Shake Down Cruise for new Motorhome

This story happened on: 22/03/2019

On Friday 8th March we picked up our new motorhome from White Arches Motorhomes at Irtlingborough. It was six years to the month that we first started our motorhome adventures when we picked up our first motorhome having caravanned for over thirty years. At least on this occasion there was no snow on the roof of our new charge!!! We also felt that we knew a lot more about what we were doing. The handover actually made sense this time. The first handover, six year ago, was really comprehensive but by the time we got home I think much of it had been forgotten! 

Perhaps I need to rewind a little to explain why we were changing. When we first started to think about a motorhome I think we may have been seduced into wanting to replicate what we had in our previous caravan, things like a fixed bed. From that point of view the choice was very successful. Life is always a learning curve and perhaps what we didn’t appreciate was that a 7.5 metre long motorhome was not so convenient to take off site. It was also pretty large, although having said that we have travelled far and wide in Europe without too much difficulty. When, or if as was the case for some time, we did change we wanted to go smaller with perhaps the option of two single berths at low level. We did initially think about a van conversion but on closer examination we felt that we would be too cramped not only in bed size but also toilet/shower wise. Margaret was not keen on a wet room type configuration. We looked at all sorts of makes and layouts but in the end were drawn back to the Bailey brand. We were initially interested in the Bailey Advance 66-2 which is six and half metres long and interestingly six inches narrower than our current van. In October last year we paid a visit to the NEC to have another look at different models. However we were attracted to a new variation on the Advance called the Alliance which had exactly the same range of models but with a higher specification. Although we were going to the very edge of our budget it seemed sensible to buy a van with all the things we were likely to add at some stage in the future. To cut a long story short in November we ordered the Alliance 66-2. 

Everything from the old Approach 740 was put in the conservatory. When we got the new van home there was much head scratching as to how on earth we could you fit a quart into a pint pot. Well the answer is that you can’t!!! We did a lot of thinking before anything was put in the new van. Also a few visits to the likes of IKEA for storage boxes. Whilst the storage configuration of the new van is so different to the old we did manage to get in what we needed and it was an opportunity to declutter! The thing that concerned us most was how we were going to handle the beds and bed making. It turned out not to be as big a problem as we first thought. We had some single fitted sheets which worked quite well and we purchased some mid TOG duvets. (If you need help with TOG ratings perhaps this video by Rhod Gilbert might help!)We didn’t want to use sleeping bags. It would have probably been the closest I had come to being in a strait jacket! We even manged to fit the bedding under one of the bunks for good measure. 

After two weeks of loading and reloading it was time to try it all for real so we booked a few days at the Club site in Moreton in Marsh, a site we were familiar with and only 50 miles from home. We found ourselves a pitch not too far from a service point as I wanted to test how easy it was to fill up with water using my newly acquired watering can. In many ways this proved a lot easier than the Aquaroll we had used with the previous van. We were gradually getting to grips with all the new facilities including the Truma iNet system which although a bit more complicated than previous system I think will prove much better. We even set up the TV aerial to try it even though this site has a co-ax connection on the electric bollard. The bed making went well although it’s a bit awkward having to store one of the settee back rests overnight. 

Having successfully completed our first night in the van we decided to have a walk into Moreton in Marsh. We like this busy Cotswold town which was buzzing with people. The proximity of the town makes the CMC site an ideal place for motorhomers who don’t want to take their vans off site. Back on site we were curious to have a look at the new “Glamping Pods” which have been installed on a separate piece of land near the dog walk, there are ten in total. These Pods are ideal for non- caravanning friends and relatives to spend time together with people on site. 

Our three night stay was soon over but I am glad to report that all went well and we are gradually understanding our new acquisition. Our next trip is likely to be down to Taunton in Somerset to have an alarm fitted at VanBitz but that will probably be at the end of April or there abouts as we have to have a new central heating boiler installed at home in the meantime!!

Google map showing location of Moreton-in-Marsh, UK

brue commented on 08/04/2019 18:43

Commented on 08/04/2019 18:43

Thanks David, good to hear you both like the new motorhome, it looks very nice. Hope you enjoy the year ahead!

bandgirl commented on 09/04/2019 22:05

Commented on 09/04/2019 22:05

Lovely looking van.  We have a 2 berth caravan, using the sofas as single beds rather than making up a double.  Like you, we use single fitted sheets over a quilted mattress cover, and a duvet.  To save time and effort we leave the sheets on and cover them with a throw during the day, meaning we only have to take the back & scatter cushions off and replace with pillows and duvet at night.  


Chrystal commented on 17/04/2019 19:14

Commented on 17/04/2019 19:14

Loved your story , hope you enjoy your New Motorhome.