Day 004 Italy : Geneva - Montignoso

Day 004 Italy

Mileage 515 km (320 miles)  
Diesel Costs €1.059  
Toll Fees €73.40 !!!! Going through the Mont Blanc tunnel and using the toll roads in Italy is EXPENSIVE!
Annarosa's family  


4 countries, 4 days.  I think we need to slow down now!!

...and we intend to.  It's been a big push to get here and quite opposite to the route we had originally intended.  We were going to head down to the south of France for some sunshine and then cut across to Italy along the coast.  Instead we went through Switzerland, through snow and mountains and then on to Italy.  But this is what the trip's all about for us... changing on a whim depending on what there is to see and do - NOTHING is out of bounds - at least to consider.

Although the temperature dropped dramatically in the night, we had a most comfortable sleep.  We've learnt our lessons from Peterborough.  I'm happy to report that we didn't use electricity or heating to keep warm, but relied on wearing thermals and a hot water bottle.  Oh yes, and we've swapped our duvet for some cold climate sleeping bags that we zip together and use as a duvet.  All of these compress and pack up much better then the duvet ever did.  Problem 42 resolved and closed :o)  This also means now that we don't have to rule out visiting the Ethiopian Highlands which we were going to do because of the cold issue.

The drive from Lake Geneva through the Mont Blanc tunnel and into Italy is spectacular and, although also spectacularly expensive, we think well worth the effort.  We only have 1 outstanding question to ask.  "Italy, what's with all the tunnels - did you get bored?".  We can officially report that we have now traversed more tunnels in one day than we have ever done collectively in our live's - we didn't count, but estimate that we went through in excess of 50 tunnels getting to Montignoso.  phew!

A last view of Geneva Driving towards the alps Mont Blanc tunnel Inside Mont Blanc tunnel
A last view of Geneva Driving towards the alps Mont Blanc tunnel Inside Mont Blanc tunnel
Mont Blanc exit View of the pass down to Aosta, Italy Inside a tunnel Another Italian tunnel
Mont Blanc exit View of the pass down to Aosta, Italy Inside an Italian tunnel Inside another Italian tunnel


Trevor has done most of the driving so far and I am providing backup for when he's tired.  We are both happy to do it this way as he loves driving and, well, I don't!  I am getting in some driving most days though but tend to concentrate more on route planning and navigation.  Sully, despite her weight, is behaving well and her stability on the road is great.  We are still travelling in a back-down attitude and are thinking that we may upgrade the shocks to put dual Koni's on the back (single at the moment) but we are still trying to decide how, where and when to do this and if we can afford it - nothing definite yet.  The alternative is to ditch some weight but that is proving difficult to decide exactly how we'd do that.  We're thinking on this for a bit.

On the down side, Sully is still experiencing a wheel balancing problem.  The wobble window has grown and now exists anywhere between 50 and 70 mph (80 and 110kph for those on "new money" Note from Ed: For those worrying about the speed, we only tried 70mph on a straight road to see where the wobble disappears, our regular speed is about 60mph/95kph!!).  When we say "anywhere between", it means exactly that: the wobble is intermittent and for the life of us we are unable to determine what circumstances create it.  Believe us when we say, it's kept us in riveting conversation for hours!  Today we removed the locking wheel nuts (they are heavy duty and large) and although we imagine they might have made a slight difference, in reality the wobble is still there as frustrating as ever.  We are going to try and have the wheels re-balanced now that we done some miles on them but if anyone out there can give us some clue as to what might be going on, we'd be forever grateful.

So onto other things.  We are really looking forward to Tim and Annarosa's wedding on Sunday and are madly preparing.  A discussion with Don Jo (the priest and a lovely man!) yesterday has seen me be negotiated/gently persuaded/bullied (in the nicest possible way, of course!) into singing not 1 song but 3!  Negotiations lasted well into the afternoon interspersed with much talking, laughter and loads of food and wine.   Our Italian is coming along and each hour sees us learn a new word.  Sono pieno (I'm full) was our first.  Annarosa is still spending time in her schizophrenic world listening to 2 different conversations in Italian and English and translating both ways.  We knew she'd had a busy day yesterday when she almost translated something Tim said in English to us.... in English! LOL.

So while we are here, surrounded by family (and we have well and truly been taken in by the family!), we probably won't post for a couple of days - at least not until next week again.  So, ciao, ti amore and we'll chat to you in a couple of days.

#1 bunduboy on 4.19.2009 at 7:35 AM


Re your wheelbalance problem. Have you checked your steering damper,that is the shockabsorber on the steering rods.

I have been logging on twice a day to check on you ou's

If the balancing problem persists I suggest you buy a LAND CRUISER,these are built by TOYOTA and they work very well.

#2 bunduboy on 4.19.2009 at 7:52 AM

With regards to the back down attitude I suggest you fit Firestone Airhelpers, these are inflatable balloons which fit inside your rear coil springs.You can inflate and deflate them to level the vehicle as you need.Mark Mcleod and I use these on our vehicles and they are the absolute answer.You can pump them independantly to level vehicle, left or right side or together to lift the back, this inflation can be done with the use of any tyre pump or compressor.



#3 bunduboy on 4.20.2009 at 8:00 AM

Hi guys,

How was the wedding?

The photos you took at the lake were awesome,I'm totally envious,I think I would have to be winched away from a spot like that.Sully looks good with all the signwriting, we had'nt seen pics of her with the advertising.

The weather has changed dramatically, we had a really hot day yesterday but today it is overcast and cold with snow predicted for tonight, so the winter woolies have been unpacked.

Eloise and the "monkeys" are with us at the moment, have been since Easter weekend, we will give them a lift back on Saturday when we go to the coast for a week.Unfortunately we will miss the eagerly awaited daily saga of your trip,but will have something to look forward to on our return.

Thanks for all the SMS s

Happy Travelling,


#4 bob sutcliffe on 4.20.2009 at 7:49 PM

Hi, Trevor, We had the same problem. Had the steering reset and ajusted up. no a complet cure but made it tolerable. Small shake at 50 54 some times. We are running on BFG Mud terrains. Some time behingd you currentlzy in Austria Vienna for two days.


Bob & Jackie.

#5 TrevorB on 4.20.2009 at 9:21 PM

Yay! yer on your on holiday!(I'm sure those photos are just postcards and you pasted Sully into some of the scenes! :-) I just got back from a weeks walking with Jane, in Madeira, I've legs like tree trunks now!)

Re the wobbles: some ideas. You could try swapping front and back wheels (temporarily), to eliminate if its the steering gear or wheels, wthout a garage call. I once had wheel shake which worsened under braking maybe 10k miles from new, that had warped discs. Tyre wear or a lost balancing weight (on the inside rim!) can be difficult to spot. But rebalancing at least is easy and cheap (while in Europe I suppose) and a blob of paint can show when you loose a weight... it's easier to have ideas when the problems not your own. :-) Hope you sort it soon, and you get something else to talk about!! Regards and good luck Trevor B.

#6 Locatelli don Giovanni (don Giò) on 4.21.2009 at 1:29 PM

Oggi 21aprile ho fatto visita al vostro vito. E' bello seguirvi nel vostro cammino benefico per il sostegno del Villaggio dei ragazzi. Forza e coraggio. Stò comunicando con i miei amici e parrocchiani di questo vostro progetto. Sarò lieto e spero, anche loro, di aiutarvi. Un bacio affettuoso del bellissimo incontro aMontignoso e nella mia Comunità di Lavacchio. A presto ebuon viaggio don Giò

#7 G. on 4.21.2009 at 7:26 PM

You know the picture - Mont Blanc tunnel???? I'm sure I passed that Wabere's wagon on the M6 heading down to Rio House last week!!!!!!!!!!! they get everywhere.

Anyway, your wheel balance issue, like the other comments posted, it's down to a process of elimination, start with the obvious like the wheels being out of balance due to 'thrown' balance weights. The suggestion of a re-balance and a blob of paint at the weight is a good shout and easy way to see one or more have gone. I did wonder if the surfboarding (back end down/nose up) may be causing the front to be light and any slight wobble can be made worse as the front wheels will be 'light'.

After the obvious you then need to check things like steering and suspension causing issues. I assume this has only just started and didn't happen before being fully laden???

Keep us up to date with progress and have fun.



Hi G, as you may have read, got the wheel balancing sorted (thank goodness!).  Just the issue of being a bit back-down but we may look at airbags to help the springs.  We thought that with inner springs as well we wouldn't/couldn't need bags but seems like we do/can!  Take care and keeping on truckin'.  :o) Trev&Jan

#8 zia giuliana e zio roberto on 4.22.2009 at 3:50 PM

siamo stati molto contenti di avervi conosciuto. spero che i piccoli cuscini

di paradiso siano piaciuti a Trevor se voleto potete tornare a mangiare il

roosbeaf 8lenzuola di paradiso ciao a presto zia giuliana

#9 zia giuliana e zio roberto on 4.22.2009 at 3:50 PM

siamo stati molto contenti di avervi conosciuto. spero che i piccoli cuscini

di paradiso siano piaciuti a Trevor se voleto potete tornare a mangiare il

roosbeaf 8lenzuola di paradiso ciao a presto zia giuliana

#10 gary on 4.22.2009 at 11:12 PM

I'm glad you guys are having a good time, all that driving must be really exhausting, only another 21000 miles to go :)

#11 Trace on 4.23.2009 at 1:10 PM

Hello Stukkies -

Hope you having a fab time in Italy - Hugz and kisses to all

Sully looks gorg - and as Gary says only a few miles to go



#12 Francesco e Nicoletta on 4.23.2009 at 3:24 PM

Hello Trevor, Jan, spero che state facendo un buon viaggio, è stato un vero piacere conuscervi, siete una coppi stupenta.

baci ad entrambi e buon proseguimento.

#13 Jan on 4.23.2009 at 5:06 PM

Hi Fracesco & Nicoletta, it was great to meet you too. We had a truly wonderful time. We will meet again either in South Africa or Italy. I hope that our Italian will be much better. Much love, Trevor and Jan

#14 Jan on 4.23.2009 at 5:10 PM

Dear Guliana and Roberto, words cannot express enough how much we loved meeting you and how gracious you both are. We were privileged to be able to celebrate Annarosa's wedding to Tim with you all. We will meet again and hopefully our Italian will be a little better. With love Trevor and Jan.

#15 Jan on 4.23.2009 at 5:14 PM

Stukkie, having a FABULOUS time. We are being interviewed live on BBC Manchester tomorrow morning for an update!!! Imagine that!! and all via satellite phone. Wish us luck. Love Us

#16 Jan on 4.23.2009 at 5:15 PM

Hi Gaz & Teresa, thanks for the message. We're taking it 1 day at a time and keeping our driving to tolerable limits so even though we do get a bit tired, we take loads of breaks. We have taken an extended break here outside Rome so will be here till at least Sunday or Monday.

#17 gary on 4.23.2009 at 5:31 PM

I'm just thinking now of all the different food you're going to be able to have during this trip, that'd be worth it just by itself. We're glad you enjoyed the wedding, I hope TIm and Annarosa enjoyed it too.

#18 the legendary son on 4.23.2009 at 10:39 PM

Hey guys!! those pics look amazing! I think you should go with uncle pete's suggestion Landcruiser ;-) hahahaha nah you know it's all good. hope you get the wheel wobble sorted. a wobble could be linked to the suspension, oil shocks? I cant remember! on the bike if one fork has 'old' oil and the other doesnt it tends to make things wobble, then again so does an unbalanced wheel. those airbags sound like a plan though. Mind you, after you've travelled for a bit you wont be so heavy on the rear there ;-)

have fun!!!