Parts & Accessories

Adventure Wheels - Advice From Adventurers

29th April 2024 | Adventure Wheels
Stephen Wills and Karla Baker are the caravanners and outdoor enthusiasts behind Adventure Wheels. Unlike most adventurers, Karla has Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a genetic condition that means she must use an electric wheelchair for mobility. However, this hasn't affected their sense of adventure, as they regularly embark on travels in their adapted Bailey Series I Unicorn Valencia. As part of our 'Advice from Adventurers' series, we asked Karla and Stephen to share their personal caravanning tips and travel recommendations to try inspire you on where next to Go Bailey!
What inspired you to start caravanning?

Having a disability, it can be difficult to find suitable accommodation, but we knew that travelling with an adapted caravan would eliminate that struggle. It would enable us to travel freely, to even the most remote destinations, and would give us greater access to the outdoors than a hotel stay ever could. Our love of the outdoors and the solution a caravan provided is what inspired us!

Where do you travel in your Bailey?

Anywhere and everywhere! We absolutely love taking quick local breaks — You don’t have to travel more than 5 miles to feel like you’re on holiday, and they can be the most relaxing getaways — But our hearts belong to adventure-caravanning. You can’t beat hitching up and heading further afield. So far we’ve explored the peaks of the Pyrenees, the enchanted Black Forest, the white sands of the Outer Hebrides, and everywhere in between.

Overlooking the white sands of the Outer Hebrides

A lookback at our time in the enchanted Black Forest

How do you find and plan your routes and destinations for your caravan trips?

When booking a campsite, we always check for arrival instructions and follow the recommended route. This ensures that we arrive safely, with no access issues. In addition to this, we love using our Avtex Tourer Three. It’s a Sat Nav that’s designed for touring with a caravan or motorhome, so it doesn’t take you down any size-restricted roads and it’s easy to customise routes.

What has been your most memorable experience while travelling in your Bailey?

Ooh tough question! We’ve had so many memorable experiences while travelling with our Bailey, but there’s two that stand out. One summer, we found a campsite on the edge of an almost-snow-white beach on the west coast of the Isle of Lewis. The sun barely set during the night, so we drifted off to sleep under pink skies, with the rhythmic sound of the ocean as our lullaby.

Our second memorable experience also involves the rhythmic flow of water. When camping in the heart of the French Pyrenees, next to a glacial stream and surrounded by snowy mountain peaks, we spent each evening sitting out under the canopy, by candlelight, completely mesmerised by the scenery.

Both of these were moments of pure perfection that we’ll never forget.

Camping in the heart of the French Pyrenees

Can you share a favourite destination or hidden gem that you've discovered during your travels?

Favourite destination? It’s hard to pick just one… But we found a real hidden gem in Jura. This lesser-known region in eastern France is UNBELIEVABLY stunning! There, we discovered turquoise lakes, mystical waterfalls, thick forests, deep caves and the home of Laughing Cow cheese. Seriously, if it’s not already on your list — Add it!

Can you share a funny or unexpected moment that happened during one of your travels in your Bailey?

Coincidentally, this involves water too, but in a much less… soothing way. We were staying on a campsite in Birmingham, to attend an awards dinner. It had been raining heavily all day so, unbeknown to us, a large pond had formed on the top of our canopy. After getting all dressed up for the event, we went to leave the caravan, when Stephen, who was doing the gentlemanly thing of holding my umbrella, nudged the underside of the canopy with it, sending a cascade of cold rainwater all over me! After a quick blast with the hairdryer and a lot of laughter, we were ready to go. It’s a good thing I remembered to pack my sense of humour!

Touring Jura, a real hidden gem in the lesser-known region in eastern France

Exploring deep caves were surprisingly accessible during our time in Jura

How has caravanning enhanced your holidays?

Having our own adapted caravan has given us the confidence to travel to places we otherwise wouldn’t have even considered. With everything we need on board, we have the freedom to up and go wherever we like, whenever we like. It’s given us experiences we never imagined we would have, and you can’t put a price on that!

What are some activities or experiences you enjoy when caravanning?

We love finding wheelchair-friendly walks, soaking up the sights and immersing ourselves in different cultures. We also find caravanning a fantastic way to spend quality time with friends and family — You can’t beat sitting around a BBQ, chatting away on a summer evening.

We love finding wheelchair-friendly walks

Caravanning can be a fantastic way to spend quality time with friends and family, in the most spectacular locations.

What are some must-have essentials you always bring along on your trips and why?

For Stephen, it’s anything that provides a practical solution. His first must-have is his Leatherman Wave+ multitool. It’s a sturdy, versatile little thing that can essentially replace your entire toolbox. Second to that is his steady winder drill. This makes setting up camp a lot quicker and easier — Which is especially helpful if you tour from site to site.

For me, I like my creature comforts, so I’d say a good mattress/topper and blanket are essential! A rechargeable hand warmer is also useful if you get cold hands while out exploring.

What advice would you give to someone considering their first caravan trip?

You may be eager to start exploring, but it’s best to stay local for your first trip. That way, you know the area well and can make a quick dash home if you forget anything. It’s also important to let go of any expectations. It takes a few trips to really get to grips with your new caravan, so don’t expect to be an expert right away. Just relax, have fun, and take each day as it comes. Confidence will grow with time and practice!

Our campsite at Camping Kleinenzhof in the Black Forest