Sleeping bags, Italian coffee maker, toiletries, some kitchen utensils and utensils, toiletries (and PQ), playlist, weekend clothes and here we are ready to ride the Ford Transit Custom Nugget Plus. We are on Friday at the end of the day, direction Vresse-sur-Semois in the rain to join the rural camp, with a little Peace & Love, reserved a few days before. This car fitted by Ford has an advantage over its competitors Renault, Mercedes and VW: it has a small real toilet on board. It also has a 42 liter water tank and a double burner gas stove and a 40 liter fridge. It is a 5 seater in road configuration. But it is only possible to sleep there at 4. At least on paper…
Departure and machine detection. Holding strange? A control screen that indicates that the water tank is empty. What? would we argue with a valve that was not necessary? Fill verification followed by synchronized withdrawal. After finding the right combination of pipes, and finally filling the Ford with its water, we can go, down the drache. Surprise: the handbrake falls off. To open it, you must first raise it, then press the button and then lower it. This is a trick to avoid accidentally opening it when moving between seats. We get used to it quickly. Driving this vehicle, which is just over 2 meters long, is the same as driving any other “van” of this size, such as the Tourneo Custom for example. A six-speed manual transmission is readily available for easy handling. On the other hand, the left leg is slightly higher. With the temptation to leave it under the clutch pedal. Sync 3 navigation works. Active control sometimes needs to be throttled to get recovery worthy of the name once the “block” is removed. In any case, we have no problem driving the car at 120 km / h with its 150 hp diesel. But we are not immune to mechanical noise and external environment.
Approaching the junction between the E19 and the A54: traffic! We decide to take plan B and turn off towards the N25 and E411. As we preferred the music from the USB key – but with only my wife and I in the front, my daughter can’t benefit from the sound without the speakers in the back – we didn’t hear the traffic warnings! A truck loaded with tomatoes is on fire between Bouge and Wierde. Fortunately, the display on the gantries sends us a warning that prompts us to leave the main road… to swallow us into the traffic of Namur. Motor home, freedom? We end up finding a free axis, in search of a food break. It will be in the old seasonal cabins of a temporary bank converted into a chip shop.
Back on the E411 a few hundred meters from the fire, we move forward at the pace of a man towards the remains of a truck completely destroyed by fire. The Autoroute du Soleil (misnamed this evening) finally opens up to us. Exit to Wellin to take the small winding roads of Famenne and then the little Switzerland of Namur towards Vresse-sur-Semois. Obviously the car cannot avoid rolling. Curves are taken with large hand movements. Every slightly powerful brake stroke dips the cabin. But it holds the course, even when the turn surprises us and tightens. Night falls and the automatic activation of the large headlamps is still a joy of comfort to better focus on the road. It is already 9:15 pm when the eye is drawn to the restless branches on the lower side. The release of the right leg in a very timely manner, because it was necessary to break to allow the passage of the wild boar rope across the country. The stage is set. After missing the entrance to the campsite, we turned around and finally discovered our holiday resort for the evening. The sky left. We are greeted by a campfire and a starry, starry sky. Before preparing our car for the night, we go to the camp bar. Evelien, the owner from West Flanders, will make us want to prolong the discussion due to her compassion and her beers. Yes, that’s the fun of camping.
It’s time to sleep. First of all, a brief passage through the sanitary facilities of the camp. All in good time! Because everything is well kept and clean. Our hosts invited us, for 25 € per night (without electricity), to park the Ford in a flower bed surrounded by a small garden near Semois which we guess in the dark. The sound of flowing water will be part of our dreams. Now is the time to raise the roof. An operation that takes 10 seconds (and again, we are wide). My daughter definitely chose this fake tent to spend the night. He reaches it by climbing over a piece of furniture between the sink and the stove hobs. On the other hand, below, it is more difficult. You have to open something here, pull the bench seat, move the front seats forward, then open the seat of the bench seat and tilt it, before letting everything fall down to finally fix the part of the kitchen unit that was finally used to have a “bed”. My wife, PMR, had brought an extra small mattress. I’ll settle Ford leather for my sleeping bag. It is difficult and ineffective. On the “flat”, our boy enjoys a nice and easy range. Injustice!
There is actually a heater on board the Nuggets Plus. But we don’t really want to hear a butterfly, even though it’s smart, during the night. Instead, we were entertained by the music of the neighboring car for a few minutes… And then Semois and the rain. Until dawn, the owl screeches in the distance. The fabric of the upper part puts us in direct contact with the sounds of nature. That is the truth. I dare not imagine a night in this car at a service station. However, it is waterproof. We assure you. If you’re traveling as a couple, I strongly advise against bedding made for a bench seat. Definite pain. Especially since after that, everything should be folded. And set the table. At least, as a couple, there is no need to separate and reassemble the living room. Okay, let’s make some coffee. The piezo works, but it’s not very hot. Strange. I dive into the bowels of the car to discover… that the 2.8 kg gas cylinder is missing. Very expensive of course (thanks Vladimir).
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The coffee hack forces us to pack faster towards the city center. It is easy to raise the roof and a priori easy to lower it. Except that the folding operation must be repeated many times! Why? Because the tent canvas comes out. We take our 3e and 4e hand forcing him to stay inside. Ford Transit Custom Nuggets Plus is 5.30 meters long. So he finds a parking space in front of a very nice little cafe ready to welcome us with hot coffee, pancakes and fruit juice. After this rejuvenating break, head to the French Ardennes. Because of the good fortune of the calendar, the anniversary awaits us in the west of Hainaut. We will join him via France.
We stop at an artisan bakery and a French deli for a picnic. Our menu? Traditional baguette, Dutch cheese and wild boar (yes, we have no heart). But the weather is getting worse, be polite. Around 1:00 (meal time in France), we settle down in a green area at the edge of the forest to eat while admiring the heavy rain from the small windows of the “living room”. And we put the heating. This will also be an opportunity to test the toilet. You have to close the back curtains and pull the canvas screen for privacy (but everyone enjoys the rest). Cleaning in three steps (pull, blue button, pull) works well and will save us from the smell trip (hello freshness). When it reboots, the front screen defroster quickly removes the small screen that obscured the view.
We will reach Maubeuge then Valenciennes and Lille via the direct route and the road to Mouscron. 130 km / h is as easy to control behind the wheel as 120 km / h. A quick look at the usage shows that at less than 8.5 l, Nuggets Plus is not a glutton. Freedom saves us from queuing in front of the Total station beyond Quiévrain. We will do that when there is more stability. Because, before going to the anniversary, break with the parents to take a shower. During the birthday party, our car obviously attracts curiosity. Each one going there with his question. “And is it easy to fold?” Well, it depends, it goes further. The hook will attack me once again when I show the kitchen and sanitary facilities from the open back gate. A folding wash basin has its own wow effect. And the contents of the fridge too. “And for a shower?” Plug hose to take it out. And hot water is optional. »
The evening ends early in the morning. The seniors with us prefer my parents’ guest room while our daughter enjoys enjoying the motor home by herself in a secluded spot in front of the house in a semi-urban area. He will not be content to sleep there, undisturbed by the noise of the city. He will also have his breakfast there (cold chocolate milk and milk cereal). But it’s time to go home, folding the roof of the Westfalia for the last time, and small roads. And something difficult to do with a wallet: a gourmet restaurant. This Sunday at noon, we leave the carriage house on the square of Saint-Amand-les-Eaux in search of French cuisine. It’s already time to go home. And return all unused articles to the house. It will certainly be necessary to flush the sewage from the toilets and clean the floor. Even if we spent our time getting the mud off our shoes by the sliding door all weekend to be able to walk around, twisting, in socks in the cockpit.
Two is great. All you have to do is find a good campsite or a secluded spot to enjoy a natural night in the Ford Transit Custom Nuggets Plus available for around €50,000 (excluding Walloon taxes). Wooden furniture allows you to have a small house with clear needs and even less. Storage spaces are plentiful. However, remember to adjust and prevent things that are placed on the ground or stored in the cabin to prevent them from sliding and colliding during the journey, by sticking and marching, especially on country roads or in the mountains. Unfolding/folding the roof is easy as long as you keep the tarp from escaping to the outside. Driving is just like driving… In 2022, it’s no longer a punishment. On the other hand, with 3 or 4, it is possible, even among adults. But then there is the work of converting the bench into a bed which is not very comfortable. Woe to those who draw short straws to sleep in the cockpit. It can also take a tent to put around the camp …