4.9.09 Salisbury to Oxford

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4.9.09 Salisbury to Oxford


Brilliant day!  Pleasant rain turned to sunshine by the time we arrived in Oxford.  It was just a 60 mile drive, much of it on the busy highway.


The Elliott’s this morning were extremely nice in helping us at 10:50 am, even though the office is closed from 10:30 to noon every day.  We hadn’t noticed this little fact, but they kindly reopened to sell us more propane and call ahead to Oxford for us.  Their kindness saved our day!


The Camping and Caravanning Club in Oxford is again a very nice campground and just 1.5 miles via a well-marked bike trail into town.  We enjoyed taking the bike path across the Thames River and into the throngs of people letting out just before the holiday this evening.


Good Friday and Easter Monday are both official holidays.  We signed up for four nights here to hunker down during this busy weekend.  Their only available spots were dry camping and we gratefully took one.  I suspect they are full now.


We saw a caravan (trailer) come in and the couple disconnected from the car and used a remote control to automatically back the caravan hands-free into it’s pitch (site)!  I took pictures that I’ll have to share later.  They also have these fresh water systems here with a barrel that rolls to the site with a wire handler and also connects to the caravan with a tube system.  Caravans are considered most efficient because a car is used to tow them and then useful for exploration after arriving.


Oxford is a fascinating city and we saw several of the collages.  Did you know that Oxford has been a college since at least the 11th Century?!  Oh my gosh!  We enjoyed grabbing some baguette sandwiches for dinner (11L for the four of us, including drinks- good deal!) and a few t-shirts for the kids from street vendors.



There is a huge camping and outdoor store beside the campground.  We have gone there twice today and enjoyed their Easter sales.  They were very kind and fixed our first receipt when it was clear by the second visit that we should have purchased their discount card.  Wasn’t that nice?  We explored all their tents that they have displayed (maybe 50 different types) and Charles is talking about how he is going car-camping in Europe after college.  Given the resources at the European campgrounds, I think that is a terrific idea.  He can wave at his Mom and Dad in their motorvan! 


Charles and Lia went over to the dishwashing area at the shower block (area where they have all the services in the center of the campground).  There they used the outdoor big stainless sinks to clean the lunch dishes.  There is a chemical disposal point (CDP) there for the porta-potty or cassette toilet on the rig, which looks like a big toilet without a seat (loo).  They have two places for “waste water disposal,” which is for the grey water, but it is the first campground where you have to tote your grey water over in a bucket!  Jazy and Lia are in the showers now where they have hot water showers without a token (usually bought at the office for a fee).  I personally took my first shower of this trip (since June 1), and actually gosh, since I started Motorhoming, this morning so that we didn’t have to worry about grey tank disposal and pulling our laundry out of the shower, etc.  Actually, they had a hairdryer in there too, which I really wanted, for 20 p.  I bought a 12 volt one today at the camping store.


Jazy and I used our phone card to call London campgrounds from the payphone booth here.  The phone booth is all red and British- haven’t changed a bit since I was here over 20 years ago.


I was able to book Crystal Palace in London for Monday thru Wednesday, but they were full thereafter.  Then I booked Abbey Road for Friday thru Sunday, but they said to call back tomorrow to book Thursday because the manager could authorize that and will be in tomorrow.  Since both of those are Caravan Club sites and it costs 7L per night for non-members, we agreed that the 45L joining fee was worthwhile, especially since we’ll return to Great Britain at the end of our summer. 


So we finally got it all worked out with everyone agreeing that we could join by phone when we arrive at Crystal Palace, even though we have an address outside the UK, so that we can get our club books and cards at the time, rather than by mail.  Whew!  A lot of work and long time, but having campgrounds during the school holiday at two London campgrounds is critical.  Then we’ll head down to the Chunnel for our trip to France!


We decided to skip driving to Cambridge.  I think that taking the train from London to Cambridge for the day will be a better move.  Cambridge is out of the way, northeast of London when we’re so close (within an hour) from London here in Oxford, on the west side.  Moving campgrounds takes a lot of time and we lose time checking in, checking out, etc.  So once we’re based in London, at least we can maneuver from there. 


I hope that was a smart move to book 2 different campgrounds in London, but the Church’s do say that Crystal Palace CG is a must-stay type of place and it is essentially on the way to Abbey Road CG.  Both have walks of about a mile to the public transportation, and Crystal Palace is just 100 yards.  This is critical info that I’ve learned to pay attention to!


We’ve cheered Orla twice in the past 24 hours for the medical kit she prepared for us.  First, I needed a Band-Aid for 2 cuts on my hand (don’t ask) and then Lia got the ball out of the bushes tonight and was stung by nettles!  Sure enough, Orla had a cream that helped “bee stings and nettle stings.”  Hooray!  Lia, while high maintenance, rarely complains of pain but she really was hurting from those nettles.  I’ll bet next time she convinces Charles to go after that ball!  I cannot remember what I stuck in the Behan’s medical kit, but I sure hope it is half as well-done and comprehensive as the nice one we have here.  I’ll tell ya, those Behan’s are just the nicest, most gracious people!


Enjoy the full moon tonight!  It is a lovely evening in beautiful Oxford, England.






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photo by: petit_gooroo