Pass problems

I was going to say you may not believe it but, you might…my brakes burned out on a pass in Austria lol

It was a 16% hill and in 2nd gear the rev counter was going over 5,000 so I went into 3rd but then had to continually brake on and off most of the way down. The brakes got so hot that by the half way mark there was smoke coming from the wheels and the stench was awful. I pulled into a restaurant car park that offered itself and noticed a camper about the same size as mine but about 10 years older pull in after me. They didn’t have problems 🙁  Here’s the car park: MK3_2601

So, I decided to sit here and have some lunch. It’s blazing hot and I have no idea how much of the hill is left, I suspect a lot. I may not even reach Italy tonight grrr

*Update: I had to stop once more on the way down but from then on it was flattish so no problem. It’s concerned me though so I’m getting the brakes checked out when I return to UK.

**Update 2: I was chatting on a motorhome forum and a guy gave me this link http://www.brick-yard.co.uk/VehicleSpecific/T3/info/brakefluid.htm It’s an article that basically says brake fade is due to old and poor condition brake fluid and not pads. Bad pads cause brakes simply not to work. I am dubious as to the authenticity of this but I’ll be checking it out.

I decided that as it was over 2 hours quicker using the toll roads through the Brenner Pass, I’d pay the fee. It was €19.80 to get through the first few miles of the pass, but the next 150 miles or so of Autostrade into Veneto was only €5.60. Total tolls paid since leaving Calais including the French ones is a wallet busting €71.90 Thanks in part to my SatNav which although I told it NOT to use toll roads, it did. So after the second time it did it in France I bought a map and stopped using the TomTom. I’m heartily fed up with TomTom’s unreliable mapping so that’s my finish with it. It’s useful for marking POI’s and that’s about it.

Total mileage covered from Dover is 1006, which equates to about 156 litres of diesel which at the average price is just less than £250 or so.

Anyway, I got into Mestre and headed for Punta Sabbatini as I’d been told there was a sosta there. I found a free car park and parked up and went to bed shattered.

Oh update on the money card. I rang them and they said the last transaction had not worked as he had not sent it through as the correct transaction type. It needs to go as chip and pin and not a swipeable card. Well he managed to do my Visa card OK…anyway, the stop before that she said did not work as the Money Card does not work at automated fuel pumps and it says this clearly in the terms and conditions. What about the previous time near Strasbourg? Oh wait, it doesn’t matter, just put all the money back on my bank card as this has cost me dearly in time and stress so far and failed to work so I don’t want it any more. Yes Sir, that’ll be up to 5 working days to go into your account, or £21 if you want it immediately. I wish I could say “You useless, greedy robbing bastards!” but it wasn’t her fault she simply works there.

Post Office Money Card

Post-Office-Travel-money-cardThe Post Office Money Card has proved to be useless so far. Here’s the story:

I applied months ago after walking into a branch and getting  a pack. Supposedly you top it up online, then when you use it as a Mastercard abroad there are no fees. You are allowed £750 per year or £5,000 if you prove your address. I gave my address but their system did not find it (Typical!) so I had to send in ID. I don’t have a scanner so I took a high quality photo of my passport and the header of a bank statement.

I got an email back about a week later saying the header is no good. They need to see all 4 corners of the bank statement clearly, including any transactions. I baulked at this as the transactions don’t prove my ID, and are private. However a quick call to the data commissioners office and a very abrupt and blunt man told me that it is not against regulations to ask for this and if I don’t like it I can find a different card supplier. WoW!

Anyway I sent in a copy of my drivers licence instead of the bank statement. About a week afterwards I had heard nothing so I called again and guess what? The image of my passport was no good as I had obscured one corner where I had held it down for the photo. No they replied, we would not contact you for this, you’d only find out when you call. Oh wait, but they did when my bank statement was incorrect? Anyway, can I make a formal complaint please, yes Sir I’ll log it and a manager will call you within 24 hours. (I’ve heard that before too!) Anyway, I sent in another copy of my passport. 2 days later it had not been processed, I’m patient, I can wait.

In the meantime I can still use the card, and I put a second £100 on it just to make sure it works and there is enough diesel money to get me to Venice. 1st fuel stop in France, near Reims. Top up the tank and a jerry can and buy a map (cos the stupid TomTom is useless) for €97. Only problem, card not accepted. (Sigh) Thank goodness for my Visa. I check in the garage and yes they accept Mastercard. Next stop juts outside Stuttgart. A little more diesel and fill up the 5 litre diesel container and guess what? Yup: card not accepted. I checked and they take Mastercard.
Next stop isn’t til Munich in Germany. A half a tank and guess what? Hahahah you’re right, card not accepted and yes they take Mastercard! So, when I get a signal on my phone I’ll be checking to see if there is some problem I’m not aware of.

*Update…here’s a random photo of a lovely scene in Austria. The benefits of coming off the toll roads and using a map instead of TomTom! MK3_2585

Money Card sorted

I’ve been looking around for the best choice of card for Italy and the Post Office’s Money Card seems my best option. It works as a Mastercard, and you simply top it up a you go. What I like is that I don’t have to put £5000 Euros on it in one go, I can top it up weekly from my bank account, even using my phone if I wish. That means if I lose it I don’t lose much. You have to pay £6 I think to convert any money left to Sterling when you return, but I’ll juts make sure  spend it before coming back, on diesel if need be.

I popped into the Post Office in Barrow today to get one and you have to put €50 on as a minimum so that’s all done.  I’ve also sent my driving licence off it’s ten year renewal today and that should be back in a week. I tried to do it online but surprise surprise the Govt website didn’t work lol

Not much left t do now before Italy!