Wednesday, November 16, 2016
My lovely wife and I have traveled with a number of different vehicles over the years. At the time we decided to live out of a tent and do car camping, we really did not have the right car for it. When our daughter went to school she had a little Dodge Neon. Once she graduated and started to make money she decided to upgrade to a new car. My lovely wife and I ended up with the Neon.
I'm not fussy with what I drive. My “image” does not depend on my transportation. The car had roof racks to carry a canoe so it was all good. Our first season I'd added a small receiver hitch to carry a cargo buddy. I figured we needed all the extra cargo room we could get. That winter the car was loaded down pretty heavily -canoe on the roof, big cargo box hanging off the back.
The next season we eliminated the cargo buddy completely. We'd pared down our stuff some. Other gear we packed in dry bags and stuffed inside the canoe on the roof. The little car rode much better.
What I was really wishing for was a classic VW camper van. Maybe it's the old hippie in me but I really liked the romance of those old mini-vans. My lovely wife and I looked at a number of them. One of the things that slowly started to change my mind was that a lot of the vans we looked at had blown engines. Then I found one in great shape.
The woman who owned it was stuck on a price and I was stuck on a lower price. I had cash in hand. Her husband really wanted that cash, but the van was in her name. No way was she going to budge. I left as the marital disharmony was reaching a fever pitch. That's the closest I came to buying one. Considering how underpowered and unreliable they are I probably dodged a bullet.
Right after that I got into running diesels on Veggie. We had an old Mercedes Benz 240D converted to run on WVO. With a small utility trailer on the back for veggie oil our range was 3000 miles. Loaded up with a canoe on top and all our camping gear, it accelerated like a fat man jogging. Eventually it would get to highway speeds. Still died on the hills, but we loved that old car and put 400,000 miles on it.
Later we ran a Ford F250 on veggie. That was a pretty good camping rig. Once we got into sailing it was a great tow vehicle. Unfortunately it was susceptible to rust. I changed both fenders and did a lot of patch work. Then we started to have drive train problems so we let that go.
That's when we won an ambulance at auction and turned it into the veggie van. It it's a good camping rig, fun to drive, and pulls the sailboat well. That's out current set up. It's pretty comfortable with a full sized bed, 12 volt cooler, microwave, and solar electric power.
Once in a while we find ourselves going back to more minimalistic camping. My lovely wife has a Nissan Versa Note. The little hatchback has roof racks for camping gear or a canoe. In a way it's a lot like back when we camped with the Neon all those years ago. We are still fond of tent camping. My lovely wife thinks tents are romantic and who am I to argue with that?