Chip, the All American Bus

Discussion in 'Show Us Your Ride' started by theBusmonkey, Nov 2, 2013.

  1. From Ancona we went south then west inland, across the Apennines. As we climbed across the mountains the weather changed quite dramatically as we headed for our overnight stop in L'Aquila.
    276 (7).jpg 289 (7).jpg

    You may remember the earthquakes that hit this region last Autumn :(, well L'Aquila was devastated back in 2009 by a 6.3 magnitude disturbance.
    Even now, the old town is in ruin. The geography and economics of this area conspire against the local population to prevent rapid redevelopment so many people are still living in temporary accommodation. We have never seen so much scaffold in one place.
    028 (12).jpg
    037 (12).jpg
    038 (12).jpg
     
  2. Italy has the equivalent of the French Aire or German Stellplatz. Overnight free parking for motorhomes called Aree di Sosta.

    At the one in L'Aquila, a loon hacked in late in the evening in the pouring rain & parked up next to us
    11092014109.jpg

    The following morning we all met & it was our pleasure to make the acquaintance of the lovely Amy.
    Travelling alone, she decided one day that she'd buy a split & see where it took her....the people you meet...
    323 (7).jpg
     
    nicktuft, MorkC68 and rob.e like this.
  3. Rome.
    One of our mostest, bestest, favoritest cities.
    We'd arranged to meet Mel's friend Jess here. The plan was we'd pick up Jess from the airport & the three of us would have a week bobbing around Tuscany with her sleeping in the pop-top!
    What a blast! We did a lot of eating!
    After the first night, a stop over in a weird Aree di Sosta populated by at least 60% of Italy's cat population, we headed for Camping Roma.

    Situated on via Aurelia, the camping is a convenient short bus hop away from the city. Not cheap mind but better than a hotel;)
    We met a Dutch couple carrying a scooter on their air assisted bay!
    402 (5).jpg

    and did the sights for a couple of days....and ate a lot!
    13092014121.jpg
    13092014119.jpg
    114 (10).jpg
    14092014128.jpg

    As you do when in Rome, we went to the Vatican....
    542 (5).jpg

    ... and the Papa came out to say a few words on the Sunday. He sends his best to you all...
    489 (5).jpg
     
    nicktuft likes this.
  4. Northwards up the coast and then inland again eastwards towards Siena.
    Aree di Sostas are sometimes just car parks. All good, perfectly acceptable, no hassle.
    051 (13).jpg

    the girls weren't too happy about this shot. Can't see why!
    054 (13).jpg

    ..and normal life has to carry on, regardless of where you are...hahaha, slightly less happy about this one
    17092014134.jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2017
  5. The landscape changes as you travel inland, cereal production slowly gives way to the acres of vines that the region is famous for. Sunflowers are also an important crop it seems.
    087 (13).jpg

    Some of the farmhouses are straight out of a scene from 'Gladiator'
    095 (13).jpg

    Siena itself is beautiful. For me personally more so than Florence despite Florence being the regional capital and birthplace of the Renaissance.
    The city seems a bit more gritty and involving whereas Florence is a mass of heaving tourists snaking in single file following guides with flags on sticks!

    Centre piece is the Piazza del Campo which is the site of the medieval Palio horse race.

    Medieval housing density!
    116 (12).jpg
    120 (11).jpg

    Piazza Del Campo
    154 (11).jpg
    036 (16).jpg

    The Cathedral, completed in the 13th century & built from layered marble
    050 (14).jpg
     
    nicktuft and Clive Neilands like this.
  6. Siena to Florence is where the vineyards come into their own. This is Chianti and is fabulous countryside to drive through at the leisurely pace a bay makes.
    027 (16).jpg
    015 (18).jpg

    These are everywhere. Piaggio Ape, Italian for bee... I need one!
    013 (19).jpg

    Seething touristic horror in Florence on the Ponte Vecchio, a medieval stone bridge lined with shops that crosses the river Arno
    098 (14).jpg

    ...and back to the belly gripes again as Jess considers a snack....
    099 (14).jpg

    ...whilst @Mrs Busmonkey simply gets stuck in
    103 (14).jpg
     
    Datsolow likes this.
  7. As the week with our guest drew to an end we headed back west towards the coast & Pisa. A day & a half to get there, do the touristy bit & get Jess on a bus to Pisa airport.

    This is what tourists look like in Pisa
    196 (12).jpg
     
    nicktuft likes this.
  8. Well it's got to be done...hasn't it:rolleyes:
    197 (11).jpg
    190 (12).jpg

    Now I hasten to add that I wasn't with the girls as they wandered round & took these pics.

    I was with the bus that all of a sudden decided that he no longer had a reverse gear at the end of the lever:eek:
     
    Mrs Busmonkey likes this.
  9. We ended up staying the night where we pulled up earlier in the day.
    Literally in the next street to Piazza Del Duomo where the cathedral & leaning tower are.

    Poorly bus
    053 (16).jpg


    The detent plate under the gearshift had decided to snap so the only option was to remove it. Jess was despatched by bus to the airport after a lovey evening wandering around the old town & a pizza dinner in the diner over the road.

    We headed off to Livorno to meet up with a very nice Italian VW nut that we know on the hunt for a gearshift plate.
     
  10. We met Enrico Cantone back in 2004 when we had a gearshift problem on the old bus! Funny that isn't it!
    Not so funny at the time but how bizarre we were so close to his workshop.
    After a rummage around the workshop and a sift through loads of spares boxes the only plate we could find was one of the repro EMPI cheese jobs.
    Saying that, it's still there but I've got an OG one to replace it with when it finally snaps.

    Enrico & his son Francesco. Very Italian Italians:thumbsup:
    059 (16).jpg
    I always carry some spare shorts, an old T & latex gloves under the driver seat. Never sure when you need a change of clothes & this was one occasion for the car park repairs.
    245 (10).jpg

    The detent plate had split so was no longer allowing the shift lever to...er detent when selecting reverse.
    248 (10).jpg

    The EMPI plate doesn't have the tabs the OG one does. It makes adjusting a bit harder, well a bit more fiddly, but does the job eventually
    249 (10).jpg

    Adjustment is a bit more fiddly but there was no deadline, the weather was nice & we were in Italy!
    262 (9).jpg

    I decided to replace the front shift bush at the same time as it had split. The change was awesome so it was rather overdue:oops:
    20092014143.jpg
     
    nicktuft likes this.
  11. And so drama over, such as it was, & off to fulfil a longstanding wish.
    Just up the road from Livorno is Pontedera, home of Museo Piaggio on the site of the old factory.

    They made a bit of sexy metal over the years...
    073 (16).jpg 098 (15).jpg 275 (7).jpg 286 (8).jpg 293 (8).jpg 20092014150.jpg
     
  12. Round the Riviera northwards. It's a bit spare on free camping opportunities so we had a couple of long days as a result of searching for suitable stopping areas.
    One of our tactics was to head inland away from the coast which is heavily populated and protected.
    In doing so we somehow found ourselves on the Passo del Bracco which winds up, then down, through stunning mountains on the way to Genoa.
    Search it out if you're ever this way as the road takes you through lovely villages and offers stunning views of the countryside.

    Lunch stop
    395 (6).jpg

    It feel like wilderness although the coast is never far away
    403 (6).jpg
    420 (6).jpg 421 (6).jpg 422 (6).jpg

    I would say that if you are planning the Italian or French Riviera as a holiday destination then it's probably best to book campsites. We did find a spot, off the main road, overlooking Portofino but it took quite a bit of hunting out & wouldn't suit everyone. Great views over the bay though...
    471 (6).jpg
    486 (6).jpg
     
    Dicky, NickJ and nicktuft like this.
  13. Genoa, Savona & onwards to Imperia & the coast road never ceases to delight. We ended up stoping at a camping in Imperia coz the previous couple of days had been a bit stressful with regards to overnighting.

    Riviera sardines, but needs must & the town is lovely for an evening wander, cafe stops and....
    060 (17).jpg

    ...dirty pizza!
    007 (23).jpg
    597 (6).jpg
    600 (6).jpg
    656 (5).jpg
     
    NickJ likes this.
  14. Monaco!
    had to be done, brrrrmmmmming noises with Fleetwood Macs' The Chain at full volume
    394 (7).jpg
    It's actually quite confusing as much of the circuit runs in the opposite direction to which you travel normally through the streets.
    There was a yacht show on in the marina & the tunnel was closed off...we didn't see the signs officer...but we got good video haha.

    Whoops...
    416 (7).jpg
     

    Attached Files:

    alanchester likes this.
  15. We got lost in Nice!
    I think for the first time ever we had to ask directions! It's a big city & not one I particularly wanted to get lost in. There are some fairly scary french suburbs where the appearance of a foreign bay bus would not necessarily be appreciated for the right reasons.
    It's a lovely city on the coast though and onwards we went past Cannes at which point we decided it was time leave the coast & start heading north towards Blighty.
    Cote d'Azur
    544 (7).jpg
    568 (7).jpg
    611 (6).jpg
    619 (6).jpg
     
    NickJ likes this.
  16. Provence was a total surprise!
    Beautiful villages, lovely weather and wine again!
    We climbed, and climbed. Narrow roads, no traffic, stunning views.
    681 (5).jpg

    Authorised free camping on a village field
    010 (22).jpg
     
    MrsVolkswombat likes this.
  17. Cracking stories and pictures!
     
    3901mick and theBusmonkey like this.
  18. and this is why @volkswombat recommended to you @chrisselby to take empty water bottles.
    Filled up for pence from the Mme. at the local winery (Cave)
    697 (5).jpg
    698 (5).jpg

    OMG, self service laundries at supermarkets again YAY....
    713 (4).jpg

    ...and very cool local vehicles on the roads (albeit on Spanish plates)
    724 (4).jpg
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2017
  19. It's quite hard to describe this part of southern France.
    Lots of wine, lots of woods, lots of hills.
    Lots of hills. Cyclists love it & we found ourselves on some of the roads they use on the Tour...
    849.jpg
    824 (3).jpg
    860 (2).jpg

    It's slow-going up Mt Ventoux,
    026 (17).jpg

    But at the top the views are literally unbelievable
    030 (19).jpg

    with the Alps in the far distance
    037 (18).jpg
    977.jpg

    Aircooled!
    28092014184.jpg
     

  20. Cracking thread been with you all the way.
    Totally agree with you about the Siena Florence thing. I wouldn't ever bother with Florence again..once is enough.
     
    theBusmonkey likes this.

Share This Page