Living With Our Rapido 963f Le Randonneur Motor Home.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The Maiden Voyage Of Le Randonneur!

That is in our new motorhome of course, and what a weekend - hot sunny days.


We have owned three touring caravans previously, but the last one of those was sold in 1989. In 25 years things have moved on a little. By the time we arrived home with our acquisition last week, the dealer had taken over an hour to try and describe how everything works. I thought it wouldn't be a problem, having lived with our narrowboat for the last 5 years. How wrong I was - these things are sophisticated. When we arrived home, I started to look into the more detailed workings of a modern A class motorhome.


I spent all evening reading through the copious amounts of individual instruction manuals together with the huge volume provided by Rapido - it has its own attaché case! It has taken me almost a week - but I think I have the hang of it now. The steering and brakes are much more responsive than the boat though...:-)

The heating is provided by a Truma gas / mains electric blown warm air system, including a fresh water boiler, complete with automatic temperature controlled dump valve to prevent freezing in cold weather. (That may sound contradictory, but the "garage" space where the boiler is kept is also heated by its warm air sister unit, so the auto dump facility is if I inadvertently leave it full while not in use and the weather freezes). Start-up is by selecting the desired type of heating and temperature on a rotary multi-function thermostat control, after switching the mains switch on if that is how you want it to run, rather than from gas.

There is an additional heating system provided to the habitation space for use while travelling. This is taken directly from the engine via a heat exchanger with its own controls separate from the cab heater.

There is a large Dometic Eco fridge freezer, which once turned on, selects its own fuel - either propane, mains, or 12V depending on what is available and is most efficient to use at the time. It is automatic, all you have to do is press the on/off button.

Domestic fresh water is provided to modern hot/cold mixers in the kitchen, bathroom and shower, and is the usual pressurized system that we are all used to.

While driving, the engine battery and two 110 ah leisure batteries are charged by the engine alternator in turn. Once moored up and connected to a mains supply, there is a multi-stage battery charger that takes over, again automatically. For "wild" camping we have a generator located in the rear garage providing there is no-one near to us who would be bothered by the noise.

There is an on-board 120 ltr fresh water tank - with a dump valve, and a 100 ltr grey water tank, also with a dump valve, although travelling is allowed (in theory) with these 90% full. The other type of waste is dealt with by the usual Thetford cassette, with the fresh water flush being fed directly from the main water tank replenishing the Thetford's own sub-tank.

Cooking is by a gas oven/grill and a 3 burner gas hob, both by Smev. We also have a Remoska for use once we are on site and hooked up to a mains supply. Not a slow cooker, but a fabulous all-in-one pan cooker that can deal with anything to produce a full meal for two in one go, and only uses a few hundred watts of power to achieve it. We wouldn't be without ours now - so versatile, and ideal for this type of use.

There is now a flat screen 12V TV and DVD player safely tucked up in its own roller shutter cabinet complete with a slide out, revolving rail, so it can either be viewed from the lounge or from the bedroom. The aerial is on an extendable pole accessed from within the wardrobe, complete with 12V amplifier. It can be fully adjusted directionally from inside the van, also with an internal winding mechanism which changes its polarity from horizontal to vertical if required. A mains socket is also provided within the TV cabinet, but I considered a 12V TV to be more versatile - it is the one we used to use while travelling on our boat.

All lighting is by warm LED. Gas is 2 X propane cylinders on an automated change-over system.

So, where did we venture for our first outing? Royal Umpire Caravan Park, Croston, Lancashire, all of 20 miles from home, for just Saturday night. This place holds happy memories for us, as we used to bring our two young children here back in the 1980's, and I used to leave them all asleep as I left for an early shift in Wigan at 5.00 am during their school holidays.




A very pleasant weekend, spent in rural surroundings - and now we know everything works on our Rapido 963f A class motorhome.


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