Where West meets East

Next Bulgaria through Turkey and into Georgia!

Bulgaria memorable for first sight of Black Sea – was pretty blue actually. Everywhere seems quiet as out of season but friendly enough folk and fabulous scenery with mountain roads with Amber down into 1st gear at times!

Entered Turkey at small mountain border crossing taking about an hour to sort out stuff but all very friendly and interested in Amber Soon down from the hills and onto motorway with heavy wind and loads of crazy trucks making it fun. Bit of a worry when we came to leave motorway as flashing lights and alarms going off but no where to pay or anyone about so just drove on and learnt after that tourists get 15 days free motorway Phew had memories of Midnight Express!

Our Fab App Park for the night gave us a great parking site which was 10 mins walk from Blue Mosque and beside the Bosporus with Ramadan just starting it was an interesting place later on with families picnicking and Mosque calling to prayers Dolphins swimming and a fab Full moon vey atmospheric!

The other Highlight of Istanbul was getting a haircut and beard trim from a genuine Turkish Barber Took longer that planed as he decided my ears were too hairy and got the hot wax out, yup it did hurt but a good experience and I look less of a hedge monkey now !

Left Istanbul Monday morning in the traffic which was interesting and went on forever . It’s the second biggest population within city limits in the world so pretty busy eh?Followed Black Sea coats road from Istanbul eastwards having gone over the Bosporus Bridge and leaving Europe and entering Asia. A day of motorways and mountains following the coast which we have done for the last week stopping off along the way .A great place with super friendly people and stunning empty roads Amber much impressed with the long flat sections of motorway with only one or two cars to be seen cracking on ta a steady 80 kph achieving a staggering 23.73 mpg! Total mileage so far 3973 miles done without a drip being dropped ,well not that I can see!

we decided we deserved a night in a hotel in Rize so for less than two rounds in the Catherine wheel a 5 star hotel with sees views ,swimming pool and sauna had to be done . we really needed to get a decent WiFi signal to be able to talk to Hazel n Reg as it was her 25th birthday whilst travelling in Guatemala. And also to update this yer blog!

leaving Turkey soon as about 1 hr from border so the adventure continues ! Got to find some more decent WI FI tonight as we are going to listen to Radio Devon commentating on The Exeter Chiefs v Northampton in premiership Semi Final! come on you Chiefs

Simple signage
Went for a paddle in the Black sea and couldn’t resist it! the bulldozer that is.
Spot Amber ! Parked up in Sozopol marina for the night £3 for toilets , showers and security Bargain!
Gave her a birthday as want to be clean for Istanbul
Grey Unimog, Amber Defender, Blue VW, Orange VW and Blue Mosque!
Awesome park up for two nights in Istanbul beside the Bosporus
10 mins from Amber the Blue Mosque
This Bazaar is Bizarre! thankfully managed to buy nowt!
Had to be done !
Compleat with an ear waxing ouch! And no I didn’t go for the Back,Sac n Crack option
Grub up ! Sat watching Rugby scores being updated on BBC whilst munching on these bad boys! and watching the odd Dolphin.
Yup Confirmed Exeter Chiefs Top of table two years running with a poor performance from our European Champions ! Bring on Northampton next week end in the semi’s!

6 Days in 5 countries done!

Tempting Ben Moon with a bottle of Otter bitter which I’ll deliver to him ,if he gets to Japan ! Doing our bit for U.K. Exports assuming we don’t get a thirst on!

Hemyock – Southampton to meet up with Dougie quality time spent with our favourite son. Who is going to have Dibley for a while. As a parting gift Dougie gave us A bottle of sherry which we will sample every Sunday whilst cooking Lunch as every civilized English man /woman should do.

Then off to Dover for the ferry

France 30 mins !

Belgium overnight in Bruges many happy memories of New Holland Combine factory visits ! Moule frites n beer in the square

Germany Ba ba ba de Autobhan!

Parked up in Bad Honningen right beside the Rhine. It just happened to be a celebration weekend of 1000 years so we got stuck in and enjoyed the festival culminating in a flotilla of 50 cruise boats all lit up and fireworks !

Next stop Brombachsee a huge inland lake south of Nuremberg Campsite beside lake with awesome views and bird life. Got the bikes out and cycled before breakfast . No comments about A monkey on a bike ,you lot!

Very cold with snow on side of road when heading into Austria parked up in Saltzburg which brought back memories of working here in the early 80’s with the Ford tractor demo team RIP John Baggaly Really tempted to go on a Sound of Music tour as it’s my fav film ever!

Amber doing well not a drip anywhere to be seen ! Cracking on at a steady 55mph which is perfect and stressless . Found a comfortable position for my knee which involves left foot throttle operation which is a huge relief as driving from Home to Southampton I had to stop 3 times to stretch the legs and relieve the pain!

Life on the road is great, no deadlines, no tacho, no stress, no idea where next, no worries!

Ambers Amblings


The only thing we have booked is our ferry from Vladivostock, the rest we will make up as we go but here is a list of countries and approximate dates .

20 Countries , 12,000 miles +/- 136 Days                                       88 miles / day @ average 50mph 1.75 hours driving / day!

“Any long journey sounds worse than it actually is, when you sit and worry about it.   But  just stick the truck in gear and that first mile is one less that needs doing !” Is what I’ve been telling myself and anyone daft enough to listen to us for the past four years !

35 years later and we’re Off!

Inspired  35 years ago by some guys I met whilst working in Africa who were doing an overland trip from London to Cape Town in a Landrover!     I have always wanted to do something similar with that travel bug firmly taking hold. Sue and I have travelled extensively and have talked for many years about an Overland trip. With two grown up kids and semi retirement around the corner we came to the conclusion that it’s – Now or Never !

The light bulb moment came when we were watching the Rugby World Cup in 2015 at Sandy Park, home of the Exeter Chiefs. When Sue said “lets go to the next World cup. Where is it going to be held?”  “Japan” was my response, and that was the start of it. After 31 years of thinking about it,we had four years to get ready to go!

We had been looking at different vehicles for some time and had concluded that an ex-military Landrover Pulse Ambulance, based on a Defender 130 with the respected 300 TDI engine, would suit us down to the ground. As a  confirmed Landrover fans, it didn’t take long to convince us this would be the right vehicle for our trip. Being big enough but not too big , comfortable enough but not too comfortable and reliable enough but not too reliable ( I like a challenge). Bought on an online auction without seeing her, she duly arrived and the conversion started in Spring 2016. We have christened her “Amber” the Amber-lance,and a new colour scheme to suit the name was applied in December 2017. ( Otter Amber is also our favourite local beer). She has been used on several shakedown trips and adapted to our own designs and requirements which has allowed us to let her evolve into our mobile home from home.

Roll on to spring 2019 and a looming deadline fast approaching .We were planning on leaving on 28th March , the day before Brexit,but after a slip and a fall resulting in a snapped patellar tendon, an operation and hours of physio, our new deadline is to leave on 1st May latest, to arrive in Tokyo by 14th September, my 60th birthday! Just in time for the  start of the Rugby World Cup . What could possibly go wrong ?