Tuesday 22nd September 2009 – 265 Km
We didn’t leave the campsite particularly early, a bit of a tidy up, a refill of water and a chat with the neighbours and we were on our way again. From our site just outside of Watchet we headed into the small fishing village causing slight chaos on the streets. Even though I have a decent idea of the width of the vehicle now it’s places like Watchet that give you the experience you need to build your confidence. The width I can deal with, but add in the left hand drive and a narrow, busy town street and the extreme caution mode kicks in. We/I decided that the ‘not suitable for HGV’ signs were best avoided (especially as I seem to remember a narrow lane with walls both sides along that route) and took the slightly longer route back to the main road heading toward Weston Super Mare where we intended to park on the beach, have some dinner and run Jack for a while. These plans were soon thwarted when I decided that a nice ‘fish and chips on the beach front’ situation would also be nice. We pulled up at the beach car park entrance and were flatly ignored by the chap sat in his little wooden hut. I couldn’t enter the car park as there were cones in the way and he made absolutely no effort to get up and move them for me. I took that as a ‘can’t come in here mate’ so drove on and parked on the front for a while. My need for fish and chips took over the situation somewhat and we ended up driving along the front looking for somewhere to park up near to a chip shop (it was starting to rain now and I didn’t want to get wet!). Eventually we found a chip shop where we could park and Lorna was relieved of £4 for a sausage,chips and peas, not happy at being charged so much and doubly so for not being able to park on the beach we stuffed our chips down and headed back for the M5 rather disillusioned with Weston Super Mare. A stop at Gordano services to meet one of Lorna’s friends and a steady drive back saw us home at just after 7.30, our first motorhome experience over with and looking pretty damn good for the future!
Monday 21st September 2009 – 197 Km.
We headed out of Padstow and set the sat-nav to take us to Weston Super Mare just to see how long the journey would take. We intended to stop in that general area so we were a good chunk of the journey home. The A39 (Atlantic Highway) is a funny old road, in places it’s a very fast and busy dual carriage way which makes its way toward Barnstable, from there on you hit the countryside and the road quickly becomes a very narrow and winding route taking you up hill and down dale. We headed slowly toward Lynton and Lynmouth and then ascended the steep 1:4 incline toward Porlock, dodging the occasional coach and pulling in numerous times to allow other traffic behind us to pass. We stopped when we reached the top and had a quick wander around taking in the breathtaking views over the rugged coastline. Another lovely day too.
Then we navigated the descent, another 1:4 hill that saw the Hymer staying in 2nd gear with me keeping the brakes on for that extra bit of stopping power. Having got the hill out of the way we then had to make our way through the narrow streets of Porlock, not an easy task in itself. Blue Anchor Bay (just in between Minehead and Watchet) is a place that holds lots of fond memories for me, Mom and Dad used to have a static caravan there that we had most of our holidays in, just yards from the beach. I hoped, as we pulled in, that they took motorhomes. The place had changed massively. Where there used to be an old wooden hut which acted as a shop and reception now stood a huge Costcutter supermarket, and opposite, where there used to be caravans, was a large brick built reception with an indoor swimming pool. I was thrilled to hear that they had room for us in the motorhome The thought of spending a night there, walking on the beach and then maybe walking up to the Blue Anchor Bay Hotel for a pint or three, filled me with a funny kind of anticipation but, unfortunately, dogs were not allowed so we had to move on. After another stop where we were refused a pitch for the night despite it being nearly empty (Caravan and Camping Club members only) we arrived at Warren Farm just outside of Watchet. After the dog had escaped and refused to come back (theirs not ours) we were guided down to the bottom field where we found a fairly level spot for the night. We soon got talking to others on the campsite and then we met Graham. Graham was a bearded fellow who was staying in a tent next to us. He was a scaffolder from Banbury who was working on a new hospital in Minehead. We had a few drinks, put the world to right and had a thoroughly pleasant evening. Sausage and onions on baguettes for tea and a viewing of The Life of Brian and we were sound asleep in bed by midnight. Bit too much driving for my liking, as I reckon we will only be traveling for around two hours per day when new are actually abroad, but a great day none the less.
Saturday 19th September 2009.
Today we embarked on the first stage of our adventures by driving the four and a half hours from our house to Perranporth to pick up our new motorhome, a 2004 Hymer B564 A-Class. We had been looking for a while to find the motorhome that suited us best, taking into consideration all different kinds of makes, layouts and accessories, deciding that the A-Class type would suit us best we were then looking for the best deal we could get to include things like air conditioning, solar panels, weight limits and left hand drive. We decided to hire a car to make the journey rather than taking our own car down and then having to drive two vehicles to our first overnight stop. We arrived at the house where the previous owners of the van lived, completed all of the paperwork and then slowly made our way to the Avis car rental site in Truro where we dropped off the hire car and moved all of our stuff into the van and then made our way to the first camp site which we had booked, Dennis Cove in Padstow.
Getting to the camp site was an experience in itself as the road leading to it was only around two feet wider than the motorhome itself so this was a bit of a baptism of fire to navigate our way down the lane without scraping the side of our new pride and joy. Motorhoming, we thought, would be a stressless experience but our imagination was quickly dampened when we had trouble flushing the toilet, getting the fridge to work and generally operate and understand all of the gadgets and gizmos that the previous owner have lovingly installed, but, after a few reads through various instruction manuals we quickly got to learn what to do (though I feel that there is a lot more we need to know before we are fully conversant). Toilet flushed and fridge getting cooler we opened the first ‘ceremonial’ bottle of Malborough white wine and settled down for the evening, taking time to watch a DVD and eat some food which we bought from a local Tesco store……..we decided that cooking would probably be too much for our first night so the pre-cooked chicken was very welcome indeed. Our first night’s sleep was a good one, getting used to sleeping ‘in the air’ (the double bed pulls down over the two front seats in the cab) was not difficult at all and we both soon dropped off, more than likely helped by the fact that we we both absolutely knackered from the day’s excitement and the bottle of wine +1 that we managed to get through.
- Our Hymer in Padstow
Our original plan was to spend just one night in Padstow and then move on to a ‘wild camping’ spot just outside of Minehead for our second night, but we made the decision fairly quickly after first arriving that we needed the security of a camp site to allow us to acclimatise ourselves to the van in an environment that had others around, after all, when you have trouble flushing the loo it’s best not to be too adventurous. So first night done, the learning experience started and we are on our way. Today Padstow, tomorrow Padstow, the future……..Europe!