Believe it or not, up until last year we had never stepped foot inside a motorhome, our original aim was to buy a small property in France, retire early and live there. This proved not to be financially viable, so we had to come up with a plan B.
A friend of ours (an ex Caravan Club member) got us thinking about a motorhome and travelling around Europe, and so we started visiting dealers in the UK looking at various makes and models. We realised fairly quickly that buying a motorhome is a bit like buying a house – as soon as you walk in you know if the layout is right for you, and then it’s down to fixtures and fittings. So we decided on an Auto-Trail Dakota – its not a small van but it has everything we want, lounge area, kitchen, fixed bed and a large bathroom and it felt ‘open’ and spacious.
We hadn’t seen one in a dealer that we wanted to buy and so we started searching Auto Trader, E-Bay etc. The trouble we had was that none came up for sale locally, we liked the look of one in Newark but it sold before we could see it, so the hunt continued.
In October I got a deal on train tickets to the N.E.C. so I went up on my own for a look around. Well I’m glad we had decided on a model because to say you were spoilt for choice was an understatement, you would probably have to spend the week up there to get around the whole show. I managed to find the Auto-Trail stand and they had a brand new Dakota for me to drool over and as I came out I noticed a salesman with a Cranham Caravan badge on so I went over and started chatting. This gentleman turned out to be Paul from Cranham and to cut a long story sideways after some very enjoyable haggling, toing and froing and phone calls to my wife (who was at work) he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse, and so we had placed an order for a brand new Dakota and could expect delivery in April.
Well that’s it we’re committed, all we have to do now is wait for it to come and then learn how to survive living in a motorhome (The start of the dream).