Meeting Peter, Wendy, Grant, Sharron, Mike and Pam in Northland and checking out their American buses was a lot of fun. They’re a great bunch and have been travelling together for a few years. Three of them even knew each other from back in their school days !
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The Holiday Ramblers are on a Ford chassis with 6.8 litre V10 petrol engines with 6 speed auto gearboxes and honestly, when you stand next to them outside, you can barely hear them running. They’re so quiet.
They’re 10 metres long with centre island beds on a 9 ton ticket. They all have slide outs which makes them huge inside. The décor is very similar with the only difference being that Mike’s has a bigger single slideout on one side.
As they pulled up beside Rafe, there was a whir of engines with the Hydraulic rams levelling them up, the slideouts coming out and the awnings rolling out. All of them at the same time ! This is Motorhoming the easy way 🙂
They were imported as a bunch of 12 by a Tauranga importer who had them specially designed for NZ road conditions (width) and wired to conform with the NZ electrical standards, several years ago.
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Dining area with of the the twin slideouts.
Lots of Living space on Mike and Pam’s Rambler.
The large single slide out on Mike and Pam’s Rambler
The Dining area on Mike and Pams vehicle.
The Helm station
With the large single slideout.
L to R, Peter and Wendy, Pam and Mike, Grant and Sharron with their Motorhomes.
Peter, Wendy, Grant, Sharron, Mike and Pam are either on the phone most nights planning their adventures together with their amazing Motorhomes or on the road.
We first me Murray and Faye at Weedons several years ago when they visited us in Rafe for a few cold ones late one day and we bumped into them again a year or so later as they arrived at Pauanui and we were leaving so it was really nice to catch up with them again.
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They are now custodians of the Weedons NZMCA park just out of Christchurch and are really pleased with their new baby, “California”.
It is a 1994 Fleetwood Pace Arrow with a 300HP Cummins Turbo 6 cylinder diesel engine which they got last September. It is 11m long.
I asked him how many litres of Fresh, Grey and Black water they could hold and the numbers had many zeros on them so the simple explanation is they can go for 10 days with big showers each 🙂
Thats impressive !
Its a lovely bus which they’re slowly adding their own touches to.
Murrays parting comment was that he can’t get over how easy and comfortable it is to drive. “Its just like a car!”
Where we were staying at Peski’s just out of Geraldine, was an easy 4k’s ride in to the town.
Geraldine has a fabulous Car, Truck and Tractor Museum along with washing machines, old cinema projectors and anything of note. Its an amazing place.
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We set off on our bikes to ride to the museum and spent an hour or so having a good look around.
Fiona’s great aunty Jeannie’s old 1948 Morris is in the museum so we were keen to check it out as Fiona had travelled in it often as a small girl. Legend has it that Jeannie drained the radiator water every night and refilled it with hot water in the morning saying “it started so much better. Anyway, Anti Freeze will rot the engine”! And there it is tucked in the corner.
We moved on to two other buildings where we found an old Gypsy styled Motorhome built on a 1926 International chassis by John Britten when he was in his early 20’s.
Between 1972 to 1975, John purchased the old 1926 International Truck Chassis and set to turning it into a Motorhome for his travels around the South Island.
Everything is hand made. All the woodwork and engineering including the Califont for heating the water was all made by John.
On the sides, there are two hinged wooden doors as windows. There is even some stained glass on the back. It really is stunning given he ws so young and I guess it is no surprise that he went on to do great things with motorbikes and come up with the Britten race bike.
A great find and there is a lot more to see here. Well worth a visit if you’re in the area.
We met Simon and Kath at the happy hour shed at Vals POP just outside Clyde. They’ve been there off and on since November last year while they work to finish off the bus before their travels start this summer. They originally came from Invercargill so know the area well.
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They bought the bus last October from a couple of chaps in Clyde and it sounds like they bought well. Its a 1998 Hino Blue Ribbon A Class probably coverted to a Motorhome in the 90’s in Christchurch. It is powered by a Volvo V8 diesel which is in great shape.
Simon had a background in Classic Cars and is very capable with a crescent spanner and a scewdriver and has lots of good plans, which include new wheel rims and finishing off the paintwork.
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Galley looking forward
The battery bank is all housed tidily in one locker on the side and looks impressive. All the hatches down the sides are all well kitted out with everything any Motorhomer could want with sliding drawers and lift up covers. Great Storage.
The inside furnishings are all leather and he has a couple of TV’s nicely positioned partly in a great drinks cabinet and one in the bedroom.
They’re really looking forward to getting away over summer in it once they’ve finished the new work. A lovely Motorhome with tons of room.
Early in the morning, Keith and Lyn rocked up in their 5th Wheeler and with minimal fuss, backed it into a nice big park in the Central RV park in Greymouth.
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I met them later in the day and we enjoyed a cold drink leaning over the tray of their Izuzu 4wd while we told a few tall stories and had a few laughs 😎
Their 2005 Canadian Okanagan called Bone Idle 2 is just a thing of beauty and altough it needed a lot of tidying up, when they first got it 3.5 years ago, they have done all the work themselves and done it well. Keith was telling me how they had resealed the roof, completely repainted inside, redone the floor and generally tidied it up. They have even replaced some of the wood that was a bit suspect under the bed, above the hitch on the outside with checker plate. That won’t rot!
It looks fantastic and now they’re out and about enjoying the fruits of their labour !
Coming originally from Nelson they’re now well and truly part of the Westport community. Lyn was telling me that one of their favorite spots was at the Anatori river.
Gary and Dianne did a great job as tour guides and we really appreciated their great company and the effort they went to so we could see a bit of Europe from a Motorhome.
The original idea was to try for Estonia and back from the UK but once we got to Brugge from Calais, we decided it was going to be far too much driving and we simply wouldn’t see anything in 5 weeks for driving so we opted for a shorter course through Holland, Germany, a week in Prague, (Gary and Dianne lived here for 3 years) back to Germany to check out the Niesmann and Bichoff factory, Luxembourg, Northern France and back to the UK.
It was all good but from a picture perspective, probably Stow on the Wold and some of older Architecture in Prague and Germany. The villages in Northern France were amazing too.
After seeing Gary and Dianne’s new Arto 88 Niesmann and Bichoff, Gary was able to organise a tour through the factory which was fantastic as they are all built by hand with minimal automation.
The factory is in Polch, Germany which wasn’t far out of our way from the Czech Republic to France. In the end we decided to go through Luxembourg as well and have a look there too.
Ralph was fun but after 3000 odd km’s, I was starting to pine for something like Rafe as Ralph was hard yakka by comparison. I didn’t realise too when we hired it that it was flat out at 90 odd k so it slowed Gary and Dianne down too which was a bit of a let down but we had fun and everything worked. Its a classic case of if I was to do it again, I’d do it differently.
Click on the Gallery below for a Slideshow of the Hot images.. click the x at the top right hand corner to close.
At Paddington with the amazing roof
A visitor from Hawkes Bay checking out the Baker street sign
The Ministers tavern with the cathedral behind
The Shard behind the Tower of London
The Tower Bridge
Fiona outside Westminster Abbey
Fiona outside the Roman Baths
Hilary and Fiona in Bath
Gary and Dianne with the beast behind
Fiona and Dianne with the Hymers waiting to board the train.
Where are we. Fiona, D ianne and Gary looking for clues
Visitors enjoying the Canal
People getting together
Windmills on the river
Fiona and Dianne share a pair of Clogs !
Fiona with a big sample Diamond
Madame Tussauds in the Dam square
A happy Wurlitzer player at the Brandenburg Gate
You can see a persons head popping up through the concrete blocks at the Jewish Memorial
The outside of the cathedral. Note the dark stones on the left. The rest are new!
The inside of the Cathedral
The ceramic mural of past Kings and Queens
The old historic Trams
The old Town by Charles Bridge
parts of the Old Town with Prague Castle
Old Town Square and Tyn Cathedral from the rooftop.
The Castle above the town
The Grand Hotel Pupp looking back from the river.
The View from the camp to the town
A Panorama from the Castle
Koblenz from the ferry
Outside Notre Dame
In the Echternach Village
Echternach now (After)
Gary, Dianne and Fiona outside a closed champagne place in Wez around the corner from the Pub.
Pastries and Free Wifi. Dianne, Gary and Fiona.
Fiona, Gary and Dianne getting into the shopping
Watching the action outside the pub
Fiona puts a poppy down at an unknown Soldiers grave on the way to Arras
The Marina Sands Hotel
Inside the Marina Sands Shopping centre
The pool and the gardens with part of the container terminal in the background.
The whole trip was over nearly 2 months and cost a total of about $16000 NZ so was a cheap holiday given that we saw and did so much. Ralph was NZ$7000 of that for 5 weeks so it was pretty good really.
I picked up a bug in the last few weeks which I’m still trying to shake which was a bit of a bugger but still it didn’t slow us down 🙂
Singapore was fantastic.
We always seem to be flying through here so it was nice to actually stop for a few days and see all the changes. Its a great city and we both really enjoyed seeing Chinatown, cruising up the harbour and all the new buildings. The Marina Sands area was amazing too.
Over the whole trip though, I can’t say enough about Gary and Dianne and their patience with us as they really were fantastic and we had a huge amount of laughs and fun with them.
Thanks heaps to you both again for everything and also storing Rafe in your XLI/Nibi shed while we were all away. We’re both looking forward to catching up with you both when you get settled with Nibi in NZ, or whatever you end up calling the new beast.
Ralph the Renter is from Milton Keynes in the UK. He’s a 1992 Hymer with a 2.9 litre, non turbo, 5 cylinder Mercedes Diesel with Auto Transmission with not too many gears 🙂 He’s not a speedster but can quite easily do 90 k’s without too much stress and with the fills of diesel, seems comparitely competitive with Harry in terms of fuel economy.
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He’s got a drop down bed and you can drop the table and make up a double there too. We prefer to use the drop down bed as you simply flick it up out of the way fully made up and its quite comfy.
The front end of Ralph
Ralphs living space with the Niesmann and Bichoff brochures on the table.
Looking forward in Ralph
Fiona and Gary at tea time
There is a loo and a shower at the back and the Galley is across the back with the habitation door on the opposite side. Ralph also has air conditioning too which has been great and we’ve pressed that into service a few times.
Hot Water, Truma heating a 3 way fridge (under bench model) and it all seems to work.
Harry is a 2004 B654 Hymer. It was owned by friends of Gary and Diannes in the UK who had it from new. Gary and Dianne bought about 5 years ago and now store it just out of London. It has a 2.9 litre Turbo diesel and gets along quite nicely.
It comes fully equipped including Air conditioning and Gary being Gary, has everything you could imagine hiding in its huge garage 😉
Harry’s living area with optional drop down bed for overstayers 🙂
Gary and Dianne setting things up
They’ve had lots of fun in him and with this tour with us, has been hugely helpful for us being European Bunnies and them leading the charge 🙂