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Old Newbies

M

mbenne

Messages
12
Location
Midlands
Vehicle
Looking to buy
My wife and I are in our mid and late sixties. Our decision to buy a Cali was brought about by circumstances rather than any long term plan. My wife's mother has dementia and had been living with us for almost eight years. She gradually deteriorated and was eventually moved into residential care. Around the same time our first grandson was born. Our lifestyles changed from adult caring to school runs and pickups. His Mom and Dad have conflicting work patterns so it means that we often have him for weekends and mid week stop overs at short notice. Holidays are more difficult to arrange now but we manage, taking him with us - school times permitting.

At the tender age of eighteen years our pet cat, Biskit, was also a big part of our family too. A very loving, friendly cat but rather nervous. Taking him to the cattery at holiday time was always a traumatic experience. In later years we avoided the stress, making arrangements with friends and neighbours to care for him at home whenever possible, even having a live in carer! On returning from our May holiday this year we learned that he had died. We were devastated. I collected him from our local vet and buried him in his favorite spot beneath a large blossoming Camelia bush in the back garden. That evening we reflected on our own lives and our retirement and the fact that we were virtually tied to the house. The reality that the sale proceeds from my wife's mothers house sale had also been expended on care fees was also a wake up call.

We talked about static caravans, motorhomes and touring caravans, but all options had restrictions or limitations i.e seasonal use, storage costs, change of car etc. I suggested a campervan, not expecting my wife to agree as we had never been camping together but she was all for it. The next day I began researching and found more questions than answers. Cost, new or old van, VW spec or conversion, engine size, auto or manual, did the van need to be insulated, heating options, awnings, insurance - and the list goes on. Our youngest son was fantastic, suggesting that we should look at differences between VW specs and conversions. A trip to Camperking was our first port of call and they were a great help, spending time with us and letting us view their stock and no presurised sales patter. This was followed by a trip up the motorway to Swansway VW Commercial. Arriving in my wife's 17 year old Micra we parked up in their very crowded forecourt looking like the most unrealistic sales prospect ever. Their salesperson, Carl, immediately put us at ease, telling us that the most unlikely prospect had turned up a week earlier on a bicycle! He spent some considerable time talking us through the options during which time a young lady came to take my wife's car keys to re-park her car while we continued chatting! Again, no presurised sales talk and he suggested we 'try before we buy' and gave us a business card for a local hire company. We tried it and were hooked - even though our first trip was only several miles from home.

Within days our son spotted a pre reg Cali 150 DSG Ocean (30 miles on the clock) and negotiated the price down with a foldaway mattress thrown in - this time we arrived at Swansway by train to inspect the vehicle and pay the deposit and were dealt with by another salesman, Clive, who kindly dropped us back at the station after our visit. There were a few minor snags which we spotted and all were rectified and confirmed as complete before collection.

Within a month of taking the decision to buy we had made our first trip, meeting up with our son and daughter in law for a long weekend, half way between our respective homes. Two more trips were planned in quick succession, with a short visit to Fairford airshow in between. We have just returned from Cornwall with almost 1k on the clock! Despite the awful weather our grandson loved sleeping up top.

Our advice is, don't think about it, do it, but do plenty of research.

Linda and Malc

ps.we named our van, Biskit!


View attachment 48722
 
WelshGas

WelshGas

Retired after 42 yrs and enjoying Life.
Top Poster
Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
13,166
Location
Cowbridge
Vehicle
T5 SE 180 4Motion
:welcome:welcome:welcome:welcome
Now don't forget the pictures. And Welcome to the Forum.
 
Eber123

Eber123

VIP Member
Messages
345
Location
Kilcock, Kildare, Ireland
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150
Hello Linda and Malc,

Congratulation for your new camper van! May the weather always be good, the roads smooth and empty and the van be the centre of your camping live.

November 2017 we made a similar decision. I can't remember what made me start to watch Youtube videos about the VW California ("My California Dream", "Explorer Magazin", "Clever Campen", "Kala Campt" and of course "A Bus and Beyond" to name but a few).

After watching Youtube videos for 2 years my wife eventually picked up my interest in the camper. In November 2017, when her Polo was due for a service, she pointed out to me that there is a VW California Ocean pre reg available and we should have a look at it.

At this evening we signed the contract ;) and collected the van 2 days later.

We saved EUR 7,000 compare to a new one. It almost had everything except automatic (I loooove automatic). But we were not able to afford a California with DSG. At the time all California Vans with DSG cost almost EUR 8,000 more. :headbang

We use the van for day trips and recently for a tour through Europe (I hope that I will put up some information in a separate post about the trip).

Have a wonderful and save time in your new "Biskit".

Regards,
Eberhard
 
Jabberwocky

Jabberwocky

Forever young (ish!)
Moderator
VIP Member
Messages
3,362
Location
My World
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150
So you are based in the Midlands and your salesmen were Carl and Clive.......We bought our Cali from there too!!
We are both a similar age to you and we made our decision two and a half years ago. Haven't looked back. Without doubt you have made a great life choice. We look forwards to hearing about your travels both here and on the Continent?
Welcome to this friendly space!
 
M

mbenne

Messages
12
Location
Midlands
Vehicle
Looking to buy
:thanks Ive already got experiences to share on weather, awnings and what to take away and not :)
 
2into1

2into1

Née T4WFA. Now running 2017 150 DSG Ocean
Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
2,798
Location
Glossop
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150
Thanks for the lovely introduction. I hope the new van is everything you wish for in your lives. ps, you bought the best colour!
 
M

mbenne

Messages
12
Location
Midlands
Vehicle
Looking to buy
Thanks for the lovely introduction. I hope the new van is everything you wish for in your lives. ps, you bought the best colour!
:thanks Its described as Bamboo Garden Green but I cant make up my mind whether its blue or green! It seems to change depending on the weather!
 
GillianC

GillianC

VIP Member
Messages
1,003
Location
Basingstoke
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204
What a great post! :welcome
I called my Cali after my old Border Terrier, Robbie who died before he got the chance to come away with me. I have pictures of him in the van and they always make me smile.
Enjoy your van and your memories,
 
BeagleMum

BeagleMum

VIP Member
Messages
110
Location
Wirral
Vehicle
T6 Beach 150
My wife and I are in our mid and late sixties. Our decision to buy a Cali was brought about by circumstances rather than any long term plan. My wife's mother has dementia and had been living with us for almost eight years. She gradually deteriorated and was eventually moved into residential care. Around the same time our first grandson was born. Our lifestyles changed from adult caring to school runs and pickups. His Mom and Dad have conflicting work patterns so it means that we often have him for weekends and mid week stop overs at short notice. Holidays are more difficult to arrange now but we manage, taking him with us - school times permitting.

At the tender age of eighteen years our pet cat, Biskit, was also a big part of our family too. A very loving, friendly cat but rather nervous. Taking him to the cattery at holiday time was always a traumatic experience. In later years we avoided the stress, making arrangements with friends and neighbours to care for him at home whenever possible, even having a live in carer! On returning from our May holiday this year we learned that he had died. We were devastated. I collected him from our local vet and buried him in his favorite spot beneath a large blossoming Camelia bush in the back garden. That evening we reflected on our own lives and our retirement and the fact that we were virtually tied to the house. The reality that the sale proceeds from my wife's mothers house sale had also been expended on care fees was also a wake up call.

We talked about static caravans, motorhomes and touring caravans, but all options had restrictions or limitations i.e seasonal use, storage costs, change of car etc. I suggested a campervan, not expecting my wife to agree as we had never been camping together but she was all for it. The next day I began researching and found more questions than answers. Cost, new or old van, VW spec or conversion, engine size, auto or manual, did the van need to be insulated, heating options, awnings, insurance - and the list goes on. Our youngest son was fantastic, suggesting that we should look at differences between VW specs and conversions. A trip to Camperking was our first port of call and they were a great help, spending time with us and letting us view their stock and no presurised sales patter. This was followed by a trip up the motorway to Swansway VW Commercial. Arriving in my wife's 17 year old Micra we parked up in their very crowded forecourt looking like the most unrealistic sales prospect ever. Their salesperson, Carl, immediately put us at ease, telling us that the most unlikely prospect had turned up a week earlier on a bicycle! He spent some considerable time talking us through the options during which time a young lady came to take my wife's car keys to re-park her car while we continued chatting! Again, no presurised sales talk and he suggested we 'try before we buy' and gave us a business card for a local hire company. We tried it and were hooked - even though our first trip was only several miles from home.

Within days our son spotted a pre reg Cali 150 DSG Ocean (30 miles on the clock) and negotiated the price down with a foldaway mattress thrown in - this time we arrived at Swansway by train to inspect the vehicle and pay the deposit and were dealt with by another salesman, Clive, who kindly dropped us back at the station after our visit. There were a few minor snags which we spotted and all were rectified and confirmed as complete before collection.

Within a month of taking the decision to buy we had made our first trip, meeting up with our son and daughter in law for a long weekend, half way between our respective homes. Two more trips were planned in quick succession, with a short visit to Fairford airshow in between. We have just returned from Cornwall with almost 1k on the clock! Despite the awful weather our grandson loved sleeping up top.

Our advice is, don't think about it, do it, but do plenty of research.

Linda and Malc

ps.we named our van, Biskit!


View attachment 48722
:welcome We wish you many happy years in Biskit You’ve made the right decision, one life, live it, enjoy it whilst you can, no one knows when the ‘last goodbye’ will come
 

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