We had quite a challenge organizing,
finding, and just transporting our "gear". Everything from tools to
sleeping bags to cook stoves to parts for the ICV.
Since the ICV was built in 1971 as a "converted vehicle" chassis
(which means it was a set of wheels, engine, and front cab) - then
modified by an unkown Ice Cream Van converting company - you can
imagine what finding such non-essential parts like brakes are. We
spent considerable time either hanging out at auto parts stores in
Yeovil, or traveling between them, and digging thru countless
vehicles at the "scrapheaps" (junkyards in the US).
Transporting about 300 lbs of tools was no easy chore either.
John managed to figure out the jigsaw puzzle of fitting it all into
luggage that would be under the weight limits of the airlines. We
managed to avoid all but one of the excess baggage fees and that one
was probably due to the ticket agent burning her toast at breakfast
Finding things in rural England is a bit of a challenge in
itself. Something as simple as a camping stove is
a bit like a scavenger hunt. You cannot carry a camp
stove on the airlines if it's been used and we were unsure of what
types of fuel they sold cheaply and readily - so we decided to buy
one locally. It is a process of elimination, sort of, you go to a
store you think has it and when they say "no, very sorry" in that
ever so polite British "what, are you mad!?" fashion - you ask them
where you can find one. The Brit's are a helpful and courteous lot
if nothing else. If you ask one of these folks for help, it's
usually a signal for them to fall all over themselves to help you
out - even if they haven't a clue what they are talking
about. So, they will usually send you off to a store or place that
has maybe a 50/50 chance of even carrying something close to what
you're asking for. Of course, it may be that dealing with a rude
American lends one to be polite and courteous but send him packing
in the wrong direction?