As you can probably tell from the title, James has had no input in this, he thinks that I am a crazy person. For our four avid readers, I thought that it would be useful to provide some insight in to the realities of life in Heidi. This way you will have a context when she comes up in our posts. A series of photographs follows with some helpful captions and anecdotes to illustrate just how fabulous Heidi is. Photoshop has not been used and no campervans were harmed in the making of this post.
This is Heidi; she is a Hilux campervan and has been our chariot, home and friend for the past 6 weeks.She looks good from any angle….And in any setting…She even looks good at night…Her constant companions are dragon and chicken, who can be seen on either side of the windscreen here:She can tackle any terrain, here she is crossing a river…“We are mightily impressed” I hear you say, “but surely she is more than a car?” And so she is. Let’s take a look inside.
This is Heidi’s interior; the flaps are open as it is a fine day and she likes a bit of air.The bed is currently folded away and a lot of our belongings are stored under the duvet, out of the way, to maintain tidiness and to protect them whilst we are on the move. From this angle, you can see her rather spectacular upholstery in shades of khaki and beige. The sharp-eyed among you may have also spotted the pantry box.
This is where we put all of the food, clothes and general belongings that we either can’t fit in the cupboards, or want quick access to (like beer). Sometimes we are lax in our upkeep of Heidi and she ends up looking like this:In the other direction we have the fridge and second half of the living areaThe cupboard under the fridge is Satan’s cupboard and is likely to explode in transit and spew our belongings across the cabin. I will now draw your attention to the laundry basket.
As with the pantry, this basket performs a multitude of functions. We use it to carry laundry and to carry cooking utensils, food and crockery to and from the camp kitchens. It also acts as a general storage area whilst driving. In this picture the basket is playing host to our snorkelling gear.
Everything in Heidi has a purpose, these handles are for pulling the roof down and the zips are for making her watertight in inclement weather:Everything can also be made to have a dual purpose, towel racks and toiletry bag holders for example:Again, you spot-the-difference aficionados may have noticed the fire alarm on the roof, yes it works, James couldn’t resist testing it whilst we were in bed and it was directly over our heads, naturally. Speaking of which, the bed is actually enormous and pretty comfortable so long as you remember to park on the flat.The flaps are closed and the little blue light at the very bottom of the picture shows that the aircon is on. This means that the outdoor temperature is akin to a blast furnace. It can’t be seen in the above photograph but I have become something of a campervan genius and have managed to arrange things so that I can turn the kettle on from bed.With the cups also easily at hand, it is just a matter of arguing who is going to walk the step and a half to the fridge to get the milk. This brings us nicely to the indoor portion of the kitchen.Heidi is equipped with two sockets, perfect for a toaster and a kettle. You can’t actually run both things at the same time, we tried and the electricity tripped out. Also, you can’t get the toaster far enough away from the fire alarm, which goes off every time we try to make toast at which point you have to unplug the toaster rapidly and stand outside with it until it cools down a bit. I think it’s her eccentricities that make us love Heidi so much.
Time to talk about the sink; we haven’t used it as a sink since about week one, it is now a storage area for larger toiletries, surface cleaner, bug spray, washing up liquid etc. The fun feature of the sink is that the faucet rotates through 270 degrees out of necessity, as the bed covers the sink when unfolded. This means that if the right combination of events occurs; faucet directed over the kitchen counter and tap in the open position, and you accidentally flick the switch for the water pump, water pours all over the kitchen counter and your belongings. James did this once and it wasn’t even remotely funny, it hasn’t given me the giggles just thinking about it again.
Storage space; beyond Satan’s cupboard we also have cupboards under the kitchen for food and cooking equipment and one cupboard sneakily tucked away under the seating for all of our clothes.This seat is usually covered by a cushion and it is also underneath the table making it a tad challenging to get to, hence the pantry box. We each keep some swimwear, sports gear, the sarongs and jumpers for the evening in there so that we can get at them easily.
Let’s step outside: try not to hit your head on the doorframe, I do it at least 60% of the time.This is the outdoor kitchen. The gas hobs have two settings: off and flamethrower. This makes every culinary endeavour a fine balancing act, if you can get the rings to light in the first place. There is an awning above the kitchen area but, on the one occasion we got it out, we discovered that it is about 120 centimetres long and descends abruptly and steeply to about ankle height. Were we ever to be foolish enough to attempt to cook under it we are convinced that the fickle gas hob would instantly set it alight, so the awning has remained stowed for the duration of our trip.Our outdoor seating area / living room / dining room / office / washing lineAnd finally; the cab, the nerve centre of the whole operation.As you can see, there isn’t a single part of the vehicle that isn’t used for storage at some point. Behind the seats is a particular favourite where we store our day packs, trainers, bottles of water and snacks for journeys.I have one last picture to share with youThis is Heidi’s odometer reading on the day we picked her up. She’s a tough old bird, she’s travelled a long way and she’s taken care of us. We have 12 more days before we drop Heidi off in Perth and I am only slightly embarrassed to say that it will be with a bit of a twinge. I can only hope that her next set of temporary owners appreciate her as much as we have, but I doubt it, because they probably won’t be quite as insane.