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POI Admin
26-04-2017, 16:06
Well I'm safely back home in Cheshire now and I've had a chance to reflect on the past four months, three and a half of which were spent in Spain and Portugal.

First some stats to whet the appetite ...

Distances travelled:

Door-to-door 6,271 miles, but I used the ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao (excellent if pricey)

In Spain and Portugal 4,984 miles (I only used toll roads twice - once when it was dark and I wanted to get more quickly to my overnight stop, and the other occasion to access a POI when the local roads were too narrow)

In France 695 miles

Fuel purchased 1,279 litres costing 1,327

Average mpg 22.38

One breakdown and one repair - a loose injector lead on arrival in Spain, and a failed ball joint replaced in Santander. This I think was the victim of the roads in Portugal, see below. (Those who wonder about tyre life, I had new Michelin Camping tyres fitted on my 'van two years ago. The front tyres have now done 15,000 miles and will soon need replacing.)

I used two satnav apps - CoPilot Caravan to start till I found it routing me along stupidly narrow roads, then TomTom Mobile which was better though not perfect. Poor route choices are more likely to be due to poor map data. I noted that CoPilot had roads that didn't exist at all or were closed. TomTom didn't seem to have this problem.

The purpose of the trip was to check existing POIs and add new POI locations around the coasts of Spain and Portugal. This was my first trip to these countries ...

I headed from Bilbao across to the Med electing to start the journey at Cambrils to the south west of Tarragona then heading clockwise around the coast. Although not a complete coastal trip it took in the vast majority of the coastline that people visit.

Rarely did I spend more than one night in a location. The one big exception was an enforced stay of eight nights at Simat when the weather turned prodigiously foul and wintery - one morning was notable for the snowman on a car's bonnet!

Most days I found myself driving for between four and five hours. I used the nearest significant coast road all the way round. Significant doesn't mean fast or wide, especially in Portugal where such roads are often very poorly surfaced, or many miles of cobbles!

Hairy moments? Fewer than you might think ...


Two uphill hairpin bends I couldn't negotiate due to gradient and loss of traction
One right hand turn with a sudden gradient change which was not possible when I grounded
One lane that became so narrow I couldn't continue but thankfully could exit after a 19 point turn
One side street parked up with vehicles requiring a long and tortuous reverse
One unsigned bridge that was too low
And best of all a signed route to a tourist attraction on a road that started wide, then narrowed, then had a tight turn with soft ground on one side and rocks on the other which I only just cleared; after all this I emerged onto a steeply side sloping patch of bare earth ... thankfully I had enough traction to turn and escape!



During some of these tricky manoeuvres I discovered that car drivers like to take chances, whizzing past me whilst I was reversing and turning!

My motorhome, by the way, is an Auto Trail Dakota - 4.25 tonnes and 7.75 metres - so all the locations I checked are accessible by large vehicles.

So what did I actually achieve?

Well in total I visited 992 POI locations :D

Of these 566 were new locations which have been added to the database progressively, the final batch to be added to the May POI release.

To wrap this up some observations.

Yes there are many motorhomes that visit Spain and Portugal during the Winter months. And there were locations that were heavily oversubscribed. But I didn't find many, and found plenty that had only a handful of 'vans parked up. I think it's less of a problem than is generally perceived.

I was not moved on once.

Which part did I enjoy most? North west and north Spain are stunningly beautiful and not many motorhomes seem to go there. But it won't be good in Winter - too cold, wet and windy. Now Spring and Summer is a completely different prospect.

So if you're thinking of heading south next Winter, do so. And use our locations as the basis of your plans. They're uniquely well researched!

Pauljenny
26-04-2017, 16:35
Well I'm safely back home in Cheshire now and I've had a chance to reflect on the past four months, three and a half of which were spent in Spain and Portugal.

First some stats to whet the appetite ...

Distances travelled:

Door-to-door 6,271 miles, but I used the ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao (excellent if pricey)

In Spain and Portugal 4,984 miles (I only used toll roads twice - once when it was dark and I wanted to get more quickly to my overnight stop, and the other occasion to access a POI when the local roads were too narrow)

In France 695 miles

Fuel purchased 1,279 litres costing 1,327

Average mpg 22.38

One breakdown and one repair - a loose injector lead on arrival in Spain, and a failed ball joint replaced in Santander. This I think was the victim of the roads in Portugal, see below. (Those who wonder about tyre life, I had new Michelin Camping tyres fitted on my 'van two years ago. The front tyres have now done 15,000 miles and will soon need replacing.)

I used two satnav apps - CoPilot Caravan to start till I found it routing me along stupidly narrow roads, then TomTom Mobile which was better though not perfect. Poor route choices are more likely to be due to poor map data. I noted that CoPilot had roads that didn't exist at all or were closed. TomTom didn't seem to have this problem.

The purpose of the trip was to check existing POIs and add new POI locations around the coasts of Spain and Portugal. This was my first trip to these countries ...

I headed from Bilbao across to the Med electing to start the journey at Cambrils to the south west of Tarragona then heading clockwise around the coast. Although not a complete coastal trip it took in the vast majority of the coastline that people visit.

Rarely did I spend more than one night in a location. The one big exception was an enforced stay of eight nights at Simat when the weather turned prodigiously foul and wintery - one morning was notable for the snowman on a car's bonnet!

Most days I found myself driving for between four and five hours. I used the nearest significant coast road all the way round. Significant doesn't mean fast or wide, especially in Portugal where such roads are often very poorly surfaced, or many miles of cobbles!

Hairy moments? Fewer than you might think ...


Two uphill hairpin bends I couldn't negotiate due to gradient and loss of traction
One right hand turn with a sudden gradient change which was not possible when I grounded
One lane that became so narrow I couldn't continue but thankfully could exit after a 19 point turn
One side street parked up with vehicles requiring a long and tortuous reverse
One unsigned bridge that was too low
And best of all a signed route to a tourist attraction on a road that started wide, then narrowed, then had a tight turn with soft ground on one side and rocks on the other which I only just cleared; after all this I emerged onto a steeply side sloping patch of bare earth ... thankfully I had enough traction to turn and escape!



During some of these tricky manoeuvres I discovered that car drivers like to take chances, whizzing past me whilst I was reversing and turning!

My motorhome, by the way, is an Auto Trail Dakota - 4.25 tonnes and 7.75 metres - so all the locations I checked are accessible by large vehicles.

So what did I actually achieve?

Well in total I visited 992 POI locations :D

Of these 566 were new locations which have been added to the database progressively, the final batch to be added to the May POI release.

To wrap this up some observations.

Yes there are many motorhomes that visit Spain and Portugal during the Winter months. And there were locations that were heavily oversubscribed. But I didn't find many, and found plenty that had only a handful of 'vans parked up. I think it's less of a problem than is generally perceived.

I was not moved on once.

Which part did I enjoy most? North west and north Spain are stunningly beautiful and not many motorhomes seem to go there. But it won't be good in Winter - too cold, wet and windy. Now Spring and Summer is a completely different prospect.

So if you're thinking of heading south next Winter, do so. And use our locations as the basis of your plans. They're uniquely well researched!

They ought to put a statue up of you, for all that hard work, Chris.
Where would you suggest?
Have a well earned rest now.
And make sure that Cheshire is warm and aired..( aired... Gettit? ), for when we return.

Thanks a million :bow:

wakk44
26-04-2017, 18:07
Thanks for the research Chris,

Interesting comments about the tyre wear and satnav apps.

In the past I've always had to change motorhome tyres because of age/sidewall cracking and never because of tread wear,15,000 miles is not a lot for a set of front tyres in my opinion,it's probably an idea to rotate the tyres if doing high mileages.

I have both the same satnav apps as you and have come to the same conclusion,the tomtom go mobile app is superior to copilot and updated regularly.

Pleased to hear that you were never moved on by the authorities during 3 1/2 months of wilding in Spain and Portugal,contrary to some of the reports recently about crackdowns on wild camping.

Shockingdog
26-04-2017, 18:45
Well I'm safely back home in Cheshire now and I've had a chance to reflect on the past four months, three and a half of which were spent in Spain and Portugal.

First some stats to whet the appetite ...

Distances travelled:

Door-to-door 6,271 miles, but I used the ferry from Portsmouth to Bilbao (excellent if pricey)

In Spain and Portugal 4,984 miles (I only used toll roads twice - once when it was dark and I wanted to get more quickly to my overnight stop, and the other occasion to access a POI when the local roads were too narrow)

In France 695 miles



Fuel purchased 1,279 litres costing 1,327

Average mpg 22.38

One breakdown and one repair - a loose injector lead on arrival in Spain, and a failed ball joint replaced in Santander. This I think was the victim of the roads in Portugal, see below. (Those who wonder about tyre life, I had new Michelin Camping tyres fitted on my 'van two years ago. The front tyres have now done 15,000 miles and will soon need replacing.)

I used two satnav apps - CoPilot Caravan to start till I found it routing me along stupidly narrow roads, then TomTom Mobile which was better though not perfect. Poor route choices are more likely to be due to poor map data. I noted that CoPilot had roads that didn't exist at all or were closed. TomTom didn't seem to have this problem.

The purpose of the trip was to check existing POIs and add new POI locations around the coasts of Spain and Portugal. This was my first trip to these countries ...

I headed from Bilbao across to the Med electing to start the journey at Cambrils to the south west of Tarragona then heading clockwise around the coast. Although not a complete coastal trip it took in the vast majority of the coastline that people visit.

Rarely did I spend more than one night in a location. The one big exception was an enforced stay of eight nights at Simat when the weather turned prodigiously foul and wintery - one morning was notable for the snowman on a car's bonnet!

Most days I found myself driving for between four and five hours. I used the nearest significant coast road all the way round. Significant doesn't mean fast or wide, especially in Portugal where such roads are often very poorly surfaced, or many miles of cobbles!

Hairy moments? Fewer than you might think ...


Two uphill hairpin bends I couldn't negotiate due to gradient and loss of traction
One right hand turn with a sudden gradient change which was not possible when I grounded
One lane that became so narrow I couldn't continue but thankfully could exit after a 19 point turn
One side street parked up with vehicles requiring a long and tortuous reverse
One unsigned bridge that was too low
And best of all a signed route to a tourist attraction on a road that started wide, then narrowed, then had a tight turn with soft ground on one side and rocks on the other which I only just cleared; after all this I emerged onto a steeply side sloping patch of bare earth ... thankfully I had enough traction to turn and escape!



During some of these tricky manoeuvres I discovered that car drivers like to take chances, whizzing past me whilst I was reversing and turning!

My motorhome, by the way, is an Auto Trail Dakota - 4.25 tonnes and 7.75 metres - so all the locations I checked are accessible by large vehicles.

So what did I actually achieve?

Well in total I visited 992 POI locations :D

Of these 566 were new locations which have been added to the database progressively, the final batch to be added to the May POI release.

To wrap this up some observations.

Yes there are many motorhomes that visit Spain and Portugal during the Winter months. And there were locations that were heavily oversubscribed. But I didn't find many, and found plenty that had only a handful of 'vans parked up. I think it's less of a problem than is generally perceived.

I was not moved on once.

Which part did I enjoy most? North west and north Spain are stunningly beautiful and not many motorhomes seem to go there. But it won't be good in Winter - too cold, wet and windy. Now Spring and Summer is a completely different prospect.

So if you're thinking of heading south next Winter, do so. And use our locations as the basis of your plans. They're uniquely well researched!


Chris
OMG..........992 POI,s .......you are a star.......Many thanks for all your (hard ? ) work, many on this forum
Will benefit from your efforts.Great stuff.

carol
26-04-2017, 18:52
Wow, great research and report back. So useful. Pity our paths didn't cross. I look forward to updating my POIs for next year! Thanks again Chris 😊

noarlunga
26-04-2017, 19:31
We have a ferry booked to Santander on May 6th and hope to drive to Lisbon via Finisterre. I've been using the Iberia POIs to plan the trip and jolly useful they have turned out to be.

Many thanks for doing all this collating and research. You are indeed - a star!!!

POI Admin
26-04-2017, 20:25
We have a ferry booked to Santander on May 6th and hope to drive to Lisbon via Finisterre. I've been using the Iberia POIs to plan the trip and jolly useful they have turned out to be.

Many thanks for doing all this collating and research. You are indeed - a star!!!

Make sure you download the POIs at the beginning of May. There's 162 new places in the north of Spain to be added!

Stanski
26-04-2017, 20:27
Hi Chris, This effort is applauded - devotion to the appointed position is good to see. We crossed paths without bumping into each other mid-Feb along the Spanish Coast. We departed Spain early March, amongst a chilly wind and sporadic cloud with some sunny afternoons. Hope you enjoyed better.

OBSERVATION
During our excursion (first one) we discovered notices in some locations indicating that Spain had laws to curb near/on-beach parking and restrict stopping if close to a campsite. In conversation and general chat with people during our journey it seems these laws have been long ignored, although applied by specific mayors/regions, or used when necessary by the local police if the need was required.

SUGGESTED IDEAS
With the observation (as I perceive it) above potentially limiting beach POI's in the future, would it be possible to do a research journey focussing on towns/cities about 50km (30mile) inside the coast line. Ta.

or

The Croation coastline to Greece is a pleasant journey.

POI Admin
26-04-2017, 20:31
Sadly I have no plans for another trip such as this ... it was somewhat wearing and and more intense than I had anticipated!

(Good suggestion though :D )

john1974
26-04-2017, 21:03
if anyone wants me to wonder through Croatia and onwards please tell me! I need a reason to travel soon.. lovely country too..
I guess I need to be a full member first! :)

and get some trip funds together.. :(

moonshadow
26-04-2017, 22:24
Great job Chris, it was good to 'bump' into you as well. Perhaps next time you should have a well deserved holiday. May I make a request? When struggling with mobile data, it was very often slow, going into POIs one at a time to find aires when facilities needed was frustrating, would it be possible to have the marker pins for aires in a different colour?

POI Admin
26-04-2017, 23:50
Great job Chris, it was good to 'bump' into you as well. Perhaps next time you should have a well deserved holiday. May I make a request? When struggling with mobile data, it was very often slow, going into POIs one at a time to find aires when facilities needed was frustrating, would it be possible to have the marker pins for aires in a different colour?

Not sure what you mean ...

Both the app and the online POI Map mark the locations with the POI prefix so aires are clearly identifiable.

If you're referring to maps.me then the pushpins default to the current colour when Google Earth KML files are loaded. Given that all types of POI are in one KML file they will all appear with pushpins the same colour. However you don't need to be online so you can click on them quickly in an area to see which are aires.

Please can you clarify?

POI Admin
27-04-2017, 00:00
One thing I forgot to mention ...

I'm eternally grateful for the towbar that I have. Unlike the UK where gradient changes on roads are almost always progressive, in Spain and Portugal they are frequently abrupt. This includes the seemingly innumerable speed humps.

I have lost count of how many times the towbar grounded. I believe I've taken a couple of millimetres off the bottom edge of the towball mounting plate!

Pauljenny
27-04-2017, 14:36
One thing I forgot to mention ...

I'm eternally grateful for the towbar that I have. Unlike the UK where gradient changes on roads are almost always progressive, in Spain and Portugal they are frequently abrupt. This includes the seemingly innumerable speed humps.

I have lost count of how many times the towbar grounded. I believe I've taken a couple of millimetres off the bottom edge of the towball mounting plate!

I hate to pour cold water on your victory parade, Chris.

I just googled" motorhome parking in Spain", after not finding an aire close to Ciudad Rodrigo.
Things have changed. Hundreds of POIs appeared, but nothing close.
I then satellited the town and found a large car park, with what looks like motorhomes on it.
I'll report back if it's. Successful.

Pauljenny
28-04-2017, 19:14
I hate to pour cold water on your victory parade, Chris.

I just googled" motorhome parking in Spain", after not finding an aire close to Ciudad Rodrigo.
Things have changed. Hundreds of POIs appeared, but nothing close.
I then satellited the town and found a large car park, with what looks like motorhomes on it.
I'll report back if it's. Successful.

It was. For skinny, short, lighter vans.
I've posted something on the ' Overnight Stops '.

moonshadow
29-04-2017, 08:09
Not sure what you mean ...

Both the app and the online POI Map mark the locations with the POI prefix so aires are clearly identifiable.

If you're referring to maps.me then the pushpins default to the current colour when Google Earth KML files are loaded. Given that all types of POI are in one KML file they will all appear with pushpins the same colour. However you don't need to be online so you can click on them quickly in an area to see which are aires.

Please can you clarify?

I realise that I may have confused you, as we don't have to be online to use maps.me, and you have answered my question. I was hoping there would be a quicker way on maps.me other than clicking on them all. We don't plan so sometimes need to find something easily. The POI maps are too slow often on mobile data, not sure what you mean by the prefix but will look. I did try the poi maps a couple of times but for some reason I on both occasions had to keep reloading them which isn't ideal on data.

POI Admin
29-04-2017, 16:03
The online POI Map is quite slow to load, especially when roaming abroad. So please be patient and don't try and use it till POI locations appear. (Hopefully the roaming issue will improve from next month ...)

By prefix I mean CR/CU/LR/LU/AC/AF/OU/OR - so on the online map or maps.me the aires are readily identified i.e. AC/AF.


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