Happy new year.
What happened? Where did the time go? Where did I go?
The truth is, we’ve been so busy getting on with having a clear-out, I’ve not had the time to update.
But I’ve a very important new years resolution to keep, I must organise myself better so I can put a bit more time into this blog. Good luck with that I tell myself, then Christmas got in the way & I was forced to sit back & relax a bit. Phew.
So here I am, with a bit of time on my hands & loads of news to get up here, so here goes.
End Oct.2014 – Charlie has been found !
So we start, at the very beginning of concrete commitment shall we say, at the beginning of the future.
Now, it’s all very well ‘talking the talk’, visiting MoHo shows, (MoHo = Motorhome from here on in) buying a few bits & bobs for life on the road & way of life that doesn’t actually exist yet, but it’s a very different feeling when you are investing a vast amount of the money you’ve both slogged for over the past couple of decades into a box on wheels, your primary residence for the forseeable future. Not a decision you can take lightly. Hours & hours have been spent (& many wasted) trawling the web for MoHo’s who ‘tick all the boxes’. So before we get into introductions, the following are our list of ‘The specifications’, in no particular order.
- Must be a robust make/model.
Having spent hours reading & researching travel blogs & forums, (thanks go out to all) one name seems to be coming forward a lot, Burstner. Based on opinions & the MoHo’s we have seen first hand at shows, Burstner would be a preference, but not essential. The base unit will be dictated by the following:-
Easy, once I’d confirmed a few things with other trailblazers.
Weight, Sub 3500kgs. Accessibility & cost issues over 3500kgs.
Length, Sub 7m. Again, the “sub 3500kgs” would rule out most MoHo’s over 7m anyhow.
Height, sub 3m would be preferrable, as a few tolls do charge more for vehicles over 3m, not many.
- Driving position:
MUST be LHD. End of! With experience of driving in Europe & due to the fact that my passenger has a habit of dropping off, sweeping right hand bends with a give way are nearly impossible to negotiate in a RHD anything & suicidal in a bus without a left side ‘traffic spotter’. Must be LHD.
I thought about the space we ‘use’ at home & our habits, sure some habits would change once we were on the road, but being an ex-tugger, we have a little experience about what space we need. A BIG issue which people seem to either not require or forget about entirely is, the ‘Crash out lounge’ area.
Imagine: It’s raining, or your both a bit down or ill or have just come back from a 10km walk & you just want to crash, put kettle on & watch a good film. I don’t mean in bed, I mean a type of sofa…, each. Somewhere to crash of an evening & watch a bit of TV if you wanted to. Not so easy in a MoHo sub 7m. Most of the time, my preference would be to be outside, but realistically this will not always possible, rain, temprature, insects, space available & ground conditions may confine you to the van for a few days from time to time. There are plenty of this type of layout utilising twin beds or over 7.5m, neither of which we want Mmmm…this, one may be a problem. On the subject of a bed, a fully made up double (none French type) is a must for long-term traveling. I also don’t fancy an “A Type” pull-down, I don’t think I would sleep so well if I was constantly worrying about falling out. A transverse bed made sense to me, at a typical 2.3m wide, most vans are the perfect width for a bed & so cutting down on the length of the van or simply generating more usable space in the living area. All the other options are not really deal-breakers in my veiw, most MoHo’s have a standard range of kit, if we want something not standard or not fitted we could retro fit it ourselves.
Something that did ‘jump off the page’ was the vast price difference between UK prices & French prices, so I kept a close eye on http://www.leboncoin.fr/annonces/ for any bargins that may pop up. Sure enough, following a couple of false starts, the perfect bus turned up in northern France & so it was a race, to get there & veiw before any of the Frenchies could snap up our Charlie, again.
As it happens, call it fate, pure luck or it was just meant to be, the current owners were very happy to keep Charlie safe & away from other potential buyers once we had discussed coming over the following weekend. Sure enough, Ive got to give them full credit for sticking to thier word, Charlie was sitting there, waiting for us, as promised, thanks very much to Mr & Mrs Delatre. We didn’t even need to check it fully, we had such a ‘good vibe’ about the bus & the sellers. Charlie ticked all the boxes (and some) except he was 7.5m in length, not 7m…ahh well, let’s not quible about 500mm. So many other touches that swung it too, 2012 model, only 7,500 miles, huge garage, scooter/bike rack already fitted, sat dish & system, 100w solar PV & charge system fitted, 14″ TV, 12 & 240v sockets dotted around, floating centre table, etc, the list goes on. Mr. Delatre even filled the tank for me. One thing it does not have is an oven, but there’s a hole for it so we can sort it, maybe.
Insurance was tricky, eventually got sorted with IC Insurance who will insure you on a chassis number for 14 days, here we are 30+ days (and 2 x 7 day extensions) later and I’m still waiting for the DVLA to issue us with a registration number. All good things…
All in all, for a bus that would be more than 10k more expensive in the UK….we were very, very lucky to be offered this. So forgive the stock photos of the inside , but thease are a few shots of our Charlie.
So now we have a ‘to do’ list as long as your arm.