This was our first taste of VW Van events, a trip to Bustypes near Oswestry. Not sure what to expect and early in the year for it to be warm and sunny. When we arrived on Friday there was plenty of space and no organisation about where to pitch. We chose a spot in the middle of the field and over the course of the afternoon and following morning we were surrounded by others.
Saturday was by far the best for cruising the few trade stalls and the show and shine. Of course we had to spend so we came away with a VW awning mat. We were able to wander around the camp areas and see what others had done. There were vans of all ages with a large contingent of classic split window and bay window vans several of which graced the show and shine.
We are thinking of getting a pup when we move to Hailsham next year and had several conversations with dog owners. We are rather taken with the idea of a Schnauzer and had a long chat with a couple of owners.
We tried the bar and band on Friday night but it wasn’t for us. Too loud to think, not particularly wonderful beer and not a band I would pay money to listen to.
On the whole it wasn’t bad for a first experience. The weather could have been kinder, it rained a bit and it was cold. The toilet facilities were dreadful, the plastic cabins are fine but they weren’t serviced and even by Saturday they were suffering. I don’t think we will be going back to that one.
I had to be in York on business so we decided to make a trip of it. We set out on a sunny Wednesday in March aiming for 3 nights at a C&CC Certified Site right next to a York Park and Ride. At that time of year we had the place to ourselves and it was a 5 minute walk to the P&R bus.
So March the weather can be a bit unpredictable but I suppose one could have predicted the cold and wet, down to -2C at night so ice on the canopy in the morning. Thankfully we had hook up so could run the heater on electric which we did for all the evening and some of the night. There were some brilliant Johnny Walker stuff on R2 late into the evening so we snuggled down and enjoyed each evening.
Business concluded on Thursday we had the day to ourselves on Friday and as well as shops and market we spent a fair time at the Railway Museum and enjoyed lunch in they restaurant.
Saturday dawned bright but there was a problem – the van wouldn’t start. It appeared that three nights of sound system that runs of the starter battery rather than the leisure battery (note to oneself to look at changing that) had done for it. A call to the RAC soon had us on our way heading for lunch with my brother at the Marlpool Brewery in Heanor. The day couldn’t have been more different from the preceding and as you can see we sat out in the pub yard in shirt sleeves enjoying a couple of excellent lights and a “byo” lunch.
Glorious day for a picnic so we headed east towards Dover and went down on to Samphire Hoe. This is the reclaimed piece of land that juts out into the English Channel that is formed from the spoil out of the Channel Tunnel. As well as a tunnel facility it has a huge wildlife area with good car parks and walks along the waters edge. On a clear day you can easily see Calais and all of the shipping in the channel.
After a picnic lunch and a walk around the reserve we headed home via Dungeness just to see the Channel from another angle.
Applied our logo decals to the van today. Now everyone will know who we are.
Local forum members meet on the 1st Sunday of every month on Seaford sea front by the Martelo tower. A great place to meet people and talk vans.
Grabbed a few days away to visit Broadstairs and, as new members, sample Camping and Caravan Club Certified Sites. We found a convenient site off the beaten track, Orchard Hose at Preston. Orchard was definitely to order of the day as the pickers from all over Europe started early each morning. The site was basic but great for £12 and very quiet.
We spent a day parked up on Broadstairs harbour wall, walked around the town and along the beach and cliffs. We always used to enjoy riding out on our motorbike to Broadstairs for a fish and chip lunch but having coffee and the lunch in our own van while we watched the sea was great. Only spoilt by some idiot locals feeding sea gulls in the middle of the car park!
Our first trip away for 3 nights and we have the bikes on the towbar. We found a magic little camp site near Cromer for a couple of nights. On Monday we tried cycling into Cromer and expected to use our phones for navigation but it seems that the north Norfolk coast is a Vodafone free zone. Never mind we had a great day out and of course ice creams by the sea.
On Tuesday we meandered south through the Broads in glorious sunshine and finally ended up on a site by the sea just before Selafield. We had a great evening in amongst the pines on a warm summers night – almost Mediterranean.
We are learning the tricks with our van. On the way home going round a roundabout the cutlery drawer flew out and landed on the floor – lemon learn’t – make sure it is latched closed. Next we pulled into the services to make coffee and realised that we would have to demount the bike carrier to open the tailgate in order to reach the gas locker to turn it on. More expensive Costa’s – must investigate a carrier that works.
The van is back from Kingfisher Campers looking very smart with an SCA 196 pop up roof, RIB Altair seat / bed, Smev hob / sink unit, Waeco fridge, Sargent hook up system and very classy gloss black units.
A first week away in our van to celebrate a special birthday.
We booked a week in a nice rental property in Christchurch celebrating a special birthday and enjoying driving the new van.
We have our bikes on the towbar carrier – they ride very well and I discovered that disconnecting the tow electrics with the alarm set will set it off so I am going to make an extension to wrap around the bikes before plugging it in.
On Wednesday we visited Jason at Absolute Audio in Amesbury to have our Knewood ICE / Sat Nav fitted with upgrade speakers. The sound is spectacular and Jason’s service is great.
We made the most of the opportunities to cycle around the area with a ride to Sandbanks for lunch one day and the other direction on the last day. Sue’s birthday we celebrated with a nice meal in a popular restaurant by Christchurch harbour followed by cocktails at the posh hotel next to our rented accomodation.
Got our new van today, a VW T5.1 Kombi. Really looking forward to using it and to having it converted.
Although we still have our business van we be driving The VW as it is until the camper conversion is done in a couple of months.
For anyone interested the spec is 140 DSG (Automatic) T30 Highline with several extras such as Xenon lights, removable towbar, side airbags, leisure battery, electric mirrors and VW Thunder alloys.
In August it will be going to Kingfisher Campers to have a full camper van conversion done.