Adriers August 1st – 3rd

We had our first outing to try out the Hymer, keeping close to home in case of problems. 

The site details are here together with many photographs.

We stayed only two nights but will be happy to return in the future, just when the weather is not so hot.

A few snags were evident:

  • the catch on the overbed roof vent is broken
  • the grey waste decided to leak all over the aire
  • the bathroom door decided to lock me in 

Apart from these niggles,  the van is pleasing us. The over cab bed is surprisingly comfortable and the lounge seating area is very much so. The table, which I had initially liked for its size and sturdiness, is as big  pain as other B524 owners have mentioned. It makes getting in and out of the bench seats very difficult and because it doesn’t fold flat it cannot be stowed out of the way.

I particularly enjoyed the good fly screens on the windows and life was more comfortable than at home, with so many flies annoying us.

We attempted no cooking, so reserve judgement on the kitchen facilities. We were however impressed that the fridge kept up, with internal temperatures in the van exceeding 35°C and the van  not parked completely level. Also impressive was that internal temperatures remained tolerable  despite the heat outside. The breeze moving through the large windows was a great help but we think that there must also be excellent insulation.

As for Adriers – the presence of a leisure lake with fishing and swimming, plus a bar in the town doing a 4 course Menu de Jour with wine for €12, all topped off with many miles of good walking… We will be back for sure.

Our next anticipated trip will take us a little further afield, to the far side of Poitiers. A vineyard stay, a brewery trip and a good meal should all add up to an excellent break. Before we go we will hpe to fix some of  the snags with the van and civilise Cat, such that she may join us.

Have van, can travel

Today’s earworm is “A walk in the Black Forest”.  Why? Well, I shall leave that to the reader’s imagination.

In the meantime, Heidi Hymer is taking us on our first trip tomorrow, all being well. We have some doubt as to the weather and if it will be too hot for comfort and safety. The French meteorology people have put out a health hazard warning, with our local temperature predicted to be rising close to forty degrees by the weekend. 

Luckily, we are planning to stay close to home. Having found a nice quiet Aire about ten minutes away we think it is ideally placed for our first trial. If anything goes wrong we can just come home, even if it means walking…

We have a Hymer

For those who have requested pictures

 

The new-to-us Hymer came home on Friday last, after the long trip home from Pierrelaye on the northern outskirts of Paris.  Mr Snail has since been spending time looking for snags and fixing them. We began to pack but the heat has defeated us.

Yesterday we went to buy gas bottles. 

We think that we may go off  for one or two nights very soon, perhaps just up the road to Adriers, where we have discovered a little known Aire de Campingcar. If we forget to pack anything it’s only ten minutes home to come and pick whatever up.

We have a new van mascot:

Dusty

As for the van… tentatively named Heidi Hymer. Is that far too camp?

A new chapter begins

Yesterday we rose at 5am and were away (in the car) before 6 o’clock and on our way to Paris, or rather, to the north-west of Paris. We were going to  a motorhome dealer, where there were two Hymer B534s, rear lounge configuration, for sale.

The dealer, like most French retailers, closes for lunch at 12:00 for two hours. The early start was intended to get us there for around mid morning, in plenty of time to look carefully at both vehicles. It also seemed sensible to leave early and to drive during the cooler part of the day as temperatures were forecast to rise to 35°C.

Luckily our new car was fitted when new with the luxury pack and sports fabulously effective air-con (down to 18 degrees), tinted glass, a shaded sun roof, and sunscreen blinds at the rear.  We packed plenty of water for the dog in our 12v cooling box and off we went.

Things got off to a poor start when we noticed that the sun roof cover was partially open. On attempting to close it completely, it got stuck… in the fully open position! (We assumed a fuse had gone but I did manage, luckily, to close the blind later in the day.)

A route that avoided la peripherique had been planned. Not sure if that was a good choice or a poor one but the traffic on our chosen route was horrendous as we approached Pierrelay and the clock kept on ticking. We eventually arrived just half an hour before lunch so it was a very cursory inspection that we gave to the two vans and we completely omitted to look at any alternatives.

Of the pair of B534s, there was an older model with more miles that was more highly priced than the younger model with fewer miles. This had puzzled us but it was clear when we saw them that the older van was simply more appealing and it did at least offer air-con in the cab area.

By midday we had decided that the rear lounge layout would work well for us, that the tiny 6m length actually packs in plenty of features and feels pretty spacious in fact. We liked the moveable table, which is relatively large, and the comfort level of the lounge benches is pretty high. I managed to get up the ladder to the drop down bed and down again without issue and if my joints deteriorate to the level where I can’t do that, then the lounge makes up to a king-size bed. In the meantime the lounge area will suit the dog nicely.

We said that we would buy! It didn’t seem to matter that doing the paperwork encroached into lunch (not very French!) and we came away at 12:30 having paid our deposit..

The van is to be collected on the 18th July.

We decided to come home avoiding the Paris outskirts by heading out West towards Rouen. Definitely the long way home, it took us eight and a half hours to get back to base, and certainly the more expensive in terms of road tolls (by a long way) but still the more likely route to be taken when we get the van. However, we are unlikely to attempt to bring it home in one leg!

Being short on time, I got no photos of the van but will upload some when we get it home.

Two Snails will be back on the road again, soon.

 

He’s gone

Vincent has now been sold and returned to the UK.

Tomorrow the house becomes ours. We have some more French red tape to deal with after that and then will be free to begin viewing potential replacement motorhomes. Hopefully we will soon have news of a new snail shell and plans for trips around France. We really want to get off to somewhere new in the Autumn – possibly Champagne.

If you have a nice French-plated LHD moho currently for sale in France, why not let us know what you have on offer. We might be able to get together.

As for updating the blog, we do now have at least a dining table and chairs to sit at the table. So the laptop can come out and I can do some work at last. Things will be even better once the desk arrives. Connection and bandwidth remain issues for the time being.

Off the road

Just the briefest of catchups after a long silence.

We have been off the road since the 13th April, when moved into our rented property. Within days the brakes failed on the van. They are now fixed but we have also bought  a car. Vincent is now for sale. Serious enquiries invited.

Vincent cannot be replated here and the insurance will be invalidated once we become French residents rather than holidaymakers and so we need to part with him with some urgency,

Very sad to be parting with him. We have had some tremendous times together.

Two Snails will come back to life probably after we have said goodbye to the Roadtrek and then bought something far more boring (and acceptable to the French Government). In the meantime, I do hope to add some more details of our recent and not so recent travels.