On Friday we said a very said farewell to our beloved Ruby the VW.
And so, we’d like you all to meet our new wheels, Gandalf the Grey!
When we got Ruby in February 2017 it was an experiment. We had to get rid of Ruby’s predecessor Bluebell quickly. We knew we wanted to try downsizing to enable us to just have one vehicle that we used for day to day and holidays, and store at home but, with Keith being 6 foot 4 we had no idea if it would work.
3.5 years later, 75k miles and 160 nights away, we’ve decided, yes, it does work and we flipping love it.
So why have we swapped vans?
Ruby was ageing, and quickly!
This summer our clock passed 228,000 miles. Everyone says a VW goes forever, and to be honest we’re sure Ruby has got some adventures in her still to come. But as she’s our only drive we add 1000s of miles a month, and we felt it was time to slash our clock basically whilst we still could. We didn’t want to loose our investment in her and wanted to get some money (or a part exchange opportunity) in whilst we still could.
We spent some time whilst in Kent recently exploring some options as to what happens next in our Campervan journey. We thought this may be chance to go a touch bigger, and looked at a brand new Adria Twin, based on a Fiat. Whilst the fixed bed at the back was lovely, the rest of van didn’t feel spacious enough for what was going to be a big difference and many compromises in day to day driving for us. Keith was keen to explore the options of a van with onboard shower and loo, but, seeing as he couldn’t fit in it, it was pointless!
We found ourselves at Bilbo’s and fell in love with their pop up roofs. Can you believe we’ve had Ruby all this time and never been in a VW with a pop up?! We specifically like the Bilbo roof as it’s side opening which means you get the height right down the length of the van. We ALMOST caved and ordered a brand new, custom built for us, t6 there and then.
It was a surreal moment sat in their show van with a shopping list of toffees what we wanted to be added! But alas, they couldn’t take Ruby as a PX and it was logistically too difficult to PX elsewhere and be without a van for 4 months. In the end the black horse finance that we would have needed to rely on came out at paying over £20,000 in interest. Er, no thanks! That was the end of that.
The very next day I just happened (and this genuinely happened) to see a second hand Bilbo conversion on Facebook marketplace. I’ve never even been on marketplace before! It was being sold by a dealer in Bedford and had only 19,000 miles on the clock! We made arrangements to see it the next day and 10 days later here we are about to be picking him up.
I’ll do another post shortly showing Gandalf off to you properly but the pics below were taken Friday night after we picked him up in the morning, kitted him out in the afternoon and went for dinner down the road in the evening.
We couldn’t NOT call him Gandalf, despite me never naming a car a male name in my life! He’s a Bilbo’s conversion (Bilbos named their company after Bilbo Baggins, a small and seemly insignificant character who travelled across worlds in the famous book Hobbit/ Lord of the Rings- taken from their website). Gandalf is a key character who travels extensively in both Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, both of which Keith particularly loves. There was no way our new van would be named anything else!
We look forward to sharing our switch over with you!
Until next time