After full time touring for over eight years, visiting some wonderful places and enjoying vanlife I felt I needed a change. I’d got to a point where I was going back to familiar places in familiar countries. I was still enjoying life but felt I was beginning to travel for the sake of traveling. Having had prostate cancer a couple of years ago and not getting any younger I felt the need to slow down a bit. I love living the alternative lifestyle and can never see me returning to live in bricks and mortar, so started looking at alternatives. I wanted a little more living space and a little more comfort.
Living on a boat appealed, I’d lived on a narrowboat some years ago for awhile but it’s quite expensive these days and not so easy when on your own with all the locks. A narrowboat only plods along at around 4 mph maximum and unless you have a permanent mooring or are in a marina you have to move on every 14 days. The idea of having somewhere to live, that I didn’t have to pack everything away every time I wanted to go to the shops or pop out for a day, appealed so I started to look at caravans.
I have never owned a caravan but know several people who do. The more I thought about it the more it seemed to be the way to go. I thought that if I had a caravan and still kept the camper I would have the best of both. If I could find somewhere to pitch the caravan at a reasonable cost I could live in it for perhaps eight or nine months of the year and then take off in the camper for the cold winter months. Living in the caravan and keeping the camper van I would be able to use the camper to go shopping and for days and some weekends away without having to pack up everything every day or so. I try to live within a budget and felt that if I could find a reasonably priced pitch the money I’d save on diesel by not traveling around in the camper all the time would cover the cost of the caravan pitch.
Traveling around the UK over the years I have stayed at a farm in Bedfordshire on a number of occasions. It’s a quiet, relaxing place with friendly owners who not only cater for motorhome and caravan tourers but have a small number of pitches for long stays. I talked with the owners who were happy to let me have a pitch for the eight or nine months I wanted and would also store the caravan while I was away over the winter months, even the price was right.
I started to look on the internet for second hand caravans. I decided to look at dealers rather than at private sales. I knew I would have to pay a little more but never having owned a caravan before I thought that if I could find a dealer with a good reputation I would be able to find a suitable van in good condition fully serviced and checked over and that came with a good guarantee.
From my camper van and motorhome experience’s I knew I wanted a fixed bed and a separate shower and toilet rather than a ‘wet room’. I looked at a number of caravans and found two that seemed to give me what I was looking for. I went to look first at a 2009 Lunar Lexon SE. The dealer, Pope’s Caravans, were main Lunar dealers and knew the van well having sold and serviced it from new. The previous owners had traded it in for a new Lunar which said something about the brand. The Lexon was in superb condition and looked hardly used, it had been well looked after and ticked all the boxes with a fixed double bed, separate shower and toilet, a decent sized three way fridge, a good sized oven, grill and a microwave. The lounge area was light and comfortable. The floor covered with loose carpets making it easy to keep clean. I was tempted to say yes straight away but decided to go and see the other one I’d found. The second caravan was older, a 2002 and bigger with a double axle. It offered everything I wanted and was quite a bit less expensive but looked dated and had not been looked after anywhere near as well as The Lunar. There were broken hinges on the cupboard doors the shower room mixer tap unit was surrounded in messy silicon sealer, a bodged repair! the dealer kept saying he would fix everything and give me lots of things I’d need to get me started as well as give me some money off. This was not a main caravan dealer and I got the impression that he was doing everything he could to get rid of this caravan, I certainly didn’t feel confident and felt like I could end up buying a lot of trouble.
I slept on it and went back to Pope’s where Chris the sales manager greeted me warmly, put me under no pressure and let me take my time having another look over the Lunar Lexon SE. I had a few questions which Chris answered, I felt confident that I would be looked after by the family run business. Chris said that as I had no part exchange he would give me a free starter pack which included a new awning. We shock hands and the deal was done. I paid a deposit and arranged to meet up with Chris on the 14th when he would spend time showing me how everything worked. As I haven’t yet fitted a tow-bar to my camper van Chris said he would also deliver the Lexon to the farm on the 17th. So I have two weeks to wait before I start a new chapter in my life. Have I made the right decision, I think so, but only time will tell and I’ll keep you all undated with the way things go.
It seems I've been travelling for most of my life.
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