This is exactly what I had in mind when we decided to buy a camper van. A rare coincidence of fantastic weather and bank holiday weekend in the UK. Camping at our favourite "secret" Devon camping spot with friends, the first time there in Rocky, our T25 camper, surfing and lazing around in the sun.
We left on friday night, fully aware that we may get snarled up in bank-holiday traffic, but it actually turned out to be not too bad. This was the first proper road test for the new engine - fully laden camper and a motorway run before taking on some of North Devon's finest A-road hills. The 1Y engine handled it all with no complaints, with no sign of overheating or (excessive!) smoke.
We arrived at the camping spot before it got dark. We made some new friends, who kindly shared their fire and wine, as we weren't really prepared with these necessities!
The next day we got some time to work out what other kit we think we need for longer camping trips, what works and what doesn't work. I got the 3-way fridge working on gas, which is ideal for spots like these where there is no electric hookup. I think for longer trips where there is hook-up, we'll also take our powered coolbox, as there isn't exactly much room in the fridge.
On the last day, we took Rocky down to the beach car park at Putsborough and were lucky enough to grab a spot overlooking the beach. It might be a bit of a cliche, but being able to sit in the van having a coffee, with the music on watching the sunset, really is living the camper van dream. If only overnight camping was allowed in that spot! There are a few camper van overnight spots at the back of the car park, which we might try another time.
One thing we did decide that Rocky would benefit from is window tints in the rear - although we have curtains and thermal blinds, it takes quite a lot of effort to make the van private enough to quickly get changed at the beach. I've also had that "being in a goldfish bowl" feeling when I use the van as a mobile office - it would be good to make it so people have to make more of an effort to be nosey.
The run back saw us caught in the predictable bank holiday traffic jam. Looking on the bright side this was a good chance to see if the engine cooling system works properly - which, i'm happy to say, it did. Being stuck in traffic is always a pain, but so much more bearable if you aren't worrying about the engine overheating, have some decent tunes on the stereo and cold drinks in the fridge!