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Motorhoming and you
userOAL Moderator
Posted: 10 December 2008 11:22 AM
Subject: Motorhoming and you

Only Human

Location: Bourne, Lincolnshire

How many years have you been a motorhome enthusiast? What got you into motorhoming in the first place?
Posted: 10 December 2008 3:50 PM
Subject: RE: Motorhoming and you
Lives on the forums

Posts: 548
Location: Kent

Our first dealings with motorhomes was when we got an old mark II transit motorhome that was totally rotten inside, gutted it and refitted it bit by bit to see whether we would enjoy motorhoming. This was the cheapest way to get in on the act so to speak. It also taught us alot about what we actually wanted in the layout of a van.

Our first holiday was to the Lake District, with no bathroom or proper kitchen fitted! However, we loved it and couldn't wait for the next holiday! Each holiday after that something more was finished on the van. We toured around Scotland and finally upgraded to a diesel motorhome for more luxury and cheaper fuel bills and of course the luxury of PAS!

Several years ago, we met an old couple in Nottinghamshire, they both had suffered from cancer and were in remission and enjoying life in their motorhome. They changed our views by telling us that there are 3 things in life Health, Wealth and Time - the chances of you ever having all 3 at the same time are low, so don't put things off until you retire in hope of having all 3. When you chat to people you realise how right they were. Their words will be with me forever as they are so true.

Now, we use the motorhome (now upgraded to new and just what we wanted!) we get away as much as we can, even if for only 1 night, anytime of the year. We've travelled to many countries, experienced/seen things that we would still be dreaming of doing one day.

Our lifestyle has developed into something wonderful. I still dream of going places more slowly and spending longer doing so, mainly now because I know how good it'll be and if we can't for what ever reason, I know that atleast I have done it and I'll have no regrets just memories.

Posted: 10 December 2008 6:11 PM
Subject: RE: Motorhoming and you

Lord of the posts

Posts: 5737
Location: Birmingham. 2004 Auto-Trail Cheyenne Mercedes 313.

My first encounter with motorhomes was in the late 60's when my parents bought a Martin Walter conversion on a Bedford CA with a rising roof, I can still remember it as it had a 3 speed column gearchange.
They changed this in 1969 for a new MW Bedford CA but this time with a floor mounted 4 speed gearchange. They still have an original sales brochure for this one!
Then in 1970 they fell in love with a brand new Bedford CF based Ci Bedouin. They kept this until the late 70's when a company car forced it's sale. Again they have an original brochure for this one.
Since getting married we have camped under canvas, a frame tent then Folding Campers, until buying our first MH earlier this year after 2 or 3 years of studying what was available.
We are extremely pleased with our MH and can now go 'camping' at times of the year when we would never have considered going under canvas.

Long live Motorhoming!

userNed Swift
Posted: 10 December 2008 9:46 PM
Subject: RE: Motorhoming and you

Keeps coming back for more

Posts: 151

Got tired of not being able to go sailing due to our poor summers and so very recently started in this new world with a young family and dog.

Been away 4 times so far and absolutely love it!

Happy Ned
userMel B
Posted: 11 December 2008 5:43 PM
Subject: RE: Motorhoming and you

The special one

Posts: 12469
Location: E Yorks, Carthago C-Compactline i-138

We've had the following:

1996 - Commer petrol Auto Sleeper (reg 1968 I think!)
1997 - Ford 3.0 petrol ambulance which we converted ( reg 1985)
1999 - Talbot 1.9TD Elddis Autoquest 320 (reg 1991)
2001 - Fiat 2.8D Swift Suntor 590RS (new)
2003 - Fiat 2.3JTD Rapido 709F (new)
2007 - Ford 2.4TD Rimor Sailor 645TC (new - 2006 model)

We got into motor-homing by accident, we had a Bond Mini-car (micro car) and I had got well and truly fed up of attending micro-car gatherings/rallies and staying in B&Bs thereby not being able to enjoy the late night fun and chatter on the rally site with our friends camping over. We therefore borrowed a tent etc and used that to see how we got on before buying our own. The problem was that many of these events were in Spring and late Autumn and it wasn't my idea of fun freezing all night. We therefore bought a caravan ... a beautiful 1975 Fibreline, totally original. Not ideal though, if the event was a distance away, we couldn't tow our micro-car and the caravan so the caravan unfortunately had to go.

We then set out to find a cheap camper - money was very tight so we spent ages chasing after 'vans to find they were either a load of junk or had already been snapped up. Our Commer was pure luck - it was from a chap who had died and it had been stood for 2 years at his son in law's whilst his estate was being sorted out, the probate solicitors put a value on it of £495 and the first person to turn up and give a deposit got it! We found out and got permission to take a long lunch and drove straight there as the chap couldn't 'hold' it for anyone, a buyer had to turn up in person! When we got there someone else was looking at it .... oh no, our hearts sank!!!!!! Fortunately, we decided to still have a look and it turned out that he was just being nosey so we nearly bit the seller's hand off!!! By the time we left about 5 minutes later there were 20 other people - yes 20! - wanting to buy it. We had to get it collected on a low loader and spend around another £400 on it to get it fixed up, including putting on a tow bar, but it was lovely!!!! We absolutely adored driving around in it, it had real 'character' to it, okay so it wasn't the fastest thing on the road, it had a different track front and rear so it 'crabbed' a bit in the truck tracks on the motorways etc but we loved it and used to go out in it just for the day more often than not. We eventually decided it had to go though as the bed at less than 4ft wide and only about 5'8" long was extremely cramped - you couldn't turn over once you were in your sleeping bag! and you could forget winter camping .... brrrrrrrr. We sorely missed it though but did get a very good price of £1700 for it to a local chap who had seen it at the classic car shows we'd been to and had been drooling over it for a year!!!

The ambulance conversion was undertaken mainly be me over winter (I must've been mad!), out there each night and weekend as much as I could, making units, wiring, putting in extra insulation, etc, etc. A local DIY store was shutting down at the time and everything had 50% off which was a great help. First trip out in it overnight was a couple of weeks after it was finished, to Germany for a week to a micro-car rally in April ... it was ruddy freezing but we had a great time. It rang like a dream and everything worked as it should. It suited us fine as we couldn't have long holidays due to our having 5 dogs (yes I know, nuts weren't we) so we had to get a dog sitter when we went away.

Eventually, we were down to 4 dogs as the eldest one passed away due to old age, then out of the blue we lost another two within 15 days of each other, the first through emphysema at 14, and the second at 16 as she was missing her buddy and kept having strokes to which she was already prone, it was heartbreaking but nothing we could do. The only ‘good’ thing to come out of this was that we suddenly had some freedom - we could easily take the two remaining dogs with us in the camper so we decided we needed something which we could use all year round and for longer periods of time, plus a bit more room would prove useful, so we set out to look for a 'proper' motor-home. After much searching we managed to find the Elddis located about 20 miles away, the chap couldn't sell it despite several attempts (the village was fairly out of the way) and we got it for a very good price. The chap couldn't get it to go over 60 mph, it turned out that it was suffering from the dreaded stuck turbo waste gate valve due to lack of use and once that was sorted it really chugged along very nicely.

In 2001, for our 20th wedding anniversary, we decided to get a new van and bought the Swift .... nice van, but very cold as the heating was inadequate for the size of van - okay if you sat in the over-cab bed though! Had quite a few faults with it especially the indoor swimming pool ... not to mention the faulty fridges .... eventually after 18 months we had had enough and changed it for the lovely little Rapido at 18ft 5"(ooooooo I still miss him!!!!!!! ).

Rapido was a joy, we only changed it because we needed more room for us, the dogs and our hobby equipment. Due to being a bit squished in it over Christmas 2006/07, with 3 dogs, 2 rats and all our paraphernalia, after 3 years and 10 months we changed for our Rimor - yes it's a big beast at 23ft 4" and quite a change from the Rapido but it does what we want (plus was a stonking good deal) and as we always have our bikes with us parking it just a little further out when necessary isn't a problem. It's very comfortable, well equipped, drives very well and now we've got the cruise control on it (thanks to Dave N ), hubby is like a kid with a (big) toy. Can't see that we'll change it anytime soon ... I know, famous last words!!!!!
Posted: 11 December 2008 10:42 PM
Subject: RE: Motorhoming and you

Legendary contributor

Posts: 8671
Location: Bedfordshire, Globecar 636SB

Have holidayed on campsites since my grandparents got a caravan in the 60s, when going 'independant' used to tent and I think like a lot of caravanners/tenters had the misguided thought that campervans would be a lot of trouble when driving off pitch, but in 1989/90 went on world tour and when in Aus and NZ rented campervans, for us this was the best part of holiday, on return to england went back to tenting but was on the lookout for a van I liked.
The last two straws came in 1997 when we had an easter holiday of teeshirt weather during daytime and having to wear hat at night, I was also doing the windsurf racing curcuit on a regular basis at weekends, so I brought a van converted it myself to the layout I wanted and have used it since.
For the last 5 years I've been looking for a van to replace it and the Adria Twin on a X250 base looked the job but put it off will building new bungalow, hopefully come next NEC show (if not before)will be putting in order for a Twin with updated gearbox. Which reminds me must ask if they'll build one with 130engine on 3.5light chassis.
userKeith T
Posted: 17 December 2008 8:51 PM
Subject: RE: Motorhoming and you
Epic contributor

Posts: 1380
Location: Autotrail 610SE Dawlish, Devon

Having had a trailer caravan in the mid 70's, for several years, later in life the idea of returning to the freedom and eeing small motorhomes when trvelling around, encouraged me to look for a van conversion in 1991, as I did not particulaly enjoy the towing aspect.
Since getting into Motorhoming, we have had the following, all fo which, in effect, have been a logical progression....
1991 AutoSleeper Harmony - great little vehicle, built to a good standard, and suitable for the holidays we could take at that time (up to 2-3 wks at any one time)
1993 Compass Drifter Coachbuilt - over cab bed,and since i was to pack up workin 1994, we wnated something suitable for 'longer term' use, inlcuding a 7 months trip in the Uk and Europe. At just 17'6 long, it would still go into most parking spaces....
2001 Autosleeper Symbol - another good little vehicle, and excellent quality, with the shorted length again being suitablefor the parking spaces.
2003 Rapido 710F low profile - a model we had often admired whilst in France,and very well built, with rear lounge being much more comodious than the 'pullman' dinette of the Compass, or the van conversion and at 18'6 still manageable. Making upthe beds proved very easy, and we spent many holidays in this, inlcuding most years at least a 6 week trip to France.
With superior builld and heating etc to the van conversion, it proved very good for 'all year'use.
2007 Burstner Marano 595 - difficult to match the build and quality of teh Rapido, but we have found the Burstner pretty much a match, and agin teh same rear lounge layout we favour. We were also abletoupgrade various things,so have gas/electric heating and hot water, plus gas oven,etc and find this an excellent van. Again all year use, and in fact we lived in it for 6 months over last winter whiklst waiting to complete on a property. Being on the new Fiat base (yes.....!) the drive is great, and the vehcile spacious, though larger than we would have prefered at just over 20', and more restictive for parking.However being Euro category 4 engine we shall still be ableto go to the Abbey Wood CC site, which we use quite frequently, for the foreseable future.

We thoroughly enjoy the lifestyle, and usually have about 130 'bednights' per annum away, and there is no month of the year we have not been able to use the motorhome.
userstonehenge man
Posted: 15 January 2009 2:42 PM
Subject: RE: Motorhoming and you
Just joined

Posts: 8

Started with a Bedford Romany Dormobile in mid 60,s which was brilliant, then a commer caravanette, big mistake it was terrible. Then came a family, tenting and caravanning untill returning to a motorhome in 2000 with a Compass Drifter 410 to those who know me it was called TODDY, and took us to Spain,Germany,France,and UK, never letting us down. It was a sad day when we parted with it for our current Cheyenne 635 but always thought we would see it on our travels, sadly an arson attack at the dealership destroyed our beloved toddy, but we still have all the memories. I do love this life.
userOAL Moderator
Posted: 15 January 2009 3:54 PM
Subject: RE: Motorhoming and you

Only Human

Location: Bourne, Lincolnshire

This poll has now closed - thanks to everyone who took part..
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