After an excellent hand over by Neil, service manager at Go European, at their service centre in Norton Canes we drove along the A5 to spent a couple of nights at Crossways Farm CS, just a few miles to the west.
During the hand over Neil took us round the exterior showing us all the lockers and the engine compartment and then on to the interior. As it was a Saturday morning we were the only customers there and so Neil could give us his undivided attention as he patiently explained how everything worked. Despite owning several caravans and two motorhomes there was a lot to learn as the design and layout is very different to anything we have owned before.
After paying the (rather eye watering but not unexpected) bill we were on our way and more learning.
I have driven LHD hire cars while on holiday abroad but this was my first time in a ‘left hooker’ this big and on the left hand side of the road. Also, this was the first time I had driven an A Class motorhome with what seemed to be a much wider cab and that huge windscreen. There were constant demands from a rather nervous co-driver to ‘keep left’ and ‘move over a bit’ as trucks came towards her and I hovered close to or over the central white line.
Over the weekend we detected a slight smell of gas so on Monday morning we returned to the service centre where a very tiny leak was detected and a gland tightened.
We were soon on our way south down the M5 to Somerset where the van was booked in to have an alarm fitted by VanBitz on Wednesday. After a night at the CC Cheddatr site we carried on to Cornish Farm for two nights where Eddie’s VanBitz team did their usual magic in hiding all their wires and boxes well out of sight.
On Thursday it was the long drive home to Suffolk having spent five nights in the Carthago. On the way home we went to a weigh bridge to check the weight with just a small amount of kit on board. Fuel and water tank were low and she weighed 3620kg with co-driver aboard. Our max weight is 4500kg so plenty to play with.
So, what do we think of the new purchase after our first trip.
After getting used to the driving position and the auto gear box I found it a joy to drive. Although the engine and underpinnings are almost the same as our old AutoTrail is seems like a completely different beast, which really surprised me. It is much quieter and the ride is smoother, no doubt helped by the Al-K0 rear chassis with its independent suspension. The gearbox is so, so smooth with some gear changes hardly detectable. Visibility is great, helped by those huge bus mirrors and the deep windscreen. Even the radio worked faultlessly when driving which must be a first for motorhomes.
As one would expect on an expensive vehicle the fit and finish is really first class. All the external locker doors close with just a ‘click’ and have proper seals around them. Inside, the cabinet work is really excellent. Every locker door is absolutely straight with even gaps between each one and the hinges would be man enough to handle a canal lock gate.
Now we are home we have to sort out where everything will be stored for our longer trips. As the layout is so different to anything we have had before it will take a bit of experimentation to find spaces for all the essential and often non-essential bits and pieces that we cart around with us. It might be a good time for a cull.