Happy Campers: John, Nancy and ‘Slowbus’

‘Slowbus’ is 1990 VW Westfalia California that is currently transporting John and Nancy on a year-long adventure around Europe.  They’ve recently upgraded it with Satnav, solar panels and a side awning to make their epic road trip as comfortable as possible.

‘Happy Campers’ is a series of posts featuring camper vans and their owners.  It’s designed to offer advice and inspiration to new and existing camper van owners – featuring members of the WildaboutScotland community. To take part, please send an e-mail to me answering the standard question format below together with a good photo or two.

Slowbus

1.  Introducing myself and my camper van 

We are John & Nancy and we have just started on an extensive tour of  Europe in our van called Slowbus – www.slowbusbasecamp.com  It’s a 1990 Volkswagen T3 with a Westfalia California conversion.  It’s a white “pop-top” with a 1.6TD engine and sports a few modifications which we made with our current trip in mind.  Thanks to major engine work and completely new and raised suspension over the last 18 months, it is now running rather well, despite having done around 200.000 miles.  Our latest additions for a carefree camping life include a 100 watt roof mounted solar panel and side awning.

In our search for the perfect van (for us), we have owned four others, including a further two VW campervans.  Our last two vans were motorhomes and although comfortable, bordering on luxurious they somehow didn’t give us the ‘go anywhere’ sense of adventure and freedom  that we craved and we are now happily back in a campervan.

2.  How do I use my camper van ? 

Slowbus may not be the biggest van on the road, but we call it home.  In fact it is our home, as we are now living in it full time after renting out our house and embarking on a year-long road trip.

3.  Best thing I love about my van ?

Its size.  It is small enough for exploring narrow country lanes, continental villages and even supermarket car parks, yet big enough to carry all our needs for a year.

4.  Pet gripes ?

It’s size.  Two people manoeuvring around and getting dressed in the morning is akin to a game of Twister.

5.  Favourite accessories ?

Probably the most useful accessory is a SatNav with campsite and motorhome stopover locations.  The ability to navigate around Europe with confidence is not something to be sneezed at, but a must have  accessory for me is my Kindle.  An entire library in my bedside cabinet is simply superb.

6.  Best tip for new owners ?

Be safe.  Throwing a bag in the van and heading off on a weekend trip is superb, but make sure the van is mechanically sound, and habitation equipment is working OK.  Precautions such as breakdown cover and a CO (carbon monoxide) detector may also prove may also be wise purchases.

7.   Best trip in my van ?

A few years ago, in a previous camper van we spent a glorious month driving to Puglia in southern Italy.  Driving highlights include crossing over the Alps and the Amalfi Coast.  A definite low was getting lost during  rush hour traffic in Naples (very scary).

8.  Dream trip ?

The one we are on now, travelling around Europe before spending next winter in Morocco.  We have been dreaming of this trip for years and cannot believe it is now happening.

9.  Favourite campsite ?

Not exactly a campsite, but wild camping at Linn of Dee in the Cairngorms (Scotland)  is one of our favourites.

10.  When I’m not camping I’m …

… reading and gaining inspiration from other peoples blogs.

 

Read more about John and Nancy’s travels at The Slowbus Base Camp.

If you’re a Happy Camper and have a story to tell, please e-mail me and send a photo or two using the ‘Get in Touch’ form.