Sunday 28 October 2018

Ireland Oct 2018

I had a road-trip to Ireland planned for a while with my car and wheels in the back however as my van came together in time and I got Jersey registered and plated, I changed the booking and I'm now in Ireland with the VW

Jersey to Ireland is quite a trip with 2 ferries and a substantial drive. It is not unusual to get caught out with the weather and I have had some previous epics. As expected the second ferry from Pembroke to Rosslare got cancelled due to the tail end of some storm so I had an  additional night where I stayed with my sister in Oxford. The following days ferry was on time and with only a bit of smashed glass

Sunday 21 October 2018

Project Van

I have long been excited about travelling with my wheels. In previous posts I have made various trips flying BA which work really well but I want the freedom to go off the beaten trail. I can use my current car to move my wheels about but it involves rolling it up ramps and takes up the entire back of the vehicle with the two back seats folded down. I have been planning a project for a while now to broader my horizons so let me introduce my new go anywhere, do anything van


VW's in Jersey are like gold dust. There is a big surfing and travelling community and a lot of tradesmen use Transporters. I have searched the various local classified pages as well as but nothing grabbed me. I liked the idea of a basic automatic transmission van with a wheelchair lift but am used to parking sensors, Bluetooth phone connection and other options that are hard to live without nowadays

I came across one wheelchair adapted VW (WAV) for sale locally at a good price but it had a lowered floor and a massive unfolding ramp that took up most of the back of the van.
Van with ramp and lowered floor

Adapted vehicles seem to be jinxed and their value is lowered on the general market which says a lot about the perception of disability I think. You can get a WAV van, strip out the adaptions and have a well priced van. From the disabled customer perspective however new adapted vehicles can cost a fortune. Anything "special" is about ten times what you would expect to pay

Working on the principle that if you can't get 100% what you want, 90% is worth considering, I found a 2013 VW Caravelle for sale on an auction site in Preston. It was actually the executive model with leather seats, electric doors and all the trimmings. Unfortunately it has a rear unfolding lift taking up about 50cm at the very back of the van and was missing the front passenger seat being built for wheelchair upfront but hey? I had a UK contact that traded from auctions and so now I am the owner of a beautiful all-singing and dancing metallic toffee coloured spaceship of a van

My van with current fold out lift

My van currently has a fold out lift which works well but takes up loads of room in the back. My mission is to fit one of these neat cassette type lifts that are mounted underneath the van giving easy discreet access at the push of a button. Some are so small you need less than 1m access space at the side of the vehicle making it easy to use in variable parking situations. They also don't take up any space being mounted below the vehicle. I quizzed the Uk dealers but was told they were unable to sell there lifts outside mainland Britain because of the service liability. When I pretended to be a UK customer I was quoted over £10,000 to supply and fit with a 6 month waiting list. This is for a device I could pick-up second hand on eBay for £400

Planned cassette style lift mounted underneath the van

Thursday 18 October 2018


Hi - so my last post was in February 2018 at the end of 3 weeks in Antigua. So what has happened since?

We had some snow in early March that came out of the blue
Genny in the snow

Genny is completely dependant on full traction to keep vertical. I pay attention to wet leaves, seaweed on slipways and damp slopes with algae, so I had to play in the snow. I was delighted to discover my wheels were surprisingly stable. To be honest the snow was thin on the ground and where I was playing was rough terrain under the snow but apart from cold hands everything was fine

Due to Genny Mobility going into administration I thought it prudent to get what spares I could find. Apart from an issue with the Segway core unit that I got fixed at Segway UK (see previous post) - I haven't really had any serious issues. I had a flat tyre and I bent a wheel when my Genny fell from ramps whilst loading it into the car. I am good at making repairs and quite handy with electronics so I feel relatively confident to repair most issues

I have however put a lot of ware on the covers so I decided to order a new set in red and a pair of new wheels. Genny now resplendent in Ferrari red

Jersey is massively tidal with with a high to low water change of over 11m in 6 hours. There is also a number of offshore forts and towers worth a visit when the tide goes out. One day I took a trip to Elizabeth Castle across the beach and causeway

Genny on the beach with Elizabeth Castle in the picture
The end of another summer and there is now 3000 miles on the clock. The day I hit 3K I also got reversed into by white Porsh. The owner had just got the car and had all his attention on why his zillion pound machine had just cut out. Deciding to pull into a small car park to check it out he had no regard for me on his nearside. I managed to get well into the hedge and to limit the impact, I shouted and whacked the back till he stopped. I was so cross I must have made him feel terrible. He was very sorry and I threatened him with the cost of a respray. I think most of the damage was to his paintwork but I later discovered a small stuff on my wheel arch most of which polished out