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Stranddeko-Blog Stranddeko – One Year of that Arto 85E Feeling

We’ve been driving the amazing Marilyn for one year now!!! Man, how time flies…

We want to let you know about that feeling and about what happens when you drive around in this kind of all-out, brand-new dream of a motorhome. After all – when we spend every weekend with her, we often quickly forget that it really is pretty spectacular. That’s something we’re really aware of right now – it’s spring and you might say the motorhome world is awaking from its winter slumber.

We’re in social media as Stranddeko and the funniest thing we’ve experienced so far was someone sharing a picture of Marilyn on a van page in Australia – with a comment saying this is how things will look in 2050... That can really help to remind you about what an exceptional vehicle you’re travelling in!

We’ve experienced so much... and something we remember perfectly is our first weekend with Marilyn. The town was nice and a good recommendation, but nothing out of the ordinary. We just wanted to easily take off, needed a break from the week and decided to explore our new hometown, Heinsberg. There’s a campsite here on a lake with a really nice little restaurant next door. And we can remember precisely how we cruised onto the site, it had about 20 pitches and 15 were full, the sun was shining, everyone was happy to be outside and EVERYONE turned and stared at us! So our first thought was: inconspicuous parking had become a thing of the past.

That’s something we’ve gotten used to since and we just wave happily now. That makes people less apprehensive. Every time we’re on the motorway, at least one car passes us with wide-eyed faces against the windscreen, giving us an enthusiastic thumbs up. Have you had that happen?! How can that not be fun?

So we confidently parked on the site in Heinsberg – which fortunately went well. Our previous Arto measured 8.15 m (model 79R), so we had some experience to keep us from looking like total amateurs. Whew. So then we opened the door and popped the champagne cork. Oh man, then even more heads turned our way. We were not only celebrating Marilyn, but also that we had just bought a house – we’d just left the notary. After all, Marilyn needs a parking spot that’s nice and safe! But all that isn’t something spectators could have known.

After that, it was time to tackle technology. We could hardly wait to try out pretty much every button that the Arto 85 E (2018 model) had to offer.

First up: the support legs. Oh man, how embarrassing. But it doesn’t have to be. While others were still looking on, the first pitch neighbour simply came on over and asked what sort of interesting thing we had. And we’ve come to love the additional legs since then! You’re simply at the beach, kitesurfing, you drop the support legs and nothing wobbles when it’s windy and water flows nicely in the shower. Showing up in the dark? Not a problem – you don’t even have to get out of the motorhome anymore for a firm and even footing. Fantastic!

The sun was shining on the lake in Heinsberg, so the awning was up next. Just casually standing there right after you arrive and extending 5.5 metres, electrically powered, at the push of a button with no elbow grease at all gives you the most relaxed holiday feeling you could possibly imagine.
We then got into the depths of Arto technology. It’s not uncommon for some kind of mistake to cause a true symphony of beeps! For example, the engine is on, the step is still out and the automatic transmission is in neutral. Then perhaps the refrigerator switches on because it isn’t closed properly. At that point, you have no idea what to do first with so much beeping going on. But it’s all for a good reason and you learn pretty quickly what needs to be done and when.

So that was our first impression. We’ve travelled 17,000 km since. We’ve been through all kinds of weather with Marilyn in Denmark and Scotland and have of course trekked to the Netherlands quiiiite often. And we are so so soooo in love! We simply cannot think of anything else that we might need. Marilyn particularly makes everyday beach-kitesurfing life all the sweeter! She’s happiest when watching us kitesurf, and of course we like to watch her too. That doubles the fun!

Our absolute highlights and favourite features are:
We’ve often swooned about the 18" tyres with their chic aluminium rims. They get quite an amount of attention from both big and little boys, most particularly at petrol stations. And it’s needless to say that the driving experience is the “bomb”! Having it all on twin-axles is non-negotiable for us. We like to be on the road when it’s windy, and the twin axles mean Marilyn offers superb road holding! Perfect for eating up the kilometres!! By the way, we usually drive at a relaxed 95 km/h. We consume a maximum of 12 litres or even less. A lot of people think it’s much much more considering the height and length. The Comfort-Matic and Bo get along wonderfully. He can pay much more attention to what’s going on around him and shifting happens on its own. The standard wide-angle mirrors provide a nice and safe all-round view. We love them, especially when things get tight. All in all, the driving comfort is fantastic, which is something Marilyn proved most particularly in Scotland! You can find the whole story here:

At last year’s NBEC meet-up in May in Walldürn, Marilyn got to drive over the pit so Bo could tickle her tummy. She even looks unbelievably good from here too, right? Everything still sparkles and shines from top to bottom! We were also able to get on the scale. The result: Frohmi gets to stay on board, and with 5.5 t allowed in total, there’s enough allowance for any kind of payload.

ALL of the interior electrical features!

The Alde boiler runs on electricity if you’re hooked up to 230 volts. Amazing for winter! Especially when you’re on a pitch that has power in winter, it’s great for conserving your gas reserves.
If you aren’t hooked up to power, the inverter provides 230 volts in all of the power sockets. We need that in particular to always keep the batteries full in all of our technical devices and to have our cameras ready at all times. That’s rarely a problem thanks to assistance from the 2x100 W solar power system.
One of our favourites nowadays is Mr Muller. Mr Muller is the AMV – water heating extension kit. Still doesn’t make sense, does it? The windscreen likes to fog up regularly. And as beautiful as the panorama might usually be, it still is the only actual cold bridge. The electric roller blinds take care of the cold problem, but then you lose your view. What Mr Muller does is use the Ducato ventilation system to defog the windscreen, defrost it or create a heat bridge. Absolutely brilliant! It takes a while to get the hang of the controls, but it works well now! And the panorama outside is still the best TV show!
Psst, there’s something we’re reluctant to admit officially: we have a second TV back near the bed. Oh dear, and after we were so adamant a while back about never needing a TV on holiday!! That is quite true in summer, and we hardly ever turn it on then. But in winter, when it gets dark early and the rain is pouring down on the roof of the motorhome – then it really is the best thing ever to cuddle into the super-comfy, humongous bed in the back and flip through the programmes. And completely without a guilty conscience!
Apropos summer: we have underfloor air conditioning. To use it, we would have to take a holiday in a seriously warm place and also have a power hook-up. The two rarely happen at the same time. But that doesn’t mean it won’t ever happen, so we’re excited about testing it out someday!

The living room and storage space – vast and unending!

Marilyn has a large garage with two doors and an additional shelving system installed on the front wall. That makes it easy for us to get to anything that’s in there. Everything is always orderly! That had always been Frohmi’s dream, even though it’s Bo’s responsibility. We’re pretty typical in that respect... Thanks to the spacious storage area under the longitudinal berths, we have even more room inside than in the garage. The SUPs (stand-up paddle boards) and neoprene wetsuits live under the beds. It’s all very very organised! We’ve sometimes complained about the “wellness oasis” in the past. The bathroom was too big for us. But now it’s so nice to have and to use the space. For example, we lived in Marilyn for four weeks while renovating our house. The separate shower is a great place to put things and has room for a filing system. While on the road, it also helps with wet clothes, groceries, laundry. Oh yeah, it’s also great for showering! :) Who needs washrooms on a campsite...
In the kitchen, the refrigerator tops some home models in terms of size. And Frohmi wouldn’t be able to survive without an oven these days – from freshly baked rolls in the morning to apple crumble for our afternoon Stranddeko Café.
Pretty much anything can be whipped up in the kitchen, even though the hob as a designer piece is more for someone who really likes to clean. That’s not a problem when the weather is nice thanks to the exterior gas connection – then you can happily putter around. Everything made by the head chef is always tasty either way! And it tastes even better with a view of the beach!

Bo does sometimes complain about the chrome handles inside. But that’s only because Frohmi always leaves fingerprints on them. But that doesn’t detract from their beauty, meaning the chrome handles :)

 We’ve also had the most amazing adventures with Marilyn.

The kind that have nothing to do with technology.
Grey days by the sea, and Marilyn is still photogenic, or maybe even more so thanks to the weather!
We were able to park her right by the main entrance during the Niesmann+Bischoff open days. THAT was really exciting!
Or during Christmas time: she really gave her all as Santa’s sled and of course as the New Year’s Eve party-mobile too! Forget all cats are grey in the dark. That doesn’t apply to Marilyn.

Well, we could basically go on forever. On about Marilyn’s looks (you already know how in love we are), about further storage compartments, the leather seats and their heating (*love*), about whether the toilet should be used in a closed or open bathroom (a daily discussion), about the electric roof fan, about the sockets in all the right places, the beautifully integrated back-up camera (since when were back-up cameras “beautiful”?) and panorama skylights (I can see the star-studded sky) and sooo much more!
In general, there’s no need to be too worried about all of the high-end technology. It’s fun getting to test it all and it all somehow works out! And then before you know it, you’re totally in love with all these things you didn’t even know existed before.
Our recommendation: try it for yourself! It’s absolutely worth it!!!

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