Axbridge, Bristol, Dartford, Rye, Battle, Appledore
0 days away
328 miles / 528 km since last post
328 miles / 528 km total
Where to begin? At the start, of course!
We arrived at the motorhome sales centre on Friday 7th June at 16:00, armed with a list of faults we had prepared on our second inspection of the vehicle; things we had noticed that were wrong, and that we wanted to be fixed.
Oh dear, you can tell where this is going, right?!
Well, a couple of items on the list still hadn't been rectified, despite two weeks notice and several e-mails of assurance that they would be! The end result was an overnight stay on my dads' driveway in Bristol and a round trip of 70 miles back to the motorhome service repair centre on the Saturday. After a series of exchanges with the service centre we managed to get the problems fixed. We also learned that the Calor gas system already installed on the motorhome would be insufficient for Europe. We mentioned to the sales agent at least half a dozen times that we would be buying the van to tour around Europe for a year. Apparently you cannot exchange or refill Calor gas bottles on the continent! The idea of swapping bottles and adaptors at every border doesn't bear thinking about. Oh well, I guess it was our responsibility to find this out for ourselves, but it would have been nice if the agent had picked up on this. After some research on the internet it seems most people have overcome this problem with a refillable system. An unexpected additional cost.
Next stop was a visit to Kent to see Sarah's family and friends. The drive from Bristol was fairly uneventful, apart from the rattle of a few items not stowed correctly! It has been some time since Sarah and I have been vagabonds, in the interim period we have managed to completely forget "the motorhome way"; strap everything down securely and use tea towels as cushioning.
On arrival in Kent we were greeted by Sarahs' parents, who I think were quite shocked by the length of our motorhome - an impressive 7.7m by 2.3m! We enjoyed a party at Nilu and Phill's house on Saturday night with friends, and spending time with Sarahs' family for the remainder of the time. Sarah prepared and cooked our first meal in the motorhome for Sarah's parents and I the first night - spag bol of course! It is somewhat of a tradition that spag bol is the first meal cooked in a new motorhome.
After a couple of nights of staying on the roadside we managed to compile another list of problems we had found - including a waste water pipe leak. After calling our dealer we were told that we could take it to a workshop on the Kent coast. Not ideal, but better than driving back to Axbridge (near Weston) and incurring lost time and expense.
I ordered the refillable gas system from Bangor, Northern Ireland. The internet prices were a lot better than those in camping and caravan accessory shops. I phoned around to see if I could have the system installed but everywhere was booked solid, with a wait time of 4 to 6 weeks. I guess this is the time of year when people are gearing up to go on holiday. So, armed with some instructions downloaded from the internet and an adjustable spanner both Dave and I muddled our way through the installation ourselves. 4 hours later, we were finished, save for a right angle connector I would need to purchase at a later date. As it turned out this was a completely non-standard connection that was not stocked in B&Q or the local hardware store.
Sarah and I agreed that it would be good idea to make our way to the south east coast to have the other minor problems fixed. We stopped at an accessory shop to pick up the missing right angle connector. 5 minutes later the gas installation was complete and I nervously opened up the valves to see what would happen. Nothing happened; great success! We stopped at an LPG-enabled gas station to fill up the tanks. I had read that these pumps can release a small amount of gas out when initially connected, but what I didn't expect was for this to blast all over my clothes and face. I filled up with a few litres so that we could test the system out and have the service centre perform a leak test. I am happy to confirm that the system is leak free and passed the tests!
Since we arrived late at the service centre we were unable to have all of the items on our list resolved. Therefore, we are taking a short break near Rye until Monday, when we should get the couple of issues sorted out.
Besides doing some food shopping and a bit of a drive around to find somewhere we can fill up on LPG, our weekend has been fairly quiet and relaxing.
We have no set route, no plans, but we we do know is this - France, look out, we shall be with you on Tuesday.