Taking off in Toronto, Canada. Photo taken April 28th.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan.

Where are they going next? Cabri Regional Park, Saskatchewan, Canada. Arrive April 29th.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Our first Spanish campground...

Lots to tell you about today. The big news around here of course was that cold weather front that went through southern Spain. They had predicted it well in advance, and the forecasts actually turned out to be fairly accurate. It's the reason we headed down to the coast earlier than we originally planned.

We heard the rain on the roof Wednesday night, and when we woke up Thursday morning there was snow in the hills behind us!

Glen and Steve had been listening to the English language Malaga based radio station, and they said that many of the roads inland from Malaga were closed due to snow and ice conditions. This is most certainly not normal for this area.

Now, they didn't have any actual snow in the city of Malaga which is right on the coast. But I did some research and the last time they had snow in Malaga was in 1954! And this was the coldest it has been since then.

Snow in the hills behind Fuengirola. 
There's Louis, parked at the left side.

We had a discussion with Glen and Steve and decided to change our plans. We originally had reservations to do the famous Caminito del Rey trail today (Friday) and we were going to drive up to the area yesterday. But this cold and snow meant we couldn't get up there yesterday. I think I've made arrangements to change the reservation to later in February. Just waiting for an email back on that.

Also, we still needed to sort out our battery situation for Louis. So Glen and Steve took off to go to a campground a little further southwest along the coast, while Ruth and I went to look for a battery.

I had found two different places to go for a battery. First, we went into the nearby town of Fuengirola to an auto parts store.  I call it a "town", but this entire coastline now runs from one built up area into the next. You never know when your leaving one and entering another because it's just so built up. It's not at all our style.

And when we found the auto parts store, we couldn't find any parking! Cars were double parked everywhere and it was so congested. Terrible area, and we'll avoid this part of Spain when at all possible. Drove around for about a half an hour trying to find parking. Finally ended up a half a kilometer away. Now, even if I found a battery, how was I going to get it back to the van??

Then, the auto parts store was quite busy. And, the guys working the counter were neither friendly or helpful. Long story short, this was a complete waste of time.

On to the second option, a battery specialty store in Marbella. This was an entirely different experience. The guy was helpful and cheerful. And, I was the only one there except for a girl doing paperwork and answering the phone. They mostly do online sales, but we were lucky to be near their actual physical store. The place is called baterias.com and based on my experience, I highly recommend them if you need an RV battery in southern Spain.

He sent me back to the van with a tape measure to make sure the replacement would fit. Only one problem...the battery I needed, he didn't have in stock. But, he said their warehouse was in Malaga and they would have it the very next day. Then, he asked where we were staying. I said we were headed to the Parque Tropical campground in Estepona, and he said they have a truck going by there every day and they would deliver it to us at no extra cost! Great service!

But...I've done my research and RV deep cycle batteries are quite a lot more expensive here than in North America. We're getting Louis a better battery than what he had before... an AGM deep cycle...at a cost of €222 ($321 CAD, $240 USD). Ouch. Fortunately, Louis's owners had left us €150 to cover a replacement battery, so hopefully they'll see the wisdom in getting a better quality battery. If not, we'll eat the extra expense.

Then, we met up with Glen and Steve who were already parked up at the Parque Tropical campground. Nice place, and a cheerful helpful girl at the reception. She pointed out the available spots, and we went and chose one.

Decent sized sites here.

There's Louis!

Glen had a spare camping card (like Passport America in the U.S.) and we got our site for €17 ($24.30 CAD, $18 USD) per night. We've decided to stay for two nights in order to make sure Louis's new battery is installed and all charged up before we leave.

This is the first time we've paid for an overnight stay since we set out in Louis on Monday the 9th.

Kind of nice to be plugged into electric for a change and using an electric heater to stay warm. Fortunately, the weather is changing to the warmer and after our two nights are up things are supposed to be back to normal.

Still snow in the hills.

Nice laundry facilities.

But holy highway robbery on the laundry prices, Batman! €5 to wash a load, and €5 to dry. That's $14.30 CAD ($11 USD) to do a load of laundry. But, we needed to get it done so we just did it and bit the bullet. It also felt good to have a nice hot shower and get everything back into shape. 

Nice indoor heated swimming pool too.

So, we're enjoying a little campground holiday break right now with all the amenities.

Oh, remember when we went cave exploring the other day? We finally have a free supply of internet, so I've uploaded the video that I promised. You can view it in the blog post here...


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20 comments:

  1. Love how your daily goings on are so casual.can just picture you there..

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  2. Back in 2011 we rented an RV in Europe and toured for 4 months. Laundry prices were always outrageous. Get used to it!

    Love the blog BTW!

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    1. 4 months to tour around Europe would have been fantastic and still not enough time. We will have 2 months and I think we will only have made a tiny dent in Europe.

      We try to do hand laundry as much as possible and only use a machine when the bigger stuff needs it, like sheets and towels.

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  3. Nice to have full hookups for a change then get back on the road again. Nice to get that new battery.

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    1. Over here there is no such thing as full hookups but we do have the amenities needed. The only thing that is offered at your actual site is electric!

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  4. Sometimes it takes a couple tries to find the right store. I spent a lot of time trying to find similar products when we were in Europe. So frustrating. Only time we ever had the "double parked" situation was in Puerto Rico. Just mind boggling. Not easy getting away from the crowds, but you'll get there.

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    1. Yes, it is a little harder to find some of the things you are used to finding so easily back home but eventually you will find it or something close to it. Double parking isn't so bad in a car but not so much in an RV. ;-)

      It isn't hard to get away from people if you get away from the coast and the weather has improved so back inland we will go, at least for a few days.

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  5. Wow, really expensive laundry but the coast is very expensive as caters to expats. We got that cool weather in Madrid in April but it is much higher and more common to have cold weather there at that time, where Cordoba and Malaga were much warmer then.

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    1. Yep, really expensive laundry! If the weather had been nicer we would only have paid to have it washed and then hung it out to dry but the weather wasn't conducive to that. We will only use a machine when we need to get the bedding washed at prices like that, the rest of the time we will hand wash as we go along.

      The weather is already improving and today we are headed back inland at least for a few days.

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  6. We were shocked also at the price of doing simple laundry!! 3 loads €18 plus drying was crazy for us. Doing lots of hand washing here in Morocco instead of paying €6 a load!

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    1. Yep, we are doing lots of hand laundry as well! We will only use a machine when it is time to do the towels and bedding.

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  7. Campground looks pretty nice! Glad you found the battery you needed hope it arrives at your campground today! Enjoy your luxury stay!

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    1. It actually is quite a nice campground especially when it is compared to some other ones that we have seen as we drove along. Many are just a parking lot and campers are really packed together tightly, not the way we like things as all. We wouldn't hesitate to come back to this one.

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  8. As always, I enjoy getting your story each morning with my coffee. Thanks.

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    1. Happy to hear that you are enjoying our adventures! :-)

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  9. Replies
    1. We can have had a hot shower in the motorhome, it is just nice when it can be continually running and have more room. It sure did feel good. :-)

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  10. What a lovely header photo! Hope the snow melts quick so you can continue enjoying the mountains.

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    1. Thanks Lori, and yes it is melting already! :-)

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