So, this bank holiday weekend was the debut journey of the Camper (temporarily and affectingly named “Davey” for now).
I had my reservations, as ever, about the micro adventure- is the leisure battery secure? Has it been vented properly? Will the sealants leak? Will the solar panel continue to work? Will it be warm inside?
The journey to the ferry for the Isle of Wight was as eventful as ever as I always manage to lose the vehicles following me in convoy… one should NEVER follow me as I haven’t a clue yet, I’m asked to do it anyway…
After reconvening at the services and driving more slowly and sensibly we reach Southampton in good enough time for me to watch a couple of episodes of Santa Clarita Diet before boarding.
The van is HEAVY to drive. You can feel the weight and the motions are SLOW. This for me, is going to take a lot of getting used to. Driving in a small Suzuki hurdling down the motorway at a comfortable 70mph+ has been easy but this van… 60mph and it’s not intending to go for much higher speeds than that.
The visibility is also limited more so, so I’m having to be more careful on junctions and looking out for others trying to overtake…
The beauty of this van, in its current state, is the lack of “hooking it up” to external power sources- completely off grid and I’m loving it like that.
There is still a couple of shelves to put in and fix the inverter properly but other than that, one could argue that this van is “finished“.
The first night was exciting! The LEDs generate a lot of light in the back – the only problems being a) probably too much and is visible from the outside via the top of the curtains and b) if I lose the remote control there’s not a lot I can do.
The LEDs are stapled to the ceiling. Have I mentioned how impatient I am? I didn’t fancy gluing them so went crazy with the staple gun. First round they all fell off! Second time, I secured the Velcro first with the staples then attached the LEDs lights to the Velcro and stapled them… looks neat.
Overall I’m pleased with the first night. I slept soundly and comfortably in the back. It was lovely to be able to open the side door and look out at the view whilst sat in the sleeping bag. Even more lovely if I was motivated enough to boil water on the hob and make a cup of tea….
Arguably we had the best night sleep… yet then James’ hammock in the van looks comfy as well… what a champ.
The van was sweaty in the driver’s area in the morning but the back cabin area was fine. No wet walls or bags. I purchased window defenders so I can keep the windows cracked open and no wind/rain can get in but keeps the air flowing through the vehicle (plus I sleep better with fresh air circulating).
There is still the issue of the fan not blowing, which I will have to ask a professional to look at, so the windows take ages to clear (even with the aid of a cloth). Still needing the thermal coverings.
I purchased a iPad/phone holder for the van’s headrest and found it didn’t fit on the metal bars (too short) by luckily, the gaps in the headrest was able to fit so watching Netflix in bed was just perfect!
Overall, the first outing was great. I managed to fall out of the van trying to get my boots from under the bed but I also managed to convert the bed back to seat/table without having the leave the van, which is exactly what I wanted to do for safety purposes. Changing clothing wasn’t a problem- maybe a bit with another person in the van as well but just me will be fine.
I still need to sort out storage and organise myself as, you can probably tell from the pictures, the van ended up a little bit messy. I purchased a foldable laundry basket so when this is full I can easily transport it to the laundrette. Not sure what else I will need, besides cooking kit…
Here’s some beach photos. The Isle of Wight has some beautiful beaches and I would love to go back again to play in the surf. The next outing will be a beach visit. Just got to figure out where to put the body boards.
Also, won a Spider-Man plush at the arcades from the gab machines. Only took two goes!