|The Honda gains a new addition|
Having realised that camper vans were beyond our budget to rent or buy (unless we were prepared to buy something old, high-mileage and probably unreliable), we'd settled on the car (with which we are absolutely delighted, by the way) and a tent. However we had our eyes on a tent with a difference - one that mounts on the car roof. Graham's boss, Tim, had such a thing mounted on a Land Rover for the Glastonbury Festival so we were delighted to find a company importing them from Australia; delight turned to frustration, however, when we discovered they'd just sold their last one and the next delivery wouldn't be until late February, a month too late for our planned trip.
This set-back turned out to be serendipidous, though, as we then saw an advert on Trade Me (the NZ version of eBay) for a second-hand tent. The photo even showed it fitted to a Honda CRV like ours! We put a bid in and were successful so took a lovely 3-hour scenic drive to Tauranga yesterday to collect it.
The sellers were a wondeful retired English couple, Graham and Liz, who'd moved to NZ having lived in Zambia for nearly 30 years. Though they'd loved the tent, they'd finally decided that the comforts of a camper van might be a good thing (and one is being shipped to them from the UK) so were selling it to make space in their garage. We liked them immediately and Graham (who's ex Royal Navy so spent a year in Dartmouth in the 60's) proudly showed us the additions and modifications he'd made to fit it to the Honda; like us he'd been concerned about overloading the roof-rack so had added additional stengthening bars and vertical support props to take the weight of the occupants. A perfect solution!
So, after a couple of hours back in the marina car park bolting the tent base to our roof bars we are delighted with our purchase. It takes only about 10 minutes to erect and pack away, the 7'x 5' double bed is very comfortable and the large awning provides shelter for cooking and eating below it. We can't wait to try it out for our first night's camping at the beginning of February!
|The unfolded tent, complete with ladder to the upstairs bedroom. Guy ropes will replace Graham to hold the awning!|
|The outer canvas removed to show the inner tent; the four extra support props can be seen under the left hand side.|
|Testing for comfort|
PS When we bought the car we new it'd need a new battery (the result of under-use) so fitted one yesterday. After that, of course, the CD Stereo demanded a security code that we couldn't find in the paperwork - "rats", we muttered. However the Honda dealership where it was bought 13 years ago was just around the corner and within a couple of minutes they provided us with the code and confirmed on their computer system that the car was up to date in its servicing. "There aren't many Hondas of that age with such a good service record!" the Service Manager commented.