Arrival on a campsite or aire is fraught with all sorts of issues you have to think about. Where to park is it flat will you hit something etc. etc. of all the times we argued, for a long while this was it. So many stressful things that can go wrong, we have been lucky and careful so touch wood, all good to date. At the bottom of tis post is every place we have stated with GPS and a short review. If you have never motorhomed before it is great fun. Watch the video to see where motorhomes can get you.
Pitching up is not just arriving and parking the van, we over the months, have developed a routine for both pitching up and leaving a site.
Here are our Top 5 things we look for.
- Try to find a flat surface, putting the van up on chocks is extra work. Having the van flat helps you sleep and your fridge will not like be being on a slope, it can stop working nothing like warm wine, or even food going off, to ruin your day.
- Make sure that your door has room for you to get out, I know this sounds strange but an easy mistake to make.
- Since the weather turned warm we have found that if you want to keep your food cool, the fridge side of the van should be out of the sun. Basic rule of thumb we have found to work is park our van facing north-east. This means our fridge gets the least amount of sun on it during the day and the afternoon heat is kept off it.
- We had no real idea just how important shade was in the hot summer days. Parking in shade can mean the difference between sleep and no sleep. The van keeps the heat in the panels, also closes the shades on the windows facing the sun.
- Make sure the pitch is easy to get back off again, narrow access roads are very common and reversing off them is not that easy. So plan your exit when you arrive, it will make your life easier.
So what is our routine when we park in order
- Put hand brake on and leave the van in gear.
- Get out and check that you have the van level and there is room all around and you are square on you chocks if have used them.
- If you have an electric connection check the polarity and connect the van. Make sure if you have electric heating that the setting is right for the power you have. You don’t want to trip the fuse and be without power when cooking dinner.
- Then turn on the master, and in our case silence the low water warning.
- Then open fridge and prepare beverage of choice.
Leaving is the reverse but with some extra bits.
- Close all windows, on hot days pull roof blinds while travelling. This prevents the van getting hot on the road.
- Disconnect electricity and put away, if on chocks drop the van off them and put them away.
- Empty all waste grey and black reduces weight and helps fuel economy.
- If as we do a lot, you will be staying on an aire or freedom camping, fill up your fresh water tank. If going to another campsite you can leave low but in our opinion always have the minimum of 20% full for emergencies. Our preference for keeping the fresh tank full has helped us put out a fire for a farmer saving his animals. Mind you we lose around 30% of our fresh water as we travel from the overflow on the fresh tank. Annoying so I have fitted a stopcock to the overflow for when we travel.
- Lastly another run around the van checking all drawers and cupboards are locked shut. A quick look in the fridge to check it is loaded correctly so nothing can force it open in transit is a good idea as we have had it empty it’s contents while we were on the move.
Life in a motorhome is fun but simple checks help keep it and you safe and on the road. Whatever you do don’t drive off still connected to the electricity supply. From what we have seen his really annoys the owners of the site and is VERY expensive.
Here are all the places we have stayed.