Four weeks ago, we picked up our 10 year old VW campervan, which had been carefully rigged up by Johnny Ashworth and his Slidepods crew in Devon, on the south coast of England.
We’ll spare you the details of false starts, but they have included
- not knowing how to latch the roof down,
- failing to lock the slide-out rear kitchen,
- giving up on their drive-away rear utility tent and buying a detached one,
- not knowing how to keep the tiny fridge going,
- the overnight heater keeps trying to heat the whole campground, not just the van,
- and not being able to find the fueling door.
It’s a left-hand drive van with Dutch registry, and despite having to drive on the left for another month and a half in the UK, we vastly prefer driving on the side we are used to. A day in an English rental car was white knuckles all the way, shifting gears with our left hands and constantly drifting a foot or two too far to the left. Mostly cringing and some screaming. But that was so last month.
Here’s the tour: 1. kitchen slides out in back, two burners and a sink. All six pots, lids, and handles nest and go in the little cubby under the stove. 2. roof pops up to make headroom inside and provide a very stable bed above the one that folds out from behind the kitchen.
3. A utility tent lets us remove from the car all our clothes, bedding, a small box of dry food, foul weather gear, our travel book collection, and a duffel of Stuff We Did Not Need To Bring. Lynnell says “either you sleep in your tent and store your gear in the car, or vice versa.” Owing to the cold over here, we’re sleeping in the car and storing our gear in the tent.
4. The orange extension cord carries electricity from the site. 5. The pink cotton Turkish towel dries very fast. 6. The bright green tubular folding chairs are comfortable and seem like they’ll hold up for a long time.
Just for reference, here is a photo of our North American set up, two years ago, on our way west to the Badlands, Glacier Park, and Yellowstone: