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Germany Again !

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Rounded Rectangle: 2012
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During our Carthago Factory visit in Aulendorf in September we were surprised to find that there was a Carthago High Line for sale at a very attractive, discounted price.  We had no intention of buying a new motorhome but we have always aspired to owning a High Line. It is very similar to our Chic I51 but has many features that we consider superior. However, the cost differential to upgrade always put a High Line out of reach.

Although this particular motorhome was a temptation we knew that it was still too much money to upgrade.

We kept being drawn back to have another look and eventually we decided to ask whether the asking price was negotiable and whether Carthago would be interested in part exchanging our present motorhome. The answer to the first part of the question was “Yes” and the second part of the question was answered by another question “Which side is your steering wheel on?”  When we said that our steering wheel was on the left then the answer to the second part of our question was also “Yes”.

This ratified our decision, back in early 2007, to go for left hand drive as we considered that if we ever did want to sell then we would have a European market to sell to; not just UK.

We managed to get the asking price of the High Line reduced by a significant amount and then were completely stunned by the part exchange offer.  It was just one of those opportunities that was too good to miss! We agreed to buy the High Line and part exchange our existing Chic I51 “Priscilla” that we have loved so much!

And so it was that we returned home, emptied the contents of our motorhome and filled up the shed, the garage and the second bedroom with boxes of the contents of Priscilla.

The problem was how to get the new one home. We had assumed and had been told, that we could drive it back on ’Export plates’ and would be fully insured. But this was not true. It turned out that whilst you could legally drive back on Export Plates you would only be covered for third party risks. No Fire or Theft cover and no comprehensive cover.

To cut the story short, the only feasible option was to have the new one transported to the UK.

We still had to part exchange “Priscilla” and so, we set off for Germany again, with the Smart car on tow for the return journey.

Things were not going to run smoothly.  En route to Dover, a warning light came up on the dashboard display to tell us that the engine emission levels were not within specification and so the turbo boost was switched off.   Very, very unhelpful when you have over 1,000 kms to travel and towing a car!   We had no option but to continue our journey. We had diary dates preventing us from making the journey later on and also the road tax was on it’s last day. Any delay for repairs would mean we would have to renew the tax.

We struggled across France. Our speed was down to 25 –30 mph going uphill on the motorways and we were expecting to have someone crash into the back of us at any time!  Thank goodness for the Crawler Lanes!    We stopped for the first night in France, on an Aire, in the small village of La Cheppe, just east of Reims and not too far off route.

We discovered that the aire was right outside the site of a huge, Celtic encampment known as Camp d’ Attila. (see above).

We were very tired and it was raining hard so we did not explore on this occasion but made a note to visit another time and find out more about it.  As you can see from the aerial photo the encampment was quite a size!

By the way, the long straight road in the photo is NOT the autoroute but a quiet N road and so there was no noise to disturb a well deserved sleep!

Next day we crossed the frontier into Germany and there we had to disconnect Smart and drive seperately . Towing with an A frame is not permitted in Germany and we did not wish to have the German police delaying us.

The journey in Germany was even worse. The autobahn between Karlsruhe and Ulm was very busy and there were numerous road works and accidents.   We eventually arrived in the early evening at Carthago and spent the night parked in their on site, Stellplatz.

The following day was the big day when we were to swap motorhomes but we were so stressed with the journey that it had taken the excitement away.

(above) Smart meets the new ‘Mothership’ at Carthago City

After staying the next night in our new motorhome we then had to say ‘goodbye’ to it and travel back to the UK in a very crowded Smart car. Not surprisingly, it was a faster journey going home as the Smart is quite happy cruising at 80mph all day and considerably lower fuel costs!

We had one overnight stop at a hotel in Verdun, northern France. Whilst being a pleasant enough hotel, the experience reminded us of why we enjoy motorhoming so much. The room smelled of tobacco smoke although it was not a smoking room. There were no facilities for making a cuppa, the TV was all French, no storage space and the bathroom needed a jolly good clean!  Back on the road  the next day and took a midday ferry from Calais. Home in time for tea!

Four days later, the new motorhome arrived in UK on the back of a transporter.   At last we could relax, the plan had come together!  All that remained now was to pay the VAT in UK and get the new ‘Priscilla’ registered.

Where to go next ?

Rounded Rectangle: 2014