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On no… here comes the winter! | VW Camper Van Blog
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On no… here comes the winter!

Posted on November 12th, 2011

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, once we hit the middle of September we decided to make the most of what we had left of the summer and camp as much as we possibly could. So over the last 6 weeks, we have been away virtually every weekend. Most of our trips have revolved around North Devon as we also tried to pack in as much surfing as we could before hypothermia set in!

Sadly, it is now dawning on us that our camping trips are numbered. We have had an extremely mild autumn which has been great but eventually the weather has to break and the van will have to be parked up for the winter (not strictly true as I use the van as my daily driver, but in camping terms it will get a bit of a break).

As I sit here writing this it is completely dark and it is only 5pm… depressing!!

Anyway, all this negative thought was starting to bring me down so I thought it would be good to look back over the year to round up what we have been up to and also look forward to new year to what we have planned.

As regularly readers will know, we sold our beloved VW T25 in February 2010 so we missed the camping season for that year. We were therefore very excited when we purchased our new van, a 2007 T5 and starting planning our conversion. After many months of deliberating over every detail and looking at what felt like a million camper conversion companies, we sent our new set of wheels off to be turned in our latest mobile holiday home!

6 weeks later and we went to pick up our van and headed straight down to Cornwall for a test trip. Now we did have to work with some towels as make shift curtains as the correct color ones had not yet arrived, but that didn’t stop us! It was also our first camping trip away with our new Cocker Spaniel puppy, Murray, who was only 6 months old at the time. He was somewhat bewildered at first but got in to the swing of things when he realized he was to be sleeping in our bed that night (and for a relatively small dog, he takes up a lot of room!!!).

Over the coming weeks we tried to train him to sleep in the ample space under the RIB bed but he was having none of it so we decided that this was just another fun aspect of camping… sleeping with a wet and sandy dog who has no perception of personal space!

Following a few weekends away we started to get used to the lack of space in the van (our T25 had a high top and so we could store a lot of junk up there, but our T5 did not so we had to learn how to travel much lighter) and cruised off to the Gower Peninsular in south Wales for our first week away. The Gower is really great and I would recommend it to anyone who has never been.

Next up we spent a week in what is currently our favorite place (and what feels like our second home at the moment), North Devon. We discovered a fantastic new camp site and had a great time surfing and swimming with Murray (by this time he was 9 months old and would not stay out of the water!).

We decided our next holiday was to be a touring trip. Our previous weeks holidays had been spent in one place. This is great as in enabled us to set up our drive away awning and build a home from home. However, the reason we got in to the camper van scene in the first place was due to our trip to Australia in 2003/04. We rented a Toyota Hi Ace camper van and spent 3 months driving across the vast country. Because of this, we only really feel like we are ‘properly’ camping when we are on the road, pulling up in a different location every night. Based on this we decided to tour rather than choose a base for our third week away in September.

We started with the obligatory (for us anyway) night in North Devon as we had heard the surf was good for the next day (as it turned out, we had the tail end of a hurricane and whilst we tried to surf, it was not safe). We then headed down the North Devon coast and stayed in Widemouth Bay (near Bude), Padstow, Perrenporth, and St Ives before heading home.

This brings us up to the last 6 weeks which have been made up of weekends in Saunton, Croyde and Westward Ho!

So what’s next? We have never been fond of camping in the cold but this year we have embraced this a little more so will try to keep going as long as possible. However, the water is getting colder and colder so the surfing will probably have to stop shortly.

It is hard to believe that Christmas is almost upon us and once this is out the way we have a few projects to plan which will keep us going throughout the winter. This first is the van. There is still some exterior work which needs doing including color coding the bumpers and getting a few dings in the tailgate sorted out (not my bad driving, they were there when I bought the van!). Also, we intend to get a pop top roof with bed fitted along with a few extra storage cupboards installed inside, both of which should help with the lack of storage space and the overly intimate dog!

The next project is to plan our first trip in to Europe. One of the reason we chose a T5 as the base for our next camper was because we wanted the reliability to be able to go where we liked. We at not exactly sure where and when we are going but planning it should be fun.

So, it is a little sad to have come to the end of another camping season but great to be thinking ahead to next year. We have spent over a month in the van this year (and would have spent more if it wasn’t for work constraints) and are looking forward to hopefully beating that next year!

But what about you? Have you finished camping for the year? Or are you braver than us and camp all year round? What do you do throughout the winter? And have you got any good trips panned for next season?

Posted by Steve

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Posted on Saturday, November 12th, 2011 at 5:53 pm
Posted In T25, VW Camper Van Reviews |

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