Most readers of this blog will know that we have now sold our Leyland Daf overland truck, and purchased a new much more “sensible” camper, more of this in a bit.
Colonel K had one last hurrah before he was pensioned off, we did a 5 week tour of western Scotland, and we of course loved the place just as much as when we’ve visited here before, we spent a few days with good friends, Russel, Kirsty and Andy and Kate in their respective motorhomes. It was while in a coffee shop in Oban that we hatched a plan to buy “Zorro” a Mercedes Sprinter 4×4 based motorhome.
The Daf truck performed absolutely impeccably despite me carelessly driving it into a ditch, while swatting away a man eating, deadly wasp inside the cab!! Opps absolutely no harm done and of course the truck just drove itself out. On the way back to Kent we called into the dealer that had promised he had the 4×4 Sprinter coming in and looked at one that he had already sold. The deal was done.
The camper had already been built at the factory in Germany (Hymer) on one of the very last of the available 4×4 chassis cabs, so the specification was not negotiable but it was pretty much how we would have ordered it, plus it had a few extra luxuries such as a full satellite system and a 32” smart TV (posh eh). We then had a few dealer fitted items that we required, mainly to make it more suitable for more prolonged “wild camping”. These included a 1800w inverter, solar panels on the roof, extra leisure battery, a SOG filter (an absolute must in our opinion), a full size spare wheel (can’t believe these aren’t standard on a new motorhome), and a double cycle rack on the rear.
I priced Colonel K to sell fairly quickly and the first serious buyer that looked at it bought it, I wish them many happy times in the truck and if it looks after you guys like it looked after us during our 3 years in Africa (and our total of 7 years of ownership), then you’ll have a ball. I delivered the truck to its new owners and then caught the train back, a very strange day with lots of emotions running around my head.
But all things come to change eventually, and we picked up Zorro and put it through its paces with a trip to Norfolk, Yorkshire and the Lake District, after getting used to it (its a lot smaller inside than Colonel K), and getting a few teething issues sorted by the dealer (almost all due to badly fitted extras by the dealer), we were happy, very happy.
By now it was late 2018, and winter was approaching, we had agreed to house sit for some friends that we met in Africa in their beautiful old cottage in East Devon, we had a fantastic 6 weeks here getting to know the area. Our stay here was slightly tainted though, as we were asked to “pet sit” their tortoise, but were told that it was by now in semi hibernation and all we had to do was keep it packed with hay in its hutch which was in its enclosed run. When we arrived I thought id better check how far the tortoise was inside the hutch, after feeling around frantically and eventually pulling all the hay out, it was obvious that the little reptilian was gone!!! We had one thing to do while here, look after their beloved pet……. and it was gone!!!! We searched the garden for weeks, relatives searched and even dredged the pond, nothing!!!! We informed the owners who were very cool about, but guilt had seriously set in, there was definitely a reptile rustler in the village.
After Devon, we spent the rest of the winter in west Cornwall, we’ve often thought that maybe we will eventually end up in the west country in our twilight years so thought it was a good opportunity to see the area in its worst weather, but we still really like it there. We had lots of family and friends come to stay with us in our holiday cottage (actually a 4 storey four bedroom new terraced house), and we had some real quality time with them all.
But eventually we had to leave Cornwall (evicted again haha), and it was back to Kent to get Zorro ready for our next adventure, a six month trip round Scandinavia, including a drive deep into the Arctic Circle to Nordkapp in Norway.
I ummmm and arrrrrred about whether to carry on the blog of our travels, but have recently had a few people ask me to carry on writing it, on a selfish note it has actually ended up as a great diary for Jac and myself (this has definitely proved the case for our Africa trip), so I am going to carry it on. Yes I understand that Norway and Finland aren’t quite the adventure that Burkina Faso and Rwanda are, and Zorro is not quite as mega, burly, rufty, tufty as Colonel K, but we still plan to visit slightly different out of the way places and certainly to camp “off grid” as before.
I will soon put on Lorrywaydown a more detailed spec of Zorro, and the pros and cons of a compact off the shelf motorhome (though with 4×4 and huge ground clearance), compared with a 4×4 ex military overland truck, in the meantime we are loving being back on the road………
STOP PRESS after 6 months of worry the bloody tortoise turned up, he’d escaped his fenced run under my watch and buried himself under a tree for the winter!!!!! Dogs are so much easier.