Welcome to my first post in the A - Z Challenge - I hope you enjoy reading this and subsequent posts as much as I (hopefully) enjoy writing them.
When it comes to drive-away awnings there are several different makes and models to choose from, and in my own opinion not all of them are attractive. The way I see it, there are proper awnings and there are contraptions which pretend to be awnings - these are basically just square dome tents, probably with a window (or two if you're lucky) and an extra bit on the back, and to be honest I think the majority of them are downright ugly; they don't even look like awnings. So a few years ago, before I became a solo camper and the first drive-away awning was at the 'thinking-about-getting-one' stage, the main criteria was simple - the make and model didn't matter as long as it looked like an awning and not a square tent.
Eventually, after much internet research, I found the ideal one - a Rodeo Sprint. At the time there was only one place in this country which sold them as they are made in Germany and were only just beginning to be supplied over here, but the cost, although not cheap, was reasonable compared to some of the ones I'd looked at so I took the plunge and ordered one, which arrived three days later. A previously arranged camping weekend a couple of weeks later was the ideal time to try out the new purchase and once it was erected and attached to the van I was more than impressed with it. In two-tone grey with red trim (which coincidentally matched the van's interior) it looked very smart indeed, and there was more than enough space inside for two people, two dogs and their beds, and all the various accessories and bits of equipment which go with a camping lifestyle.
Over the space of five years and many camping trips, most of which have been solo, that awning has stood up to some really rough weather conditions and has never once let me down - a testament I think to its excellent quality and robustness. So last year, when damage done by other people's kids on four different occasions meant that it was beginning to look past its best and I should really get a new one, I had no hesitation in buying an identical replacement. And if Rodeo Sprint No.2 serves me as well as No.1 did then I'll be more than happy.
Now this has nothing whatsoever to do with camping, but to celebrate the start of the A - Z Challenge I'd like to say a big THANKS to ARLEE (LEE), the founder of the challenge, for thinking of it in the first place and making it happen - and long may it continue.
- Hi! I'm Eunice and I live in Bolton, Lancashire, with my two dogs Sophie and Sugar and an assortment of cats - well it used to be Sophie and Sugar, now it's Sophie and Poppie. I first began camping back in 1997 when my then partner took me to Anglesey for my birthday weekend. We slept in the back of the car - a hatchback - using the cushions off the settee at home as a mattress, and cooked and brewed up on a single burner camping stove. The site was good, the views were great, the weather fantastic and I was completely hooked. Following that weekend we got a two-man tent and some proper accessories and returned to Anglesey two weeks later, then over time we progressed to a three-man tent followed by an old trailer tent, then a new trailer tent, a campervan and finally a caravan. When my partner decided that the grass was greener on the other side of the street - literally - in April 2009 and I suddenly found myself alone after fifteen years, I decided there was no way I was going to give up camping and caravanning if I could cope on my own. This blog is the story of my travels, trials and tribulations since becoming a solo camper - I hope you like it