Skip to main content

Excitingly boring journey

For the upcoming vacation in Bárcena, a lot of work is planned. We want to install electricity and water. Of course, we need the necessary materials and tools for this. We're ordering a large part of it in Spain, but we're taking some from the Netherlands ourselves. Hence the idea was born to buy a trailer and drive it to Spain.

After some searching and bidding on Marktplaats, I found a good and affordable trailer. We could pick it up from an older couple who received us very kindly. We walked through their yellow, smoke-filled house; they both had a cigarette between their fingers, to the garden where the trailer was parked. They used it for the flee market, but they've stopped doing that now.

It looked fine, except the floor plate needed replacing, which we did. They gave us a net, a lock, and a homemade tarp against the rain. The only thing missing was a spare wheel and a lamp for the license plate. We hung up the spare wheel, but we didn't have time for the lamp, so we replaced it with a bike lamp with duck tape.

Now, we're waiting for the items to arrive by delivery service. The most important thing was the order from OffGridCentrum. A week before departure, we were told that the batteries were still on a boat at sea. They would send them directly to Spain after arrival. When I mentioned that we would be without a working system for two weeks, they started to puzzle. A few hours later, they found a solution through a customer who had ordered six and could spare two until the boat would arrive.

On Tuesday, we were informed that the pallet of items had been picked up by the carrier. There was a mistake with a wrong cable, but they would send it separately. The next day, we received the loose cable but not the pallet of items. The carrier had delivered it to the wrong address. Auke from OffGridCentrum was glad he had sent it a day early and promised that it would arrive the next day, even if he had to pick it up somewhere in the Netherlands himself. We were getting a little nervous, but the carrier promised it would arrive on Thursday between 1 and 2 pm. At 3 pm, there was still nothing, so we called again. Ultimately, it was delivered at 3:56 pm.

Maaike's father immediately got to work and converted the pallet into an efficient and well-loaded cart and car. So, after work on Friday, all I had to do was eat a plate of pasta, and we could start our exciting journey. Covering 1.500 km with an electric car and heavily loaded trailer without staying overnight. If we had to leave the items outside on the street, we wouldn't sleep anyway.

We drove in a VW ID4, a car that can cover up to 500 km with a 100% charge. But during driving, you charge up to 80% because anything above that is very slow. Additionally, highway driving consumes more energy, as does the trailer and weight, of course. In short, we fervently hoped that we could drive for at least 2 hours before we had to charge. During the first leg, we saw the range decrease much faster than the distance to be driven, but we still managed to drive for about two hours. Normally, there would be about 300 km left, but now only 80. We entered the first charging station in Belgium.

Unhook the trailer, reverse the car to the charging pole, and hook it up. Unfortunately, this one turned out to be broken, something I hadn't experienced before; all 6 charging spots were not working. So, we had to keep driving. The next charging pole on the highway was a bit far, so we went for a Shell station off the road. This one turned out not to have a charging pole. After searching in the area for a while, we found a charging pole, but unfortunately, it only had a charging speed of 10 kW. So, while the electricity slowly trickled in, we walked the dog in a cold rain shower and waited until we had enough for the next good charging pole.

The next station was in France, and it was fine. Once in France, charging went great; almost every major gas station along the highway has a whole battery of chargers. Every time, unhook the trailer, charge for half an hour, take a break, hook up the trailer, and continue driving. This went very well, except for one time where we didn't attach the trailer properly, and it came loose from the tow hitch at a traffic light. Fortunately, the safety cable worked, but we were naturally startled. Additionally, at the next stop, it turned out that due to the impact, the trailer could no longer be detached. Fortunately, we were still able to get the car to the charging pole so that we had time to detach the trailer from the car while charging. Luckily, we had enough equipment with us, and Maaike's father managed to do it with a pickaxe. Relieved, we continued.

We didn't want to drive too fast to save energy, and since we were going about the speed of trucks anyway, we tried to stay behind the rear of a truck as much as possible. With the adaptive cruise control, that was very easy. And actually, we drove like this for 20 hours, interspersed with 4 hours of waiting at a charging pole, vereeey boooooooring.

After 24 hours, we arrived, even with groceries. Super happy that it worked out well, we quickly jumped into bed for a long night! The next day, straight to Bárcena and placed all the items in the container. Task accomplished, quickly home for an extra nap!


Popular posts from this blog

The first week of work

After the transaction we had time to think about what we could do in the village, as now we are the owners. The next option for us to go to Spain was in the autumn holidays. Earlier on we tried to combine it with Spanish classes for the kids, but we couldn’t arrange extra free time from school, so we had to stick to the one week of school vacation. We thought about starting at one of the houses which is in the relative good condition, like getting a door, so we could close it and store stuff there. But we had no electricity or tools as we had no space to keep stuff safe. So we were kind of stuck in a chicken and egg problem. To get out of this we set up a plan to get a container which we could lock. But that would not be there for this vacation. Then Maaike’s parents asked: “Would it be of any use if we were there with some tools to clear away the burrs, bushes and so on?” Of course that would be great! We were happy that they were enthusiastic and by itself there was a plan to do

El Vicino

In May we went to 'our' village to show it to the parents of Maaike. So we drove there and after a half our drive with a lot of corners we were a bit drowsy getting out of the car. And there stood a friendly man in blue overalls.  He seemed Spanish we asked Maaike to talk to him. But she did not know what to say. So we looked at each other for a couple of minutes.  Then he started to tell that the village is empty which we agreed upon off course. He also told that the village was being bought by some people. Maaike asked if she should reply and we said yes please do. After telling the we are the mysterious people we are buying the village he started to tell a lot of stories. His name is Gerardo. He was born in the village and now lives in Burgos and in the summer in Abajas.  He knew about the buy because he owns a parcel of land and did not want to sell. He want to keep it for income and only wants to rent it out. So we talked about that for a bit and as we were interested in k

Finding the right pieces of land

When we first visited Bárcena de Bureba we where guided by the current owner Marcelino. As we where interested, we told him about our project Ardbol. We explained him that we needed about 5 to 10 hectares of land. He replied that it was no problem, he knew many farmers in the area. Soon we got an image of the land area (See image below) from Marcelino without any explanation but it looked promising.  We assumed the black crosses where the pieces of land we could buy. When I checked it on the Spanish cadastral website some pieces where quite clear but some existed out of many small parts.  After the price negotiation we where anxiously waiting on which pieces of land we could buy. In august we got a large zipfile with new information. As Yasmin could not open it and we where on mobiles we needed to wait until we where behind a computer, which of course added on to the tension. Finally we could open it. In it where 64 files. 60 of each house and 4 for the land. See the next image in whic