Travel at a Natural Pace; Enjoy the Journey

Travel stained first trip to Boston - QB120012

It seemed to take ages to come but we have now taken possession of our new motorhome, a Bürstner Nexxo T690G Sovereign. We collected it on a Wednesday and we set off for our first two night break in Boston on the Friday lunchtime.

We placed the order at the Motorhome and Caravan Show at the NEC in October 2016 with an expected delivery date in early February. The factory build was scheduled to allow delivery to Catterick Caravans during January 2017. But soon after the show in early November there was a snag and we were facing a delay with a new delivery date of May 2017. Even if it did not slip further it was too late for us to get in some shakedown trips before our main six week trip at the start of June. We were facing a major disappointment.

Fortunately the dealer had an alternative plan. They had just taken delivery of a Nexxo that was to be their demonstrator. It was the same specification but without the factory options that we had ordered. Because we spent so little time on mains electricity, maybe one day in ten, we wanted a second leisure battery and a solar panel. We could have the proposed demonstrator, it was unregistered so we would be the first owner, with a dealer fit of the options. It provided us with the possibility of having a larger solar panel with a more sophisticated regulator. It took some time to agree and source the right components to minimise the possibility of warranty disputes with the factory.

Instead of the factory fit 100watt panel we had one of 160watt fitted. We considered even larger as we tend to visit Scotland and Yorkshire in the spring and autumn when we would be using more power for heating or lighting while there are lower levels of sunlight. However we compromised as at that time of the year we would tend to use campsites, especially in the UK where the opportunity for free camping is more limited (except perhaps in Scotland).

It did not take us long to sort out our storage arrangements, probably because we were going up in size of motorhome and now had more storage space than stuff we usually took with us in the smaller 'van it had replaced. Although I had measured the Nexxo's garage door and knew the bicycles should just fit I was slightly worried. In fact they went in easily, as a motor homing mathematician friend suggested; Pythagoras helped. No more challenges to my (weak) back as I now only have to lift the bicycles to knee height. Previously I had to lift them above shoulder height to get them on the carrier—that will not be possible when we get the planned ebikes. No doubt we will acquire more stuff now we have the space. It will be great to take comfortable loungers, something we did not really have room for in our Mandale Liberté. (At the moment we have loads of space in the garage. But we will have to be careful of the payload although we are not too tight as we are plated at 3,650kg so have 150kg more than we originally expected. That does give us other limitations, for example: we cannot use roads with a 3.5tonne limit even if running light.

The weekend was forecast to be cold, wet and grey, and it was! As it was a trial run we decided not to go far so that if we ran into problems we could always head home. We headed to Pilgrim's Way campsite near Boston in Lincolnshire, just 60 miles and an hour an half's drive from home. The campsite was an excellent choice, with good facilities and hardstanding pitches – essential in view of the weather. A convenient local bus, which stops outside the campsite entrance,  runs regularly  into Boston, which has plenty to do in poor weather.

Boston Stump (St Botolph's) from Haven Bridge - QB110001We enjoyed Boston. After a coffee,  we headed to the museum and tourist office in the old Guildhall, which are well worth visiting. This lead us to St Botolph's, the grand parish church known as the Boston Stump. The visit occupied the time before lunch,  although because of the drizzle and grey clouds we decided to save climbing the tower for another time. The church contains a coffee shop and there is a fund raising project to build a Lego® replica of the church. It was early days so the footprint was clear and the walls had only reached the bottom of the windows, we added a brick each and look forward to seeing where they have got to later in the summer when we go back. Boston is certainly a town we want explore further when the weather is much better.

We had a light lunch at the White Hart, it was reasonably priced at £33 including drinks. The food was mainly good although the pannacotta dessert was rather overset, a not uncommon failing.  It would not stop us going back.

The cold and damp weather drove us back to our motorhome where we spent the rest of the day, warm and comfortable. The only problem, such as it was, was that the smoke alarm went off when we were browning off some sausages, in a frying pan, we had already part baked in the oven. We were using the extractor hood but triggering the warning was inevitable as the smoke alarm was only six feet or so away from the hob. The battery was quickly disconnected and we will probably leave it that way as there would seem to be no realistic way of avoiding setting off the alarm with normal cooking. Fortunately the carbon-monoxide (CO) detector is separate so that is unaffected. The possibility of undetected CO would concern us more than the likelihood of an unnoticed fire  especially as neither of us are smokers.

The single beds were comfortable and regular use will make the overhead cupboards less of an issue. Sitting up to read works best if the top section of the bed is raised on the ratchet rather than using pillows which bring one's head too close to the cupboards. Anyone who needed a raised position for sleeping might find the cupboards a problem, although one could sleep the other way round but there would be no reading lights at that end. Familiarity and slightly less plump pillows will eliminate any awkwardness for us. During our first two nights it did not cause us any real difficulties.

In fact the trip was noteworthy for the lack of issues and how well it met our hopes. Obviously we are experienced motorhomers so we were not learning about using a motorhome. It was all very familiar but very much more comfortable with the fixed beds and the spacious front lounge. I was able to use a computer and get started on our recent post for The Winding Way. So far the Nexxo looks like the right decision.

One of our considerations when making our final decision to buy was whether a seven metre coachbuilt would be too unwieldy for us. We like to get off the beaten track but we had found our previous van conversion was equally awkward, and of course we had learnt that we needed to modify our approach to touring. That will be the challenge for the summer when we go to France and possibly Spain.  Alison enjoyed her turn driving it home. She hadn’t driven a 6 speed gear box vehicle before, and was quite amused to be told if she was in the wrong gear, and which way to change!

On this trip vehicle size proved to be of no matter.  Well, not until we got home and I managed to clip the windows sill of our front window and shatter the rear light! Oh well, that got the first scrape out the way and we can now relax. Fortunately the local Bürstner dealer had a replacement in stock which was easy to fit myself, and I was pleasantly surprised by the price at £100. I had expected a limited volume part was going to cost rather more but it still stung after only having had our new motorhome as week.


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