Saturday, December 13, 2014

Roadtrip 2014: Heading for Ängsö

Finally I was back on track. The sun was shining, and I was heading for the island Ängsö, a nature reserve about 20-30 km from Västerås (where I live). I like to be close to home first night, incase I´ve forgotten something important.

One of the first thing you need to consider for a happy roadtrip is temperature. For a roadtrip to be succeed I think the weather is (very) important. No moisture and cold and you sleep well in the car... and everything stays dry and nice. Rain is really bad news, at least when on a vacation and you feel your time is limited before you have to go back to work. If it gets to cold in the night you wake up freezing, and you need to put on some more blankets and so on. I prefer an even temperature, not so easy in a car without any extra isolation.

Some pictures of the swedish landscape.

Evening and everything was finally packed into the car. Heading for a nice sleepover in the car. The weather was perfect!
Roadsign: Welcome to the nature reserve Ängsö. A lovely place where you often can find peace and quietness.
Scouting for toilets is always necessary, nice to know where they are in case you need to do number 2.

Here you can see the Ängsö castle in the background and some roadsigns. Långholms brygga is a place where I´ve slept before. Heading for that place!

Parkinglot at Långholms brygga. Parked the car a bit away from the other, do like it peaceful and quiet.

Went out the the pier..
Fantastic views from the pier.

There are some nice walking trail you can go from this place. This time I didn't really feel I had the time, prefer to do it in the mornings or when the sun is shining.

Last time I slept in this place I got very disturbed by some adolescents, arriving in the middle of the night with a couple of cars. Making a lot of noise, drinking and lighting a fire. I don't know why, but I always run into this kind of kids that think life is about making sounds. Lets just say that my ego has had enough of them..

Even though this place has toilets I had to much memories from the adolescents last time, so decided to try to find another place for the night.

More in the next post.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Testing out the bike holder on the car

Since my car lacks towbar (hitch?), I must use something else to hold my bike. I do like to have a bike with me on the roadtrips. A bicycle is one of the best way to explore a place! Walking is nice but takes to much time. A Bicycle has just about the right speed to see everything. I also like that it is a silent transport, so that I can listen to the nature or some podcast along the way.

This bike carrier is installed using the straps on the tailgate. I also used it on previous Kia car. Worked very good on that car. I bought the bike carrier on Biltema for 499 Swedish crones (about 70 dollar). It is suppose to fit most cars with a boot cover that is sloping somewhat. It is pretty easy to install on the car, you just have to adjust the straps to fit and do a tidy installation, so the straps doesn't hook on to something when you drive.. I have adjusted the lower tailgate attachment, the original doesn't really do the job as good as these one.

The Kia in Lysekil, with the trustworthy Miyata bike on the back.
The bike carrier mounted on the old previous car (Kia Pride). This picture is from Lysekil, last summer

Will it fit? Nobody know...
Here I´m trying it out the "new" car. It fits! YES!

Biltema cykelhållare för baklucka
Another view so you can see all the details on it. :) You can poke somebodys eye with them, reversing. Nah, just kidding.

Voila, seems to work great. Now I can bring the bike with me on the roadtrip!
Okey, so the window wiper is a little in the way so the supporting bar gets a bit low, but seems ok. You can see my "improvements". New stainless steel attachments is installed instead of the original ones. However I have to protect the car paint from getting scratches so I have taped it and also used rubber from an bike tire and some old balloons on the holders.

Everything looks good! Seems to be working! The Miyata bike will be with me on the roadtrip! YES! :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Installing extra battery in the car

Well since I am about to go on at roadtrip I need extra power. The car battery just wont be enough when it rains and a lot of electrics (computer, charging mobile phone, camera and so on, at least that is my motivation for getting it) is used. I don't like to have to start the engine to charge the battery all the time, it´s bad for the environment.
This marine 80 amp 12 volt Tudor Exide (lead) battery was bough about a year ago. I keep it in the apartment on the winter so it wont get frozen. I continuously charge the battery with a ctek charger about every month since a battery like this gets damaged if it gets below a certain voltage.

The battery is connected to the car battery through a big switch. It can then be charge from the car alternator when the switch is on. I installed the battery cables earlier, you can read about it here.

Next thing was connecting the solar panel regulator to the battery. Since I did the same thing on my previous car it was no big thing. Here you read about that.
Everything worked like it should, and now it´s about getting ready to sleep in it. First night in the car! :)

Sunday, August 24, 2014

First night in the Starlet! (Björnön)

After installing the bed I decided to go try it out. I decided to go the island Björnön, that place is usually very nice. I now the area and so on. That island is very close to my home (about 12 km), and there are a bridge so you can drive over to it.

I think it is the third time I sleep in this parkinglot. However the first one with the Toyota Starlet car. I was exited to try it out! Will the bed be ok? Is there something I need to improve and so on..

Of course there was a car in the middle of the night that found it fun to skid around in the parkinglot, waking everybody. Small stones were flying, but it did not hit the car (I think). Thankfully. You wake up by hearing some engine sound, tires turning and stones flying. Always the same story.. When you are newly awake you don't get what is happening the first seconds. Well after a while I could go back to sleep again.

I have put an bungee cord in the top of the boot cover and then put a bluish fleece blanket. I kept the hat-rack and slept under it. You can see the cushion (pillow?) and the mattress.

A view of the driver-side of the car. As you can see a black fleece blanket has been hanged. 
These were my neighbors for the night. A family with some small kids. An old Mercedes bus towing a turquoise car. I cant even se what kind of car it is? What is it for? Knowbody knows.. Was this a family with to much stuff? :)

Here you get a view of the parking lot. Behind the trees is the sea Mälaren.

Inside the vehicle. Me lying. The curtain solution works great!

Black fleece blanket as side curtain

The car is pretty stealth. Of course you suspect that somebody is inside the car but, if you don't look you will not notice anything special.

Early morning, rise and shine. I slept ok even though the car skidding in the night. But it takes a couple of nights before you sleep really well. The body needs to get used to the "new" environment and so on. It really takes some time for the mind to relax and be comfortable.

Well everything went smooth, I think this solution will work very well on my roadtrip! Next I will install an extra battery. More on that later!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Preparing the Toyota Starlet for sleeping in it

How am I gonna sleep in the Toyota Starlet you may ask?

Let me tell you. The approach to the "new" car was a bit different than the Kia. On the Kia Pride I could push the front seats forwards (max) and recline the backseat to make it "almost" flat towards the backseat. That solution was not possible with the Toyota Starlet. Yes! Of course I tried it, don't make me out to be a fool. ;)
So... on the Toyota I decided to remove the front passenger seat. (Yes, I might have showed this before, but it was a long time ago, and you probably have forgotten it haven't ya?)
I also removed the sitting seat ( in the back so that the backseat could be folded almost flat to the boot floor.) Are you getting anything of what I´m trying to explain here? I guess not, ...
Ok, so when the seat was out, I had to find something to support a bigger board (that I took from an working office desk, which I earlier scrapt). So.. I found a cooling box and a plastic box that fitted not perfectly, but "ok" according to my "standard".. I will explain more in the pictures that follows.

Here you see that the passenger chair has been removed. Here are the board (wood) put on top the cooling box and another plastic box. Not totally flat but "ok". LEAVE the fashionistas opinions outside the car.. :)

To smoothen things out I put a sleeping underlay on top of the whole thing. The pieces that is missing from the underlay I blame on Rasmus, a dog (poodle)  that I had before. On top of this goes the mattress.

So here the foam mattress is put into the car. It is an Ikea Moshult mattress that is suppose to be "firm". And yes. it it pretty firm. The size is 80x200 cm. That turned out to be a perfect size. You can also see a sleeping bag, and a warm fleece piece to the left.

Okey, so here the bed is ready to sleep in. As you can see the bed is not totally flat. It's a little like sleeping on a small hill with some slope. I figured that more blood in the head (because of the slope) would only make me smarter.. (win-win?) When sleeping the feet are closest to the dashboard.
A good bed I must say. I will use it on the 2014 roadtrip. Coming up! The only problem that I have found is that the gear-stick is under the bed, so you have to drive the car lifting somewhat the bed up, when changing gears that is. No big problem I would say..
What else?
On this picture I have also fitted the new curtain holders to the handles in the roof. Works super I must say! Also Ikea stuff.

This solution I am very happy with!. Since I used parts that I already had, the only thing costing was the mattress and some sheet and cushion. About 5-600 Swedish crones or 70-80 dollar (yes everything i more expensive here in Sweden than in the states, more taxes and so on.) I think it will work nicely on the holiday roadtrip. More info about that coming up soon.

Til next time, bye!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Is somebody sleeping in the van?

Today a college at work asked me if I had seen the red american van on the parking lot.

Actually I had. I had noticed it before, but not really given it any closer look. The van seems to be moved around in the parking lot. And I also found it being here last summer when allmost everybody had vacation.

Anyway, the college had noticed a solar panel in the front window and that it had some kind of curtains, so you could not see into the back area of the van. He thought it looked weird and suspicious, he did not want to park his car beside this one. He asked me if I thought somebody was living in the car..

We decided to take a closer look and went outside to check it out. I took some pictures of it. Maybe you are better to decide.. Its hard to tell..

A GMC american van, heavy on fuel.
A GMC american van, heavy on fuel. Behind the driver-seat the black curtains are shut so you can´t really see anything inside the van except the front chairs.

Black tinted window, and some black curtain behind it.
The side window was tinted and had black curtains behind it, to kill all light inside the van.

Back of the van. Very black! You can also see a sticker about Callaghan
The backwindow, the same. Really black!

Extra electricity by the solar panel?
A small solar panel is placed in the front window, I guess to charge the battery. Really small solar panel. Can´t give to much power. But perhaps it is there to just top up the start battery a little, who knows.

Well, probably there is nobody sleeping in the car. But from now on I will keep an eye on it. Not that it bothers me, but it is a little interesting. :)

What do you think?

Friday, August 8, 2014

My "survival box", it has just about all I need

So this is what I´ve got in my survivalbox. This box I always bring in my car when going on a roadtrip. I also have a victoryknow knife (swiss champion) in my car and a small mag-lite flash-lite but these are not stored in the box. If there is something that I miss I often find it in the box. :)

The container is about 15 liter, a Hammarplast smartstore (transparent so you can see what is inside it). It comes with a transparent lid/cover that you can snap into place. I also have fitted extra smaller storagebox inside the box. So it is like small compartments if you know what I mean.?

The lid is off, you can see some stuff but far from everything.

Just about all you need, except food and water.

Ropes are always usefull, you need them to hold lamps or other stuff. Or just hanging wet stuff/laundry.. Matches (storm), and a lighter for lighting heat candles is a must. Some time I use a kerosene lantern (for light and heat), and you need something to light it with.

Camper repair kit, never needed it though, some small lexan bottles (very durable), napkins and more.
Firematches, a nipper for cutting of small pieces of wood. A temperature meter (the plastic card). Some Velcro, barbecue tongs, wet napkin/serviette, heating"glove", steel wire, mirrors and a lot more.
Firematches, a nipper for cutting of small pieces of wood. A temperature meter (the plastic card). Some Velcro, barbecue tongs, wet napkin/serviette, heating"glove", steel wire, mirrors and a lot more.

Sewing kit, tealights and storm matches.
Sewing kit, tealights and storm matches.

Some pegs for setting up shelter or whatever. Drinking glasses, can also be used to eat breakfast, Barbecue cleaner, dish soap/detergent.

Cutlery, fork, spoon, can opener and a small cutting board.

When something out of the ordinary happens, you are always glad you got the box!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Roadtrip 2013: On my way home to Västerås, accident

After taking a bath at Pinneviksbadet in Lysekil it was time to go home and start working again. I would liked to have continued on the roadtrip, but time was running out.

After just a couple of swedish miles heading for Uddevalla I Had to take the car ferry. Not bad. Free boatride. :) This is Gullmarsleden that goes between Finnsbo and Skår in Gullmarsfjorden.
Looking out a the swedish scenery, enjoying nature and being on water.

Why not another picture, huh?
After that I continued and had to stop to pee (very interesting info I know). After that I continued to find this queue! What has happened!!? Accident! Scary. That peeing might have saved me... Makes you think twice! How easy it is for everything to change. It makes you humble for the greatness in life. I parked the car after the side of the road to go see what has happened. I took the camera with me.

An helicopter arrives, and lands right besides the highway.
Wounded people carried to the ambulance.
Head-on collision... I talked to an eyewitness that saw the car crash. He said that the silver car (Toyota Avensis), to the right in the picture turned right over to the other lane and the crash with the white car was apparent. How very sad.. No one got killed at least (according to ambulance personal). If I had not stopped and pee it might have been me.. Drive carefully people. Don´t drive in a hurry.
The ambulance helicopter did thankfully not have to transport anybody.
White car demolished. The silver Toyota has been lifted up to the tow car. It took a couple of hours before we could continue.

After the accident I decided to stop at a restspot that trafikverket has. They have toilets there and so fort. Found some polish car, that stopped to camp here. It is not allowed.. Well I had a little food and water and then continued. Still a long way home.

Getting closer to home.. A Volkswagen bus has broken down. I have seen at-least two broken down VW buses on this holiday, not reliable?

Soon the roadtrip was over and I was home again.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Roadtrip 2013: Still in Lysekil, some more pictures

This pictures are taken with a Canon camera, the other pictures are from my mobile phone.

The two first pictures are when heading for Kungshamn, and the rest is from Lysekil.

Well, as I said in the last post, heading for Kungshamn I say this wind power, and liked to light. So I had to stop. But I did not really catch the light. The trustworthy Kia down to the right.

Can you see the magic light? Nah? What? :)

Arriving late evening in the harbor of Lysekil. The sun is going down. Sitting in the Kia car, being steered down by people going by. The people going by in the harbor are unfortunately not giving me a very good first impression..

And a bird is flying.

"The Birds are gonna get some." - Jim Rohn

Guess I´m trying to do something that looks simplistic, not doing a very good job. It not for nothing they call me: "The shadow from Bronx" :)

Early morning sun, the rocks are being hit by the sun.

Seabird checking me out.

At-least I got some pictures of the rainbow. It showed better in real life. Beautiful colors.

Do you see the colors?

I wish I could fly.

More rocks, and an big anchor in the foreground.

Looking Simplistic? Nah, 

Me in rainbow picture. I call this picture "hands-up". Am I afraid that I wont be in the picture or what?

You gotto have boats in the pictures or else something is wrong.

Beautiful. Look a bit like a painting, its not.

What am I trying to accomplish here?.. I have no idea, just being a camera hog I guess. Can you see the rainbow?

Bird Flying high.

So this is were I slept for the night. The black car is from France. Two people sleeping in that car. Also somebody sleeping in the car up to the left. But it left pretty early the day after.

Pinneviksbath. early morning. Just me awake.

Armchairs in the town of Lysekil.

Pretty soft to lay here.

The town of Lysekil, and the cold bath house, closest.

Here there were going to be a sailing competition, in the next week. But I had no time to stay. But I guess it would have been interesting to watch.

Last picture of Lysekil. After taking a bath it was time to head for home (Västerås). Time to go back to work.