Bertie is our Motorhome, a 2004 Knaus Sunliner 658LG A-Class with a 2.8 Fiat Ducato engine on an ALKO chassis. At just under 7m long Bertie feels enormous until you park alongside a bunch of other motorhomes and realise that actually he’s at the smaller end of the spectrum.
Finding and choosing Bertie was an adventure in itself with many hours spent at Motorhome shows and in dealerships trying to work out which layout would be best for us. In a way I’m sad that those days are over but I still do a little bit of fantasy motorhome shopping.
We decided that we wanted a large garage under a fixed bed because we don’t exactly travel light. We like to be prepared for every eventuality (packing for a long term trip is going to be slightly traumatic). For the same reason we needed a decent payload – will it be enough? We’ll have to wait for our first trip to a weighbridge.
We didn’t care whether it was a left or right hand drive van as we felt that the driving experience would be very different anyway and so we (or should I say Paul) would have to relearn perspective when driving.
I wont be driving because I don’t have C1 on my licence. Maybe I’ll take the test at some point, but Paul is quite a difficult passenger (back seat driver) so I’m happy to be chief navigator and the person who says ‘you’re a little close there’.
Bertie has four travelling seats and two double beds (one fixed in the back and one drop down over cab bed) a decent bathroom with the usual shower (with a rotating shower screen), toilet and basin. An oven (with grill), 3 ring hob and teeny tiny sink and drainer. The living area is l-shaped seating around a large table, plus the two swivelling front seats.
Bertie didn’t have many modifications when we bought him, so have added the following
- Refillable gas (GAS-IT), two 11kg bottles to allow us plenty of time between refills especially in countries where it’s not so readily available
- Solar Panels for plenty of 12v, we haven’t bought an inverter because we cant imagine what we want to power from 230v but maybe I’ll find I cant live without my hairdryer or a microwave once we’ve been on the road for a while.
- An alarm and immobiliser. Something that we spent a long time debating – do we really think that it’s necessary? Should we just go for mechanical means of immobilising the vehicle. Are we going to look like an easy target? We want to take precautions, for the moment we have the Cobra alarm and immobiliser that it came with, we’ll see if we upgrade or change this.
- Roofbars for our kayak and a bike rack for – you’ve guessed it – our pushbikes.
- Awning to keep the sun off – we love a bit of warmth but we both need to hide from the sun in warmer climes.