You couldn’t write it. We got snowed in at Elddis.
Yup. The day we were collecting our van; the day before we were due to have our winter tyres fitted; the day before the day that we were due to do a dummy overnighter. It snowed. Hard.
The journey north
Elddis is a truly British manufacturer and upholds some of the manufacturing traditions that are rare in modern robot-run warehouses. Friends and family open days and Friday early shutdown, Elddis is the stronghold of a small former mining town in the North East of England. And the nicest thing of all is that having only visited a few times, we really feel like family.
Despite having spent five and a half years in Newcastle as a student, 15 years of southern life means that a trip up north is still ridiculously exciting for me and Thursday was no exception. If a road trip past Watford Gap and collecting the motorhome wasn’t enough, as we hit the M18 it started SNOWING….
So here’s where we start to uncover the motivation behind this winterized motorhome ski trip… IT’S SNOWING… if you understand the way in which that statement should be read aloud from this page, then you’re in our club. Snow bunnies, snowmads and now, Snowbo’s. We don’t know if the novelty will wear off but until it does, snow is the best.
By the time we’d made it to County Durham, the snow was lying on the roads and the last leg through backcountry to Consett was a little more exciting than it should have been.
Once we’d arrived, had a handover with Rich from Elddis technical (which by the way we didn’t remember a word of because it was all too exciting) and had a spot of lunch, we were ready to go. Both a little reluctant to get on the road because then we really were ‘doing this’ we jumped in, forgot to adjust seats and mirrors and headed out of town the road most travelled – not yet keen to try the country routes. 30 yards up the high street and we’re pulling over as I’m shouting and this is how it went:
Me: (A BIT SHOUTY) I CAN’T SEE ANYTHING
JAMES: (CALM) Use your wing mirrors, it’s just a van.
ME: (HYSTERICAL) NO – I CAN’T SEE ANYTHING
JAMES: (CALM) There’s a double decker bus behind us but pull over when you can.
ME: HOW DO YOU OPEN THE *BLEEPING* WINDOWS?
Argh. James then see’s the issue that I had failed to articulate through my yelling. Obviously no rear view on account of it being a motorhome, and both epically huge wing mirrors (they’re not going to last long, sorry Elddis) are caked in about three inches of sticky snow. We remedy the issue and crack on negotiating school traffic, snow clearing machinery and excitable dogs before deciding despite being very confident drivers, the dying sun, thickening snow and motorway carnage that lay ahead, we’d be better off hunkering down for the night.
Excellent – perfect opportunity for a dummy run in the motorhome you say?! Errr. Nope. We had nothing with us. Our gas tanks (very kindly leant to us by The Grey Gappers) were at home, we had no overnight gear and I think if there’s one way to freak yourself out about winter motorhoming, it’s have a go, completely unprepared.
So Elddis kindly arranged a stay in the most beautiful pub just a half mile slide at the bottom of valley. We parked up at the factory and went on foot to The Old Mill where we were met by the Christmas Card scene of five-inch thick snow, a babbling brook, roaring fire and massive steak and chips. And the prerequisite crazy locals. We spent most of the evening discussing the need for grippy boots.
Let’s try again.
Friday came and after a double check over the van (as yet unnamed) we headed out in daylight and with clear roads. I won’t say it was event free because the motorhome has already been christened with a heated political debate and an antisocial parking incident at York Services but we think it was important that this Elddis Autoquest 185 got used to the way things are going to be round here.
Safely parked up, the motorhome is gradually collecting it’s contents whilst we hoon around trying to get all our work stuff finished and get ready to leave whilst barking at our new friends in Facebook Groups demanding information about various things we hadn’t considered.
So. I guess this is it. This time next week we’ll be En France and heading south to our first (yet to be decided) point of call. And with any luck, IT’LL BE SNOWING.
Big shout out to James’ Dad who not only put up with us bouncing around the car like eight year olds all the way there, but also had to endure a 4 hour return trip in hideous conditions.