Motorhome Life - Reality or illusion?

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by thearchitect, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. thearchitect

    thearchitect Read Only Funster

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    We have a dilemma.

    Pre-children, we spent many happy summers freewheeling around Europe in our faithful old VW campervan. Post-children, we are now seriously considering buying a modern MH and spending our retiring years travelling again, where the wind, the sun and our fancy takes us. However, and this is our dilemma, the more we find out about 'modern' motorhoming, the less we seem able to understand the attraction, other than the independence and experience it provides.

    The vehicles themselves are not necessarily the problem as these have improved beyond belief, but now they are longer, wider, taller, more regulated and packed full of 'gizmos', which need constant attention, filling, emptying, levelling, aligning to the stars, weighing, etc. There seems to be a lot of time and effort spent checking, filling and emptying various tanks and cassettes, opening flaps, fitting different nozzles, adaptors and hoses, queuing, cooking, cleaning, repairing, setting up, packing up, etc, and not much time left for 'smelling the roses'!

    There are also many more motorhomes on the road and as a consequence the designated MH 'aires' on the continent, many of which seem to be little more than glorified car parks, are crowded with insufficient, inadequate or unhygienic facilities and a high degree of MH security seems to be both required and recommended. Even if you avoid the designated MH 'aires' and use campsites, many of these appear crowded, with a plethora of 'statics' and caravans, the best sites and pitches already taken, with poor or inadequate facilities, noisy and with MH's parked in close proximity! Constant vigilance is required when shopping at supermarkets, stopping for petrol, leaving the MH unattended, or when wild camping, to avoid break-ins, vehicle theft, or worse!

    Whilst I do appreciate the freedom of the road, the joy of independent travel and the cultural experience, this is countered by concerns about safety and seemingly constant inconvenience. Is this the reality, or merely an illusion, of modern motorhome travel and living, or am I becoming paranoid in my old age?

    There must be several good reasons why most of you have either: just discovered, returned to, or never left the joys of 'Motorhoming'. I seem to have been drawn to the 'dark side' everywhere I look and clearly need enlightenment, or I've just had a bad day!
     
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  2. Carol

    Carol Funster Life Member

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    All fair questions, and worth a fleeting thought.

    1. Filling and emptying.... everything, becomes second nature and you don't even give it a thought.

    2.The Motorhome...do your research find what will work for you, and it will become a retreat / some where to party / use for skiing/ wild camping in Scotland amongst amazing scenery /
    tour Europe amazing things to find to do.

    3. At the end of the day things of changed from the way things used to be but that is with everything.

    4. We have been retired 7 years, toured Morocco / Greece / Italy / Spain / France, as well have seen more of the UK than we could have ever dreamed of.

    If you have a dream its worth the effort of making them come true.
     
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  3. JJ

    JJ Funster

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    Welcome to the Fun.

    An interesting post.

    Have you decided it is going to be "aires" and campsites only for you?

    I adore touring around and living in my motorhome/van so much that I have been doing it for over twenty years now... non stop. Rarely use an aire or a site. But then a lot of my time is spent in AVB's country.

    There are almost as many choices of where to spend your days/nights as there are roads to go along...

    JJ :Cool:
     
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  4. slobadoberbob

    slobadoberbob Read Only Funster

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    I could not say it better


    I could not have said it better JJ... you sum up the life of freedom on the road full timing.

    I mainly use campsites.. do use an aires now and then in the middle to South of France.... I started 28 years ago and I am still doing it when I want to.

    Yes there are more motor homes on the road than ever... just go to one of the big shows like Malvern..5,000 turn up for the weekend... was never like that years back.. but has that made it worse or better? dependent on your views.

    Are all the gizmos worth it? I have to say yes as I have a Winnebago and that is loaded with them... perhaps the fact I do not have to empty the toilet every day .. the holding tanks means once a week for us.... or I have all the comfort I need.. yet I can be cruising down the highway in france (N roads not the motorways) much emptier roads, and I still enjoy it... the channel tunnel makes it easy to take the dog along these days as well.

    Only you will decide.. but as you are posing the question I suspect you will get a motorhome... next question will be what kind?

    Have fun... and welcome to MHF

    Bob, Sue and Ezzie the St Bernard:thumb:
     
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  5. Pikeman

    Pikeman Funster

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    Im guessing you are in your fifties, in which case your body will soon tell you that you could not put up without the basic creature comforts that a modern van will afford you. Water in, water out, toilet emptying - usually all done in the same station, and may take 15 minutes of your time every 3 to 4 days. It really is no big deal and the advantages of free touring greatly outweigh the inconvenience. As for security, well thats common sense that you would apply to your house, your car or any other valuable possesion. Also remember that for every story you have heard about the bad guys, there are 100,000 good guy stories, but they are not gonna make the news are they. Go for it my friend, I am counting down the Months to retirement when we can tour full time and choose the direction we head based on a weather forecast. :thumb:

    Keith
     
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  6. Geo

    Geo Trader - Funster

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    Nah you've convinced me:thumb: dont do it im selling up tomorrow:BigGrin:
    Thats one less on the road:Wink: and more room for meeeeeeeeeeeee:thumb:
     
  7. Artist in the van

    Artist in the van Read Only Funster

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    Escape to the country

    Hi there!


    Your motor-home would take you to some places not too far from you where you can park on the edge of the town but be near the sea or inland close to beautiful countryside; where even the supermarkets are smaller and friendly. Time to escape from the M25 and take your sketchbook and your watercolours. I would be heading for west Oxfordshire; the canal, perhaps, or Walberswick (Charles Rennie Mackintosh). :thumb:
     
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  8. jonandshell

    jonandshell Funster

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    It sounds like you spend too much time reading these forums!!!!:BigGrin:

    Just do it and it falls into place!:thumb:
     
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  9. Fermenter

    Fermenter Read Only Funster

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    If it helps in any way we have just bought our first motorhome after a couple of years deliberating. It is exciting as well as daunting. Do your homework and do ask questions, most people on here are more than happy to help out. You can't take the money with you so if you don't like the new MH and way of life then you always have the option of selling it on. Good luck and I wish you well in your decision making process.
     
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  10. ourcampersbeentrashed

    ourcampersbeentrashed Funster

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    You could be knocked down crossing the road

    mugged on the way to the supermarket

    Burgled when you are out for just a few minutes.

    If we all worried about all these and more we would all be nervous wrecks and stay indoors 24/7

    The older we get the wiser we get and yes, sometimes things are thrown in our paths we are not expecting and yes sometimes we slip up.

    To the best of my knowledge we only live once why should we let fear get in the way of living life to the full.

    Fear is the one thing in life that once it gets a hold can be so damaging it is devestating. Been there done that and still battling away

    Dont let it get to you xxxx
     
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  11. JOHNSTEY

    JOHNSTEY Read Only Funster

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    We have now got to the stage where we like being away so much more than being at home because it's so much less hastle! Life in a motorhome is simple compared to being in a house.Motorhomes are easy and quick to clean, no gardening to do, minimal maintenance compared to a house and a new view any morning you want.Never had any security problem at home or away.Lifes for living.If you worry about what might happen all the time you will lead a dull old life.Relax a bit and enjoy!:thumb:
     
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  12. Terry

    Terry Funster

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    Hi by allmeans give it a try but as Scotjimland always says MAKE SURE YOU HAVE AN EXIT PLAN :thumb: Jim tried it for 3 yrs then decided it was not for them.No doubt he will pick up on this thread :thumb:
    If things had gone to plan we would be doing what you're planning, unfortunately life has ways of changing plans
    Terry
     
  13. rainbow chasers

    rainbow chasers Read Only Funster

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    It has been said already, but filling/emptying does become second nature and you really don't give it a thought! It becomes a routine in your day which isn't difficult and often you make 'improvements' that make it easier - this may be a filling hose, seperate containers for drinking water or whatever.

    You will learn very quickly how to spare water in a motorhome - many people get the gist after a few days of showering, and then they realise they can shower in less water/time - and then it becomes competitive...who can shower properly in the least litres of water!:BigGrin:

    Modern vans are full of Gizmos, they are there for your comfort and you do not have to use them if you do not want to. But the basics haven't changed at all - the water pump is still a water pump, same as always, just comes out of a nicer looking tap than 30 years ago. The loo is the same concept, just a larger tank and a built in 'tap' to flush - it is the same principle throughout.

    Have a look about on a forecourt - if digital control panels frighten you, look at one with conventional switches....the choices are all out there! Or even build you own 'stealth' camper to suit your needs, as basic or technical as you like!

    Don't worry about where to stay, or how crowded it may or may not be - you will never know until you get there....use the Golden Rule of Instinct. If it feels comfortable and fine, then stay!:thumb:
     
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  14. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    All valid points.

    Easily settled, wait for the good weather ( nothing worse than a tin box when it's pouring down ) hire a decent MH for two weeks, drive to Italy and back through Switzerland.

    If that does not inspire you then buy a subscription to Sun Bingo.
     
  15. camocam1

    camocam1 Read Only Funster

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    all very interesting comments, we bought our 1st MH in July and although I am still working full time (not long to go hopefully) we get away almost every weekend, do not need to go far. This is what I call my learning curve for the future when we head off into the sunset. As my wife has a disability I do almost everything about the van and as has been said its surprising how quick you become at everything. Really great to get away and I get grumpy on the rare weekend that we are at home (gardening arghhhhh)
     
  16. thearchitect

    thearchitect Read Only Funster

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    Thank you all for your great advice and comments. I need to stop reading so much and start thinking about dipping my toes back into the water again.

    It all makes good sense, the vans now are just a bit bigger and much better equipped, the filling, emptying, etc., are all part of the routine and the fun of motorhoming and if you like a place stay a while, if not move on.

    Next stop NEC and beyond!! :BigGrin:
     
  17. simsy56

    simsy56 Funster

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    We bought a 31ft RV when i retired.

    "Don't buy one", people shouted, "Only get 3 mpg", "You will never get rid of it", all comments from people who had never had one, but, knew all about them. You know the sort.

    We loved it, never a chore, always a pleasure to drive and live in it. I have now sold it, so i can buy another American RV, a fifth wheel combo.

    Never regret what you have done, only regret what you haven't done!

    Between RVs Craig
     
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  18. thearchitect

    thearchitect Read Only Funster

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    You have reminded me that this was my very first trip by VW van in 1973, 6 weeks down through France to Sicily and back through the Alps. Happy days and yes a good way to start again.

    PS. Gave up the Sun a while ago - never could do the crossword! :Smile:
     
  19. tony_g

    tony_g Funster

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    Ah but never stop reading Fun. For these are Wise Words containing Great Truths and frequently contradictory. What fun it all is! :Cool::Cool::Cool:
     
  20. hilldweller

    hilldweller Funster Life Member

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    You've beaten us then, furthest south is Sorrento. If you search in Sicily you'll find a FUNster did it a couple of years ago.

    The Italian Lakes are brilliantly equipped to support MHs now. Maybe too brilliant at times, pitches can be hard to find and are expensive.

    But what you ask originally is a very good question. Folk are heading for Benidorm for Christmas, I've done a bit of research, sat here in Weymouth in the rain, and got a return ferry to Caen for about £400 or 3 weeks in an apartment in Benidorm for the same, flying from Manchester. So it's not easy to decide the best plan for these long distance long term stays. Stay in a roomy apartment or a small tin box for similar money.

    Touring is a different matter, MH is great.
     
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