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Collecting our caravan

After years of saving up for our dream adventure-mobile, the time was almost here…Although the wait wasn’t easy (probably not helped by watching caravan youtubers on all their exciting travels) it allowed us time to prepare for the adventures ahead.

We took this time to do a number of things:

* We brushed up on our caravan knowledge, reading blogs and magazines.

* Started a collection of caravan accessories- kitchen utensils, bedding etc.

* Had a removable tow bar fitted to our VW Transporter.

* Looked into the options for wheelchair caravan adaptions.

* Went to multiple caravan shows at the NEC, watching talks and getting ideas.

* We even wrote a list of places we wanted to visit (it’s getting longer than we could have ever imagined).

It also gave us time to choose the right make, model and layout. After changing our minds a couple of times we decided on the perfect caravan for us- a Bailey Unicorn Valencia. We chose this for a few reasons, but mainly because the layout would mean it needed the least amount of work done to it in order to make it wheelchair accessible.
Now we were edging closer to being caravan owners it was time for Stephen to get his B+E added on to his license so that we could tow. He passed his original driving test after 1997 so he was required to take an additional trailer test.

After about 20 hours spent doing intensive trailer training, learning various manoeuvres and gaining confidence, he was ready for his test. The day arrived and I waved him off, quietly confident that he’d pass. He met his examiner and was pleasantly surprised by how friendly he was. The off road reversing manoeuvre went well, as did the uncouple/recouple exercise. Next it was time to hit the road, they chatted as he drove along, sometimes forgetting he was even on a test. Then I got the phone call to say he’d passed, amazingly with no minors at all! A fantastic result!

Half way through Stephens trailer training we were scrolling through caravan sales online and we came across our perfect caravan- a 2011 Bailey Unicorn Valencia, at a great price, in a good location and in fantastic condition. Although we weren’t expecting it so soon and he hadn’t taken his test yet, this was an opportunity that couldn’t be missed! There were a couple of ways around this but we opted for having ‘L’ plates and a person with a valid license in the vehicle with us.

It was a sunny August day and we arrived at the caravan with anticipation, we were buying from a lovely private seller who really took the time to go through everything with us and make sure we were happy with the purchase. We’d checked over everything, signed the papers and the hand over was complete. Now all that was left to do was hitch up and bring our new adventure-mobile home! The tow back went really smoothly, the weather and lack of traffic created a perfect condition for our first ever tow and Stephen got some valuable towing experience ahead of his test. We got back to our local storage yard safe and sound just before the sun set, and it still hadn’t sunk in that we finally owned a caravan!

Now the hard work begins, making it a caravan I can get my wheelchair into…

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