Vinça, Languedoc Roussillon Region, France, 12/13

January 20, 2014

Being members of the Silk Road Motor Caravan Club, fellow travelers British/Scottish Chris and Jack Kane, invited us to stop by at their home in Vinça, France. Having just returned from a six-year journey through Central and North America, they were keenly aware of our needs to get off the road for a few days. It seems that things like emails, blogs, laundry, maintenance, etc. become priorities more often than not. Chris took us shopping at the local weekly market and we shared some fun dinners and swapped travel stories. The area was picturesque with the snow-covered Pyrenees in the background. We took time for a few hikes and also visited the most famous town in the valley, Villefranche-de-Conflent, a walled city dating back to 1098.

One major issue that needed solving was filling our propane tanks. We had heard that to do this in France was much easier than in Spain. Not! Both Chris and Jack took the time to drive around with Gary to several hardware stores and a camping store, as far as 30 miles away to find the correct connections. In the end, the simplest solution was the direct transfer from one bottle to the other, which we had done in South America, but every country in Europe uses the exchange tank system, and every exchange tank seems to have a different outlet fitting. At length we found a can-do guy at the local hardware store who quickly assembled the adapters, hoses and connectors we needed. The following day we took one of Jack’s exchange tanks, hooked it up, turned it upside down, and basically poured the liquid propane from his tank into ours, carefully monitoring the 20% valve which is designed to eliminate the possibility of overfilling all US portable LP tanks like our Manchester 20# RV tanks.

Obviously, this needs to be done with extreme caution. Gary will be doing a full report on the procedure later. Many Silk Road Motor Caravan Club members have chatted about this on the Forum. The procedure is quite simple, providing you have the correct fittings for the country in question, using the 20% bleed valve, or weighing your empty tank and not filling it beyond its rated capacity.

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