In the 1970's we hitched the highways and byways of England; during the 1980's cycled-camped here and in France; during the 90's camped with the kids all over southern Europe. In the ten years before we retired we worked like crazy, but managed to travel further afield, to America, Canada Japan, Australia and Hong Kong. Now, having escaped work, we have lots more time but much less money. We have spent the last few years exploring the shores and hinterland of the Mediterranean by motorhome
Sunday, 25 March 2018
Back to square one.
About ten days ago we returned from our six week trip through Southeast Asia and New Zealand. We loved our time as greyhaired, over aged backpackers, so much so, that if anyone asks us how it went we will have no option but to adopt a suitably millennial patois and inform them 'it was awesome'.
Flying back from summer in the Southern Alps to being snowed-in at home is a recipe for a slump. No! we assured ourselves, as soon as there is a glimmer of spring we will be off in our new motorhome - we have so much to learn, a dual fuel Truma boiler, automatic fridge, on-board satnav - we we need is a couple of days on a local campsite to familiarise ourselves with our big new toy.
In fact, the first trip turned out to be a return to the dealers where we bought it after we noted minor damage to the panel near the Thetford flush panel. Oak Tree motorhomes were happy to repair it and we took the opportunity to have a 12 volt TV/DVD fitted too.
Ready to go, we booked ourselves onto the Caravan and Motorhome Club site at Carsington - about 20 miles from home, which is where we should be waking up today on a bright sunny Sunday morning. We were late setting off yesterday, packing a new van proved more challenging than we expected, especially as we have lost the cavernous overcab bed which we used as a junk room. It required a modicum of de-cluttering before we could fit all the essentials of life into the new van.
Finally, all packed up and ready to go...
It was late morning before we set off. We'll park somewhere on the Tissington Trail to have lunch, we decided. A dozen or so miles into our short trip the big dashboard display which doubles as sat-nav, reversing camera, and CD/radio console blacked-out. We had already discovered that somewhat unusually, in modern Fiat cabs, this console is powered by the 12 volt feed to the domestic appliances not the engine battery. What the black screen told us was that for some reason the domestic 12 volt system had inexplicably shut down. We pulled into Alsop Station car park to investigate. As suspected none of the domestic 12 volt system was working - water pump, interior lights, fridge, toilet flush - all dead as a dodo. Even the display panel had failed, apart from the meter showing the engine battery health.
Out came the manual. The troubleshooter guide instructed hapless owners that in the event of a total failure of the 12 volt system to check the leisure battery 50w fuse and make sure the leisure battery isolator switch on the main electrical distribution box was switched on. Both looked fine. Our conclusion, the fault may be the result of a leisure battery failure, some kind of disruption in the charge from the alternator, a fuse somewhere else or a major problem with the electrical distribution box.
We contacted the dealers. The technical department was closed until Monday. We had no option but to phone the site to cancel and return home. It is frustrating enough for this to happen to a low mileage van less than five years old which was recently supplied fully serviced by a dealer. The real irony lies in the fact that we traded-in our previous van precisely because the repairer seemed unable to trace a fault in the 12 volt supply. This led us to the conclusion that at 12 years of age, with almost 700 days of use in the past three years, the amazing Maisy was beginning to become too unreliable for long term touring.
Having packed the van by noon, we were unpacking it mid afternoon!
So, having spent an eye watering sum to upgrade to a newer vehicle we are in exactly the same situation as we were before - owners of a lovely moho rendered useless by a failure in the domestic electrics. Let's hope the solution is straightforward and not the beginning of some long running saga.