Billy the 'classic' camper's first road trip was a great success.... what's more, it left me well and truly smitten with Northumberland's magnificent coastline.
So, I promised to fill you in on Billy's first road trip. But first of all, how come I'm now referring to our old Bedford motorhome as a 'classic'? Well, I guess when you literally 'chug' onto a rather swanky campsite (two words I never thought I'd use in the same sentence!), its beautifully tended pitches scattered with a selection of top of the range winnebagos, and caravans only marginally smaller than our house, you kind of find yourself looking for ways to keep your pride in tact! So, feeling a little like the Clampetts, we decided to go down the self preservation route and convince ourselves that whilst our particular camping vehicle may be seen by some as simply old, slightly rusty and very out of date, he is in fact (if only in our eyes) an absolute classic!
As mentioned in previous posts, we've had one or two problems restoring Billy and getting him to the stage where he's actually fit for the road, and relatively comfortable to camp in, so it's probably understandable that we were a little apprehensive on our first road trip to Northumberland. As it turned out, we needn't have worried. Yes, we had to take things at Billy's own pace (top speed 50mph!) but to quote Martin Dorey (BBC2's "One Man and His Campervan"), we were "Kings of the Road" - in other words nothing but wide open road in front... all other vehicles behind! Things were pretty cosy and comfortable on the inside too!
This was a bit of an experimental trip all round really. Yes, we needed to test out Billy's capabilities and stamina on the road, as well as getting to grips with his on-board facilities (you know... fridge, hob, oven, comfort of bed etc), but actually we also needed to find out whether or not we would even enjoy this motorhome camping malarkey thingybob... which luckily we did!
So, apart from a few minor (but very necessary roadside repairs) which were the result of high motorway winds and dodgy wall panels! (no I'm not joking), everything went very smoothly indeed. Old Billy boy took us from Leeds to Seahouses, Seahouses to Alnwick and Bamburgh, Bamburgh to Low Newton, and across the causeway to Lindisfarne and back.
Of course we were very impressed with the old classic camper's performance, but I have to say, not nearly as impressed as we were with the natural beauty of the Northumberland coastline. Soft golden sand beneath our feet (which would give any Mediterranian beach a run for its money), crystal clear rock pools, refreshing sea breeze, blue skies with a scattering of fluffy white clouds, and more magnificent castles than any other county in England. Quite simply stunning!
Considering not that long ago, Neil and I used to spend our spare time riding his sports motorcycle around the country (to be more specific Neil rode, I was pillion), it may seem strange that we're now happy to 'cruise' along at little more than 40mph in an ancient camper vehicle, but we're loving it! I'm sure at some point in the future our need for speed may return (once a biker always a biker). I know neither of us would never say never to blowing the dust off our leathers and cycle helmets (although we might both struggle to squeeze into them now!) However for the time being, we're delighted with our old Billy and our newly discovered laid back form of travel. With one successful trip under our belts and festival season on the horizon, both Neil and I are very much looking forward to our next road trip and camping adventure!