KategorieJourney

3G router – ZTE MF60 .. or ZTE MF65M and more solar power

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As time goes by and the mid of October is coming closer by when we most likely leave Chiang Mai, we started to think about our mobile life again. Elton is having a well deserved rest in the parking lot of our Condo at the moment, but in a little more then one month he will be our home again.

Next to him needing a service, aka greasing the greasenipples (What a name 🙂 ) there are some things to be done for every day comfort.

On the one hand the original 220 Ah truck battery from Pigu (Eltons former owner) which I connected to my 2 120 AH AGMs seems to have reached its natural end of life, as those kinda batteries don’t take the charging/de-charging cycles too kindly.

So a new battery is needed and when working on the power system anyway I want to strengthen our solar system a bit by adding 2 50 Watt panels next to the roof hatch. With those I get a theoretical tops of 540 Wp – which , considering the panels are mounted flat, is a more realistic 450 Wp or around 26 Amps. And luck of lucks – there is a store in Chiang Mai, specialiced in this kind of stuff, which is like 500 metres from our Condo.

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Cambodia – fighting for the border

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We’ve been to Cambodia twice up until now. While we didn’t see much during the first visit, as we just stayed in the Koh Kong Area as Andrea was ill at first and afterwards we worked a lot, this visit was quite nice and brought us to Sianoukhville, Kep, Kampot, Cheung Ek, Phnom Pen, and Angkor. Our visit wasn’t purely for joy this time, we had a task ahead of us. In the meanwhile we live in Elton, our new car and as we haven’t been lucky with selling the Voyager we wanted to give him away for free in Cambodia to a mechanic for spareparts. And this should proof to be a challenge which I’m going to tell you about in this story.
Our journey started in Pattaya where we had spend the last week with being ill, first me, then Andrea, finally painting the bathroom (with fever) in Elton which I constructed earlier when staying on Koh Chang, adding the Voyagers leisure batteries to Eltons electrical system (we now have a whooping 460 AHs of capacity) and moving everything from one car to the other.
Finally we set off in direction of the Hadlek Border in the Koh Kong area, me driving Elton and Andrea (in the meanwhile with fever) driving the Voyager. Sadly we couldn’t wait any longer, as our Visa were running out that day and Thailand doesn’t take it too kindly when you overstay. They throw you into jail first and ask questions later. We started, as always, too late. So it was already 3 pm and we had to be at the border latest 10pm and there were around 360km ahead of us. But 360km in 7 hours should be easy, so we drove to a mall along the way to buy some special glue for the solar panels I wanted to mount on Eltons roof.
I soon started to enjoy driving Elton. He is not overly powerfull, but quite ok taking into account the size and the mass of close to 4 tons. The turbo kicks in at around 2000 rpm, from there on he is quite a beast. Good car, like him.
The first few hours are not worth mentioning – we drove quite fast. Thats it.
Until one point. In the early evening Andrea had stopped over to fill up, I noticed that she wasn’t in the mirror any more, so i stopped over to wait. She turned up we had a quick chit chat. Then she wanted to start the Voyager. Nothing. After some attempts I quickly got out the jump start cables (like so often before), opened Eltons back doors and jumped started the Voyager from Eltons leisure batteries. I noticed that battery of the Voyager was bloated a bit- so the battery was done, but as the car was to be put down in Cambodia anyway I didn’t give it too much attention. I threw the leads into the back of the Voyager (a small but essential move as the evening should proof 🙂 ) and off we went. But wait. There was one small incident. Andrea in her fever, put in “Drive” too early and hit the back of Elton. No harm done, the Voyagers licence plate fell off, at Elton nothing had happened as she had hit the spare wheels on the ramp. How unkindly the Voyager took this small bump, we learned a few hours later.

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Don’t plan too much ahead

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If there is one most important advice, the one advice I’d want to give each and every traveller to be, then it is:

Don’t plan too much ahead.

 

Its way more easy said then done. Travelling means freedom – especially when you set out to travel without a fixed end. But then your brain, if you are just a little bit like us, starts to work against you. Coming from a background with an average job and an usual life, one is used to plan ahead – hell, its 90% of what we do at home. Being a slave of our self set goals. Next week I do that, next month I’m gonna do something or the other and soon you have a never ending list of things to do.

 

When setting out for such a kind of travel, its pretty much the same. Which direction do I want to go (because I want to see that, that and that). Oh then I need this Visa and that agreement. Oh its only valid for so many months. And when I go in this direction, I afterwards go there, there or there. Then I need to apply for that… And soon you’ll have a fixed route you can hardly change (because you paid so much for the Visa already) and a time frame you need to follow. That’s ok, but its by far not freedom. Its the same scheme we are used to at home, just on four wheels and in other countries.

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Cherng Doi Roast Chicken – Chiang Mai

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We ate in this small restaurant yesterday evening.  You get a picture menu (no dinner roulette)  and fill out an order sheet.

The maindishes are OK but a little small so don’t forget to order rice and maybe a salad. But be aware the salads are great but spicy.

The restaurant is located in one of the small sois of Nimman Heamin road.

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But you are on vacation…

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Many times when we meet people,  they tend to think that we are on a constant vacation.  Some think its great,  others not so. Both opinions are ok with us.
But the vacation thing is only partly true.  Sure,  we do see a lot and when people meet us,  we are mostly doing things that are relaxing and vacation-like.  But at these times,  when tourists meet us,  we are in touristic areas,  doing touristy things.
But this impression is missleading as its only a part of our travels.

Overlanding is a kind of job and we put quite some afford into it,  mostly by photographing,  blogging,  facebooking,  instagramming and twittering to show how beautiful our world us,  even far away from the touristic hotspots. Due to our lifestyle we have the opportunity to get to the backyards of this planet and so we want to show how worth it is to protect it and not to be scared of foreign cultures and people,  as next to all we’ve met are friendly and welcoming.

A great job that is,  that’s for sure, but we don’t get paid for it,  which is absolutely ok for us as well.

Travelling/overlanding in itself isn’t like the usual 3 weeks vacation. The confusion is,  that people tend to think that we are doing what they do on vacation,  just longer.

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