Dartmoor Walking Tour Diary - Day 1

We decided to go walking in Dartmoor which is approximately a 4-5 hour drive from our start-point in Cheshire.

After a quick tour of the Autoquest with the retailer (Emm Bee in Bolton) we set off back to base to load up.

We'd been extremely conservative in what we were taking with us - so it was possible to find an initial 'home' for everything. Since we would spend most of the day driving we switched over the fridge to run from the vehicle's auxiliary battery - so milk, butter etc could be loaded straight in.

With no previous experience, we found the vehicle simple to drive and quite responsive. There is a bit of sideways movement when going past large trucks and over exposed motorway sections. Having left a bit too late, we put our foot down and managed a good average speed (we managed 85mph at times with no difficulty - though this severely effected our fuel consumption). Unsurprisingly, the vehicle did struggle a little on up-hill stretches.

We decided to make our first night's stop south of Bristol and stopped briefly at a services to search online for a suitable camp site using our laptop. Having located a couple of suitable campsites we phoned ahead to establish which were open with space.

This was only a one-night stop, so we only filled the on board 45 litre water tank (rather than using the Aqua Roll Portable 40 litre Tank- of which more later!).

We'd managed to park the Autoquest on a reasonably flat piece of ground - so levelling was not necessary. Our next task was to connect the electrical hook-up and to switch over the internal electrics to run from this source. This was really quite simple to do.

So - on to dinner. For this initial day we had bought with us a pre-cooked chilli knowing this would be quick and simple to heat up. Both cooker and water-heater worked really well. The documentation for the appliances was a little scant - particularly for the water heater. We did manage to get this working quite quickly by simply adjusting the thermostat. However - this was more by luck than anything else.

Because the campsite had excellent shower/toilet facilities, we decided to use these rather than the onboard bathroom. So the last task for the evening was to set-up the bed in its 'double' configuration. The base of each couch pulled out into the centre of the van and the two back rests slotted into the gap to form a large and very comfortable double bed. We used pillows and sleeping bags over a base sheet - but a duvet would make this even more comfortable. Even as 'first timers' making the bed was quick and simple to do . . .



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