film or maybe just some B list celebrities trying to cook, dance or eat bugs in the jungle. Technology has frequently intervened to try and let us take back control, starting with VideoPlus back in the 1980’s whereby entering a special 6 digit code on your video recorder’s remote, it magically knew when to start and stop recording and on what channel. Then there was Sky+, a Personal Video Recorder (PVR) with a built-in hard drive that recorded and paused live TV and various similar PVR boxes released for use on terrestrial and Freeview channels. In 2019, more than half of UK houseatching

6 - December 2019

holds now have their TV connected to the internet, with eight in ten adults having a smartphone which they are increasingly using to watch video. Around half of UK households now subscribe to at least one subscription video-on-demand (SVoD) service (such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video) and UK adults watch on average, about half an hour of YouTube content per day. This begs the question, how do you watch TV at home and how do you watch it in your Motorhome? Most motorhomes are supplied new with a terrestrial TV aerial, the most popular type being a directional type you can raise and lower through the roof. The direction in which they are adjusted is either impossibly sensitive to the slightest movement or of no consequence, with little margin in-between. They can often be spotted raised to full potential at 60mph on an A-road after being omitted from the pre-flight checks, the occupants returning a cheery wave despite

your best attempt at “your aerials still up mate’ charades as you pass. However, nothing told your fellow campers you had really arrived like a fully automatic 85cm satellite dish, raising majestically from your roofline, until you had to move pitches due to a rogue tree. With some models costing more than a week’s package holiday to Greece for a family of four, these systems remained at the forefront of technology for over 10 years delivering up to 4 simultaneous channels and until recently, even the internet. However, with 42% of adults now considering online video services to be their main way of watching TV and film, how is that changing and how does that affect how you watch TV in your Motorhome? If you don’t have a Smart TV at home, the easiest way to make it Smart is with an Amazon Firestick. While various streaming devices exist, Amazon seems to be one of the most versatile and well-reviewed and can be purchased for around £30. They simply plug into a spare HDMI video input and take power from a 5v USB socket, usually on the TV but if not, from a suitable 12v socket or mains outlet. A wireless RF remote then allows you control the on-screen menus, although it will take you a while to get used to not having to point it at the screen to make it work. Once connected to the internet, you can access the main terrestrial channels via

their own stand-alone apps. BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, 4OD and Channel 5 can all be loaded or a third-party app such as ‘TV Player’ which can be used to give a more traditional Live TV experience allowing you to flick through channels. If you feel like dipping your toe in the water on a subscription-based TV service, then both Netflix and Amazon Prime offer 30 day free trials that can be used through the Firestick. If you’re more into content published on YouTube then YouTube’s app has returned to the Firestick after a brief feud between Google and Amazon earlier in the year. So how does this viewing experience translate to your motorhome? Well, firstly you need a Wi-Fi connection and that’s unlikely to be the one provided by the campsite as unfortunately, everyone else will be trying to do the same thing. Streaming TV does require a fair amount of data and a stable connection to be viable, which has become something of a challenge for campsite owners in rural locations to meet demand. For that reason, a connection via 3/4G is the best source and your mobile phone could hold the key. Smartphones have the

December 2019 - 7 

facility for you to create a personal ‘hotspot’ or WiFi network to share your data plan with other Wi=Fi-enabled devices, including the Firestick mentioned earlier. You may find, however, that the places that you camp are also areas that tend to be flaky for mobile phone reception and so it may be that you need to consider some form of 4G system to install into your vehicle, to provide you with a reliable connection wherever you travel. The rooftop antenna makes a significant difference to the coverage footprint given by mobile operators and while blackspots do still exist, you will be surprised how rare these can be. What’s more, if you’re abroad, you can roam onto any network (except when using Three, who have ‘roaming partners’) meaning you’re less likely to be without a signal in Europe than you are at home. Regardless of if you’re using your mobile phone or a 4G system, you’re going to need a suitable data SIM card. Unlimited data is now readily available from all networks, starting at £25 or less on a pre-paid (non contract) basis from ‘Smarty’ (smarty. which is on the Three network. Smarty allows you to take out a data plan for 30 days and pause it for up to 6 months meaning you don’t have to pay for the months you don’t use. Both Vodafone 8 - December 2019

and EE offer Unlimited SIM’s from £30 and Three from £20 on varying contract lengths. What about use in Europe? If you’ve ever tried to use BBC iPlayer on campsite WiFi then you’ll know it won’t work because it ‘knows’ your abroad. Not so on a 3/4G connection on a UK SIM card, your traffic is routed through the UK and so all of your streaming applications work just like at home. The biggest consideration when abroad is data use. Streaming TV uses roughly 500MB per hour in standard definition, let’s face it, after a glass of wine nobody can tell the difference on the TV in your motorhome. When starting a programme, it’s wise to check what the quality is set to maximise your data. Each network imposes various limits on the amount of data you can use abroad. For EE it’s 15GB, Three 15GB PAYG and 19GB contract, Vodafone 25GB for its ‘Unlimited’ plans. Seemingly O2 doesn’t enforce any data limits, but is known to use traffic management policies to reduce the permissible speeds and are more likely than most to point out that you’ve been outside the UK for more than 2 months. The most tried and tested SIM is the Vodafone 50GB Mobile Broadband SIM, all

of which can be used abroad and enough for roughly 100 hours of TV a month with no reported instances of SIM’s being blocked due to time spent abroad. This is available on a 30-day contract for £30pm direct from Vodafone or when purchased with a 4G system we can discount it to £15pm on a 12 month contract and for a limited time, more than double the data to 110GB for the same price. Sky customers can opt for a Sky Mobile SIM which gives ‘unlimited streaming’ – apparently even in Europe, the caveats being that you can only use Sky Go on a mobile device (not a TV) and any advert breaks eat into your data allowance of which 50MB must remain in order for you to stream. SkyGo itself can be used in Europe for up to 37 consecutive days, longer if via a UK IP address and/or a friend or family member can log in for you back home to reset the counter. Getting into the mindset of paying monthly for something and potentially not fully benefitting from that on some months depending on the data plan selected is often the biggest hurdle. However, if you consider that the most popular Satellite System is around £2500 fitted vs £400 for a 4G system, you can buy more than 11.5 years’ worth of data at £15pm or almost 6 years at £30.

Payload is also a contributory factor, with the 4G Roof Antenna weighing just under 1KG compared to the general weight of a satellite system sitting at roughly 11KG – 15KG. If you haven’t already joined the streaming revolution, think about picking up a Firestick on Black Friday or putting it on your Christmas list. 1 Source “ uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0026/149075/ ampere-analysis-current-status-future-development.pdf 2 Source* uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/160714/ media-nations-2019-uk-report.pdf

This article was written by Motorhome Wifi. Internet experts Adam and Sophie provide reliable connectivity solutions trusted by our customers as well as the leading motorhome manufacturers, dealers and hire companies in the industry. Wherever you are, Motorhome Wifi can get you connected to web. Connect with them at December 2019 - 9 

Dear Dorothy, When I go on a rally, it’s like going to war with my senses. Attacks start early morning with bellowed cheery good mornings so loud I react like a shell-shocked World War One veteran. Then I can’t escape as the acrid smell of streaky bacon being cooked in last night’s burger fat clings to my nasal hair making me nauseous. The over cheerful “Good mornings” come thick and fast and eventually turn into Good afternoons. Just as I try and take a mid-afternoon nap some inconsiderate person ruins what little peace there is, by blowing on a mouth organ while others sit round and noisily slurp beer at such an early hour. Other noises join in, an out of tune guitar and someone pretends a wine box is a drum. The noise goes on until it gets dark. There is no respite. Then they start the flashing lights of different colours surging up flag poles. The poles have flapping flags 10 - December 2019

trying to tear themselves from the pole. The wind bends the poles in my direction, taunting me. Suddenly a marquee far too close to me busts into life with light and sound. Then something you could loosely describe as singing carries into the night. Now and then I hear some raucous laughter which sounds like my wife. Then the people asking loudly who Alice is and trying to sell or rent trailers. With my pillow firmly over my head I can’t keep out the sounds of someone murdering their lover, Delilah.   I hate it all, it would be easy to just not attend, but, and here is my problem. My wife loves it and she comes back to the van late, dancing and asking who Alice is. She wants to attend more and more rallies. What should I do? Yours sincerely Reginald

Dear Reginald,

When your wife comes in you should dance with her; help her discover who Alice really is. On the rally field, generally try to relax. Not in the way you think, rally fields are not for sleep, you can sleep when you get home.

If you’re not enjoying it, might I suggest you join the caravan club, where the worst that might happen on a rally is that the tea is tepid or the cake a little stale. Also there, the Bingo will finish at 9pm and you’ll be guaranteed a quiet night. But only if your wife stops talking about how boring you are. Best of luck, Dorothy

Dear Doris, Can you help? My wife and I are retiring and are to fulfil a life-long dream of buying a motorhome and travelling on a whim. I want to buy a cosy two birth van but my wife is insisting on a 5 birth just in case the kids or grandkids ever want to come with us. We have 6 kids and 26 grandchildren and we see them all the time. I’d rather not be saddled with the children on our getaways in the van. How can I convince her to get the two birth. Tim (and sally) Dear Tim, Your description of this motorhome and it’s births convinces me you should not be asking me for advice.

Rather someone who I’m sure you’re quite familiar; your local midwife. 

December 2019 - 11 

When Shopping is fun This month the Wino shows us what to look for when we are faced with the bewildering choice to be found in French Supermarkets

We’ve all been there. A quick dash into the supermarket before returning to Blighty- no time to spare really but it’s too good an opportunity to miss. Then the reality - row after row of wine arranged with little apparent logic. A frantic buy with mixed feelings of a job well done and money saved but with some concern about whether it will become more of a duty than a pleasure to consume them! We used to nearly always drink new world wines before our wine course - one of the benefits was an introduction to French wine labels. I remember one trip to the supermarket before returning home. It happened to be the first trip after our wine exams. I was studying the labels when a young Brit approached me to ask if there were any “sweet 12 - December 2019

wines”. He was very relieved to find I was English and said he was looking for some wine for his girlfriend. He said she likes sweet wine but was baffled as to which one to go for. I pointed out a few including the one he went for in the end - a Monbazillac. A good idea before diving into the supermarket is to have a plan. Firstly what quantity do you want to buy? It might be limited by your spare payload. Remember the bottles weigh a fair bit too an average of a few of our bottles of wine suggests 1.3 kg to 1.7kg for a 70cl bottle of wine. The better wines tend to come in heavier bottles (however this is not necessarily an indication of quality!). The other option if low on space and/or payload is wine in boxes, often available in a wider range

December 2019 - 13 

than in the UK. The wines are often arranged in regions rather than price so it’s useful to have some idea of the areas that produce wines you tend to like and likely to have something at a price you are happy with. We think it’s usually better to have a good wine from a cheaper region than the cheapest bottles from a well known one. That bargain bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape is unlikely to be as good as a middle of the range one from a nearby region. It’s easy to decide if you are just a volume consumer and not too choosy about what you buy but be careful as it often seems that the supermarkets place quite expensive wines next to the cheap stuff so pick with care!! As always planning is a good idea and if you are in France for a while there’s no excuse not to sample a few bottles of wine that look like the sort of thing you want while you’re there. Take a photo of any you like and then you can be sure of getting the right ones before you return, especially if you go back to the same chain of supermarket. Alternatively you could buy at Majestic in Calais and buy wines you know you like. In our experience however we feel that the French supermarkets often offer better value and choice. Some will also have 14 - December 2019

a few wines from the rest of the world but may not have labels you recognise and may not be like the wines you prefer at home. We stay fairly often on vineyards so tend to acquire a stock as we travel, some of which makes it back across the channel!! Wine is still a fair bit cheaper in France than the UK despite the current exchange rate, especially on cheaper wine where the duty and tax are such a big part of the cost in the UK. So if you haven’t around to tasting wines with any real purpose on holiday and deciding at the last minute to bring back some extras what to go for?

Things to look for: Vieilles Vignes (old vines ) - these usually produce better quality wines Medals - helpful if you are wondering what to go for but not a guarantee! Languedoc - Roussillon - an area in South West France which produces a large variety of wines that are generally, very drinkable and good value. So if you like wines from another country and are unsure of which French wines you will like, what should you look for?: Prosecco - why not try a Cremant de Loire or Cremant de Bourgogne. Also but not

The Provencal Rosé

French but vintage Cava can often be a really good buy for the price.

Chardonnay - a white Burgundy (Bourgogne) - Macon is often being

very pleasant

Merlot - wines from the Bordeaux right bank area are predominantly Merlot and tend to be easier drinking styles than the left bank wines Cabernet Sauvignon these are the left bank Bordeaux – wines and specifically look for a Medoc. This style of wine often goes much better with food than on its own. Big Aussie Reds - try Cotes du Rhone Village - Syrah(Shiraz) Grenache or a blend from the Languedoc Pinot Grigio - Viognier - Condrieu is beautiful but expensive or maybe try a Chenin Blanc from the Loire such as Vouvray Sauvignon Blanc - try a Touraine - also Sauvignon Blanc but more restrained in style than many New Zealand styles. Or Sancerre which is great with the local goats’ cheese! Rose - has to be Provence rose and often comes in a pretty bottle too! Dessert Wine - Montbazillac or Rivesault is usually much cheaper than dessert wines in the UK plus as an added bonus they often come in full rather than half bottles. These are quite light dessert wines compared to some. Sweet Sherry - Pineau de Charentes makes a nice aperitif served chilled, however it’s more difficult to find away from the Charentes area. Or if you are in the south, Banyuls is a lovely sweet wine commonly served as an aperitif too and virtually unobtainable in the UK. So was the young Brit’s choice of wine the right one with his bottle of Monbazillac? We were behind him at the till where his purchases consisted of the wine, some chocolates, a bunch of flowers and a packet of “English overcoats”! Hopefully the wine did the trick!

Dave will be back in two months time to continue with our education of all things wine

December 2019 - 15 

s n o i s s e f n o y C g d o D l l e of a W rhome Moto man Sales Meet ‘Honest John’ (not his real name) Once a month we take him out for lunch. Unbeknown to him we put three drops of truth serum into his Guinness and ask him a couple of questions. This gives us a five-minute window to get honest answers. Once he starts we can’t shut him up… After the drug wears off John has no recollection of our conversation. This is a transcript of this weeks chat. 

“Afternoon John. Sorry I’m late, have you

“So what did you sell?”

been in long?”  

“We got rid of that damp French thing, we

“No, just popped in, I’ll get them, that

took part ex last week”

barmaid fancies me something rotten” “I’ll have half a lager please John”

“I thought you were going to get that fixed before selling it on”

While John is at the bar the truth drug is popped into his pint. After appearing to be blanked by the barmaid John returns, sips his beer and gets a vacant look “Afternoon John sorry I’m late have you been in long?” “Been in here a couple hours now, it’s dead” “Sold any vans this week then John?” “Sold a couple on Monday, but zilch since then.”

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“Yeah I was, but only if I couldn’t sell it, and these guys really wanted it. “ “Didn’t they spot the damp, No, I’d wiped it all down and stuck an air freshener by the door, they were clueless.”  “Yes but surely they are going to get it checked before paying you.” “Nah I told them that our 180-point check was much more thorough than the one they’d have to pay £250 for.” 

December 2019 - 17 

“And they believed you? What 180 point

their debit card....Get in. When they left

check is that!”

they thanked me! I could do with more

“Told you, bloody clueless, they even men-

punters like that.”

tioned that the air freshener was a nice smell.” John Laughs

“Nothing else happening then John?” “A guy came in today, must have been

“So what else did you sell John?”

reading up on some negotiation techniques

“That old Hymer, 544 great little Van and

or something because he offered me a silly

they offered me what was on the sticker.

price on that swift. I told him no chance;

They’d been looking for one for ages appar-

expecting to him up his bid a bit, the bugger


gave me a card, told me that his offer was fair and to call him if I changed my mind!

Bet that was a hard sell

He walked out and left me stood there like a

Not really, they were cooing and crawling

right lemon. Tell you what though, if the rest

all over it they were, making it so obvious

of the month is as quiet as this week I might

that “this was the one” I left so as to avoid

well give the cheeky beggar a call.”

the obvious questions.” “Fancy another pint, I’ll get it, I’m trying to That’s not like you to leave them on their

worm my way in with that barmaid but she

own John.

ain’t interested”

No need to stay it was so obvious I’d sold. “Love to John but I’m driving and I have So they didn’t haggle at all After 45 minutes they came into the office.

to dash, we’ll catch up next month and

you can tell me all about that barmaid”

I thought, here we go, they’re gonna start knocking me down now. It needed so many little jobs doing. There was only one set of keys, couple of locker door catches were broken. I had no paperwork, no clue if the cam belt had been done and the tyres on it were 12 years old. I was ready to swallow on most of that, but in they came waving 18 - December 2019

If you have a question you’d like us to ask John next month, drop us a line.

December 2019 - 19 

Wednesday 30th

This morning I woke up and decided to treat myself to a shower. As it so happened I had a supply of lovely fresh water nearby. I f licked the water boiler switch to on but no little green light showed itself. Not to worry, it had been playing up for weeks and weeks. I knew how to get it working. I tapped the switch. Nothing. I tapped it again. Still nothing. I tapped it again a little more firmly and ... disaster! The button, which you slid down to fire up the gas boiler, gave out a distinctive breaking noise. My years and years of bodging stuff to keep it working told me this needed more than just tapping to bring in back to life. It needed fixing properly.

I set to work.

After emptying my sock cupboard and lifting the thin, wooden liner, I found the wire attached to the back of the switch, but the other end of the wire disappeared into one of the mysteriously dark places where motorhome manufacturers hide things to make repairs difficult for us DIY owners years later. However, I was able to unscrew the body of the switch and push out just enough wire to be able to open up the plastic box container the switch and temperature control dial.

The problem was quickly spotted.

The slide on and off switch had six wire “legs” which pushed through the printed circuit board and were soldered onto the reverse side of the board. Over the 32 years of the life of my van, and, no doubt, not helped in the recent weeks by being tapped regularly to make a connection, the little solder “blobs” on all six legs had given way and the switch was now loose on the circuit board. Easy peasy to fix I thought. Warm the solder blobs, add a dab of solder where necessary on all six legs, and I should have hot water again. The only problem being the location of my soldering iron. Lots of us “vanners” have tool boxes, don’t we? Over time I have grown out of only one tool box and now have several containers full of “might be useful one day” items. I knew for sure I owned a low wattage 240 volt soldering iron which my ancient inverter would operate, but in which of these boxes was it stored. It took much longer to find the wretched thing (and the solder) than it did to use it. Of course the soldering iron would have heated up much quicker had I remembered to turn it on in the first place. All the bits and pieces were eventually back in their places, included the socks, and I am determined to remember where I put each item this time! ENTRY ENDS

20 - December 2019

December 2019 - 21 

Morocco in your Motorhome


Terry and Phil show us how to find winter sun in the deserts and cities of Morocco

different? As anyone who follows the MotorhomeFun forum will know, every year there is a long thread about Funsters touring Morocco during the winter months. There is a tendency for people to simply say, not for me, dirty, dangerous and difficult place, but, as anyone who has travelled there by motorhome knows, this is far from the truth. Imagine travelling back in time a hundred years, but with mobile phones, motorways and supermarkets! Let’s go! ancy touring somewhere

The Country

Morocco is situated on the north-western coast of Africa, with the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the north. It is around 3 times the size of the UK, with a population of 35 million. To the south is an area called Western Sahara; ostensibly a nation Morocco has laid (dis-

22 - December 2019 square, Marrakesh, Jamaa el Fna market

puted) claim and governs it as part of itself. 

The People

The population is Arab, most whom are Berber, unlike other North African states such as Tunisia and adjoining Algeria; with whom incidentally the border is closed. The main language is Berber Arabic, but most of the population also speak French, a carry-over from the days when the country was a French Protectorate. English is taught in schools and is becoming more common, especially in the tourist areas, although unless you are really out in the wilds it is usually possible to find someone who speaks a little English. The Berbers are a friendly and hospitable race, often going out of their way to be of help and even inviting complete strangers into their homes. However, being Arabs they are always ready to turn a situation

December 2019 - 23 

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December 2019 - 25 

to their advantage, but in the nicest possible way! Apart from the tourist hotspots it is rare to get “pestered” but a polite and firm “Non Merci” is usually enough to discourage them.

It can turn chilly after the sun goes down though, so a warm jacket is a must. The western coast, exposed to the Atlantic, is often windy

The weather

As Morocco is quite a large country north to south, the scenery varies, from the agricultural Mediterranean-type of the north, through miles and miles of dry scrubland where you’ll see goats and sheep somehow surviving, the stupendous mountain ranges of the Riff, Atlas and High Atlas ranges, through to the endless sand dunes of the south. Enjoy the photos in this article, but be warned, photos never do the reality justice. If you’re into surfing, there are some magnificent beaches north and south of Agadir. It is also good walking country. Again because it is a large country, and apart from the modern motorways roads can sometimes be a challenge, it often takes much longer to get anywhere than expected; two hundred kilometres in a day is enough

The climate is the main reason for people over-wintering and the best time for us European Motorhomers is probably from late December through to April or early May. Before December is the wet season and after April it becomes uncomfortably hot. But it also varies where you are; northern Morocco is very much like Spain and you need to be south of the Atlas Mountains before you see a significant change. Snow is common in the mountains until January and has been seen as late as February and March, closing roads and causing delays. In February/March you can expect daytime highs of up to 38 deg but the humidity is very low and so, apart from the risk of sunburn, it is actually very pleasant.

Typical winter natives 26 - December 2019

The Roads and Terrain

for most people. Away from the cities and larger towns traffic can be so infrequent that it is possible to go for several hours without seeing another vehicle. Driving standards are acceptable but most problems on the road come from, to us, more unusual situations. Surprisingly camels are now the preserve of the tourist trade and not seen as often as you might expect, but donkeys and their ramshackle carts are a staple of the transport system and you can often identify the presence of a local market by their numbers. In towns be prepared for poor roads and unpredictable pedestrians who seem to be unaware that we are now in the age of motor vehicles! Mopeds are the prevalent form of motorised transport but bicycles and three-wheel motorcycle trucks, used for carrying everything from goats to sacks of produce, are everywhere. 

Apps and maps

Many visitors have dedicated Sat Nav’s and pay extra for the Map of Morocco to load onto their device. However the Sat Nav on your smartphone is more than adequate for Morocco and it’s free. A bonus is that it does not require an internet connection to operate. Just download the maps for the country your visiting and you’re good to go. For those who prefer paper maps, the best is the Van Michelin Map of Morocco. One Funster found his way around easily enough with an 11-year-old version.  There are two Apps that stand head and shoulders above the rest and should meet all your needs when visiting Morocco.  Campercontact and park4nnight Get the paid version of each so you can use them without an internet connection.

Recommended Road Trips

Funster PhilandMena have plotted some greats road trips and routes, these can be seen here.


The local currency is Dirhams and cents,

currently around 12.4 Dirhams to the Pound, which is a managed rate and so varies little. Credit cards are not widely accepted, except in the big supermarkets and some fuel stations so be prepared to pay for most things in cash. However, automated cash machines are common so try not to carry too much cash at a time as you can’t exchange Dirhams outside Morocco and the return exchange rate is poor. Tourism is the second highest earner of foreign currency in Morocco, after phosphates.

Getting There

Getting to Morocco is actually no more difficult than crossing the English Channel and takes about the same time. We usually obtain tickets from an agent, Viages Normandie (popularly referred to as Carlos although these days his son and daughters do all the work) near Algeciras who seems to supply every motorhomer and also provides the Immigration paperwork. There is no need to book beforehand, just turn up in the office with your V5 and some cash and you’ll be on a ferry the next morning. There is even a dedicated motorhome overnighting area nearby, and several large supermarkets to let you stock up. Find your way to the well-signposted ferry port and get in the correct lane for your ferry company, of which there are five. Check-in is no different to Dover – passports and tickets being all you require here. Once on the ship, you’ll need to seek out the Moroccan police post, which is obvious by the queue, with your completed immigration card to get your passport stamped and issued with a CIN number. This is your temporary 3-month visa. Once the ferry docks you will be directed to the Customs Post where you need to temporarily import your vehicle into Morocco and register the main driver. This can take a little time but eventually, you will be checked and, if you’re not carrying any conDecember 2019 - 27 

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December 2019 - 29 

A Giggle of Funsters traband, get your Import document. Once clear you can then get some currency at the nearby bureaux de change before setting out on your adventure. Coming back is even simpler; just go to check-in and get your boarding cards, hand in your Temporary Import document (please don’t lose it, the consequences are dire!) and outbound Immigration cards at the Customs point, pass through a scanner then go wait for a ferry to appear - but that’s another story! The Spanish don’t seem too

worried about checks so once the ferry is back in Spain you should be quickly on your way. This is all covered in more detail in an article available to fully paid-up members of MotorhomeFun in the Resources section of the online forum, along with some advice about practicalities whilst in Morocco. Morocco is an easy place to get on with life, as long as you don’t mind everything taking three times as long!

Safety/Security and Health

The UK Foreign Office rates Morocco as low-risk from a security point of view, and we’ve never seen anything to contradict that advice. The police are friendly towards tourists and extremely smart as well as helpful, although they do expect to be respected. Recognisable as being by far the best-dressed people in Morocco, they are supported by quite a number of plain-clothes officers. Effectively Morocco is a police state and so crime is low but of30 - December 2019

fenders are harshly punished. There is no NHS, of course, so you will need good travel insurance but minor medical problems can usually be sorted out at the modern pharmacies, which are everywhere. Many towns have Health Centres and the larger, hospitals. We have seen ambulances, but they are mostly for patient transfer and don’t carry paramedics.

Food and Drink

Although there are a few supermarket chains, most “dry” goods are sold in small shops, very much “Open All Hours” style with a front counter and the goods stacked on shelves behind. Be prepared to see some old familiar names, such as Omo washing powder! You’ll get your bread here too, typically a round flat unleavened loaf, which is very nice and keeps reasonably well too. You may also get French style baguettes if you’re early enough. Fresh milk is sold either in one litre cartons or more usually in half-

litre sachets. Fruit and vegetables are best bought at the markets held at least weekly in every small town and here you will find heaps, literally, of the freshest produce you can imagine. Simply take a plastic washing-up bowl and fill it with how much of whatever you need then hand it to the stall-holder who will weigh it and you pay one price for all. Note you don’t haggle food prices but it’s so cheap you will wonder if he’s got that

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right, but you can bet he has! Meat is often on individual stalls for each type and is also really fresh; sometimes a little too fresh! And they display and sell every part of the animal too, and we mean every part – the squeamish amongst you may well want to be careful at what you look at! Being a Muslim country, pork is a bit of a rarity, so you would be well advised to stock up on bacon and sausages. Turkey is as popular as chicken, both of which are widely available. Fish, especially at or near the coast, is often brought round to campsites by the fisherman himself, who will charge you for the gross weight, happily clean it for you then take the “innards” home for his own tea! Sometimes they are a bit vague as to the actual species but if you like fish you’ll be spoilt.  Morocco has its own specialities too. If you are into cooking with spices you will wonder at the huge mounds of different types, although, unless you can recognise 34 - December 2019

them, knowing their French names would be useful. Honey is produced all over the country and is often sold at roadside stalls as well as specialist shops supplied by women’s cooperatives. Argon oil is probably unique to Morocco and can again be bought at the roadside or in specialist shops. There are two distinct varieties, one for cooking and the other for cosmetic purposes, made from the nuts of the argon tree, indigenous to the country and found everywhere, as well as the goats that form part of the harvesting process.


Being a Muslim country, alcoholic drinks are not as readily available as European countries although Morocco does produce some likeable wines and beers. For those who must have their tipple, beers, wines and spirits can sometimes be found in a separate section of some supermarkets, with its own entrance and exit to avoid upsetting the

more devout, but it is very expensive. Tap water is normally safe to drink although bottled water is available everywhere for pennies.


Only the larger cities have European style shopping areas although the Marjane chain of hypermarkets usually has a gallery of small boutique-like shops, much like their French counterparts. Everywhere else you can find whatever you may need in the souks, usually enclosed and sometimes covered areas containing numerous stalls

selling just about anything you can think of. These are the traditional Arab markets where you can practice your haggling skills to get yourself a bargain – just remember this can become quite a long affair as the stallholders just love to get you involved in their “game” and will be disappointed if you don’t play. And don’t think you can just browse; to an Arab, showing an interest in anything means you want to buy and then it’s just a matter of deciding the price!

Getting On-Line

Having few landlines, most communica-

tion is carried out by mobile phone. As such there is a modern and highly efficient mobile phone network which covers every part of Morocco, even into the mountains and desert. This lends itself very well to mobile internet which is cheap and reliable, using either a local sim card for your smartphone or a data sim for a MiFi, iPad etc. Internet is useful for staying in touch with other travellers and is often the source of useful information, such as road closures or good wild-camping

spots. In case of problems it is also an easy way for other Funsters to offer advice and help if needed.


Since the initiative a couple of years ago to develop tourism, a number of new campsites have come into being, with excellent facilities to a European standard. These supplement other, older sites where standards can be, well, variable to the extent you may wish to use your own facilities! Prices range from £5 - £10 per night, the December 2019 - 35 

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latter being very upmarket. They do tend to get crowded, mainly with French, in the popular areas and pitch spaces can be tight. They do also tend to be a little away from centres of interest this is when having your own alternative transport is an advantage. Popular and seen almost everywhere are places termed as “Guardian Parking”. These are a cross between an “aire” and wild-camping where an area of land, maybe an old car park, has been taken over specifically for motorhome parking. There is always an attendant around the clock who will provide security, see to disposal of waste, often having water available and always happy to sort out any other needs you may have. For example if you need a mechanic, a repair on your van or a camel ride, he is the guy to go to. Costs are small, from as little as £1 to no more than £4 p.n. and they are usually located close to places you may want to see, such as town centres. To find one, just look for a local waving you down! You will sometimes find hotels are happy for you to use their car parks at a small fee, which usually includes use of their facilities – these are more often found in the quieter areas of the country rather than towns and cities.

workarounds. Perhaps the easiest is to buy a 13kg bottle for around £9 (including gas!) and a regulator, then plug it into your BBQ point with a suitable connector bought before you leave home. Or you may wish to replace one of your Calor bottles with a Moroccan one assuming you have room in your gas locker. If you have a refillable system, buy an external adapter hose, available from Gaslow, that screws into your filler point at one end and directly to a big Moroccan bottle at the other. Interestingly, the threads are opposite so provided you start both ends at the same time you don’t get a twist in the pipe!

Wild Camping

This is unofficially accepted, subject to the usual considerations, and you will see units parked up in all sorts of odd, but attractive, places. The police will often drive by but only to check you are okay - the only time they are likely to stop is if they consider your situation unsafe and will then guide you to a safer spot.


LPG, usually butane but propane is sometimes possible, is everywhere and is extremely cheap, both in 13kg and small bottles identical to Camping Gaz 907. Unfortunately for those of us with refillable systems there is nowhere in Morocco that can top you up, but there are a number of December 2019 - 37 

The downside to this is that you must store it outside and also find somewhere to carry the bottle in transit. When you leave the country just “gift” the bottle to a local, it’s cheap enough. It is possible to get your existing bottle refilled. There are three gas bottling plants around the country and provided you can carry it through the gate they profess to being able to refill anything! It is quite possible that your local campsite or guardian can arrange for this to be done for you, usually as an overnight job. Yes, someone will take your bottle and return it next day refilled! If you enjoy cooking outdoors and have a Camping Gaz cooker, you can buy a small Moroccan bottle for around £2.50 and use that with no further complication. Or you could buy a gas ring that screws into the bottle directly at any souk for around £2 – it’s what the locals do!

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Nominally 220v, the electricity supply can sometimes be a little problematical. Moroccans think nothing of using one supply point for several connections and overload detectors, and even fuses, are not part of a Moroccan electrician’s kit. It is not unusual, therefore, to see voltages as low as 180v, which most motorhome fridges deem to be electrical failure and switch to gas. Your onboard charger can usually cope but other more sensitive equipment may not work or even be damaged. You can buy voltage regulators, which take whatever the campsite supply is putting out and convert it to a stable 220v but at the expense of the amperage of course. For most normal activities your onboard 12v system is adequate but although probably good for only a few days. Thought ought to be given to extending it with the addition of an extra leisure battery or two, if your payload is enough, plus a decent solar

panel with a modern regulator. If there is one thing that is free and in abundant supply in Morocco it’s sunshine and a 100w panel suffices to replace normal daily use, although you can never have too much solar energy. Generators are another solution, although you won’t be popular on campsites unless it is of the silent variety; but okay out in the wilds though. A B2B smart charger will also recharge your batteries much faster than your alternator and if you move about, can be a useful addition to your van.


There are no problems if you want to take your pets with you. Mostly the regulations are to ensure you will be able to bring your pet back into the UK as there doesn’t seem to be any checks in place for animals, either in or out of the country. You will already have your pet chipped and have a Pet Passport through your vet. A rabies inoculation, together with a lab certification that the jab

has “taken” is a must and can take a month to organise.

And finally!

We hope this artice and pictures have whetted your appetite. Don’t forget that the annual Morocco threads on the forum are also a source of useful information. A new thread will probably start around October and it is worth mentioning your intention there as you may well be able to pair up with a more experienced traveller willing to show you the ropes. Look forward to meeting you in Morocco next year! Most of the words are Terry’s Most of the photo’s were taken by Phil.

Disclaimer: we based this article on experiences gained over 5 years travelling to Morocco. However, no responsibility is accepted for errors or omissions, either by the author or MotorhomeFun Magazine. December 2019 - 39 

Using Your Motorhome In The Winter Months

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t’s that time

of year when magazines are telling us how to safely store our motorhomes over winter. We’ll do exactly that later, but before we do, we thought it better to have a go at encouraging you to use it; because a motorhome sat on your drive for weeks or months on end is a sad sight.   We asked recently on the MotorhomeFun forum; Do you use your van throughout the winter? And it seems lots of you do. We got lots of nice stories and plenty of photographs.  Trevor & Karen Pettifer (AK A Southdowners) aren’t scared; they are in Norway with daytime temperatures of -16, they kindly sent us the picture we’ve used on this months cover and that is their van on the previous page too It seems plenty of Funsters take UK city breaks during the winter with Cities like Bath, Canterbury, Oxford and Harrogate. The Lake District is popular, and while you will never be alone at the lakes, the fewer number of tourists in darkest winter makes it so much more magical. 

means Spain, Portugal or Morocco. If you use your van over the winter, don’t get caught out by surprise frosts. It’s easily done, you arrive home late and tired on Sunday after a weekend away, lock the van and go into the house. While you sleep the temperature plummets and things freeze up. Check the forecast and if there is a danger of frost, leave the hot water on and the heating on low. You can drain down the next day.   If you really can’t get away, there are a few things you need to do.

Follow these steps to keep your van safe over winter Wash the M otorhome . Then apply a good coat or two of wax. Even those motorhomes stored inside will benefit from this.

C ompletely system .

drain the water

Getting away for the Christmas holidays is popular for both touring around in places like Scotland who really know how to bring in a New Year and parking up on friends and families drives. You are much less of a burden on friends and family when you have your bedroom on the drive. It’s also a little escape pod too if you want to get out of playing late night charades or twister.

Some have taps or bungs outside. Older motorhomes should be emptied by the pump and some modern ones have a simple switch or lever to completely drain the tank. Ensure the Fresh and waste tanks are completely empty. It’s best to leave all taps in the’’on’’ position. Though if micro-switched make sure the master battery switch is off, and taps switched off before you switch power on.

Then there are those countless numbers who head south for the sun. Some attend the large permanent rallies run by big clubs in Southern Europe, but most just do their own thing, wherever they can find the sun, which invariably

You may need to read your handbook for this as there are many different types. It is important that it is completely empty as frost will damage

D rain

your water heater .

December 2019 - 41 

it and replacements are very costly.

R emove filters .

any inline water

Wet filters can freeze and may damage your system. Some filters are best kept wet when stored in a frost free environment.

E mpt y

the toilet.

A used cassette that had been fermenting for three months will not be pleasant to return to. Wash it, put some olive oil on the blade of the cassette and then leave it in place with the blade open.


charge batteries .

Better still remove it to somewhere warm and dry hooked up to an intelligent battery conditioner. Check the electrolyte levels in lead-acid batteries and top up if necessary.


gas bottles off.

Better still remove the bottle and store it somewhere safe. Turn all of the gas control valves off.

K eep the open .

refrigerator door

It does not have to be open much, but do not leave it closed or the smell and growth that occurs in three months will astound you!

Thoroughly C upboards .


F ood

Motorhomes get laid up at about the same time that mice come in from the fields looking for somewhere warm and cosy. It’s difficult to stop them getting in, but do not invite them to stay by leaving them a food source such as a bag of pasta, rice or cornf lakes will encourage them to stay for the winter! 42 - December 2019

C hocol ate B iscuit Test.

If you check the van regularly then leave a tiny piece of chocolate biscuit on the f loor, whenever you see it you are sure you are free of vermin. If you leave your van in storage and don’t see it for weeks on end, leave a few baited traps.

C heck

the roll out awnings

Ensuring that they are fully dry before leaving them rolled up for the winter.

C heck Tyre P ressures

Pump tyres to the maximum pressure rating as stated in your handbook or on the tyre wall. Consider covering the tyres to keep out the harmful UV rays.

C over

all outside vents

Some vents like fridges may have specially made covers so use these, other vents might benefit from a bit of polythene and tape to secure them from leaves, insects and weather.

D ry C ell B atteries .

Remove batteries from wall clocks, smoke alarms and detectors etc.

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48 - December 2019



Jim Brown reviews a seven berth family van from the Adria stable

motorhome review. Well I suppose it isn’t my first really. For 30-odd years I have been crawling in and out of motorhomes then deciding, normally in an instant, whether I like them. Invariably when you’re instantly attracted to a van, it’s only when you dig a little deeper and you find things you don’t like, then you start to love it less. It’s why so many people sell their first motorhome in the first year. Most of them deciding they can’t live with y first ever

the layout they’ve bought. This happens just as they find another van with the exact layout they think they need. Sadly, many of those go through the same process again; not entirely happy with their van until they’ve bought their third! It’s almost impossible to find a van where everything is perfect and you don’t make any compromise. If I ever find that van, I’ll let you know.

The view from front to rear. The groove on the floor shows where the tambour door will be when the loo is occupied. Two bunks at the back with storage under, or fold up the one or both of the bunks for more room in the garage. Practical easy clean upholstery. The small dinette on the left can be a sofa, and a single bed. December 2019 - 49 

The view from the rear toward the front. Given this van is under 7m you have plenty of room. This shows the overcab bed base in the raised position.

So here I am at Howard’s Motorhomes in Taunton about to review a Sun Living A70 DK. They sell this as a family van. I’m pretty well qualified to review family vans as we have spent many years touring with our three kids and a dog. Sun Living are relatively new to the UK they are designed and manufactured by Adria-Mobil, who have been making campers since 1965.

Base Vehicle

All Sun Living vans are Ducato based with the latest Euro6.d temp engines so you’ll need AdBlue. Sun Living like to feature younger people and sport in their brochures, you won’t see any smiling pensioners it’s all pretty and young peole kite surfing, jogging, cycling etc. Much like

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the official image at the start of this review.

First Impressions

Seen from the outside, this van with it’s overcab bed looks mostly like every other van you’ve ever seen Though this year they’ve added a nice-looking silver cab to the range which adds a touch distinction. On entering the van, two things are quickly apparent. The first is how open the layout is and this appeals to me, I dislike vans that have a narrow pinch point between say the toilet door and a wardrobe which sort of cuts a van in half. The second thing that strikes me is how utilitarian it looks, no one has tried to make this look too pretty or

A Sun Living Video Showing the Hideaway Bathroom

make you go wow. Everything has clean and basic lines. Imagine walking into a brand-new travelodge bedroom, nothing too fancy but everything you need, and you’ll get the idea.

The Bathroom

This van has what Sun Living call a “hideaway” bathroom. This includes a shower, toilet and basin; but it retracts away giving valuable floor space in the middle of the van. This gives you that clear unobstructed sight-lines from front to rear, increasing that feeling of space. When in use, the bathroom is not big, but it’s certainly big enough.


The kitchen is on the small side equipped with 3 burner hob, a small work area. You get a large 3-way fridge/freezer, oven and very generous cupboard space.


This van has a lot of storage cupboards, opening them and the drawers is easy, you

place four fingers into a generous hole, activate the catch you find with your fingertips and open. It’s easier to do than describe and it is clever and robust. I regularly see broken catches in new show motorhomes. Often these fiddly catches look swish but can’t cope with even a few hundred openings. These Sun Living catches will last.

The Living area

Sitting at the table and looking around you quickly appreciate that whilst it is basic, it’s very well made, which is probably why these motorhomes are so popular on the rental market. Prices help in that regard too but when you’re hiring motorhomes, you need them to be robust.   The model I’m in has two dinettes as in the photo, however there is a £145 upgrade to make this into a small settee. Should you choose this, you can still extend the main table to reach this settee. The work and table-tops appear tough and the grey with blue highlights furniDecember 2019 - 51 

ture fabric looks like it will survive many spills and be easily cleaned; important in a family van and in a hire van! Overall, I would say that the build structure was good, hardly surprising when you know that Sun Living is made by Adria who have an excellent reputation for building good vans to a price.

The wall lamps have a nice touch of each having a USB charging socket

Sleeping for Seven!  

The berths are made up as follows: a large double overhead cab with ladder, that’s two. The dinette into a double, that makes four. The small dinette makes a single and two ingenious bunks at the back, essentially in the garage, making seven. However, the 6 designated travel seats make this more of a six berth with a choice of seven beds.  There is certainly enough storage space for six. The bunks fold up and increase the height in the garage, so you lose the bottom bunk but benefit from some excellent high storage, or you can fold both beds and have a useful full-height garage. 

Swap the small dinette for a sofa 52 - December 2019

Pack 2 probably the best option includes cab air conditioning, passenger airbag, Applying our average payload calcucruise control, front fog lights, leather lations shows there is just enough steering wheel and gear knob, ESP and payload for a couple of adults and four Traction + with Hill Descent. £2,590 young kids.

Payload Questions

However if you load this up with a few crates of wine from a French supermarket you’ll soon be over weight. If you have the licence, you can up-rate this van to 3700kg with no changes to the van. If you fitted some air suspension, you could get it up to 3850kg, giving the breathing space a family will need. As with all new vans I would advise you get it weighed before you part with any money. Rules allow the maker’s figures to be plus/minus 5% of what they claim. So, when payloads are tight, you need to know precisely what it weighs before you own it.  While most will find the £1359 Comfort Pack essential as it includes the Pano The Numbers ramic roof light, Truma 4E electric • Length 6993mm heating, matching cab seats in the habita• Width 2320mm tion textile, colour coded bumpers and a • Height 3090mm f lyscreen for the hab door. • Berths 7 If you want the sexy metallic silver cab • MIRO (kg) 2904 you’ll need to find a further £890 • Max weight (kg) 3500 • Payload (kg) 596 Summary P rice £50,865. But that is bog This is a well made family van. If you want to standard, you’d likely need to add cart a lot of stuff uprating it is a necessity. But some of the optional packs, it’s tough and will survive a lot of summer holidays. Pack 1 includes cabin air conditioning, passenger airbag and cruise control and will set you back £1820 December 2019 - 53 



We take a look at the serious issue of motorhome payload and what the makers aren’t doing about it!

how much you weigh? half of those who were overweight were also No, not you before your Christmas overloading an axle! So that is two separate excess, but your fully loaded van. Are weight offences and if the extra weight took you within your permitted payload, are you them above the weight their licence allows legal? Looking back, I now know I have then that was another offence. Why so driven motorhomes illegally.  many?  Our first van back in 1990 was a fantastic Talking to these normally law-abiding Auto-Trail Pullman on a Talbot. I’ve no idea people we discovered that when they bought what the payload was. But it had 5 beds, their motorhomes most did not understand so in blissful ignorance I assumed that it about payload and it was only later reading could take 5 people, 5 bikes, 3 scooters, 5 articles or forum posts that they realized body boards, 5 wet suits, 5 snorkel kits, a they might have payload six-person picnic bench, issues. 5 chairs, big barbecue, So even today payload a couple of sunbeds, a is an aspect of the motormassive awning and home purchase discovered groundsheet oh and not long after people have paid forgetting the Swingball their money got the van and bats. But that was home. They might someonly outside stuff. Inside, time later read an article all the food, beer, bales or see a forum post about it of clothes, a German and think, I wonder what Shepherd etc. This van, my payload is.  Normally you cannot tell if you are because of its lack of Looking back at the sale overweight just by looking speed, was affectionprocess they may have seen ately known as the sloth and looking back some confusing mention of it on the dealwe must have been a ton overweight, so no er’s website or in that very tiny print at the wonder we struggled up French mountains back of the brochure under specification. No and the brakes smelled so much on the way matter that this will be the tiniest faintest down! print in the brochure, the warnings about That was then though, we’re all being overloaded will be there, they’ve told you! Absolving them of their responsibility! more clued up now. If the maker really wanted you to see these Are we? This year we weighed over 100 warnings, they might make them more loaded vans as they attended a rally and just over 40 of those were overweight. Over obvious.  o you know

54 - December 2019

Even when you know and understand the subject of payload well, it’s hard to find the right figures, this is especially so of vans with tiny payloads. If motorhomes have a large payload, the print will be much bigger it might even make it as a selling point on the window sticker in the showroom. If they are not saying much or anything about the payload then you should wonder why. So many motorhome brochures have TBC(To be confirmed) where there should be a payload figure. Maybe they hope that you’ll only confirm it after you have bought it! When you wander around show or a showroom, rarely will you see the payload on the sticker, they’ll tell you the length, they’ll tell you the price, they’ll tell you how many berths, about how many kilos the garage is strong enough to hold. But they won’t tell you that if you fill up the water, add a grandchild, a bath towel and some flip-flops you might be illegally overweight.

Have you had your van weighed while you are loaded for a trip? If not, use this site [] find a weighbridge and get it done, many of you will have a pleasant surprise and find you are well under weight, others might be shocked but you need to know.

Next month we will cover this subject in detail, advising you about what you can do if you are too heavy and we are starting a campaign to make people more aware of payload and encourage dealers and the motorhome makers help us by being more transparent about this serious issue. We’ll be naming and shaming dealers and manufacturers who hide payload data from us completely or make it difficult to find. December 2019 - 55 

56 - December 2019

Me again. I hope you enjoyed issue 2. I’d like to thank our contributors, Terry and Phil, Addie from Motorhome Wifi, Dave the Wino, the FLT and of course Doris. Next month we’ll be kicking off a series of negotiation master classes to help us pay get to the lowest price that the dealer is happy with and your ecstatic about . We have a great article on touring the Loire Valley, we’ll be talking about Lithium batteries and starting our campaign for real world payloads. Look out for it on New Years day. Which reminds me that Christmas is fast approaching so I’d like to wish you all a Very Merry Christmas Jim Brown Motorhome Enthusiast

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Profile for motorhomefun

December 2019 Issue 2  

December 2019 Issue 2