Selina and Toby are proud parents again!

10,000 pounds with deep baby blue eyes. Well, orange daylight running lights actually. Born after 6 months labour. German labour. So we have the new beast, Mothership II has landed! A long day made up of train, tube and bus journey to the dealer near Colchester and a 100 mile trek round the good old M25, and she is home. We have spent the weekend tracing cables, pressing random buttons and even reading the manuals. She’s swallowed everything from MS1 and we have plenty of space left. So we’ve been doing the thousand tedious things to learn the new camper.

We are working through a couple of issues – the solar system is not really performing right, so some diagnostics over the next few days and there are a couple of odd setup issues to iron out in other systems, but we are working them through.

A big ticket item is whether we can run the laptop off-grid long term without buying a genny. So we have started making an energy budget to try and predict how long we can go without gas fill-ups and battery recharges. We specced the solar system based on the laptop so we’ll try to factor the solar power into the energy budget.

Mothership I has also gone to be mended, and then we can try and sell it – then that should be it. Pretty much the last thing tieing us to blighty sorted! Oh and the last few music festivals!

Mothership II

Mothership II or ‘Eff Off’ as Selina has christened her (EF18OVV so it does make some sense) is a Dethleffs Alpa. The Alpa is a cracking layout that has a large garage, but still has a rear lounge. It has a big bathroom and twin fixed beds over the cab. It’s a tall beast with a double floor – meaning plenty of storage, good insulation and plenty of carrying capacity. The compromise is no dinette, but we worked out that in three years we only used the old one for additional food prep.

There are three alpas in the range – ours is the ‘baby’ alpa. It’s a lot more cost effective then the next model up and we have used the savings to have various upgrades fitted based on advice from other alpa owners.

The Alpa is meant as a couples luxury tourer and has only two belted seats as standard, but we think that’s a little selfish, so ours has two extra ‘jump seats’ fitted in the rear lounge. This costs some under seat storage but means that we can move family and friends when we need to!

This is one advantage of buying new – extra seat belts can’t be fitted as an aftermarket option due to safety reasons, so they have to be ordered from new.

We have seen ‘baby’ Alpas both new and used and have never yet seen the jump seats fitted, so we knew that we would be buying new to get the layout we wanted.

In terms of spec, she has twin leisure batteries and twin solar panels. Dethleffs have an inverter option as part of the enhanced electrical package, but it was £4K so we couldn’t justify that.

We have the Gaslow twin refillable system fitted so we should be good for cheap LPG on the trip.

There are a few bits and pieces like air suspension, awning, tow bar, external gas point etc, but we’ll go into that another time!

Mothership is (unexpectedly) an Automatic. Neither of us like autos and we ordered a manual, but having taken her for a spin, we think it will be fine. The automatic box fitted to the Alpa is an Iveco unit and it’s actually a manual box with a added servo shift mechanism and clutch rather than a viscous coupling. More on the Mothership soon. Hopefully less than two weeks to go before we pick her up!