From now on we travel with our "Dysharmonia" or Disharmony. Story is too long to attach it to the report from last voyage, so I write separate page, how this all began.
During our summer holiday we travel a lot and change place frequently. So we used to stay at camping places. When we travel abroad, we realize that most of the customers are people with caravan or camper (mobile home). Tents are just small fraction. It is much different in Poland. In old communist time campings were popular and crowded but now quite few remain. Some of them, in most popular tourist destinations, like Cracow, Warsaw, Białowieża, seacoast are busy but the other are empty. Usually camping is in our country regarded as a place for tents of noisy and drunk teenagers.
Camping in Skorzęcinie and camping in Uppsala. Two different worlds. They have only name in common.
Caravans and campers are minority. Most of the campers I see are from Holland, Germany. There are very few Polish campers. Why? To own a camper, even used one is a luxury. Renting is possible but very expensive, so someone, who can afford that, prefers rather to go for holiday to Italy or Spain, than to travel within Poland. Anyhow, survival of many Polish campings depends on development of campers.
Violet turtle. Our small Chineese tent. For instant erection and folding.
I owned wonderful, small violet tent. Very fast to erect and to fold. Later I purchased new one - bigger, more comfortable and suitable for bad weather. We used take both on our voyages. I was very nice to sleep in tent but with years passing we realized, that it cannot go on forever. Me and Marzena, we were not blind to see, that this is end of an era and something has to be done.
After years spent in violet turtle, this green Domeyko tent was for us at the beggining like four star hotel room.
One could wonder, why it took as so much time to change something. But caravan or normal camper was not for us. We often leave road and take narrow forest tracks, cross streams and sandy pockets to find forgotten ancient ruins. On few occasions we saw real Adventure Machines but they looked rather like army vehicles. Beyond our reach. Year after year we could not find the answer to the question: if not tent, so what than? I found an answer on one winter trip to Sweden. After return I consulted Marzena, she happily agreed. From that day we knew what we want. But there was long way to go.
As a serious travellers we dreamed for years about such adventure machines.
Firstly we had to change car. Our old Pajero was trusty but getting too old. Not so reliable to travel far away. Mechanically OK, but rusty and with rotten electric wiring.
We needed replacement and it had to be pickup.
Pickup, also called semi-truck. Was always present in Poland but not so popular. In old times there were Polish Warszawa, Fiat and Syrena Bosto. Later with wave of used cars from the West some other types arrived. But pickup was not famous, just quiet unimpressive workhorse until recently. It is much different in the world. Pickup is celebrated in US and in some countries - like in Central America, Africa and Middle East this multipurpose vehicle is one of backbones of civilization. Toyota Hilux has special position in some places. On reference list - Hezbollah, Hamas, Taliban to name a few.
There are all kinds of pickups around the world.
Just recently in Poland pickup came out from shadow to front stage. Particularly four-wheel-drive double cab. I suppose it is because of tax regulations. Such pickup can be registered as a truck with all related benefits and used happily as personal car. So one can see plenty of brand new, fully equipped: black Nissan Navara, pearl Toyota Hilux and silver Mitsubishi L200. Before we had strange regulations allowing sports 2-seaters to be registered as a truck!
We also wanted to have a pickup, but not to deduct any cost of it from tax declaration. We had to buy it at gross price. Finally our choice was older version of Nissan. Simple but meeting all our requirements. It is very useful with it's 1000 kg load capacity and 4 wheel drive, but it is not a city car. For us it was going to be a basis for ultimate Adventure Machine.
Generation change - old Pajero becomes history, we go into the future with new Nissan.
It's time to introduce second invention, which motivated us to buy such vehicle. In Sweden I spotted a type of cabinet or container, installed on pickup and converting it to a camper.
Such device is not so spacious like real big camper. Is not luxurious but it has all we need. It is 4 wheel drive and after unloading cabinet we have our car back for everyday use!
For Malecki family solution is close to be ideal.
The question was: where to find one. Short web browsing investigation revealed, that in Poland nobody knows such camper, despite huge number of pickups. Nearest manufacturers were in Germany and Switzerland, but the price for new unit, even the basic was too high. Fortunately I found some used-ones in the Netherlands. Unfortunately my professional commitments kept me for long time from actually going for one. I was afraid, that before new season they will be all sold out. Eventually I took some days off after Easter, before end of March. Our trip began in heavy snowfall but we safely reached Holland. Our dealer's choice was small but we knew, that this is last chance not to spend next vacation in the tent.
Trip to Holland to bring Harmony. By the way some rainy sightseeing and chance do buy some good cheese.
Everything for the first time.
First meeting with "Harmony". It's first matching with Nissan - birth of "Disharmony". We start first, risky voyage. To Poland!
Safe return. First stop of "Disharmony" in our homeland.
Too much to say about our adventure. It took some time to convince Marzena to my choice, to reach agreement, but finally we became the owners of "Harmony".
Pickup-camper business in the Netherlands, once growing is now in decline because of unfavorable regulations against pickups. Customers come now form countries like Portugal and
Czech republic. We were first from Poland In that company. Dutch guys were so nice, that fixed necessary supports the same day, so we could start our return journey in the evening.
Without extension for rear mirrors and extra tail lights that was a crazy ride. Next afternoon we reached home safely. But I had only time to unload Harmony in quiet corner and
I had to leave for India.
For one long month I was missing opportunity to play with my our new toy. I did not realize, how much work is ahead, before we adopt new purchase to become adventure machine.
Improvising. First voyage with Disharmony - to Roztocze.
Camping"Echo" in Zwierzyniec. I rise roof for the first time to camp. Harmony is not realy ready for operation but Marzena is in good mood. Disharmony at anchor in old town Zamość.
We baptized our cabinet "Harmony", because it is not typical. It's roof can be lowered for drive than can be lifted again for comfortable living. Flexible walls remind me one music instrument, that's where name comes from. I don't know any European manufacturer using such solution, our Harmony is from US. For me and Marzena it is spacious enough. It has basic conveniences, like cooking burners, washing sink, heating and fridge. It looks inside, like cabin of small sailing boat. Harmony is made of plywood, is quite old so needs maintenance like old wooden yacht. I spent one week and some extra days working hard to make it ready for the season. Among numerous jobs, I had to modify electric wiring and to adopt gas system to Polish standard. And, very important, safe fixing Harmony to the car for long rough ride. Marzena equipped kitchen, changed bed mattress and did countless smaller jobs. Our efforts were successful. All equipment is operational. We made ourselves at home in Harmony. We managed to load and unload cabinet faster and faster. We did not learn, how to operate fridge economically yet, but that is small problem. We can get cold beer everywhere.
Short trip with Disharmony to Sandomierz. Our harbour - "Browarny" camping
It was nice over there, but our minds sailing already away to the far North. Towrads Great Adventure of the Season!
WSo "Harmony" is our cabinet .When loaded on our Nissan, unification of both is a "Disharmony".
That is obvious. Harmony was designed for long American pickup trucks. It looks little bit like a movable ice cream stall or polar station lodge.
It doesn't fit to our Nissan. Harmony is too long, it's back is overhanging far to the rear. It is quite heavy. Center of gravity is far behind rear axle.
Uneven distribution of the load cause some problems and driving is not that easy. Disharmony is not so maneuverable like off-road car. But it can bring us
much further than any conventional camper. And we are satisfied to make use of Nissan's capacity without mercy. There is still a lot of works to be done. Will we ever finish it?
The most important is that we had very successful first season 2008. And in mid of September it is not over. Not yet!
Disharmony in it's world: on long northern trip. That is exactly, what it was made for!
Ferry, passage through Scandinavia and reaching the destination: on the North Cap. More than 8 000 km of navigation on land!
It was as follows. I returned from India in last moment to have long May weekend. Actually I was late. No time to do any preparations. So we improvised and went to our beloved Zwierzyniec. Just to sleep In Harmony for the first time. We even had no cable to connect to electricity. So we spent evenings with kerosene lamp. It was fantastic! Before Corpus Christi I took week of holiday to work on Harmony. When the next long weekend came we had opportunity to test my improvements. It was rainy weather so we landed in small beautiful town Sandomierz, in modern, cozy camping. There was a nice trip, but I still had to make some corrections. Time was limited. Great Adventure of the Season was coming soon. After so many preparations we wanted to travel far. As far as possible, to the Northern limits of Europe! I will describe our voyage around the Scandinavia to the North Cape and back on separate page. I will just say here, that on this 8 000 km long voyage our Disharmony proven to be worth high expectations we put in it. Of course, we found some disadvantages. But we know now: this is what we wanted! On the way we spotted more than ten pickup-campers but even in Scandinavia this is not so common sight. But we never saw one with movable roof, like ours!
Trip to Bieszczady to say Goodbye to the Summer. Definately too short.
Disharmony berthing quietly in Ustrzyki Górne, when we reach summits. Dinner near Dynów on the way back.
End of August, to say Goodbye to the Summer, we went to Bieszczady mountains for a weekend. Weather was fine most of the time, but we returned in heavy rain. We spent two nights on Ustrzyki Górne camping. We climbed Połonina Caryńska and Tarnica. To go for two days with Disharmony is at the limit of rationality. To prepare it for the trip, than to shut down takes a lot of time. For shorter trip it would be out of proportions. So that is how Disharmony was born. It has risky future. It stays exposed to elements and thieves. Rotten roof requires restoration. And stupid change of regulations may hit us as pickup owners. But so far I look forward impatiently to starting new trip.
I'm sure, that pickup-campers will appear in Poland sooner or later. May be we already inspired someone, who seeing Disharmony realized what is possible. But Marzena and me, we will always have satisfaction of being pioneers. And perhaps we will never see such odd thing like our Disharmony?
Jabłonki. Tribute to the General Walter, ""who was not afaid of bullets". Two eras in our voyages.