Now I need to explain from the start that the jet lag was not Rosie’s responsibility. I had just got off a two-leg flight from Tampa, had a shower, loaded up the van and headed off for two days campervanning (not sure if it is a verb but it is now) near Ambleside in the Lake District.
The loading of the van is an essential skill, which I think we are doing quite well but need more practice at. Before this trip we used the list we made in Norfolk of essentials (or all those things you wished you had brought but didn’t!) and then trimmed it in line with advice from Martin Dorey’s book ‘The Camper Van Cookbook – Life on 4 wheels, Cooking on 2 rings’. Although it’s a cookbook, it also had a wealth of information to make campervan life easier, including the list. Highly recommended.
One thing I did want was proper boxes to store things in which could be taken in and out of the van easily, so we invested in the plastic ones with clip lids. They come in all shapes and sizes and we spent quite a time in Staples measuring and planning what needed to go in which space and what could go in them. To date they are proving very useful. So Rosie was loaded up and off we set, with me and jet lag approaching.
This was probably the longest journey we had done in Rosie apart from driving her up from Cambridgeshire. She is a very comfortable ride, and we made good time despite being stuck between lorries on the M6. Not that I would know because I think I slept most of the way.
We had booked a two night stay at Skelwith Fold Caravan Park, another recommendation of cool camping (http://www.skelwith.com).
This would be our first trip with the awning and as you can see we got it up in no time. That practice on the lawn at home was worth doing and I have to say that it was a one man job. I meanwhile was putting everything in its rightful place, including the loo, bearing in mind that having put the awning up we were five minutes later going to drive away from it!
This is the idea behind the awning. You can put it up and drive away. Easy. Great. And you know what’s coming next don’t you?
A few hours later having met the family who were staying nearby and having had dinner and a glass of wine, it had started to get dark but at least it was dry. We had remembered to put a marker against the back wheel so we knew more or less where we had to drive to to line up with the awning. I jump out and start signalling for him to reverse and I have to say after two or three goes we lined up well, battened down the hatches and had a good night’s sleep amongst our new soft furnishings! Rosie certainly has a cosy bed. Probably a good idea to have a good night’s sleep with all that jet lag.
But the next evening when we returned it was raining heavily, there were many more vans and motor homes around us and our team skills were waning as Billypop’s went backward and forward trying to line up with the awning. Having asked me to hold the torch so he could see, he was then telling me to turn the torch off as he couldn’t see. He’s going backward and forward not making any real gain and I am standing in the pouring rain using hand signals to no avail to get the van lined up with the awning. Eventually we compromised which meant the part of the awning attached to the van wasn’t taut but it would have to do. Heater on and bed I think.
Lessons learnt on this trip:
1 Probably best not to leave driving back to the awning until it’s pitch black especially if it’s raining.
3 Home is where you park it.