Written by Margaret Marshall - who has just completed a 2017 TrailLite Karapiro Build.
We have always been a boating family – pot fishing, game fishing, diving, coastal cruising – that was our life. Then came the day we had to admit it was all getting in the too hard basket – it was time to call it a day.
So we sold the boat and the marina berths. We had always seen motorhomes when travelling on the road and said:
"I’d never want to do that; I’d rather travel in the car and stay at motels”
It was quite a shock when hubby started talking about and looking at motorhomes. We looked in Hamilton, Whakatane, Pukekohe and everywhere in between, browsed the net and magazines and finally decided a TrailLite was the one for us.
I was still a mite uncertain and asked if this sudden about-face was prompted by his mates. “No , I’ve just realised I don’t have a boat to play around with so I think this might be the way to go now”.
A friend who has a TrailLite backed our selection and recommended we work with Doug Penman, a decision we are more than happy with. We selected a VW Crafter manual, but it really was because that WAS the selection, everything else was sold. This one was unsold as it was to go to Christchurch for the Show, but we could have it when it returned from there. Now the Gods intervened! Because of the Kaikoura earthquake the vehicle could not get back here so we waited till two weeks before Christmas when it finally arrived and became ours. Hectic times fitting it out (we removed the duvets as they were too hot) and finally two days after Christmas we set off for Whitianga, then up the Thames coast. We were loving it and our years of boating meant we knew how to ration water and be well provisioned.
We travelled to Wairoa and stayed at the Pilot Hill Reserve. Lots of locals set their fishing nets in the estuary and we spent many hours talking, helping, sharing a coffee and biscuit – and every one of them offered us fish!
We went down through the King Country and stopped at the Mokau Tainui-Weter football grounds, another lovely spot where you can walk on the beach, fish, or just watch the goats on the hillside on the other side of the road. We called in at Horopito to the Smash Palace, but the stay-over there was non –existent so we went to Ohakune and went in to a camping ground. That was the night we wished we had the duvets back!
We stayed at the Marton MCA park and that was excellent – a great place to stop. Did jig-saw puzzles and all had a happy-hour late afternoon. The Hawera Club was great as was the Club in Gisborne, where it rained heaviky and the locals were wreathed in smiles, saying “It’s a lovely drop of rain isn’t it” – it had been dry for so long. Up the Thames Coast, a lovely spot at Tararu, another at Waioumu, then we stumbled on Little Waikawau. It is a gam – no houses, the sea right in front of you, but if you want to go for a swim wear some foot-wear – the stones are really nasty! Ray’s Rest at Kaiaua is very popular and we met some lovely people there. A car towing a boat stopped in with a wrecked hub on the trailer. “George” got on to the job, sent them into Thames to get the necessary bits , then when they returned he settled in and fixed it. A real gem of a man.
The Crafter performed brilliantly and we travelled 7,700km in it in our 4 months of owning it. So now the tale of what happened. Before we actually got our hands on the VW hubby was talking with Doug and found the new 2017 model was being planned and we could get a Mercedes auto in June if we paid a deposit now. I will never forget the look on Doug’s face when we did just that.
We spent quite sometime with Doug on several occasions as he talked us through the changes and improvements (though I could not see what needed to be improved) and individual options on the new vehicle. This impressed us as we were not just told “that is what you get”. We chose to have 2 solar panels, a larger capacity heater, a longer awning, a tow bar – you do get listened to. The kitchen bench unit has been straightened and that gives more space for anyone wanting to walk through while the cooking is under way.
The toilet/bathroom is the same size as previously but with the re-arrangement of the units there is more room, and the bowl-type basin is a definite ‘yes’. As before the decor is tasteful, restful, often commented on by visitors, and the mattresses (not squabs) are first class. The cupboards under the sink are not as wide as before which is better as the weight in the big units was a bit of a problem. In our ignorance we bought china plates for the VW never thinking about the weight. As we knew we were replacing that vehicle we did not fit our permanent plate-cup-glass holders but used temporary divisions, bubble- wrap etc, to stop things sliding and rattling.
Now we set out to do the job properly with the Mercedes and find our square plates and deep cereal bowls wont fit in the spaces available so we had to buy another set – melamine this time of course. We had also in the first effort bought glass ware and early in the adventure arrived at our destination and decided we would relax and have a glass of wine –hubby opened the cupboard and 3 glasses smashed on top of the stove! He was left standing in a sea of glass as I tried to gather it all up with the brush and shovel. Needless to say this time we have purchased the ‘unbreakable’ type. A small amount of cupboard space has been lost as the driving units for the electronic systems have been housed in them but we still have more space than we need.
Hubby wanted to paint the bumper white so it didn’t “look like a truck” but after seeing what was involved in taking it all off to paint has given up on that idea. He bought wheel trims and has now discovered fitting these is a bigger job than he has anticipated. We have fishing rods and flounder net stowed in the boot, and I have my satchel and stool to do my painting/drawing so we are all set and ready to go.
We have only one problem – the Gods have intervened again. We have gale-force winds, snow, hail, thunderstorms, heavy rain so our Mercedes is still sitting in our drive waiting for it all to clear up. We got so frustrated with it all that last night we went out and sat in it with a drink in hand and watched the news on TV! I guess that proves that we really enjoy the life-style.
Throughout all this we have found all the TrailLite people so good to deal with – even Devon and Ashlee in Reception always remembered our names and offered us a coffee. They all make you feel that you matter to them.
If anyone is thinking of purchasing a motorhome, we would definitely recommend TrailLite– both the Company and the people who work there – after all it is them that set the tone.
Provided by Margaret Marshall - Recent TrailLite owner.
Find out more about a motorhome just like the Marshalls by clicking the product brochure download below (300 Series TrailLite Karapiro)