Page the First

The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page (St Augustine)

The World Wide Web is a wondrous place. You can meet all sorts of people doing all sorts of interesting things. One day I stumbled across a blog by Diana Hubbard, a lady who hails from New Zealand. It’s called Pearls On Wheels, and I recommend you try it.

To cut a long story short, Diana and her husband Dick are at the time of writing in Quito, Ecuador, having arrived there from Prudhoe Bay in Alaska. They are en route for Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego. Yes, they are travelling the length of the western coast of the Americas, and they are doing the journey on a motorbike – a BMW R1200GSA, to be precise. Dick reckons these two places are as close as they can practically get to the North and South Poles respectively. By the way, Dick has his own blog called Ice to Ice so you can get both angles of the trip – the enormous logistics of doing the expedition and the less stressful view from the pillion.

Now Dick, Diana and myself are, shall we say, of a certain age, and as I read the blog the thought crept into my mind “Look what they’re up to. They’re experiencing things I can hardly imagine. And I’m sitting here doing not so very much by comparison”. And before long my feet started to itch, and another thought crept in, not entirely unbidden and certainly not unwelcome – “Well, if THEY can do it …”

So here I am on the verge of adventures of my own. There is a certain major difference, however, between the Hubbards and myself, and that is my medical history which precludes my riding a motorbike with all my paraphernalia attached to it. So I shall have to make an adjustment, and it seems to me the best vehicle for travelling is a camper – a motorhome – a motor caravan – an RV – call it what you will. I’ll settle for motorhome.

Which brings me to this first post. The search is on. Since I’ll be travelling on my own, I’m going for a panel van conversion rather than a larger coachbuilt model. This type has a similar wheelbase to a large car, so can be more conveniently parked and won’t take up large amounts of room on ferries (oh yes, ferries!) Since I’m on a limited budget it will have to be preloved (and isn’t that a better word than “used” or “second hand”?)

All things considered, I’ve set my heart on either an Autohomes Avalon (first choice) or an Autohomes Camelot (second choice). Hence the title of the blog. Of course, the title will eventually change to one or the other, or, indeed, something altogether different. Who can tell?

Today I travelled 20 or so miles south to look at a Camelot which I’d seen for sale on everybody’s first port of call, eBay. I was impressed. I was even more impressed when Bill, the seller, set up the bed and I found it would accommodate all 6’2″ of me. However, it wasn’t “the one”. Or to be strictly accurate it may be “the one” but I didn’t know it because I haven’t seen much to compare it with. The next month or two, therefore, will probably be spent hunting these vehicles down and getting a feel for them. There’s no rush, and the longer I wait the bigger will be the budget. Realistically, I’m not planning on any travelling until Easter, which for me starts on Friday 29th March 2013 and ends on Sunday 14th April. All parents and teachers will know why …

I conclude this first post with an image of each of the motorhomes on the short list – the Avalon first and then the Camelot. The Avalon is actually a revised, updated Camelot, so you really have to read the small print to spot the difference.

Avalon image
Camelot image
The base vehicle exhibits what used to be called “badge engineering” – the same model given different tweaks by different manufacturers. Thus the first image shows the Avalon on a Talbot Express van, whilst the second is the Camelot on a Fiat Ducato van. Running parallel with these are the Citro├źn C25, the Peugeot J5 and even an Alfa Romeo AR6 -all basically the same van. According to Wikipedia, “The Ducato is the most common motorhome base used in Europe; around two thirds of motorhomes use Ducato base”.
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One Response to Page the First

  1. Diana says:

    Congratulations Stuart. This is the beginning of an adventure for you. Thank you for sharing it with us. Dick and Diana

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