In July 2013, we bought a 1982 Volkswagen Westfalia to enhance our wanderings. We named him Dave, after one of our most adventurous friends.
Since then, we've traveled almost 20,000 miles with Dave. Within his cozy interior we’ve worked, read, cooked, dined and slept. We’ve camped from Washington to Michigan, explored Idaho, rambled down the Oregon Coast to California, meandered into the northern Cascades and snaked our way, blue-highway style, up to the Canadian border by way of Okanagan. Beneath the cool shade of his original TransAwn 2000 we’ve spent many a sunny morning and cool evening. Out his many windows we’ve seen countless beautiful things.
“Everyone gets the van that they need…”
How did Dave come into our lives? The abridged version is this: Tor worked with Rob –> who cooked chili with Fred and Susan –> who owned Dave.
For those interested in more details, here’s the wordier one:
We had been researching camper vans since 2009. Our first idea was ordering a modified Mitsubishi Delica outfitted with lift kit and gleaming kitchen equipment and having it shipped from Japan to our waiting arms in British Columbia. We took several Delica-obsessed jaunts to Vancouver and gazed longingly at the new arrivals at Silk Road Autos. The varying models had curious, tantalizing names like “Chamonix”, “Space Gear” and “Star Wagon”. We could make a hippy pilgrimage across the Darien gap AND circumnavigate the moon in it! But the logistics were tricky, the red tape questionable (we weren’t even 100% sure if we could legally own one in the US). So we shifted our focus to a more attainable vehicle—a VW Westfalia.
While living on Isla Mujeres in Mexico we met Kyle, a professional wanderer and VW sage and owner of a globetrotting Synchro dubbed “The Ark” that we often saw parked outside of our favorite breakfast joint. When Tor asked how Kyle had found The Ark, he answered knowingly, “Everyone gets the van that they need…”
How right he was. No words could more accurately describe our own experience with van-getting. In the end, it wasn’t as much about a constant search as it was about having a patient and receptive attitude.
When we first saw Dave, he was not some sleek surf mobile nor a beefy, expedition monster with a bull bar and 16-inch tires. He fell somewhere between his renegade Synchro brothers and the mellow, sun-flare jauntiness of the 70′s buses. A bit dusty and faded, but even after years of underuse he possessed a certain charm beneath his sun-beaten blue facade and we knew immediately that he was ours. At the ripe age of 31 he had shockingly low mileage: 78,000. And when we took him for his first “physical”, the mechanics pronounced him a true and total gem.
The moral of the story? Whether it’s a van you seek or something else, the best is not always the brightest, but the rightest. Remain clear, stay open. Search to your heart’s content! But remember: the one you need will most likely find you.
You can take a little tour of Dave here.
Below, a photo homage to some of our exploits with Dave thus far:
Year – 1982
Engine – 67HP 4 cylinder Air-Cooled
Weight – 4,620 lbs fully loaded
Crew – 2
Length – 181"
Width – 74"
Height – 77.2"
- 2-burner stove
- 13.2 gallon onboard freshwater tank
- Onboard sink
- 3-way refrigerator
- Pop top roof with upper bunk
- Sleeps 4
- Trans-Awn 2000 awning
- Storage cabinets
- External hookups (water, electricity)