3.31.09 Ring of Kerry

Caherdaniel Travel Blog

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3.31.09 Ring of Kerry

After a leisurely morning of breakfast and camper cleanup, we headed out on small, curvy, slender roads up to Caremore and around the southern edge of the Ring of Kerry. Kerry is a peninsula, one of about 5 or more, and the loop road around it is famous for its beauty. It overlooks craggy rocks and windswept hills. The scenery today was beautiful and we passed through mountains that really were only 1000 feet high, but were as dramatic with rugged brown rocks as any we’ve seen.

The roads on the southern part of the Ring of Kerry were pretty rugged for the most part. I’m sure that the lanes were not seven feet wide in places and the trimmed hedges of bushes encroach right up to the edge of the lane. Several times I had to come to a complete stop to let someone else approach on the one-lane road section and then wiggle around us.

The rare trucks and buses just fly through, scraping the bushes as they go, and giving a wave of thanks. Fortunately, we only saw 2 buses on the Ring today due to low season. The buses are required to go counter-clockwise and we were testing our luck by going the opposite direction. By slowing way down when the road is rough and taking it slowly, we protected our precious "Sugar" and she brought us reliably around the Ring. And we always pull over to let faster cars go around us, which makes everyone happy.

We stopped tonight at the gorgeous Wave Crest campground and chose a site with a million dollar view on the cliff above the ocean. Stunning in all directions! We met a nice Australian couple with young child at the dump station and yakked for awhile about the sites north of here. They’re out for 3 weeks with a rental rig. There are very few campers about and we haven’t had the chance to meet many people. We’re so glad that the season starts at Easter so we can meet more people.

Then we proceeded to the laundry where for 6 E ($8 U.S.) per washing machine, we did two loads and then paid 4E to dry it. So it cost over $20 U.S. to do 2 loads! And sadly the old washers did not do a good job, but we are happy to at least have sweet-smelling clothes again.

I hope in the U.S. they do not start pricing as they do here in Irish Campgrounds. First they charge for the rig, then for every person. An extra charge is then incurred for electricity (4E) and even use of your own awning! (5E). Showers are 1E each and are typically on a 4-minute timer. Can you imagine? It was 31 E for us tonight with electric. Oh, the internet is merely one computer in the office. That costs 2 E for 15 minutes! There is no wireless access. And we are lucky to have that internet option. Someone remind Ned that all those AmEx points are what got us the free flights here…

We spent time reading travel books (and Charles is still reading Harry Potter Book 5 to Lia) trying to decide how best to spend our next 3.5 weeks before meeting Ned in Paris. We wish we could see it all! But I do need to book a ferry with 2 weeks notice to get something of a good price- Northern Ireland to Scotland and then maybe the Chunnel from England to France? Who knows at this point?

A late dinner interrupted our travel study, but then we spent over an hour trying to translate German. Why? Because Sugar was experiencing a catastrophic electrical meltdown! What could possibly have gone wrong? The stove igniters wouldn’t work, no interior lights, no water pump, then the propane heater stopped, and finally the electric step could not be brought inside. Ack! All the manuals are in German, but we’d been blessed with a German dictionary too, so we translated fuse and checked all of them- nothing wrong. FINALLY, we pushed a button above the door that said 12V and our usual green light came on that panel and everything worked!!

Ta-DAAA! The sweet joy of success! We cheered, danced, and passed around the handmade chocolates from the small town Chocolatier store we’d visited earlier today. You just don’t appreciate lights and heat until you’re missing them. Perhaps someone had accidently tapped the off button, but now we know how important that little button is. And we’re so grateful that Sugar is well. Whew!

If you’re borrowing someone’s RV in an exchange, let me share with you a little of the downside. There is tremendous worry, stress and responsibility to treat their coach with the utmost care and respect- I am constantly harping on the kids about every little thing they do, about treating others’ items better than our own, of how humiliated I would be if I have to list out to the Behans all the things we messed up on their rig, etc. I am absolutely crazy about it. So I have to remind myself that we can fix, get fixed, or pay for any repairs, that they are nice people and have kids too, and then I secretly hope that they break a few things on Ciao Baby so I can relax. Heehee!

Okay, well I just don’t want them to stress about it like I do. My point is that when you borrow someone’s precious rig, you’re going to have that feeling of responsibility that goes above and beyond your own things. It’s good if you can find someone who will care for things with the same level that you do. I could clearly tell that our exchange buddies are very careful which certainly makes me feel confident about them with my rig.

I think an exchange is the best thing ever, and I also think we got lucky with the Behans. I’d attempt in the future to find exchangers who are just like them. I’m just sharing some things to think about for those of you considering an RV exchange.

One of the great things about an RV exchange is being able to appreciate and use a different RV. We delight in the differences. Here are just a few of the many things that we love about Sugar:

· Big skylight in the living area- opens for airflow, has both a screen and a blackout shade that each slide closed

· Nice backup camera comes on with the engine and I can see cars behind me so can get over to let them pass, and it’s tremendously helpful when backing

· Bike rack folds up and out of the way when not in use; it is simple, lightweight, and very easy to use- great design

· Huge garage compartment can hold 2-3 bikes (probably more) and holds so much stuff!

· Electric step is really nice and a buzzer sounds if it is still out when the engine is started

· Screen on door folds back in half inside when not in use so when exiting I don’t have to fiddle with the door slide to reach the door knob

· Bed in the back is always made- don’t need to make each night

· Front seats swivel easily and provide nice seating during the day

· Bunk over cab is on hydraulic lifts so with a quick push it goes up to the ceiling providing lots of headroom

· Width and length are great- I am very happy to use the 7’ width- 8’ is the maximum allowed in Ireland and with good reason. (Ciao is 8’, but in the U.S. newer rigs are 8.5’)

· Skylight in back bed area is also nice with sliding blackout shade

· Very cool roller shade in lower inside part of windshield pulls up and just hooks on the visors, making an extremely fast and convenient blockout. The side curtains easily pull over and pop onto a Velcro tab for fast coverage- this takes 2 seconds versus a real pain in Ciao. Love that system!

· Light in wardrobe automatically turns on when door is opened

· Top front edge of Sugar swoops up to provide more headroom in cabover bed and dinette area- besides giving it a very cool look on the outside- we’re so hip

· Stovetop cover is glass and folds flat over burners- provides nice counter space when closed, hinges up to protect the window shade when stove is in use

· Pantry is on rollout shelving- very nice

· Curved wood on cabinetry is very pretty

· Front cab seats sit high and the steering wheel is at a flatter angle giving good view of road and more of a bus driving feeling, which is fun

· Beds are very comfy and I’m going to one now (Lia has pre-warmed it for me- we’re sharing it until Ned comes)

We sure to love Sugar and appreciate getting to use her! Thanks Behans!

azsalsa says:
Really sounds like you are becoming experts at operating different rigs and the kids are adding to their "responsibility" ratings! Nice going!
Posted on: Apr 23, 2009
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Caherdaniel