Sarah French reviews her motorhome from Trek
We are hardly half a mile from base when we get our first waves - a man walking his dog who perhaps appreciates our leisurely speed, and a couple in a similar motorhome who undoubtedly appreciate our shared taste. We wave back, of course, giggling and with grins as wide as our huge windscreen. There's something about heading off into the Yorkshire Dales inside your own home on wheels that makes you all giddy. But there again this is a special motorhome.
We've just picked it up from Trek Motorhome Hire, a new venture owned by old college friends Ali Bell and Greg Bradley, who've decided to combine their separate business brains in marketing and transport to provide a spot of luxury to staycationers.
From the minute we step inside and see the proper shower and the kitchen with its worktop and full size fridge, it's clear there's a lot to appeal, even to one whose one and only camping adventure was with the girl scouts 35 years ago. Never one to subscribe to the idea of "you only sleep there so why a pay a lot?", I've always come more from the "why pay to stay somewhere worse than home" school of thought. Shared showers that you have to get to across a grassy field have never done it for me. So a motorhome that prompts our nine-year-old to shout: "I could live here", is a holiday home to keep the whole family happy.
He, of course, has spotted the TV screen and DVD player. At our first stop, a quick hoisting of the aerial reveals all the Freeview channels in full working order. The chance then to climb up the ladder and explore the highest of the two fixed double beds and all parenting is done.
Five people can travel in the Adria motorhome, including two little ones thanks to the Isofix childseat fixing points, and six can sleep in comfort. The other fixed double bed is at the back. Since our only previous on-the-road experience has been a hard camper van bed converted out of a dining table, this looks like complete luxury with spotlights, blinds, curtains and a wardrobe.
The third double bed is quickly put together from the banquette seating in the centre of the motorhome, which doubles as the dining area with passenger and driver seats that spin around to face the interior. For six people to sleep in something that's 7m long by just 2.3m wide requires genius design.
And then there's the shower room. It's a proper walk-in, stand-up power shower and there's a basin, loo, mirrored bathroom cabinets and a window to keep it nice and bright and ventilated.
The fridge freezer opposite looks to be same size as ours at home and there's a gas oven, grill and hob. Numerous drawers and cupboards contain all the crockery, cutlery, glasses, pots, pans and utensils which have been provided for us. Trek also provide an essentials pack of dish cloth, tea towels, washing up liquid and rubbish bags, and a pick-up pack of milk, tea, coffee and biscuits to get you on the road.
Every other little bit of spare space is used to create handy storage, for shoes, games, books and anything else you want to take away with you.
This particular model comes with an enormous garage as well, with additional space created by raising the rear double bed if needed. As well as a secure store for the outdoor table and four chairs, it can hold several bikes, in addition to the bike rack that's fitted on the back of the motorhome. There's an awning too to keep the rain off the barbecue.
Ali and Greg decided to join forces and establish Trek Motorhome Hire after a boys' cycling weekend when the vehicle they hired was anything but luxury.
"It was shabby and we're of an age now where we want a bit of luxury so that gave us the idea of investing in a motor home to hire but aimed at the higher end of the market," explains Ali.
To that end, after exploring the motorhome market they opted for the Fiat Adria for its clever design, luxury features and quality of build.
Greg, who, with his other business, is more used to shipping antiques for clients like Sotheby's and various Lords and Ladies, adds: "You never really need to leave the motorhome. It's completely self-contained which makes it work equally well for couples, families and groups of friends, for entertaining or for cosy nights playing games at the dining table. With the concealed striplights and spotlights it looks really cosy on an evening."
The cream leather and brown fabric interior with wood-style and carpet flooring is stylish and warm, while the comfort levels for driver and front seat passenger are more akin to driving a car, albeit at a slower speed and with the jangle of cutlery to remind you you're not in your normal car. That's not to say it's not powerful - the150bhp 2.2L diesel engine is pretty fit - but the necessary leisurely pace of a bigger vehicle is a welcome change and helps get you into the holiday spirit. There's sat nav and cruise control and, in the unlikely event that something goes wrong, 24hr breakdown recovery.
When it comes to parking up for the night, the Adria's relatively modest size means you're not restricted to campsites. A copy of the Brit Stops guide in the motorhome reveals a fascinating list of alternative overnight locations, from pub car parks to farm shops, where you can not only park but also enjoy a night off cooking or a hearty farmhouse breakfast.
When you are inclined to cook, the supply of Calor gas and battery will keep you powered for three days without having to hook up. A very smart digital display, which also contains all the heating controls, indicates battery power, as well as water, levels.
Which brings me to the question of the toilet. The internal tank holds 140L of water to serve the kitchen, shower, basin and loo. All the nasties go into a chemical-filled cassette which - there's no escaping this - has to be emptied, usually daily.
It's a small price to pay for being able to hit the open road with everything you need in your own little four-wheeled world.
* Trek Motorhome Hire is taking bookings now for the summer and beyond. Visit www.trekmotorhomehire.co.uk or tel: 07852 551797.