Go Back   Horizons Unlimited - The HUBB > Ride Tales, Trip Reports and Stories > 4 Wheels Travel Reports
4 Wheels Travel Reports Post your overland travel reports for a weekend trip or around the world. Please make the first words of the title WHERE the trip is. Please do NOT just post a link to your site. For a link, see Get a Link.
Photo by Bettina Hoebenreich, At the foot of the Bear Glaciers, eternal ice, British Columbia, Canada

Adventure is what you make it

Photo by Bettina Hoebenreich, at the foot of the Bear Glaciers, British Columbia, Canada.



Like Tree10Likes
  • 4 Post By Surfy
  • 3 Post By Tim Cullis
  • 1 Post By Turbofurball
  • 1 Post By TodoTerreno
  • 1 Post By beyondlimits

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10 May 2022
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 826
Wild camping: In the wrong place at the wrong time



After our Trans-Africa and South America trip, I had taken a more relaxed view of the topic of "safety on the road", at least for our overlanding trips within Europe. Of course, we prepared for eventualities, thought through possible incidents and our possible reactions to them.

I would never have thought that even after more than 400 nights of lonely wild camping, the pump could go so badly again - even on a seemingly tranquil trip in Europe or Spain.

We were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time, on a deserted beach in Spain.

Article: https://vanlife.4x4tripping.com/2022...dangerous.html

Not only was my ticker going - I was scared. Afraid that this was not going to end well. And with our reaction - we probably didn't improve safety for other travellers wild camping on the beach.

Surfy
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 1 Aug 2023
Tim Cullis's Avatar
Super Moderator
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: London and Granada Altiplano
Posts: 3,073
I know the area well, from Playa de los Muertos in the north (where converging sea currents used to wash the bodies of shipwrecked mariners ashore), and round the cabo (cape) to Almería. The nature park is remote enough in the daylight, so I can understand why it is popular with smugglers.

I have a friend who wild camps there, so will send him the link.
__________________
"For sheer delight there is nothing like altitude; it gives one the thrill of adventure
and enlarges the world in which you live,"
Irving Mather (1892-1966)

Last edited by Tim Cullis; 1 Aug 2023 at 18:01.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 1 Aug 2023
Gold Member
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 2,118
Fascinating story.

There's a really good hotel (which also has an excellent restaurant) only about 200 metres away from the restaurant you ate at. It's called the Blanca Brisa, and it's a delightful place - huge rooms, nice decor, pleasant people, and very low prices.

Next time you go to Cabo del Gata, stay there & enjoy a hot shower. They have a gated, underground compound with video oversight where you can park the camper (or a motorcycle).
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 1 Aug 2023
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Germany
Posts: 80
Spent an entire winter in that region wild camping and witnessed quite a few arrivals of dope and farm slaves. Closest encounter was at a beach west of Algeciras, back lit by the port, where I and another stealth camper still sat aside our cars having a drink around 2a.m. while a rubber boat rushed close to the beach, two vans and staff appeared and took over some cargo. Didn't took them more than a few minutes, because we knew not to stand in the way of hard working people or fuzzing´around at all. We were recognized by those subjects but obviously weren't considered a risk, as both parties pretended to have seen nothing at all.

Sometimes they drop and forget a pack in the dark or drop them into the sea where tides bring them ashore. Most local surf instructors can only afford their life style by cleaning up the beaches when walking the dog early mornings. Keep your surf spot tidy;-)

If you would have had a look at the staff parking of the next police and border control station, i.e. in Tarifa, you might have gotten a clue why the police didn't start a nation wide ring search or deep dived into an investigation after you have called them in. Even low rank officers seem to be able to afford the latest models of six-digits-€ Range Rover Sports and Audi RS6 for their daily commute. Wonder how that works? It's called corruption.

I believe, the least risk to the common overlander, van lifer or camper arises from those drug or people traffickers. As long as you are not standing in their way of doing business or are known for calling the police just out of spite.

Biggest risk are the masses (+30% in some areas) of unemployed teens to thirty-somethings who are not busy in the tourist, slave or drug industry and cannot make a living from tiny gov subsidiaries in their parent´s basement. For them a blinky new alemannish plated VW T6 full of Apple items is the best place to get their "fair share" in re-distribution of wealth. These youngsters break into your car while you are sleeping in it. Use of narcotic gas is frequently reported.

Second biggest risk for tourist on the southern med-route are the trick robberies by highly skilled teams of balkan gypsies, serious looking elderly men in white collar with family in the back of an semi-old CEO limousine like a Merc S-class or BMW 7-series, who try to stop one at night on a deserted highway to trick out of the car ("Stop! Stop! Your car is smoking from the back, its on fire, come out and have a look yourself, while my colleague steals your stuff from the passenger seat....")* or they slap your off side mirror at the gas station to mimic an accident and intimidate you to pay for the huge dent you just caused in their state limousine.
*Happened to my mom near Barcelona. While she went out of the car to search for that fire with that helpful elderly man, her dog didn't mind the guy who took her handbag from the passenger seat. After begging for some change at the next toll station, she managed to find a rural police station. Cops instantly knew where to look for her handbag (still containing phone and credit cards) beside the road and brought them in within half an hour. Thieves were only interested in cash and get rid of every personalized item asap.

Best way to travel that region is, to appear as busy or broke as the locals or hide in some gated tourist compound.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 2 Aug 2023
Tim Cullis's Avatar
Super Moderator
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: London and Granada Altiplano
Posts: 3,073
Quote:
Originally Posted by TodoTerreno View Post
Spent an entire winter in that region...
Wrong area. Cabo de Gata is about 400km to the east of Algeciras and Tarifa, it's the other side of Almería. And Barcelona is 800km to the north of Cabo de Gata.

I don't dispute there's crime in the costas, but I don't recognised the picture you are painting which sounds more like the wild west. For the last ten years I've spent months each year in the region and the average visitor will see nothing of these activities. I have a wide network of Spanish friends and most certainly don't hide in a gated tourist compound. We've never had a problem with theft, despite our property being unattended for periods.

The narcotic gas story is an urban myth that unfortunately won't die. This is a quote from the Royal College of Anaesthetists,

Quote:
It is the view of the College that it would not be possible to render someone unconscious by blowing ether, chloroform or any of the currently used volatile anaesthetic agents, through the window of a motor-home without their knowledge, even if they were sleeping at the time. Ether is an extremely pungent agent and a relatively weak anaesthetic by modern standards and has a very irritant affect on the air passages, causing coughing and sometimes vomiting. It takes some time to reach unconsciousness, even if given by direct application to the face on a cloth, and the concentration needed by some sort of spray administered directly into a room would be enormous. The smell hangs around for days and would be obvious to anyone the next day. Even the more powerful modern volatile agents would need to be delivered in tankerloads of carrier gas or by a large compressor. Potential agents, such as the one used by the Russians in the Moscow siege are few in number and difficult to obtain. Moreover, these drugs would be too expensive for the average thief to use.

The other important point to remember is that general anaesthetics are potentially very dangerous, which is why they are only administered in the UK by doctors who have undergone many years of postgraduate training in the subject and who remain with the unconscious patient throughout the anaesthetic. Unsupervised patients are likely to die from obstruction of the airway by their tongues falling back. In the Moscow seige approximately 20% of the people died, many probably from airway obstruction directly related to the agent used. If there was a totally safe, odourless, potent, cheap anaesthetic agent available to thieves for this purpose it is likely the medical profession would know about it and be investigating its use in anaesthetic practice.
__________________
"For sheer delight there is nothing like altitude; it gives one the thrill of adventure
and enlarges the world in which you live,"
Irving Mather (1892-1966)
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 2 Aug 2023
Turbofurball's Avatar
Registered Users
Veteran HUBBer
 
Join Date: Sep 2021
Location: Catalunya
Posts: 258
Just as a slight counterpoint to Tim, most of the people who are targets of pickpocketing in Barna look exactly like the sort of person you'd think would be easy to pickpocket.

As for the gas, yeah there's limited proof of it actually happening and I suspect those lorry drivers who claim it happened to them are covering for being in on a planned robbery.
__________________
FreeBSD fan since before it was cool ...
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 3 Aug 2023
Registered Users
HUBB regular
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Germany
Posts: 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Cullis View Post
Wrong area. Cabo de Gata is about 400km to the east of Algeciras and Tarifa, it's the other side of Almería. And Barcelona is 800km to the north of Cabo de Gata.

I don't dispute there's crime in the costas, but I don't recognised the picture you are painting which sounds more like the wild west. For the last ten years I've spent months each year in the region and the average visitor will see nothing of these activities. I have a wide network of Spanish friends and most certainly don't hide in a gated tourist compound. We've never had a problem with theft, despite our property being unattended for periods.

The narcotic gas story is an urban myth that unfortunately won't die. This is a quote from the Royal College of Anaesthetists,
Well, I considered it the same area, as it was the region far from home I've toured around to visit the slopes of the Sierra Nevada and the Atlantic swell during that winter.







I´d guess from your posts here, you and your circles are modest people and/or seasoned travellers, who don't show off shiny gear or flash your wealth and therefor won't cause any envy among the have-nots and don't have to fear to become a target.

Surely the common camping tourist won't have much to fear either, as they appear in herds, rarely camp totally alone in remote areas and therefore have some kind of protection by this herd. But this Hubb´s visitors mostly - and Surfy in particular - are looking for the "off-the-beaten-path"-experience, camping in remote and abandoned areas, where the Wild West is sometimes literally re-enacted with bow and arrow*


Regarding Surfy´s question, what they might have done wrong or could have done better:

- vehicle choice. I'd chose a camper, where you do not have to close a pop up roof to escape an unwanted situation 2.) I´d prefer to keep a low key appearance when it comes to vehicle choice and like to blend into local traffic, a brand new T6 wouldn't do that for me outside wealthy northern Europe.

- don't mind other peoples business, legal nor not. (well unless you have to protect s/ones health/life) Don't do anything at all. Ignore, pretend to sleep or continue your doings, just as nothing happens. Any hectic reaction will make you be recognized as a potential witness which can lead to dangerous conclusion in those who commits the crime.

- don't call the police unless you are personally involved.

Anyway, enjoy your travels


*At one of those abandoned spots - a beach close to Roses with an unfinished multi level hotel building next to the parking, just behind the French border - we and several other tourists got broken into our cars while kitesurfing. Must have been in 2010 or 11. Smashed windows, stolen cash, surf gear, camera and documents from locals and tourists cars.
While surfing we already had a sneaking suspsicion, as we've noticed some spotters on the top of that abandoned building overlooking the area. They were clearly checking the scene for their chances. Since the police refused to arrive at the crime scene only for records, me, my friend and a local family father decided to enter that abandoned building to look for thrown away documents, cards and such, but did decide against it, when the indigenous occupants of that building startet to practice bow and arrow shooting inside the hotels lobby, unleashed their dogs and totally made clear, to not give way into the building. 3yrs later I received my stolen passport and health insurance card from the Spanish police, found I an occupied house close to Cadiz - so the completely opposite part of the country....
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 17 Aug 2023
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: South Essex UK
Posts: 2
Hello to all, it’s ages since I’ve been on here so apologies for that, however I’m catching up with the posts and I’d forgotten how good this travel forum really is.
The issue of the travellers being gassed while asleep is interesting as we met a family who had been victims of a robbery and insisted they had been gassed. ( in a towed caravan) Their alarm and distress was made worse by the fact they had 2 teenage daughters with them. The campsite we were on was virtually empty and they parked next to us, obviously looking for some “ perceived” security. We got to know them well, and we had no reason to believe they were telling fibs. They were, very distressed. The.alleged incident occurred when they overnighted at a Spanish “ aire de repose” something we never do.well, we have wild camped in Morocco but have always carefully selected our spot.
We have heard ( but not met) friends of camper-van users being gassed but cannot validate their accounts. So, Urban Myth? Me? I think they were gassed.
Best regards to all, Bill Westley
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 4 Weeks Ago
Registered Users
New on the HUBB
 
Join Date: Jul 2023
Posts: 11
Thanks for sharing your experience wild camping in Cabo de Gata - it definitely pays to be cautious wherever you travel. I'm always hesitant to dismiss stories of gas attacks entirely, even if hard proof is lacking. At the very least, it's probably best while overnighting remotely to take basic precautions like parking carefully and storing valuables out of sight. Glad you made it through that unsettling encounter safely.
Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 Registered Users and/or Members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Security in the West Africa in relation to travel travelHK sub-Saharan Africa 83 2 Weeks Ago 12:00
A HUBB Love Story. 2 Strangers, 2 Bikes, England to Japan Kayne Ride Tales 9 14 Mar 2020 11:03
Wild camping Portugal/Spain aliengrove Sleep and Eat, Europe 0 29 Jan 2018 17:18
London to Cape Town, November 2012 Tfoy97603 Travellers Seeking Travellers 56 4 Sep 2012 17:51
Egyptian around 30 states Heeso North America 6 13 Nov 2011 02:06

 
 

Announcements

Thinking about traveling? Not sure about the whole thing? Watch the HU Achievable Dream Video Trailers and then get ALL the information you need to get inspired and learn how to travel anywhere in the world!

Have YOU ever wondered who has ridden around the world? We did too - and now here's the list of Circumnavigators!
Check it out now
, and add your information if we didn't find you.

Next HU Eventscalendar

HU Event and other updates on the HUBB Forum "Traveller's Advisories" thread.
ALL Dates subject to change.

2024:

Add yourself to the Updates List for each event!

Questions about an event? Ask here

HUBBUK: info

See all event details

 
World's most listened to Adventure Motorbike Show!
Check the RAW segments; Grant, your HU host is on every month!
Episodes below to listen to while you, err, pretend to do something or other...

2020 Edition of Chris Scott's Adventure Motorcycling Handbook.

2020 Edition of Chris Scott's Adventure Motorcycling Handbook.

"Ultimate global guide for red-blooded bikers planning overseas exploration. Covers choice & preparation of best bike, shipping overseas, baggage design, riding techniques, travel health, visas, documentation, safety and useful addresses." Recommended. (Grant)



Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance.

Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance™ combines into a single integrated program the best evacuation and rescue with the premier travel insurance coverages designed for adventurers.

Led by special operations veterans, Stanford Medicine affiliated physicians, paramedics and other travel experts, Ripcord is perfect for adventure seekers, climbers, skiers, sports enthusiasts, hunters, international travelers, humanitarian efforts, expeditions and more.

Ripcord travel protection is now available for ALL nationalities, and travel is covered on motorcycles of all sizes!


 

What others say about HU...

"This site is the BIBLE for international bike travelers." Greg, Australia

"Thank you! The web site, The travels, The insight, The inspiration, Everything, just thanks." Colin, UK

"My friend and I are planning a trip from Singapore to England... We found (the HU) site invaluable as an aid to planning and have based a lot of our purchases (bikes, riding gear, etc.) on what we have learned from this site." Phil, Australia

"I for one always had an adventurous spirit, but you and Susan lit the fire for my trip and I'll be forever grateful for what you two do to inspire others to just do it." Brent, USA

"Your website is a mecca of valuable information and the (video) series is informative, entertaining, and inspiring!" Jennifer, Canada

"Your worldwide organisation and events are the Go To places to for all serious touring and aspiring touring bikers." Trevor, South Africa

"This is the answer to all my questions." Haydn, Australia

"Keep going the excellent work you are doing for Horizons Unlimited - I love it!" Thomas, Germany

Lots more comments here!



Five books by Graham Field!

Diaries of a compulsive traveller
by Graham Field
Book, eBook, Audiobook

"A compelling, honest, inspiring and entertaining writing style with a built-in feel-good factor" Get them NOW from the authors' website and Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Amazon.co.uk.



Back Road Map Books and Backroad GPS Maps for all of Canada - a must have!

New to Horizons Unlimited?

New to motorcycle travelling? New to the HU site? Confused? Too many options? It's really very simple - just 4 easy steps!

Horizons Unlimited was founded in 1997 by Grant and Susan Johnson following their journey around the world on a BMW R80G/S.

Susan and Grant Johnson Read more about Grant & Susan's story

Membership - help keep us going!

Horizons Unlimited is not a big multi-national company, just two people who love motorcycle travel and have grown what started as a hobby in 1997 into a full time job (usually 8-10 hours per day and 7 days a week) and a labour of love. To keep it going and a roof over our heads, we run events all over the world with the help of volunteers; we sell inspirational and informative DVDs; we have a few selected advertisers; and we make a small amount from memberships.

You don't have to be a Member to come to an HU meeting, access the website, or ask questions on the HUBB. What you get for your membership contribution is our sincere gratitude, good karma and knowing that you're helping to keep the motorcycle travel dream alive. Contributing Members and Gold Members do get additional features on the HUBB. Here's a list of all the Member benefits on the HUBB.




All times are GMT +1. The time now is 20:11.