Fuel Crisis: Progress!

Two days ago, at the end of my last update, Mark had had no luck finding someone who could refill the tanks and was planning to scour Athens the next day for a camping store with adapters for sale.

Well, he left early and was gone for hours. Scout, Archie and I stayed behind at the campsite, though later I regretted keeping Archie because all the stray cats made him insanely barky, and with the rig being gone, there was nowhere to lock him away.

During that time, I chatted with an American fellow named Dave, part of a convoy of rented German rigs that has just rolled in to our campground. Well, Dave empathized with our plight and volunteered to inquire if anyone in the convoy would be willing to swap out a full German bottle for one of our empty ones. Apparently their trip was nearly over.

I wasn’t optimistic, but lo and behold, Dave turned up later saying one of his German buddies had agreed to swap tanks for the price of the gas. Fantastic.

Mark returned around dinnertime, tired but fairly successful. He’d eventually found the camping store some 20 km away. They didn’t sell adapters, but they did sell Greek tanks, so Mark bit the bullet and bought a big 11-kg one for €45 that the camper folks were able to attach with a simple coupling. He also had then repair one of our burners, a rusty mess that had quit working weeks ago.

On his way back to camp, . He also picked up an electric hot plate, which will allow us to cook with electricity at the campsite and conserve gas.

Then yesterday evening when we went to swap tanks with the German fellow, we discovered he had one of the big 11-kg tanks. Ours was only 5 kg, so we feared he wouldn’t want to swap, but he most generously did anyway. “Call it Germany’s gift to Canada,” he said.

So thanks, Germany! Canada owes you one.

This was all great timing, because our beloved Turkish bottle went out last night, an unfortunate development I blame squarely on our friends at the Turkey’s for Life blog. They posted a couple of piyaz recipes (this one and this one) so delicious I made them a bunch of times and wasted all our fuel by boiling lots of beans.

So now we have an electric hot plate and two 11-kg fuel tanks. We still need to conserve gas because we won’t be able to refill the new bottles in Turkey, where we will be spending the winter months and will need fuel to heat the rig. But at least now we will have refrigeration when we free camp and the ability to cook with electricity at the campsites.

Once again, I leave you with this advice. If you’re planning to RV in Europe for longer than a couple months, buy an adapter set before starting out, and don’t believe anyone who suggests that any one kind of tank is universal. Understand? Fantastic. Now go buy an RV and get traveling!

Our (growing) collection of gas bottles

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Technosyncratic October 3, 2011 at 7:24 pm

Yikes, what a hassle!  That trade was nice of Germany, though.  😉


2 Renee October 4, 2011 at 7:30 am

Wasn’t it? It was brilliant and I am so grateful.


3 Clelie October 4, 2011 at 12:57 am

Well done. Now you are safe.


4 Renee October 4, 2011 at 7:29 am

Yes, exactly. I’m still surprised it was such a hassle, but we’ve spoken with several other long-term campers recently, and they’ve all had the same problem. So at least we’re not alone!


5 Turkey's For Life October 4, 2011 at 8:07 am

Yeahy, well done Germany! 🙂 I love that photo. Now, hopefully you cam get through your winter with the equipment you’ve got. I guess you know getting gas for your little Turkish bottle is easy enough? 


6 Renee October 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm

Sure, refilling a Turkish bottle is snap, especially when the gas guy delivers, like they always seem to in the smaller towns. If we hadn’t been able to find fuel here, we would have bought one of those HUGE Turkish bottles, set it up outside the camper (since we’ll be stationery) and run a line inside. But this is definitely easier.

That photo cracks me up. One can only imagine how large our collection will be by trip’s end.


7 Bridgette Booth October 5, 2011 at 3:13 am

Well, that bottle collection will look nice on fireplace mantle some day. lol. 
Glad you got that worked out. 


8 Renee October 6, 2011 at 8:09 am



9 Tricia (Geekyexplorers) October 6, 2011 at 1:25 pm

The display of tanks looks like RV art. 😉 Glad you found a few solutions to get you through!


10 Renee October 6, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Isn’t it funny? Hopefully we won’t need more, but we’ll see.


11 Renee October 6, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Isn’t it hilarious? More bottles to come, I’m sure…


12 Jason October 14, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Wow, that is a lot of bottles! 


13 Renee October 17, 2011 at 4:04 pm

Hilarious, isn’t it?


14 Lee January 19, 2013 at 11:13 am

that is really crazy…all those bottles?! so many options?!?!
we also travelled Europe with our boys for almost 2 years, but in a caravan we bought in Holland (we are american). we never used gas once! we always opted for electricity — heating, cooking, hot water. it was always included in campground prices, so we figured why not? gas would have been an additional cost, and we figured that we saved bundles by not using gas). but we never free camped either, cause we were towing the caravan (and it’s not really allowed like it is for motorhomes), so always had a hookup. with our ACSI card or camping cheque, we paid around 15Euro a night though all included off season, so not bad at all. we loved it so, and are planning a return 😀 love your site & stories…have been combing through!


15 Mark January 20, 2013 at 3:15 pm

Wow! 15 Euro per night is pretty good. We averaged more than that per night and it started to add up. We enjoyed some of the freecamping experiences the most. They gave us a sense of being out there on the edge.

As it turned out, by the time we made it back to Amsterdam for our flight home, we had an abundance of gaz left over. And in a variety of different bottles for different countries. Along the way we found out many newer European rigs have tanks for natural gas which is pretty common in most places. All one has to do is fill-up like you would for your vehicle fuel tank. Pretty nifty. Next time.


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