Friday, October 15, 2010

Motorhome (aka camper van) odyssey

No time to blog while in Blighty. Camper vans and poems took over my days. The enjoyable little trip to Prestatyn had been changed for one to Halifax which was MILES away. The van there was better because it was a Peugeot not a Fiat. You'll have to take my word for this - research had been done. On Monday we'd just set out on the way to the M6. My mother was driving as far as the motorway intersection where I would take over when my phone rang.
'Have you set off yet?' said Joe.
'I've found another van.'
'No. I can't go to another one. Halifax and Chorley are too much already.'
'It's good news! There's one in Preston. It's identical to the one in Halifax. Preston is just up the road from Chorley.'

Oh joy. We didn't have to drive to Halifax.

The sun was shining. It was a glorious day. There wasn't too much traffic on the motorway. The directions to the motorhome place in Preston, our first port of call, seemed straightforward - I'd phoned them and got directions - although turning off towards Blackpool on the M55 caused rather too many comments about not being able to see the tower yet, Blackpool having one that looks vaguely (very vaguely) like the one in Paris. To be fair you can, apparently, see it from Preston. It is, after all, 158 m and it was modelled on the Eiffel Tower.

The van in Preston was rather splendid. It was the newer of the two we were going to see. I took it for a test drive and loved it - easy to handle, quiet engine, good on duel carriageway and winding lane. Inside, there were so many storage places you'd never be able to find anything. A very natty feature was the hanging locker that could be opened both from the body of the van and the bathroom. Somewhere to put your clothes while you take a shower. The layout was like the last van (which suited us perfectly in most ways) but it was all a bit bigger, and there would be space for the dogs between the beds even when you pulled out the yoke that allowed them to be wide enough to sleep on. We wouldn't have to hoik the heavy seat backs into the front as we'd done before.

All going well. We had lunch then headed for Chorley. I should have known not to trust Google Map directions. I've been caught out before. They were complete crap. Nevertheless, several phone calls later, and after a small detour to the caravan section of the company, we arrived. The older (and slightly smaller) van was lovely, though I think I was somewhat seduced by the warm upholstery and the big skylight. But when I asked to take it for a test drive, the sales woman said she wouldn't be able to bring me out as she was on her own (we discovered the sales people were all at a big motorhome show in Birmingham). Except she wasn't on her own (so why say it?), and the young fella in the office said he'd bring me out. But then she spotted that the MOT (NCT equivalent) had just run out. So all I could do was drive round the tiny car park in first gear. What use is that?

So we made an offer on the Preston van. The sales man came back to us with their offer. No we said. Well, when I say we I mean Joe, me being complete shite at making a deal. So the man from Preston came back saying he'd accept our offer but had to convince his boss.

Then Joe had an email. The price of the Prestatyn van had been reduced. Joe looked at the website again and noticed it wasn't a Fiat but a Peugeot. The website was wrong.

Then Preston man came back saying yes! The offer was accepted! But Prestatyn Van has a towbar which would cost 500 quid, they don't do a DIY version and it has to be fitted in the UK.

The upshot is that Joe's going to Prestatyn.


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