This article appeared in the November 2010 issue of Caravan & Outdoor Life magazine.
Our Second Caravan (new isn’t always better)
Since an accident had robbed us of our beloved caravan, we were keen to get a replacement, but as we were too busy with work to rebuild another old caravan, we decided to use the insurance money from our first caravan as deposit on a new van.
It was fun visiting dealers and deciding on which model – we settled on a Gypsey Rapier, because we wanted a small caravan, and we liked the layout. It did have one disadvantage – only an electric fridge, and you know us! We like to camp in remote areas, without power.
The dealer said no problem, they could replace it with a 3-way fridge. Well, that was a mistake! My word, did we have problems with that fridge – eventually we lost track of how many times it was taken in and out of the caravan. And of course, each time, the side window had to come off to get the fridge out.
The modification was not all that successful – the 3-way fridge was deeper than the electric one, so it jutted out further and wouldn’t open easily past the bed. I had to lean on the mattress and yank the fridge door open past it. Then there were the operating problems – on our first weekend away with our shiny new van, the fridge did not work at all. The dealers took it out and repaired it, but when they put it back they dented and scratched the door. They did replace it – with one of a different colour! We asked them to re-spray the door to match the body of the fridge, which they did. The dealers repaired that fridge several more times.
By the time we planned a touring holiday to theEastern Cape, the fridge was out of guarantee, but still giving trouble. As we started packing Andre realised that the fridge was not working – again. He went to Makro, bought a small electric fridge, installed it instead, and off we went.
The 3-way fridge was repaired again, and then we decided to sell the caravan. Our son and his English fiancée were planning an English wedding and we needed to buy tickets to the UK, so we sold the Rapier back to the dealers we bought it from. Sadly, I really wasn’t sorry to see it go – it had been nothing but stress.
The experience taught us some lessons – don’t think new will be easier, for example! It also taught us that we really prefer the older models of caravans, and that restoring an older caravan is a great hobby. So when it was time to look for another caravan, we decided on an older model again. But that’s another story!