Sunday, 9 June 2013

First night nerves unfounded and I even towed it

Dave catches some rays by our new caravan
A lot has happened since We're on our way but we're not going far! Firstly, we collected our beautiful new-to-us Bailey Orion 430-4 from John's Cross. Knowing we are novices, they kindly spent over an hour showing us around absolutely every button, dial, tube and cranky bit so we were a lot more confident when we left than when we arrived. Dave even got to try out about twenty yards of reversing. John's Cross also presented me with a lovely bouquet of flowers and some wine for Dave as a thank you for buying from them! Then a short nerve-wracking but happily uneventful drive to Horam later and our caravan was settled in at its new home, Woodland View Touring Park.

And that was that ... until yesterday ...

We spent the morning packing up the few bits we would need for a single night away, and then added lots more things that we think we might want on a longer trip. The idea was to check we could remember how to do everything we'd been taught and also to begin working out the best storage solutions for such essentials as a slow cooker and the toaster. We got to Horam and, under the watchful eye of site owner Sam, managed to extract our Bailey from a scarily tight space. ("Just pull straight forwards, you've got loads of room there!") Hitched up properly and fairly efficiently, the open road beckoned and Dave bravely set out on the long journey to Golden Cross. All seven miles of it! We could have done it in five, but chose the bigger roads.

Setting up Bailey is so much easier than pitching a tent! In the past, we could go from parking up to tent pitched & tea poured in about an hour and a half. In Bailey, an hour and a half included having found homes for all the random tat I'd brought along, fridge working and water running, tin gecko blu-tacked up, tea poured AND a choc chip cookie (bought on way, not baked on site!) All without raising a sweat - far more civilised than struggling with a bedroom pod and a groundsheet. One 'slight hiccup' could have been far worse than it actually was. As we tried to level Bailey front to back, the caravan suddenly pitched forwards and hit the ground. We learnt that it is vitally important to make sure that the clampy bit around the jockey wheel tube is tight. Very tight!

Sticky carpet was another problem. John's Cross (presumably although it could have been the original dealer) had put plastic over the two carpet pieces to protect them. However, because the plastic had been on for too long a time, when we removed it a sticky residue was left which we stuck to with every step. One carpet piece was bad, but the other was fine. Googling when we got home led me to CaravanTalk which suggested the gentle application of white spirit. An hour of this has removed most of the stickiness so a second application and a shampoo should get shot of the rest. I've now joined CaravanTalk - this is me.

Other hiccups were minor:
Reversing is probably never going to be fun.
The heater works better if the power to it is actually turned on.
The pump needs to be well under the water level in the aqua roll.

Old Mill campsite is quiet without much road noise late at night so I slept like a log. The bed is very comfortable and we were both glad we'd gone for the fixed bed option instead of making up a jumble of cushions. A little light comes in under the blind in the morning, but not enough to wake me up, only Dave, so that's OK.

And today I drove back to Horam. Me! And I don't know what I was worrying about. There was one moment where it all went a bit lurchy, but more power smoothed the ride. Dave squeaked on the first corner out of the campsite (bit close to a post!) but the rest went by fine. Braking obviously takes longer and I need to remember to allow several car lengths of space because gunning away from a standstill isn't an option. With practice I'll probably go faster - apologies to the people stuck behind when I was doing 40 through the s-bends on the Horam road but overall, a very positive experience.

We're both very pleased with ourselves and Bailey. I believe we're going to have wonderful times!
Woo hoo!

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