Last weekend we went to Surfers Paradise in Croyde, Devon. We try and go a few times a year to get some fresh air and prove to the locals that people from London really can't surf. We tend to choose the accommodation based on what the weather's doing, staying in cottages when there's the slightest hint of rain and camping the rest of the time. This visit however I was determined to try out all the new kit on Monty so we committed to camping.
As it happened the weather was glorious and the surf wasn't too bad either. We booked ourselves in at the camping office to "the tents on the roof? are you sure, I haven't seen that before". First they put us in the car-park, not ideal. That would mean we'd have no awning, we'd have to lift the ladder everytime anyone wanted to leave the campsite and getting to the fridge would need ninja moves. After a chat with the owner however he let us have a whole corner of lovely flat grass with a sea view.
Setting up camp took about 20 minutes. The awning takes no longer than 5 but the getting the window poles in the tent can be a bit fiddely. I'm sure we'll get quicker at it though. I hooked the hammock from the front bumper to the fence as a final touch.
As I said, this short trip was as much about testing the kit as it was about surfing. Therefore a few points that I'm going to need to change/find better ways of coping with are.......
- Zipping up the tent cover when putting it away is a royal pain in the ass. Even with the bits of string I've attached it's still really difficult because of the lack of space between the zip and the edge of the rack.
- Tidiness in the back. I'm working on some shelving for the back of Monty which should alleviate some of this. Cooking, dressing and sleeping out of the back as it currently stands will end up with me eating pants and wearing bacon.
- The fridge is in the middle of the rear seats. It can be tricky to get to it, mainly because there isn't a step to get into the car. At £180 for some steps I think I'm going to have to live with this one though.
- I need to sort out speakers for the projector.
There were two highlights for me. Ali our very good friend bought us one of these which is awesome. It's a way of having brilliant coffee wherever you are. You pump it up like a bike pump pressurises a cylinder. Once up to pressure you fill it with water and stick your coffee sachet in - turn it over and press a button and you get your espresso. I can see it being a real treat when we're miles from the nearest Pret.
The other highlight was my little projector. It's brilliant. On the last night we dropped the awning so it was laying on the side of monty looking suspiciously like a projector screen and we watched riding giants. The screen was about 60". The picture was more than acceptable, not HD obviously but very watchable. The sound however was crap. The little mono speaker doesn't cut it. I'll need to remember to bring the lead that runs from the projector to the car speakers next time.
On the last night it rained and was pretty windy, enough to make Charlie think the tent was going to fall off, when quizzed on how she thought this might happen though she admitted it was more than unlikely. It look about 20 minutes to pack everything away and get back on the road to london.