It has once again been a rather long time between updates, but this has been done to work, tiredness, frustration and a whole host of other poor excuses. Work has played it’s part in the delay, with our yearly event coming to a climax and working almost non-stop over the period. As always after events, when you have held it together under that kind of pressure, a period of rest and relaxation is very well earned. However, being the type of person I am, in these circumstances I let minor details get the better of me. The minor issue was the long running speed limiter removal from the van now it is reregistered as a Motor Caravan. Simple, just bring it down and we’ll plug it in.
Firstly those more observant of you will remember that I did just pop it down (206miles return) to Tamworth Mercedes where I bought it from to have it just plugged in for the limiter removing. That resulted in the van refusing to talk to the computer and a down load from Mercedes being required. No problem says I (I’m good like that) and I went home with an assurance that they would arrange for it to be done in Leeds at no cost as compensation. Move on a couple of weeks of trundling about at 56mph and I get a message. Book your van in at Leeds Mercedes Trucks and they’ll sort it out. So that’s what I did. Took it in, was assured it would be ready later that day, but later told the patch downloaded from Mercedes had expired and they would order another. “Can you do it urgently please because I’m planning on its first trip away this weekend”
5 days later it’s still stood at Mercedes with no update and no way of contacting Mercedes HQ by phone as there isn’t one apparently. I spoke to a customer services robotic human and got absolutely nowhere. By this time frustration was setting in and I was starting to get unpleasant on the phone. Finally I sent out a row of stinging emails to anyone and everyone I knew, to find less than 5 minutes later the phone goes and the very pleasant lady at Leeds Mercedes apologises for the delay and that my van was ready. Why does that always happen?!?
So the crux is that the van now goes fast! Yaay!
Impressively the van has been averaging 33-34mpg whilst limited and only falls to 29mpg when holding a steady 70mph, which I’m very happy with. I half expected a real sting from the increase in speed.
So finally and a little unfinished (shower room) we set off for the National Watersport Centre, Nottingham to watch Georgie our daughter rowing as part of the Team GB Start Programme and two nights camping. Rapid packing, including Frank our boxer and camping kit for Georgie, we set off for Notts. The van was a pleasure at a steady 65, now able to clear lorries with ease, none of that constant jostling at 1 mph slower on descents and 1 mph faster on climbs.
The campsite at the Watersport Centre was very pleasant and bathed in sunshine, although a little chilly through the night. Everything worked perfectly. Hot water, central heating on the thermostat, cooker, sink, everything. We’ve identified a few things (there’s a list) that we need to add or adjust just to make life easier or better, but overall I’m really chuffed.
Good days rowing, with Georgie smashing the opposition in the heats and a classy bronze in the final.
So the plan now is to finish the shower and add all the finishing touches, including buying sets of van stuff (melamine, cutlery, hooks, consumables etc) that can stay permanently packed to make buzzing off for a weekend much easier.
Frank loved the weekend and came home knackered after not sitting still at all, except from when he wriggled under my duvet when it got a bit chilly at 4am. He even has his pet passport signed up and ready for our first foreign trip next month.
All in all we’re both really pleased with the van in terms of layout, practicality, fittings and the way everything works. Yes, given the opportunity to start again, I’d do one or two thins differently and it would be easier, cheaper and better finished, but that’s all fine if you have the opportunity to practice. We now have a very useable, good looking, good to drive and live in camper van, which will travel he world subject to it’s two wheel drive limitations. Experience tells me that providing you are realistic and with a minimum of recovery kit and some decent tyres, it will go pretty much anywhere. The reality of 4 wheel drive, and don’t get me wrong, if i could afford it, I would have got it, can get you much deeper in before you get bogged down (I know!).
Speaking of foreign trips, work has changed a bit, but to be fair thats what makes life interesting, not knowing whats around the bend. As of this month, I no longer get 4 months off a year. We are now starting the journey of preparing to host one of the world’s biggest sporting events. However, we will squeeze in a couple of shorter trips over the summer and I’ll get to travel a bit in the planning stages for the event, so not all bad and I’ll keep the website up to date with activity for anyone who reads (thanks kids).