Estepona – Conil de La Frontera (99 Miles)
Our journey to ‘Conil De La Frontera’ had been very pensive, on two separate occasions I had been told that ‘Big Momma’ had been fixed only to breakdown again, so we could be forgiven for not brimming with confidence on this our third attempt, although I guess they do say ‘third time lucky’ !! I didn’t bother with ‘Cruise Control’, and if the truth be told, I drove a little more aggressively than usual in that I pushed ‘Big Momma’ up to speeds I wouldn’t normally do especially when on long flat stretches, leaving lorries and slower moving vehicles in my wake, when it came to steep gradients I pushed down hard on the accelerator, it was during such periods when she had faltered previously, but now she responded perfectly, the power there when I needed it, so for today at least our journey was thankfully uneventful and we both sighed a massive relief as we drove into the entrance of ‘Camping Rosaleda‘.
We had already Emailed the Campsite in advance to ask if they would accept our on-line receipt for this year’s ACSI subscription as we didn’t have our card, they said that they would and so we were expecting to pay no more than €18 per night, the top rate with it being a ‘Category 1’ site. However, when we arrived we discovered that we would have to pay a bit extra as we would need a double pitch, although thankfully this didn’t involve paying for two pitches, but on top of that, Electricity was charged separately which surprised me as I thought with ACSI the price included, pitch, 2 Adults and Electricity !! So we ended up paying €22.61 per night. Although that was nearly double our nightly budget allowance I guess we hadn’t paid anything on accommodation fees for the last six nights and overall we were well under our trip budget on Campsite/Aire allowances so we didn’t grumble.
We had needed to use a Campsite for its facilities, the last eight days had knocked us out of ‘kilter’ somewhat, Shazza now had a large backlog of laundry to catch up with and at least this site had plenty of machines so no hand washing. For me, well ‘Big Momma’ was no longer looking the sleek lady that she is, her skirts were ‘caked’ in mud and road dirt so she needed a good clean, I also needed to ‘Decontaminate’ the ‘Fresh and Waste’ water tanks after having the smelly and discoloured Moroccan water in it. Prior to this, we had used the water in the on-board fresh water tank for everything, including our drinking water but once filled in Morocco we only drank the bottled water. Getting the ‘tank’ back into a usable state again meant I needed easy accessibility to a fresh water supply for flushing out. Although the ‘Grey’ waste tank was not so important, it was a good opportunity to give that a good clean and flush through as well.
Our first afternoon and evening was spent doing very little other than sleeping, I don’t know whether it was relief but we both felt really tired and so decided to have a ‘Power Nap’, we slept until 6:30pm !! Shazza made us a lovely hot meal of Roasted Lamb Chops, Creamy Mashed Potato and Green Beans, absolutely delicious and I have to say, this had been the first meal that I had actually eaten and enjoyed for several days, the meals we had eaten over the past week were more a matter of we ate because we needed food.Then we went to the on-site showers and luxuriated under unrestricted piping hot water, it was bliss, then a nice hot Cuppa and back to bed and we both slept well, right through the night, we must have been really making up for all those restless nights, if their were any ‘night noises’ then we were oblivious to them.
Saturday arrived and it was domestics day, Shazza started with the laundry then with a good internal clean of the van. The ‘Elsan Fresh Water Tank‘ cleaner needed to be stood for 24 hours before being flushed through with clean water, so first job was to empty what was left in the tank itself, this included the drain point on the water boiler which was a separate drain tap. My idea was to run the water through all of the taps, Kitchen, Bathroom and Shower into the ‘Grey Waste‘ tank, refill the ‘Fresh Water‘ tank, with the ‘Cleaning Agent’ added, and then leave it for twenty-four hours to do its stuff. Next job was to then empty the ‘Grey Waste’ tank and then keep flushing through with clean water until it ran clear out of the outer drainage point. That done it was time to pour some ‘Fenwick’s Grey Tank Cleaner’ down all the plug holes, this was, according to the instructions, supposed to clear any blockages, not that we had any but who knows what was lurking in those pipes !! There was nothing else, for the time being, that I could do on the ‘Water Decontamination‘ process, so now it was time to turn my attention to giving ‘Big Momma’ a lot of TLC, she was looking a bit forlorn and grubby after days of strange men mauling inside her delicate parts with their dirty and greasy hands and inserting all sorts of instrumentation into her !! The day had passed quickly, fortunately the ‘Works of Fiction’ had got it wrong, again, and the forecasted rain did not materialise, well a few spits and spots early evening, but by then all our domestics had been completed. Shazza had got all her washing done, even the bedding, and she had sat and ironed what needed to be ironed, I should have asked her to do my forehead, a few wrinkles have suddenly appeared that definitely were not there a week ago !!
Again we had another very peaceful nights sleep, we awoke to a blue sky and the sun just about rubbing the sleep out of its eyes, we indulged ourselves with a coffee in bed listening to the first hour of ‘Steve Wright’s Sunday Love Songs’, that was until he played that wonderful old Seventies ‘Motown‘ hit by ‘Gladys Knight & The Pips‘ which reminded me that I had unfinished business, the song of course being ‘Come Back And Finish What you Started‘, bet all of you who remember that era will be singing it in your heads or humming the tune before you get to the end of this sentence !!
So the day started with completing the Fresh water tank ‘Decontamination’ and the cleaning of the grey tank, which was really quite simple. It entailed draining the water that had the ‘Cleaning Agent’ in it from the Fresh water tank, and which had been stood for not quite twenty-four hours, through all the taps and pipes again, into the grey waste tank. I left that water in the grey tank to stand for a few hours, I would drain that later in the day. Then I re-filled the Fresh Water tank with clean water and left that to stand, this would dilute and clean out any remaining ‘Cleaning Agent’ when I flushed this through the system for the final time before again re-filling with clean usable and drinkable water. Those jobs done we decided that we could not be so close to the town without looking around, so we got ourselves sorted and walked the short distance, well it was only an 8km round trip, relatively short by ‘Shazza Expedition’ standards !!
‘Conil De La Frontera’ is a typically Spanish seaside town, on the outskirts it has all the ‘modern’ large Supermarkets, even the shops in the town itself are modern, but the town is primarily made up of the typical whitewashed buildings and the maze of streets and alleyways are narrow and winding, absolutely beautiful to walk around now, in the relative peace of a Sunday afternoon in ‘Winter’, I am not so sure that it would have the same ambience on a crowded ‘Summer’ day though. Outside of the main town, but within easy walking distance is the Promenade, the beach and the sea. Now you know how much Shazza and I enjoy our Promenades and Beaches, I am afraid to say that if I were giving marks for them, this one would not score too highly. Right at this moment our best three Promenades are, Estepona, Seville (albeit with no beach) and Agadir in that order, although I am sure that our travels will introduce us to many more yet !!
We could have sauntered through the streets even longer than we did, but whilst walking we had made another of our ‘flexible’ decisions. Initially we had planned to remain in Conil for as long as it took for us to recuperate from our recent ordeal, then with ‘Big Momma’ and ourselves fully recovered, we would head for a spot of ‘Wildcamping’ at ‘Chipiona‘ a bit further North up this Coastline, then back to ‘Seville‘ before meandering North to Caceres, Salamanca and then to our Ferry at Santander, with perhaps a few little stops in between. I don’t know if you believe in that word ‘Fate’ but our ordeal actually took us to a place that we hadn’t intended visiting, not this year at least, that place was ‘Estepona‘ and we immediately fell in love with it. Unfortunately, whilst we did take the opportunity to have a look around, our minds, at that time, were busy with other ‘issues’, so we have decided that instead of heading North we are heading East and back to give the place another once over, but with a different mind-set this time. However, with only four weeks remaining on our current ‘Winter Adventure’ we have decided to get back on the road tomorrow (Monday), which means getting back and finishing off ‘flushing‘ through the tanks.
It was a warm sunny Sunday afternoon, so with all tasks completed, and having volunteered to do the ‘taste test’ on the water to ensure that their was no ‘Chemical‘ after taste, which thankfully there wasn’t or that would have involved another empty and re-fill, we spent the last couple of hours of evening sunshine sat outside in our sun chairs inspecting the after taste of a bottle of rather pleasant ‘Grape Juice’ of the red variety, strangely enough this has a sort of after taste that I have learnt to come to terms with !!
All was nearly back on track with ‘Big Mommas Great Adventure‘, I just had one negative thought in my mind, would she start tomorrow morning and would she keep going ? Their was no reason why she shouldn’t, we had driven nearly one hundred miles to get here without any problems. However, she would have been static for three days, if their was still water in the system it would have had time to settle on top of the Diesel, would that get dragged through the Injectors again ? I am ‘generally‘ a very positive sort of person, an ‘Optimist‘ rather than a ‘pessimist‘, the sort of person that in my former working life held the principle of ‘There are no such things as problems, only Solutions‘, where is that person now when I need him most !!…………….