THE DRIVE TO THE SITE & SETTING UP
The day to finally get in the Elddis Accordo 120 and disappear off for its first proper trip out finally arrived, and the destination was Walnut Lakes, Lincolnshire.
Even though I booked the Friday afternoon off work (to give me plenty of time to get the motor home ready and get to the campsite) my boss wanted me to go to a clients to do some audit work, and took the holiday away, which kind of annoyed me. Not in the best of moods I arrived at the clients only to be turned away and asked to go back to the office to give the client some time to get things ready for me. Having cancelled my holiday (putting a lot of pressure and stress on me) and then being told to go back to the office really pushed my buttons, and I was less than impressed.
My boss refused to re-instate the holiday, however as a compromise I was allowed to leave at three, so I could get on the road a couple of hours than we were expecting to. Before I left for work in the morning me and the better half agreed that, because we wouldn’t have time to sort everything out we were simply going to throw everything in the motor home, drive to the campsite, sleep and then sort everything out on Saturday morning. With two hours extra to play with we had the idea of setting up the Kampa awning (for the first time) on arrival. Sorted………
The drive to the campsite was easier than expected and totally problem free. Other than stopping for fuel, as well as a bag of Haribo sweets (essential for all road trips) it was a straight run through with no stops. There was a bit of traffic on the road, although it was much less than I was expecting given it was the start of the bank holiday weekend. The vehicles that were on the road shifted along at the national speed limit, which is always good.
The only part of the drive that was annoying was the number of idiots who decided to pull out on us at various junctions and roundabouts, and perform dangerous overtakes in places they really shouldn’t have. It’s strange but it seems that when a car waiting to emerge from a junction sees me coming up in my motor home they have to make sure they get out in front of me for fear of holding them up. Okay, my motor home isn’t the quickest vehicle on the road and the acceleration is pretty pants (to be expected given the size/weight of it and the 130 BHP engine) but once it is up to speed it will knock along more than happily at the national speed limit.
I never speed in the motor home, I am never in much of a rush so I have no need to, and make sure I always stick to the speed limits, especially in 30mph, 40mph and 50mph zones. In these zones I don’t speed but I do make sure I drive at the speed limit – so why do cars (and motorbikes for that matter) feel the need to overtake me, and break the speed limit in the process? And where are the traffic coppers when you need them? Oh well………………….. Can’t let these minor annoyances grate on me for too long can I.
Finding the campsite was nice and easy too – it is just off the A17 although I did nearly miss the turning because the sign for the campsite is right on the entrance gate. Since this was the first proper trip out in the motor home I didn’t want to have to venture down tiny single track roads in the back end of nowhere, so simply having to turn off a main trunk road suited me just fine.
"And we have arrived" "The entrance gate - a secure site" "Beyond the gate - a pretty site"
On arriving at the campsite the better half’s first task was to go let reception know we had arrived, get them to open the gate and locate the pitch. Within a few minutes we were greeted by the owner who was going to escort us to our pitch, which is always nice.
En route to the pitch I found the water supply, which was perfect since I hadn’t had the opportunity to fill the tank which turned out to be a big mistake on my part. Not filling the tank was a big mistake but it doesn’t come close to the faux pas of never tried removing the water tank cap before setting off on our first adventure. Yep, whilst the wife was talking to the campsite owner (i.e. getting the rules etc.) I was tried to fill the water tank. The first issue I had was removing the water tank cap. I stuck the key in, turned it and heard the “click” confirming it was unlocked. I then started to twist the cap to remove it, but the damn thing kept spinning around. I tried twisting the cap the other way and the same thing happened. I noticed the cap pushed in, so I pushed the cap toward the van and tried twisting it (both ways) and still the damn thing kept turning around. I locked the cap and then unlocked it again, and tried once more.
The water tap was right outside 2 caravans, and the occupants were outside enjoying their dinner, and whilst they probably weren’t looking at me ( I am not that interesting and they couldn’t care less what I was doing) I felt all eyes on me, which made the situation worse. I as struggling with the damn cap for five minutes, getting hotter and hotter (and more and more p’d off) before my wife finally ended the conversation with the owner and came over to see what I was doing. I tried to make a joke out of it, to save some face, but it didn’t work and I think I made myself look even more of an amateur.
My wife had a go and managed to get it off after a few minutes (and a few blue words muttered under her breath). With the cap off it was time to fil the tanks. I stuck the hose in the tank and went to connect the pipe to the tap. Hmmmm…….. another problem. The tap had a standard garden hosepipe fitted threaded fitment, which is fine but our hose pipe doesn’t have that fitting. “Not to worry – our Go Outdoors 5m hosepipe has a rubber connector that will fit to ALL types of hose fitting” What a load of crap. The rubber fitting did not fit the standard screw thread at all. Sure it went over the top of the fitting but it was a really lose fit and I had to hold the hosepipe nice and tight against the tap.
Whilst holding the pipe to the tap I turned on the water and watched it flow through the transparent pipe. The water got about a meter and a half in to the pipe and stopped. I cranked the tap to get some more pressure but the water simply spurted out of the top of hosepipe near the tap. No matter how tightly I pushed the pipe to the tap the water spurted out and I couldn’t get the pressure I needed to get the water through the pipe and in to the tank. Hmmmmmm…….. the 5m length of hose pipe (the one the bloke in Go said we needed because “you can never have too much hose pipe”) was too long to get the water down it. There was nothing for it other than to go knocking and see if I could find a kind caravan owner with a shorter piece (at least a meter long) of hosepipe I could use.
Fortunately, I found a helpful bloke who loaned me his hosepipe and even though I was fine to do it myself he insisted on escorting me to the tap and filling the tank for me. This was a really kind gesture however it was something I needed to do myself but he insisted. Perhaps he thought I was going to run off with his bit of hose? Perhaps he is just a really nice bloke willing to help out two total newbies? Who knows, but whatever his motives I was very thankful for his assistance.
Filling the water tank took the best part of twenty minutes, which is ridiculous, and the process taught me that:-
Once the tank was filled I moved to the pitch and was glad to see it was a good size and that there was plenty of room around it to manoeuvre the motor home. Fortunately, there were no other caravans or motor homes really close so there was no way I could hit anything and damage either our new motor home or someone else’s unit. I positioned the motor home on the hard standing, which was a very easy process and then jumped out to tackle the awning……….
"Views from our pitch - Not too shabby hey"
Many people call the awning the “divorce in a bag” which is a great name for it. Ever since my wife and I have been camping putting up the awning has always caused a heated discussion, and sometimes a full blown argument. No matter how many times we put the awning up and no matter how many times we thought we had it sussed putting up the awning was never a quick and simple task. We knew that putting up the Kampa Travel Pod Air for the first time was going to create a few heated words, and we knew we should have done a trial run at home beforehand but we didn’t and the first time erecting the awning had to be done.
Getting the main body of the Kampa Travel Pod Air inflated and in position wasn’t too difficult, and we only had to un-peg it, re-position it and then peg it done again three times, which I didn’t think was that bad. Getting the tunnel part of the Kampa Travel Pod Air in the right position was another story………………………………..
I’m not going to bore you with all the details (I’ll just say that we faffed around with it for the best part of two hours) but the bottom line is that it simply doesn’t work the way it should, well not with our Accordo anyway. The tunnel does fit to the outside side awning and it is easy to connect the two together, it’s just that there is an excess of sagging material that gets in the way of the door opening, and will also fill with water (and create a pool) in the rain. Needless to say, I am not overly impressed with it but we are still going to use the awning, just in a different way to what we wanted to. Erecting the awning was yet another experience and one where I learned quite a bit.
By the time we had decided what we were going to do with the awning the sun had set (resulting in one of the best sunsets I have seen in a long time) and I was hot, bothered and was almost ready to throw in the towel. Being hungry doesn’t help and, as much as I love Haribo Starmix, half a bag consumed some hours before wasn’t working for me. Time had run away and with all of our gear cluttering the entire floor of the van we decided to throw everything in the awning (to sort out the following day) and grab some dinner. By the time we were ready to prepare dinner it was too late to cook something (there was no point in me even bothering to turn on the gas!) so we had a sandwich and a quick (and well needed/deserved) cup of tea. How Rock n Roll am I?!?
For those of you that don’t know or haven’t checked out my previous blog postings (shame on you!) the Elddis Accordo 120 has a rear lounge layout so we had to make the bed up before we could call it a night. On any other night I wouldn’t have been overly fussed, but given the stresses and the lack of food, making the bed was the last thing I needed. Maybe we should have gone for a fixed bed layout after all. Oh well, c’est la vie.
"Damn Kampa awning won't fit - Waste of money" "And here's our set up from the other side of the lake"