That's what I'm driving now

taking pictures for trucking and RV magazines.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to every one of my readers. What to expect in next year? Well, I still have a strong interest in .....


..and travel.

Glückliches Neues Jahr!

Feliz Año Nuevo!

Boldog Új Évet!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas Light Truck Parade

Every year on the first Saturday of December there is a Christmas Light Truck Parade in Victoria, BC, organized by the Island Equipment Owners Association. Usually 80-90 beautifully decorated trucks participate in the Parade, collecting donations en route. Every driver get an 8 X 10 enlargements of their trucks and I have been taking those pictures for the last 5 years. It's a big show, draws a huge crowd along the way when the trucks drive out of the city to Western Speedway.

The lead vehicle was a well known local businessman's Volvo Motor Home decorated with over 7000 lights.

Trucks are lined up ready for the convoy.

Tow truck with trailer in full Christmas decoration.

Slegg Lumber's Peterbilt was a huge success.

At the end of the show trucks are parked on the speedway and everybody can take a close look. Decorating a mixer with a rotating drum is a real challenge.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Celebrating wine and food in Villány.

As I wrote earlier: the entire long weekend is about celebrating the regions famous wine. Of course it has to go with food, and there is plenty of it everywhere. Pictures say a lot more.

It all starts with a Parade, locals and guests from the neighbouring wine areas dressed in traditional costumes showing the long history of wine in the region.

We walked around in the morning and cooks already have been working in front of the wine cellars. Stew in the kettle usually cooked for 4-5 hours.

It's all about wine. If you want to take it with you you can buy a bottle....

....or can make sure it will last a bit longer.

Look at the size of the bread! You will need a slice ....

... for the Hocks grilled on charcoal.

Just wanted to add one more: November 20th, 2010; we woke up to a record snowfall on Vancouver Island.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Hungary 2010 Oct.

The reason for not posting for so long: a few weeks in Europe with no computer, no work, just taking pictures for fun, (probably using them for work later). After we came home and started uploading the hundreds of pictures to the computer; it crashed and is still at the doctor. More about it later, here are some pictures.

First we spent 10 very uncomfortable hrs on this plane, it is new, designed to haul 285 passengers, no leg room at all, but the new entertainment system let you choose from over 300 movies and 1000 recorded shows, screen is in the seat in front of you. Good for killing time but a bit more room would be better.

The next 3 weeks were a whole lot more comfy in this Alfa Romeo 6 speed turbo diesel.

Visited a Wine Festival in Villány, (a little country village in the southern wine region) where one of my daughters lives.

Gained some weight. In my defense: the whole festival is on a long weekend, food like this at every corner; could you resist?

Visited some beautiful parts of the country; found this little house somewhere in the southern wine fields.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

RV-ing in Europe 4

Driving is not a problem; very good signs everywhere, but the toll roads making it expensive. In Italy, France and Spain all freeways are toll roads, you have to pay at giant toll plazas usually between 5-25 EU. Munich-Barcelona-Munich we paid 300 dollars toll for the whole trip. RV rental is about 900 dollars a week with unlimited mileage. For that money you have a vehicle, accommodation and the freedom of park and be home anywhere, anytime.
Would I recommend it? Absolutely. Even the budget minded traveler saves a lot with a rented RV, it is a very comfortable way to see a big part of Europe and the freedom is priceless. Insurance, maps are included in rent. If you pay with a platinum card traveler’s health insurance is covered as well.

If you go:

RV rental: and

Getting there.
Munich-Barcelona and back we paid around $ 300 for the toll roads.

In Austria-Italy-France you don't have any problems with hill climbing; all you have is tunnels and bridges.

We have seen this little motor home in an RV Parking in France. It even had a storage for full size motorcycle.

Big trucks can not drive on weekends in Europe, here they cook a meal in front of the trucks in a parking lot.

Our well designed motor home fits in a car parking lot easily.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

RV-ing in Europe 3

We had a small Fiat with a diesel engine, very good fuel mileage, still very strong and fast. Average speed was over 100 km/h and it needed less fuel than our minivan at home. We could drive to everywhere we planned because of the small RV; parking has never been a problem, not even in very crowded Monaco. In the RV Parking Guide listed parkings are free but no service, no hook ups.
We stayed most of the time at gas stations for the night but for a few nights also at the beach. We drove from Munich west to Austria, Switzerland, Italy, then south to France and Spain along the coast hwy. For food, gas, even for a coffee it makes sense to leave the toll freeway and go shopping in little towns. Service station’s prices on the freeway are double of the countryside’s. We always filled up the fridge in little country villages. There are many huge Truck Stops with laundry at the Spanish border town of
La Jounquera, but the prices are shocking. We paid for 2 loads (wash and dry) almost 20 dollars. No complaints because a few hours later we enjoyed a beautiful sunset and night at the beach absolutely free, parking is allowed right at the sandy Mediterranean beaches just north of Barcelona.

Our little Fiat motor home at the beach of the Atlantic Ocean.

How do you know you are in a rich neighbourhood? Number of expensive sport cars per square mile.

Monaco from the top of the hill.

Shockingly expensive laundry at the French-Spanish border town of La Jounquera.

Yachts at the French Riviera.

Driving along the French coast near Nice.

Little house out of a story book in the Swiss Alps.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Rv-ing in Europe 2

One major difference: smaller RV-s have no black water tank. European RVs have a “cassette”(it’s like the holding tank of a bigger Porta-Potty), it can be removed from outside, emptied with the push of a button, simple, safe and clean solution, bit more work than a tank tough. Small motor home has everything we need, but the rental does not come with cutlery or bed ware. You can buy the cutlery for the trip for 54EU+Bed stuff for 43EU. Yes, BUY it, you can keep it, take it home, throw it out, they don’t want it back so every rental starts with new and clean bed and kitchen. Lots of other goodies are included tough like very good Maps, Camping and RV Park Directory, RV Parking Directory.
RVs in Europe are much smaller than in North America, (we could park ours most of the time in the car parking lot) and for a good reason: fuel price. 1 liter=1,30-1,40Euro average=1,90-2,00 CAD.

Giant Toll Plazas everywhere in Europe, tolls are around 10-15 $ or more.

If you want to visit places like Monaco or Monte Carlo you will be happy to have a small RV.

After a while it starts to get boring; every 2 hours or so another Toll Plaza, your best bet is cash, our credit cards sometimes did not work. With 10 Big Rigs behind you it is a real pain in the driver's seat trust me.

But the Riviera is well worth it.

At the end of the day at a Truck Stop, cool drink in my hands; life is good.
If you ever visit Italy you have to try the locale's favorite: Campari Soda, after 2 or 3 the language seems a lot easier.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

RV-ing in Europe

I hope this post is going to be helpful to many of you who plan to travel to Europe and see a bit more then the "organized" tourist. My wife has been in Spain a long time ago and she wanted to go back ever since. In 2007 we decided to rent an RV in Europe and give it a try. Weeks of planning and the Internet is an incredible help. Whenever we fly to Europe we try to go after the peak season after Sept. 15th. Tickets are much cheaper, same for RV renting and the weather is still beautiful. Since we’ve been living in Germany for years, we wanted to rent an RV in there. Two major rental companies seemed to be the best for us in the Munich area: Hymer (one of the biggest RV builder in the country) and the German Auto club: ADAC. Both have online booking in English; we decided to go with ADAC because of the excellent customer service. After the online reservation they mailed us a DVD introducing exactly the type of RV we rented. From how to drive to the septic system everything is covered in a very simple, easy to understand way. We picked up our RV in Munich at the end of September, they showed us everything again and filled the freshwater tank right there and we were ready to go.

If you go:

RV rental: and

More about the trip next time.

This is the small Motor Home you can rent in Germany for about 8-900$ a week with unlimited mileage.

Here we are at the German-Austrian border. Some countries in Europe do not have toll booths on the highways but you have to buy a sticker at the border; put it on the windshield to prove you paid your fee.

Small Motor Home but has everything to travel in comfort.

In the Swiss Alps.

There are no RV Parks as we know it but many cities have "RV-parking". They are even listed on maps, easy to find and the best part is: they are free. The southern part of Europe has many full timers, some of them moving from one parking to the other. No hook ups at all, just parking but you can not complain about the price. We stayed in some of them for the night, was safer then in a rest area, local cops drove by a few times at night.

Monday, July 5, 2010

A few more words about the favorite trip..

It is amazing what happens in a parking lot sometimes. Free parking at a casino in Coachella, lots of room. Big motor home, worth a few 100 thousands, just wanted to ask the owner if the parking is really free or do we have to register or what to do. As I pull in closer he starts waving: keep going, do not park your "hippy-wagen" next to me. "Thank you sir, very nice from you, hope to never see you again".

A very nice neighbour.

Stopped for some pictures at the Morongo Reservation's Dino Park
We had a very good reason to drive trough the LA area: wanted some really good tacos. Have been there many times, best tacos from a catering truck in Castaic, just north of LA.

1,25 a taco, 3 of them are enough for me, who can beat that?

Last stop for photos on the way home: the Governator's Office in Sacramento.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Favorite Trip # 2

We drove through the Mojave Desert a few times, seen it from the freeway only, now is the time to check it out. Joshua Tree National Park is a must see attraction on the north side of the valley and only 30 minutes from Indio. When we hear desert we think of endless sand but this desert is different. There are so many plants and animals that beat the unforgiving climate and survive the 110 F summer with no water. The Joshua tree is actually not a tree but a yucca, can grow up to 40’ tall, and has cream colored flowers in January. Even after it dies the dead tree is home to a lot of small animals. Inside the park there are 9 campgrounds, it is better to stay a day or two because there is so much to see and the park is huge. Being in the Palm Springs area next must see is the Aerial Tramway. It goes up 2.5 miles over the city into Mt. San Jacinto State Park and if you are not afraid of height, need a bit of adrenaline rush the cars are rotating while going up or down. The top of the hill reminds us of home, cold and snow; we don’t miss that and hurry back down to the desert. Little time left to visit a couple of casinos (seems to be more than palm trees in the area), stop at the Dinosaur Theme Park in Morongo and we have to go home. North of Los Angeles the weather turns ugly and doesn’t change for the next 3 months. One more reason to make it home in 2 days again. Are you asking: was it worth driving 4 days to spend 5 days in the desert? Absolutely, wouldn’t hesitate to do it again next winter it’s going to be my next favorite road trip.

Lots of convoys are meeting here before headed further south to Mexico.

Sometimes they spend a few days at the casinos while waiting for members of the convoy to arrive.

Shop at the entrance of Joshua Tree National Park.

Ocotillo cactus grows so tall in the desert.

One of the nice campgrounds inside the park.
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