New Gerulip had a big act to follow. Old Gerulip was a high top camper based on the long wheel base VW model T4. She was a cracking little van (in more ways than one!) and she took us all ways without so much as a hiccup. She could also be used to go to the tip or supermarket or indeed pretty much anywhere a car could go! However, she had two major flaws for us. Firstly, she had a habit of cracking my head at least once every year (possibly more)! And not just little taps violent whacks! Secondly, the bed was a puzzle to make up and, once made, was not particularly comfortable. So over a period of time we drew up a specification for her replacement, which was:
* The ability to go where cars could go.
* A good bed!
* No attacking probabilities!
When we analysed the market there were only two vehicles that matched these criteria. la strada Regent of course and the Wingamm Micros. This was a great monocoque based on the VW T4 but one look in the bathroom ended its life on the shortlist due to the colour scheme! The big hurdle for la strada was actually finding one! Yes they were on the club website but we live a bit out on a limb so needed to find something local. Eventually a secondhand one turned up at Hymer Preston and the layout seemed to fit the bill. This led us to contact Brownhills (who at the time were dealers) to see if they had any in the new style. They hadn’t but said they contact us when they did.
Months passed by and nothing happened so after about a year I gave them a ring. Yes, they had five in stock! We arranged a viewing and test drive at the Newark branch to coincide with our holiday down south. Our first sight was problematic in that walking up to the Regent it seemed so tall; we likened it to the face of the Eiger! Nevertheless we decided to try to look beyond this and see what she had to offer. On all other fronts she ticked the boxes, except two. One, there was no electricity for water heating and two no carpets; a typically British thing! She also had an oven, which for us was unnecessary, but not an issue. However, she was automatic which, whilst new to us was a novelty not on our list that could become useful. The test drive proved the clincher, what a beauty to drive. And so a deal was done.
Two years on and we have carpets as well as electrically heated water. We have also added an extra 240v electric socket. Has new Gerulip lived up to expectations? Yes, and more. So far we have covered 21,000 miles and many nights away and she has not cracked me once! The bed is a dream to sleep in with individually adjustable springs. And when in place one can still sit down reading or whatever whilst the other goes to sleep! I won’t say that it has been trouble free motoring because it hasn’t. The Sprinter let us down in Germany but Mercedes Benz was excellent in their response. We also have an underlying problem when she looses power but we have adjusted our driving technique and this is not and issue. The la strada conversion has been excellent. Indeed the only problem we have had is a cracked sink plug!
Would we change her? Only if Tony Cole gets his way but as far as we are concerned we aim to ride to the sunset in her.
Linda and John May