Issue 46 – Oct 2012

In this issue

 

EDITORS COLUMN

Well we somehow got through the wettest Summer on record. Apart from a nice start to September it seems we are well and truly into Autumn now. Some sad news, Richard Hall died at the end of August after a long battle with cancer. (See obituary elsewhere in the mag). In 2004 Richard and Christine changed their Europe Top for a Compass Castaway and came to a rally in it. Judy took a look inside and was smitten. As RDH had just folded and the UK was left without a Benimar importer we ended up buying one too (and we still have it). We have decided to have it re-upholstered so I will tell you our experiences in the next issue. Judy and I have had a few jaunts in the UK using BRIT stops this summer.

Want to know more? – See Britstops.

In “Odds and Ends” there is a reminder about Speed cameras in France. I asked Graham Baines if you could remove them from TomTom sat navs. His reply is a mighty missive to be found on page 18. I hope it helps, if it affects you. I have just successfully followed Graham’s instructions, not using TomTom Home.

Ron Smith

The next issue is due out sometime early in 2013 (depends upon when we return from Spain).

Input to me by the end of January please.

 

A TRIP TO HOLLAND

– Janet Lawson

We left on Thursday evening, ourselves and two friends, to catch a late ferry from Dover to Dunkirk. Made good time on the journey and was surprised to see how many cars were travelling, not to mention lorries. We didn’t realise it was such a busy route. It was our first time on this route and probably our last, the boat was an hour late, we were almost last on, consequently every seat was taken and none very comfy. Good job it was only a 2 hr crossing. We had a little trouble finding our intended overnight stop. In the end we pulled into a car park by a marina near a busy road, but we managed to sleep OK. Our first camp was at Venlo, which is where the Floriade takes place. This is a large garden spectacular which only takes place every 10 years so we thought we would combine this with the Keukenhof Park and bulb fields.The weather was cold but dry and the camp adequate, no shop so it was a good job we had plenty of provisions.The pre-booked tickets for Floriade were for Easter Saturday, so on Friday we set off to walk into Venlo, 9km on the signpost, think that’s as the crow flies! Luckily it was a pleasant day and nice walk (just have to look out for bicycles as they have right of way) but I was on my knees by the time we arrived and made them promise we could get a taxi back. We found a nice cafe for lunch and after a good rest and refreshments we recovered enough to have a tour of the town. Plenty of shops, very busy, stopped at supermarket for milk, never seen such a crush like it, so many people with trolleys. I won’t complain about ASDA again. Apparently, because it is so near to the German border and their shops close on Good Friday, every one comes over to Venlo, that is why it was so packed. Saturday and we were off to the show about 2km from the camp site, greeted by 3 ladies on stilts in fairy costumes. Several countries represented in their displays. We take the aerial gondolas for a good view over the park and get plenty of shots. It’s quite large but not so much here as expected and rather pricey we thought at 35€ each. The next day we relaxed, had a little read in the sun, then walked into the next village, found a nice little cafe doing a roaring trade in ice-creams. All varieties and sizes – obviously the thing to do on a Sunday afternoon Monday dawns and we are on the move again to the next stop, just as well as it is pouring with rain, but at least it stopped by the time we got there. This is a much bigger camp site with several mobile homes a well. We are sited near to the entrance with a small path through woods nearby leading to a lake beyond. It’s a bit of a trek to the loo, but otherwise a really nice setting. We decide to go to the bar for a drink and see what food is on offer. They have a few tables set out but no-one is there. It seems that the couple have recently taken over the camp-site and are not very organised yet. There is not a large choice, we settle for hamburgers, chips and salad, saves me cooking, and it proves to be very good. As this camp is between the sea and Keukenhof, we decide to have a look at the beach today. We set off up the lanes, pass field after field of bulbs, mostly hyacinths. The smell is gorgeous and colours are beautiful. Finally we make it to the sea (only 2km supposedly) and look for refreshments and spy a nice restaurant with beach seating outside and large comfy looking cushions, where we take the weight off our feet – bliss ! It’s quite sheltered here and very pleasant in the sun, so we decide to have lunch before proceeding to the beach. It is a long stretch of sand, people flying kites etc., expect it gets very busy in the summer.Today we are off to Keukenhof, you really need a bike here, no transport here, so we are on foot again – keeping us fit ! A lovely walk around the lake first, then country lanes past all the bulb fields again. Very enjoyable, clean and no graffiti., colours are beautiful, more tulips here, sun is shining and we have a great day. So many varieties that we never see and greenhouses full of orchids, amazing displays. You can have a boat trip along the canals to see the fields but we have already seen so many on our walks. For our final day we walked into Noordwijkerhout (pronounce that if you can0 a nice little town with a very good fruit shop, can’t resist some grapes. We stop for refreshments and get talking to the waitress. They all speak excellent English and she asks us if we will be there next week as it is the parade through the town and all the cars are trimmed with flowers. Would be well worth seeing, but unfortunately we shall be back home by then. The ferry back proves just as busy but at least it goes on time and it’s a calm crossing. We all enjoyed our time in Holland, the gardens were lovely and I would have liked more time to visit Amsterdam and maybe some other places, but wouldn’t bother with the Floriade again. I imagine that the Flower Parade would be a good time to go.

 

NEWBURY RALLY REPORT

– Evelyn and Dave Hill

We enjoyed a long, rain free, weekend at the Newbury Show although only five vans showed up in the Benimar Club section. We were placed in a great position right by the entrance to the stalls and just a very short stroll to the entertainment, which turned out to be extremely good – well done Maxine from Warners! We were all able to spend time walking round the stalls without getting soaked, rather different to the Peterborough experience!Dave and I took advantage of the shuttle bus into Newbury on Saturday – quite a buzzy country town. It could have been a little warmer so the Sunday coffee morning was held in Ray and Carol’s big van – very cosy for the ten of us! Our thanks go to Ray and Carol for marshalling this event.

 

 

 

KNUTSFORD RALLY REPORT

– Roy Gill

Northern Motorhome Show – Knutsford 12th – 16th July 2012 Ray and Carol Beach were the marshals. Thursday dawned bright and sunny, had a good run from home to Knutsford, set up, sat in the sun and enjoyed a beer. What more could one ask for, good weather, good beer and good company. Six units attended, all arrived Thursday, the evening closed with a beautiful red sunset, with the old saying on our minds, our thoughts were to a good day Friday. How wrong can the old sayings be, it was to say the least rather wet. During the day units were being towed onto the field, seemingly there was a queue at the entrance of vehicles waiting to be towed to their respective pitches. The show ground was no better, mud. Some of the metal roads were laid to try to help, but the story goes there was a shortage due to them being required at the Olympics and other damp shows in the country. That was the rumour. Warners were putting down bark chips in the worst places, which did help a little, but people with pushchairs found it difficult. They would have developed their muscles, with the mud sticking to the wheels as they pushed through the mud. One had to feel sorry for the people who had to valet the sale vans at the end of the show. The exhibitors, must have had a lean time. As per Peterborough, it must have kept away the day visitors. At Knutsford though, the exhibitors did stay to the end. Still people were prepared to mooch through the mud, but some people were not prepared. I would think the sale of wellingtons went well. Saturday, the weather was better and Warners had laid on a trip to Chester, departing at 09-00. The usual shuttle buses went from the Showground into Northwich. In the main, the weather behaved itself, but there was a heavy shower about 14-00 hours. Sunday, the weather was better, by which time people were accustomed to the mud and it had dried out a little. We had a coffee morning at 10-30 in Robin and Jean Asher’s awning. Once again, thanks to Robin and Jean for the use of their awning. There was some doubt about the awning being suitable, due to the weather, but by Sunday the ground had dried out a bit, so it was okay. The ground was too soggy to put up the Club’s gazebo. Monday was departure day. Of our group of 6 units, I was the only one requiring a tow, I hope towing is not habit forming. We have had a motorhome for 38 years, in that time we have had to be towed off 3 times, 2 of them this year. I just hope it is the last. Those who went to the entertainment in the evenings enjoyed themselves, but I gather the seats had a tendency to sink in the soft ground. It would appear we have a sub-culture in the Benimar Club, they gather at the shows and imbibe Amaretto, not quite sure of the quantity, but they seem to enjoy it. These Amaretto Aficionados lay claim to only one brand, the one they purchase in Lidl. Warners information office left a little to be desired, they had put down rubber mats at the entrance of the office, there was a wet slurry covering them, a bit dodgy. Thanks to Ray and Carol, who once again did an excellent job of marshalling despite the trying circumstances. Anyone wishing to marshal at the shows, or wants to organise a rally, contact Ray. His address is in the Newsletter

CARD SCAM IN SPAIN

– Ian Tilley

I received a paper copy of my Clarity Credit Card account at the beginning of July. I noticed that I had a bill for £3.25. This was a transaction dated 2nd July. On checking on the Website I found that I had been spending a further £5.35 for the next period.

These charges were for Car Parks in Valencia again in July. Interesting? I have been in the UK since the middle of March this year. So immediately I contacted the card issuer and they will be investigating the matter. It looks like my card has been cloned!! Well, I never use this card for drawing cash in Spain so it was not copied in a ATM. It looks like some body has managed to obtain the long number on the front of the card during a transaction in a shop, Garage for fuel or for payment for meals. The card number can be used to gain admittance to car parks as no pin number is needed.I have since been told that this is the first steps to obtaining access to your account as the Scammers wait 5 to 6 months before using the information to then test your card out then try to obtain the pin number before making large transactions with your card. I guess they use a computer system to eventually get your pin number?? Obviously I have destroyed the card and contacted the bank to report the scam. The fraud department will be investigating the matter and I will be getting a new card. On contacting the Spanish camp site I was told that this was a common occurrence in Spain and needs to be carefully watched on your statements.

You have been Warned!!!

 

RICHARD HALL

Richard Hall died on Sunday Sept 26th after a long battle against Cancer. Richard, together with his partner Christine Anderson were early members of the Club and were to be seen at many of our rallies in those early days.

Richard had a long career in the Parachute Regiment before he met Christine. One of Richards passions was classic cars and motorcycles and he had showed me photos of his van towing his Citroen Light 15.

Our deepest sympathy goes out to Christine, and his two sons (by a previous marriage) Douglas and Graham at this sad time.

He was cremated at Stonefall Cemetary in Harrogate on September 7. The Club was represented by Roy & Sylvia Gill, Graham & Christine.

Baines, Anne Poole & Brian Swanson Ron & Judy Smith.

 

TWO DIFFERENT PATIENTS

Boy, if this doesn’t hit the nail on the head, I don’t know what does! Two patients limp into two different medical clinics with the same complaint. Both have trouble walking and appear to require a hip replacement. The FIRST patient is examined within the hour, is x-rayed the same day and has a time booked for surgery the following week. The SECOND sees his family doctor after waiting 3 weeks for an appointment, then waits 8 weeks to see a specialist, then gets an x-ray, which isn’t reviewed for another week and finally has his surgery scheduled for 6 months from then, Why the different treatment for the two patients? The FIRST is a Golden Retriever. The SECOND is a Senior Citizen. Next time Take me to a Vet!

Thanks to Paul Smeaton for the above.

 

BRITSTOPS

On three different trips around the UK this year, Judy and I have been making use of Britstops. This is a scheme of free stopovers for motorhomes based on the France Passion principle. In it’s first full year they seem to be thriving. They started out with 146 stopovers, but since we joined the scheme at Peterborough we have received details of another 30 odd more. The stopovers are mainly Pubs and Farm shops, as well as more unusual ones (we stopped at a Vineyard near Wolverhampton !). They offer suitable parking for up to 5 motorhomes for 24 hours. Most have no facilities (you need to be self contained), but some have water, waste disposal, grey and black water disposal and wifi. As with France Passion we have found some super stopovers, always interesting to meet the locals and find out more of the area. The scheme runs from March to March. For an annual subscription of £25 you get a book detailing all of the stopovers with updates emailed at intervals. If you would like to know more visit their website. www.britstops.com

 

 

ROUTE66

Paul and Carol Smeaton Paul and Carol Smeaton Paul and Carol Smeaton

We landed in Chicago in a thunderstorm and went to a hotel for overnight stay ( you cannot pick up a motorhome on the day you arrive). Next morning we got a taxi to the Chicago depot of Cruise America (rv rental company), we arrived at around 11.00am along with hundreds of other holidaymakers from all over the world! Eventually, after all the chaos, we managed to get away at 5.30pm! We would certainly recommend booking and paying for “early bird pick up” it does not cost too much but includes lots of things you have to pay for plus you get collected from your hotel early in the morning and dealt with straight away and are away by noon, also they provide transport to hotel or airport at the end of your trip. After doing some shopping at Wal-Mart and Aldi we were on our way.We overnighted just south of Chicago and set off again early next morning (up early – jet lag!). Finding the actual route 66 is not so easy since highways have been built over it. We did get onto it south of Chicago but missed the “Gemini Giants.” Our first stop was at a town called Dwight to visit one of R66`s original gas stations/fire station. Then we travelled along old R66 to Pontiac where they were having some kind of festival. The car park had been closed for a display of classic cars so the local police chief took us to a place where we could park as long as we liked and said he hoped we would stay all day! There were lots of things to see anyway, R66 museum, Classic car museum, WWII military museum and then extra things to do with the festival, WWII band and singers set up in the square and lots of stalls plus classic cars parked all over the place! All in all a really good day and EVERYTHING was FREE!

We eventually left Pontiac and carried on along old R66, very little to see so got onto the highway and headed for Springfield Illinois home of Abraham Lincoln. Spent a couple of days here visiting the sites and sorting out credit cards, which had stopped working! Left here and headed to St. Louis Missouri to visit big stainless steel arch (Gateway Arch), and the old court house museum, got caught in another thunderstorm, in shirt sleeves!, before heading out along R66 to Sullivan for overnight stay. Next morning onto R66 and highway (I 44) to the town of Cuba where the buildings had some wonderful murals, then to a store and café just out of town which boasted the world`s largest rocking chair! Onwards into Kansas and overnight at Baxter Springs with a visit to R66`s “Rainbow Bridge” where wedding ceremonies often take place, it was actually white! Next day into Oklahoma to the town of Afton on R66 to visit another car museum! This one had a 1917 Packard Motorhome!, then on to Claremore to visit the Will Rogers Memorial and Museum. Left here with the intention of heading for Elk City Oklahoma but the road signs for “Historic Route 66” sent us round in ever decreasing circles so that we only got as far as Oklahoma City before overnighting. Next day`s plan was to get to Amarillo Texas, calling at Clinton Ok for R66 museum, Elk City Ok For a couple more museums, and Groom Tx for a leaning water tower and the world`s second largest crucifix, a giant stainless steel cross, before carrying on to our campsite in Amarillo. Tony Christie please note, we KNOW the way —- should have asked us!! Next day we detoured south to visit Palo Duro Canyon for a couple of day`s R&R and some walking. Headed back northwards to the I 40 to continue west along R66 calling at Cadillac Ranch where a local rancher has buried lots of cadillacs nose down in the ground and visitors are encouraged to spray paint graffiti on them. Then on to Adrian Tx to visit the “Midpoint Café”, a café that has been there as long as R66 has, it is 1139 miles from Chicago and 1139 miles from Los Angeles. After sampling lunch at midpoint café we headed out to New Mexico and Santa Rosa Lake State Park for an overnight stop. Carried on across New Mexico and made another overnight stop at a town called Grants on the I 40 before entering Arizona. When we got to Arizona we knew we were well ahead of plan so decided to detour north to visit the canyons and Monument Valley. Just after we entered Arizona on the I 40 we turned off north onto highway 191 and headed for our first canyon near the town of Chinle. This was the Canyon de Chelly in the middle of the Navajo Nation Reservation. Compared to such as the Grand Canyon it was small, but stunning, and we stayed on a beautiful campground run by the Navajos and it proved to be the cheapest of the whole trip. Next morning we set off to Monument Valley, on the way passing into, then out of, then back into Utah. The views across and around Monument Valley from the Visitor Centre are out of this world. We booked a guided tour in a 4 x 4 with a guide since lots of places are out of bounds to visitors unless taken there by a certified guide. It was a fantastic tour but expensive and our Navajo guide, Myron Redmustache (clean shaven!) was excellent. Next day we started out for Bryce Canyon, as famous as Grand Canyon but slightly smaller. It proved to be an extremely long drive and, with hindsight, might have been better left for another trip. We arrived very late in the day and had trouble finding the campsite that lots of people had recommended but we finally found it. It was very expensive and one of the poorest we had been on! We set out in the morning to explore the canyon and, since it was a beautiful day, wearing shorts and `t` shirts. They have a free bus service running throughout the canyon so we caught it to the farthest point and walked back along the canyon rim — SPECTACULAR!!! After a look round the visitor centre and a spot of lunch we took a free tour of the whole canyon including places where the normal buses did not run with a very informative guide. Unfortunately, by the time we got back to the `van the weather had gone from hot sun to sun and wind to rain and wind to wind and SNOW!!, we were frozen when we got back but it was worth it!! Because we had spent quite a time getting to the canyons and exploring we decided not to stay in Las Vegas so when we carried on next day we drove through Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and (passing straight through Las Vegas) into California staying overnight in Barstow in the Mojave Desert. Next day, the final push all the way to Los Angeles and Santa Monica, the end of R66! Unfortunately when we came to the end of Santa Monica Boulevard by the sea (the official end of R66) there was nowhere to park a 30ft motorhome. After trying for some time to find somewhere to park we decided to go to the planned campsite at Malibu Beach. When we booked in we asked about going back to Santa Monica and were told there was a good bus service from outside the camp. Over the next few days we went back to Santa Monica for the photos of the end of the road and to explore. We also walked from Santa Monica to Venice Beach one day and that was a real eye opener, you could even see a Marujana doctor to get it on prescription legally!!! All in all a very enjoyable trip, could not fault Cruise America their service was excellent. The `van was probably a bit too big for us two but it came with deal we got. It was a 30ft, 7 berth coachbuilt but we would hate to try and get 7 in it for a holiday! It was pretty greedy on petrol, the computer showed an average consumption of 8mpg when we picked it up, but we eased it up to 9mpg by the time we returned it. Generally the campsites were good, and prices ranged from $10 a night on the indian reservation to $50 near Monument Valley. We stayed a lot of times on KOA campgrounds at around $32. Petrol varied between $3.24 and $4.59 a gallon.

Cost Breakdown for 3 weeks Actual holiday cost, ( flights, 1 night hotel, van rental) (booked through Complete North America) £2020

Total petrol £757.15

Total Campsite fee £435.06

Parking at Heathrow £78

Other spending ( food, drink, entrance fees, souvenirs etc) £620

Grand Total £3910.21

 

 

CAR COLSTON RALLY REPORT

August Bank Holiday 2012

Roy Gill-

Our hosts for the weekend were Andrew and Ann Sheldrake, after the last two rallies we attended this year on grass, I was wondering whether or not this would be a towing job. Thankfully the weather was kind, the only day when we had some rain was Monday, but that was not much, compared to what they had at home in Cumbria. The venue is a Camping and Caravan Club site behind the Royal Oak Pub in Car Colston, a good clean site and the pub serves good food and beer. Those attending were – Ray and Carol Beach, Colin and Francesca Varley, Graham and Christine Baines, Andrew and Ann Sheldrake, Alex Waugh and Julia Tinsley, Ron and Judy Smith, Roy and Sylvia Gill. Once again Ann and Andrew had organised a good weekend, for the seven units attending. We arrived on Thursday afternoon after a couple of days in Yorkshire with Graham and Christine Baines. Ann had warned us of the new layout to the A46 and to be wary of using satellite navigation systems. Still there is some lovely countryside in the area. On arrival were given a programme of events, a quiz, plus leaflets of what is going on in the area. Once we had set up the vans we settled down to catch up with all the news over a beer or two. In the evening we went to the Chinese restaurant in Bingham with Ann and Andrew. Friday – Ron and Judy Smith plus Alex Waugh and Julia Tinsley arrived, so once again, catching up on all the news was the order of the day.Saturday was the shopping day in Newark on Trent. The bus went from outside the pub and took our members to catch up on some retail therapy.

During the day Roger and Helen Foster plus Robin and Jean Asher came to visit. Helen and Roger stayed for the evening meal in the pub, Robin and Jean had to leave early. The meal in the pub and the company was good. Sunday started lazily, general natter, after lunch a few of us went a walk in the area, there was one little worry, a big black thunder cloud overhead, over the same field we were caught in the rain once before. However it passed over without leaving a calling card. Went back to the camp to relax. Before the walk, Ann had taken orders for food “take-away” from the Indian and Chinese restaurants in Bingham. Ann and Andrew went to collect them and we settled in the meeting room alongside the pub. The condition for using the meeting room, was that we had to buy our drinks from the pub, which was reasonable. The “take-away” food was very good. A convivial evening was had by all. On Monday, Ray and Carol Beach, Colin and Francesca Varley departed after the coffee morning at which the quiz was marked and the raffle drawn. The weather was a little iffy, so relaxing was done indoors. It did clear up, so it was decided to put awnings etc. away. Those left went for an evening meal in the pub, which was followed by a session in the skittle alley. Tuesday dawned and it was time to do the final packing and say our fond farewells, then depart. As it happened, typical of the English weather, the Tuesday after the Bank Holiday was very pleasant. Plus there was no need for a tow. Thanks once again to Andrew and Ann for an enjoyable weekend.

I’ll second that – Ed

 

 

 

MALVERN RALLY REPORT

– Dave Reader

When we first arrived at the Three Counties Showground at Malvern we found the Benimar area was situated behind the stables and the trekking ponies, which were wearing horseshoes, had been milling around under the tree and churned up the ground with their hooves and all the hollows were filling up with the rain. We managed to move our area along as there was no-one next to us in one direction where the ground was better.

During Thursday we had three Benimar vans and five others arrive making 9 vans in total which was a bit disappointing. We had numerous heavy showers over the four days so it was very wet underfoot but we did not let that dampen our spirits or enjoyment. There was a choice of entertainment and dancing, which was good and trips around the show between the showers to view the merchandise for sale. We had our usual coffee morning on Sunday where there were biscuits and home-made cake. It was wet again Monday morning but everyone managed to get off safely. We are all hoping for drier weather at Lincoln and that more members will turn up. See you there!

 

SAFETY CAMERAS IN EUROPE

~ The Law and how to remove them from TomTom

-Graham Baines

It has become and is becoming law in many more countries of Europe that the use of speed warning devices such as GPS POI’s (Points of Interest) on devices such as TomTom, Snooper, Garmin etc is illegal.

There have been many reports recently that Eurozone police are becoming extremely intolerant of the use of these devices. Fines can be extremely high and the equipment is confiscated there and then. Claims that the ‘Speed Warning POI’s’ for that country were switched off make no difference as they can be switched back on the minute the police have gone. The problem for many of us is that the POI’s were pre installed and you may not even be aware of them, this will not wash with the police, so be warned.

It is possible and not too difficult to remove these POI’s using either the computer software supplied by the GPS makers. Programs such as ‘TomTom Home’ (for TomToms only), or if you are reasonably adept with computers by looking into the device as a USB source in My Computer / Computer depending on your operating system.

 

TOMTOM HOME METHOD

If you have ‘TomTom Home’ installed on your computer, just plug your TomTom in using the supplied USB lead and switch it on, TomTom Home will then automatically start-up and go to its Homepage.

Some displays may differ so I will use my own experiences. Go to the page which contains ‘MANAGE MY + (name of your TomTom model)’. Click on this folder to view the options available. Look down the list for ‘Points of Interest’ and left click once on it. Your POI’s ie Petrol stations, KFC’s, Banks etc (that I should mention such in these times!) will all be listed.

Tick the box of the POI’s you wish to remove (in my case, ‘Safety_Cam_ PL_TomTom’) Cameras in Portugal. At this point, choices of ‘Remove Items From Computer’ and ‘Copy Items to Computer’ will appear highlighted at the bottom of the screen. Make Absolutely Sure that you have selected the correct item then click on ‘Remove Items from device’. It will ask if you are sure, also if you wish to back-up and proceed. After you agree, the items will be backed up and then removed, confirmation will follow. Click ‘Done’ and ‘TT Home’ returns to its front page. That’s it, unless you wish to remove more camera POI’s for other countries. In this case just repeat the above procedure. Otherwise switch off your TomTom and disconnect.

The names of some Camera POI’s can be a little obscure so some care is needed, for example Radar_ BE_ TomTom for Belgium Radar_FR_TomTom France and Radar_ES_TomTom for Spain are fairly obvious. However, those such as Flitspaal_NL_80 (an 80km ca in Holland) are not quite so obvious.

If you do not have ‘TomTom Home’ you can download it free from the TomTom Website at this address: http://www.tomtom.com/en_gb/services/tomtom-home/

If this method is not possible or you prefer not to install TT Home on your machine, an alternative method follows, though slightly more fiddly.

USB DEVICE METHOD

With your TomTom plugged in to the USB port, open ‘Computer’ or ‘My Computer’ in the start menu. You will see items such as Local Disc (C) and DVD-Ram Drive (D) etc. You should also see a Red Icon with TomTom beside it and a drive number in brackets.

Right click once on the word TomTom then left click once on Explore, this will open a long list of files and folders. Near to the bottom you should see a folder of the map & contents which you will be modifying, mine is named Western_Europe_1GB. Right click on this and then left click on Explore. This will open another list of files which will include all your POI’s (Points of Interest such as ‘Camping Places’ – ‘KFC’ – ‘Petrol’ – ‘Banks’ etc). Each POI normally has 2 files associated with it, one a .bmp file and the other an .ov2. The .bmp is a miniature picture or Icon of the POI i.e. a tent, motorhome or petrol pump etc; the .ov2 file is the Latitude and Longitude of the position of the POI. (some safety cameras only have one). You will also see in the list, files called ‘Safety_Cam_??’ where ?? is the country which the camera is in. i.e. Safety_Cam_UK or perhaps Safety_Cam_PL. Until they are outlawed here, I have decided to keep my _UK files and just remove all the other Eurozone ones, the choice is yours.

You should ALWAYS DO A BACKUP either by ‘TomTom Home’ if using that method, or accessing the files in the way we have just covered.

To do this, Make a new folder on your desktop and rename it TomTom backup. Select from the main TomTom folder (in My Computer as above) the folder named ‘Western_Europe_1GB’, left click once to highlight it, then open ‘EDIT’ then select ‘COPY TO FOLDER’ and select the ‘TomTom Backup’ folder on Desktop. The copying could take up to an hour so patience is a virtue. If the screen reports ‘Cannot Copy’ or some other fault condition, then without getting too technical the only way is by using TomTom Home as shown previously. It would be a good idea to modify your computer’s ‘Power Settings’ in ‘Control Panel’ to stop the machine going to ‘standby’ or ‘Sleep mode’ while the copying is taking place.

To remove the Safety Camera POI you simply highlight it by Right Clicking once on the file name of the POI you wish to remove, then Left Click on ‘DELETE’. I would not advise you to ‘Block in’ multiple files and delete them as it is all too easy to include a non Camera file and, well, you’ve hit a loser now! Take my word for it, thankfully I had backed up.

Under no circumstances should you remove files if you are not completely sure that they are Safety Cameras. If you do, you will almost certainly render your TomTom unuseable unless you have DONE A BACKUP first.

As a point of interest (pun) you can also add extra POI’s in a similar way, i.e. by adding your new list of POI .bmp and .ov2 files to the Western_Europe_1GB folder. Lists of files for ‘Aires’, ‘European Campsites’ and ‘Rest Areas’ are freely available for you to download from the Internet.

Good luck and remember if you are now thinking “WHAT ???” It is probably best to let a friendly Nerd do it for you.

 

Happy Motorhoming.

 

Editor’s comment –

I have just used Graham’s article to remove the French and German speed camera POIs from my TomTom.

I am using Windows 7 and some of the detail is slightly different but it is obvious what to do.

The actual files for the speed cameras in various countries on my version are quite interesting :-

 

Autovelox for Italy

Blitzen for Germany & Austria

Fartkamera for Sweden

Fartboks for Norway

Flitzpaal for Holland

Kamerat for Finland

Radar for Belgium, France, Spain and Portugal

 

 

 

MEMBERSHIP NEWS

– Richard Edwards

New Members

A warm welcome to the following 5 new members;-

John Telfer from Amiwch, Gwynedd

Peter & Christine Wenham from Cromer

Dave & Denise Bennion from Preston

Membership now stands at 70 units.

Membership Renewal.

You are reminded that membership renewals become due now and you must renew by the end of December in order to continue being a member. I am enclosing a Renewal form and Standing Order Mandate for those of you who do not yet pay by standing order. Also I am enclosing a Membership Application form for you to keep in your motorhome in case you come across a Benimar somewhere. One of our new members, John Benion is a bit of an internet wizz-kid and has helped Ian sort out some awkward and long standing problems with the Club Forum Website. Thanks very much John

 

ODDS & ENDS

If you are travelling abroad soon you will probably be aware of the following:

Breathalysers – It is now a requirement to carry 2 approved breathalysers in your vehicle in France They can be bought at Ferry terminals and on board ferries, but are much cheaper in France. The fine is not much – about €11 I think.

Speed Cameras – it is now an offence in France and Germany to have speed camera detection equipment in your vehicle. This includes speed camera alerts within your satnav. The fine is much heavier – over € 1500 in France I believe. See previous article to tell you how to remove the alerts from TomTom.

For Sale – Benimar Europe Top CC-L , 2003 in very good condition. 4 berth, awning, , safari room and breathable ground sheet. TV/freeview and shower. It also has a water purifier, solar panel, towbar and neon lighting. The asking Price is £20,000. Contact Bob Turner on 07530 523231

Marshals Banner – The Club is now the proud owner of a couple of banners for Rally Marshals to display by their motorhomes at rallies. I hope to have a picture, for the next issue. Thanks to Roger & Helen Foster for getting these produced. Events co-ordinator Ray Beach tells me that he intends to stand down as Events Co-ordinator at the next AGM (at the Peterborough Show in April) Ray has held this position for some years and wants a change. He and carol have ended up marshalling most of the rallies this year because of lack of volunteers. They are prepared to marshal Peterbrough and Knutsford again in 2013, but we will need some other members to come forward for Newbury, Malvern and Lincoln. So, have a good think – can you put a bit back into the Club and marshal one of these events? Or do you fancy serving as Events Co-ordinator? I am sure that Ray will explain what is required if you ask him.

 

DIARY DATES

See Diary

Top