Monday, 9 February 2015
Today we will make our last trip in our Devon Sundowner, as we drive to Todds, our nearest Devon dealer, to trade our wonderful van in for a new Devon Tempest.
We bought our Devon Sundowner in May 2007. In the seven years and nine months that we have owned it we have driven 71,800 miles. We have slept in the van for 679 nights on 322 campsites across Europe. We had only owned the van one-week when we set off for a four-week trip to Poland. In 2009 and 2010 we spent twelve-months living in our Blue Bus and travelled through France, Italy, Slovenia, Austria, Italy again, southern France, Spain and Portugal, returning to the UK on the ferry from northern Spain. Two years ago we took the van as far east as the Hungary, Slovakia and Ukraine border.
We have loved owning a Volkswagen T5 and it has proved very reliable. The only mechanical problem we really had was in the very south of Italy when a light appeared on the dashboard and wouldn't go away. We found a VW garage and with a combination of poor Italian, a few English words and lots of gestures, we got the message across and they checked out the van and told us to come back in two day's time. We had no idea what to expect and could only do as instructed. We returned first thing on a hot and sunny day and pottered around the town while they fitted a new part to the catalytic converter. Computer records informed them that the van was still under warranty and so there was no charge and we left pleased that VW had such a fantastic network of service centres.
In our ownership, the van has averaged about 32 mpg. It needed a new exhaust last year and, not surprisingly, we have worn out tyres.
In our opinion, the Devon Sundowner is a fantastic van conversion and the best there is on a T5. The piles of 'stuff' taking up so much space in our small flat at the moment are testament to the amount of storage space Devon fit in to the van. The overcab space is huge and fitted chairs, bedding and other odds and ends. At the back it has a 'secret' cupboard behind the toilet that feels almost bottomless: here we kept those things you don't need every day, the heavy duty jump leads, the tow rope, spare oil and even a spare kettle.
We have had so many special and fun times in the van but we know it is time to make the change, so this is our last post for our Devon Sundowner, the Blue Bus. We hope whoever buys our van has just as much enjoyment from it.
Our travels in our new campervan are documented at Back On The Road Again Blog