Newbie's Notes

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Newbie's Notes

Post by Firms on Mon Oct 12, 2015 2:59 pm

So having purchased our motorhome two Saturdays ago it was time last weekend to try out our "new" van in Rutland....new van to us anyway as we have never owned a motorhome before...only hired.

Auto-Sleepers:

First and foremost we are really pleased with our decision to buy an Auto-Sleeper, mainly due to the GRP construction and build quality that is still evident even at 17 years old.
We spent the whole weekend on site testing and checking everything and it ALL works! Our maximum budget was 15K so we were restricted to older vans and considered both Clubman and Legend. I particularly like the 5 cyl VW lump in the clubman and the overall size was ideal for travelling on B roads and through small villages...our type of travel. We can certainly see the appeal of these vans and can see why they are so popular.


The Legend:

We ended up with the legend for two reasons...the large U shaped rear lounge with 3 picture windows, giving a 270degree view, and the fact that this lounge converts into a huge 6' x 6' king size bed. Perfect for my 6' frame.
Otherwise all the fixtures and fitting are very similar between models and, as said, the quality is quite exceptional. I could only compare with the hired Bailey Autograph van (a brand new 46K unit) that we had in August and the Legend feels more solid ....and has a bigger bed! I genuinely couldn't believe that a 17 year old van could compare so well to a new one at three times the price.
Quite difficult to find a good Legend though (compared to the Clubman) as there seem to be very few on the market....   
    
The legend is longer than the Clubman but having now driven the "Fred Flintstone Ford" some 300 miles I am warming to it's agricultural demeanour and I even like the way it handles. We drove through loads of small villages and I found it very easy to park and little different to driving a standard LWB transit. It's rear wheel drive and most of the (considerable weight) is contained within the wheelbase so it can also be thrown around a bit ...at least until the person in the passenger seat complains! 

Rutland

We had a great time in Rutland stayed at a farm site in Wing...Wing Hall...recommended. Beautiful walks by Rutland water.

Oops!

So having had a great weekend with all working and going well we pack up the van, check everything is disconnected, stowed away, turned off etc; feeling really pleased with ourselves (like a couple of kids) we go to pull away only to find ourselves bogged in to the site!  We were on a level grass pitch but the old girl wasn't going anywhere! Fortunately another couple, in an equally old HYMER (oh the shame of it) helped us with their "mats" and got us going.
What a great bunch you motorhomers are...looking forward to our next adventure and this forum has been a real source of inspiration to get us out on the road....Auto-Sleeper style!

Thanks everyone

Simon and Sharon
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Re: Newbie's Notes

Post by daisy mae on Mon Oct 12, 2015 3:30 pm

What a great post and so pleased you had a good time in your new van., you are not the first to get bogged down nor the last either.

 I have yet to experience that myself.
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Re: Newbie's Notes

Post by Tallboy on Mon Oct 12, 2015 3:59 pm

Hi Simon and Sharon, Glad you're enjoying your 'new' van, and I thoroughly agree with your comments on the design and build quality of these, erm, more mature vans. 
The first time we got bogged down was on a Caravan Club CL, and were helped up the field by a helpful caravanner with his towcar. Our Clubman ALMOST made it out of the mud, but it just needed a little help. I bought a hefty nylon towing strap shortly afterwards for such eventualities. The second time, we were directed onto grass at a nameless National Trust property, despite my reservations, and quickly got properly stuck. We had to wait for a local farmer to come out in the biggest tractor I've ever seen- he wasn't too pleased as he'd been watching Rugby on the telly, but he made short work of dragging the van out. I gave him tenner for his trouble and he cheered  up considerably. So did I!
Moral of tale- NEVER park a motorhome on ground that your wife/girlfriend wouldn't walk over in expensive high heels.
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Re: Newbie's Notes

Post by PLOUGHLIN on Mon Oct 12, 2015 4:10 pm

But my wife doesn't wear high heels, and the girlfriend doesn't ever travel in the MH? hugegrins

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Re: Newbie's Notes

Post by Peter Brown on Mon Oct 12, 2015 5:28 pm

Re getting stuck:

From now until April its best to avoid grass altogether. Even if it seems reasonably firm it wont be and over a couple of days all four wheels will settle into depressions made by the weight. When you try to move the wheels are trying to climb out of a slippery hole and WILL spin breaking the surface and deeper you go.

Some things you can do are to make sure your drive wheels are as near as possible to a hard surface and park on 4 grip mats (or bread baskets or similar) so when you do start to move you are just going forward/back and not trying to climb out of holes.

The Caravan Club Mayday recovery service does included recovery from being bogged down (the only one I know that does) whatever specialist machinery is needed at no additional cost. I took that service after taking the advice of a CL owner that the field was hard instead of checking myself and subsequently having to search out a farmer with his 'giant' tractor which required a £20 donation. A couple of years ago I got stuck in my model flying club field which is some distance from the road and can vouch for the efficiency of the Mayday service.

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Re: Newbie's Notes

Post by RML on Mon Oct 12, 2015 5:28 pm

I Remember getting towed into a meet by 2, yes 2, 4*4s and thinking that this is not going to end well.  My expectations were confirmed as when leaving it took a 4*4 and a tractor, as we were both stuck, to get out to the water hose to wash the van off.
Moral of this tale Firms is to always park behind a Hymer... ha  ha  !
Rich..
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Re: Newbie's Notes

Post by Lofty on Wed Oct 14, 2015 9:35 pm

We rented a motor-home as a try out around 7 years ago in Perth.On our very first stopover at Pitlochry,we had to be pulled off the pitch with their tractor.Further into the tour,on the site @ Applecross,it took two Land rovers to rescue us.Good entertainment though one felt a bit of a barm pot! snigger
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Re: Newbie's Notes

Post by Firms on Thu Oct 15, 2015 9:15 am

Ha... Guessing you hired from Scottish Tourers in Perth? Fantastic couple who own it...we did the same in 2011 and remember the Applecross pass as being a particular highlight. 

Gordon (owner) said that you won't think the van will make it up the pass.... but it will. He was right!
My wife however was not so impressed....  
Love the west coast of Scotland!
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Re: Newbie's Notes

Post by Paulmold on Thu Oct 15, 2015 9:45 am

Reminds me of the Peterborough show three (?) years ago. I estimate that judging by the field we were in, out of 3500 motorhomes, 2000 had to be tractored off at a cost of £5 each. Sometimes gripmats just aren't enough...




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