Doris’ BIG First Day!

Doris gets her wheels dirty!

Day 01: Rhyl to Harwich, England.

Today was the day that I’ve personally been waiting for since I sold my business back in December 2018. Our European adventure starts! This is it, our entire tour and new ‘life on the road’ starts today, and we couldn’t be more excited.

After a stressful couple of months finishing some bits and pieces on Doris and making sure she was in top health for her biggest physical event to date, we cut the time very finely. Doris got some last-minute surgery and some bits tightened up only just a couple of days ago. They said I’d leave everything till the week we go, I disagreed! Guess they were right…

This morning was always set to be a bit of a rush and panic. Making sure you have everything with you for a 3 month trip is harder than you think. Especially when the van and your own needs have different lists. It’s made easier knowing we can buy whatever we forget and clothes wise we only need a week, and some special occasion stuff (hiking, cycling gear) because we can wash as we go.

We managed to spend the morning finishing off some last-minute packing and sorting. Doris needed her water tanks emptying after that had sat with cleaner in them overnight. Easily done. Some adjustments to the bike rack which we’re most worried about, but fingers crossed the new lock and clasps are all that’s needed to ensure they’re safe for the entire journey across the continent.

Some final goodbyes from the people in our lives and a quick visit to Nat’s family to show them Doris who they had yet to have the pleasure of viewing. A few hugs and goodbyes and we were on our way.

The journey started now. 12PM on a wonderful Monday afternoon.

Doris hadn’t actually been on the road this year, so we were a little apprehensive as to how she’d perform. But you know what? That old girl did us proud. SO very proud. Not only did she manage some big hills, but she also managed a 300 mile journey across the country to the port where we will be getting the ferry. There’s life in the old girl!

A few service stops, 300 miles and nearly 9 hours later we made it to our pitch for the evening. A quaint little pub about 15 minutes from the Ferry port where we will head in the morning. We’d used the CamperContact app on our phones to locate somewhere free to park for the evening which worked brilliantly. Looking forward to using it and finding some great spots whilst we’re away.

Doris parked up. Then it was into the pub, The Bricklayers Arms, for a lovely meal of Scampi and chips. Last minute treat before we budget and eat tuna for 90 days! And no, I’m not joking.

Budget wise we’re looking to see how cheaply we can live and travel throughout Europe. We’ll document it all here so if Europe By Motorhome is something you’ve always fancied, we’re looking to confirm that it can be done without stacks of cash in your bank.

After the meal we headed back to the van for an early night as we were both done in from the 9 hours spent gazing through the windscreen excited for what’s to come. I have to say having spent 30 days in a van in New Zealand and some time in one in Iceland, Doris is by far the most homely and comfortable van I’ve been in. The bed was superb and I slept like a baby, which is unusual for me.

We’ve managed to download The Last Kingdom on the iPad so we’re rationing ourselves to one episode a day whilst we’re out here. First episode didn’t disappoint, excited for the next one.

A very successful day one, so here’s to more of the same for the next 89 days or so.

Tomorrow we catch the ferry to the Hook of Holland.

Tonights camping location: The Bricklayers Arms, Little Bentley. (CamperContact: 57468)

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