Two years and 20,000 miles later, we are delighted to announce that our Elddis bloggers, The Grey Gappers, are so in love with ‘Buster’ their Elddis Encore motorhome that they have bought him from us and are happily planning their future #vanlife.After the transfer of ownership a few weeks ago, we caught up with David and Karen to find out how they’re getting on.
David recalls their incredible journey so far and how they arrived at the decision to buy ‘Buster’.
“In January 2020 we picked up ‘Buster’, an Elddis Encore 250, to take on an epic journey to Azerbaijan to test the motorhome to its limits, blogging for Erwin Hymer Group all the way.
“We made great progress and were in Antalya, Turkey when there was a sudden change of plan!
“Covid enveloped the World and we had to stop moving, but not living and so ‘Buster’ was now our defence and cocoon from Covid.
“In June, after three months we were able to leave Turkey and continue our journey – albeit much different to the original plan of driving to Baku and the shores of the Caspian Sea!“We were lucky enough to visit many countries, finally returning to the UK in October 2021, having been away 21 months and driving just short of 20,000 miles.
“It must be said that re-entering normal life has taken time and was not that easy. We have now had six months back in the UK, being able to see family and visit friends.
“Restrictions are lifted and we are able to travel long distances by air again, so a visit to South Africa to catch up with friends was fantastic.
“When we got back to the UK, Erwin Hymer Group wanted to take an in-depth look at the ‘van and see how it had coped with the tough conditions we had subjected it to. What had we broken, and what could be improved?
“While this was ongoing on we had some discussions, came to an agreement on price and, now, after what could be considered the ‘Longest Test Drive Ever’, ‘Buster’ is now ours!
“So there you are! It seems strange having had the van for 21 months through Covid, living in it full time – often in stringent lockdown – that we are not sick of the sight of it! But quite the opposite… the motorhome feels part of us, our life, our story.
“We found that it was a wonderful piece of kit. Sure, it is not perfect, but it is brilliant. Well-built, and, despite living in it continuously for the whole time, it never let us down.
“We loved the new Fiat chassis that Elddis is using in the Encore range and the automatic gearbox is a revelation!
“The build quality of the interior was fantastic and, considering we were not near a dealer to fix any problems, we were grateful that it was so well built that we never needed one!
“We did have some issues while we were away, but they were all of our own making… Reversing into a tree did not do the decorative corner light cluster any good, but it was not an issue to the drivability of the van.
“The Alde wet heating system is the best in class and works fantastically both on gas and electric.
“The Hypnos mattress – an option we had fitted - is extremely comfortable and is still perfect after 21 months of everyday use.
“Storage was never an issue as there is loads of it and is easily accessible.
“The Dometic fridge is a good size and works well on all sources of power, though we would prefer to have the automatic switchover than have to remember to switch every time we set off!
“The Kitchen is great - the full-size oven good enough to bake bread, with a separate grill for toast and grilling is great. The three gas rings plus an electric hob are great to use.
“We also liked the separate lounge seating area for those lazy rainy days and relaxing evenings.
“The solar power system – another option - is good, but we will probably change over to Lithium Ion batteries going forward, as EHU is very expensive now and all we need is to charge the laptop and other tech, plus the lighting.
“All in all Buster is a home-from-home and we think it is a great buy, so we bought it!“On our travels we saw many, many different vans, all offering great things and their owners all loved them - but no matter where they were built, and by who, they all had problems of some kind at some point. Our Elddis was admired by all and we had Germans, French, Italians, Turks, and many more wishing they had one!
“‘Buster’ is well made in Britain and we love him!
“We have had some logistical and practical problems to overcome on our return to the UK.
“Storage – of the vehicle itself, not the internal storage – which is plentiful - is a real issue for us and we have stored the motorhome near Folkestone, at a Caravan and Motorhome Club (CAMC) campsite. It’s neither cheap nor close to London, where we live, but safe and helped us with our next issue: Insurance.
“Whilst on the road the van was insured by Erwin Hymer Group, so when we went to get a policy no insurer would take into account that we had over 40,000 miles and 3 years’ continuous driving experience in a motorhome with no claims.
“This was very annoying! We feel that Motorhome insurance is a law unto itself - poor cover and high premiums. In the end we went with CAMC as well, as they gave a discount for members and for storing the motorhome on a CAMC site.
“And fuel!! What the hell happened?! Our last fill in Spain was €0.99.Here in the UK today it’s £1.79 and rising. That is a blow, but it is a great life and it has to be lived.
“To sum up, we simply could not walk away from ‘Buster.’ We’re so glad this brilliant motorhome is finally ours for good!”
Picking Up Buster at Erwin Hymer Group with Rachel and Emma. We are so grateful to the company for their support during our adventure.
Karen and David have the Elddis Encore 250 model - find out more here: https://elddis.co.uk/models/encore-250
You can follow The Grey Gappers' continuing adventures on their blog: www.thegreygappers.co.uk