Log in

VW Campers' Journal
[Most Recent Entries] [Calendar View] [Friends]

Below are the 12 most recent journal entries recorded in VW Campers' LiveJournal:

Monday, March 28th, 2011
6:26 pm
Best places to see in California

Planning your visit to sunny California? Looking for some fun nearby?
It is so easy now to find best locations and attractions! Just go to the www.canyouguideme.com 

and chose California state and your favorite style of adventure (e.g. Beach, History/Culture, Extreme).
You will get a wide range of the best attractions in the Los Angeles, San Francisco and other remarkable places.

Find the best adventure!


Current Mood: accomplished
Thursday, August 13th, 2009
9:15 am
Please follow this link to learn more and to RSVP before Sept 8th!


Hope to see you there!

Monday, July 28th, 2008
7:49 pm
vw camper improvements - garbage bag holder
When we're camping we use one of those ubiquitous plastic grocery bags as a trash bag. We usually hang it by the passenger side door pillar, on either the seatbelt or the coat hanger holder. Unfortunately, as it gets full sometimes it falls when hit. Not the best plan.

I finally got around to making an enhancement: I twisted a coat hanger around and made a garbage bag holder. To finish it off I coated it with the stuff that's used for covering the handles of tools. I did two coats on the whole hanger in stages. On our recent trip it performed very well.

Cut for the picsCollapse )

x-posted in a slightly different form to eor
Saturday, July 5th, 2008
7:48 am
vw camper improvements - front table leveller
I don't know how many other people have this problem, but I figured I'd post a quick, crude solution to it anyway. My front table has a significant tilt. It actually comes from the leg assembly being bent further than the necessary 90 degrees and perhaps the holder not being perfectly vertical. My solution is a spare angle bracket I had sitting around, inserted between the leg and the holder on one side to force the table leg more upright and level the table. For storage I drop it in the opposite side and it is out of the way and keeps things from rattling.

Cut for picturesCollapse )

x-posted in a slightly different form to eor
Tuesday, June 24th, 2008
7:05 pm
vw camper improvements - front table holder
When I first got my front table I thought I was clever by storing it standing up right behind the driver's seat and using the table leg to hold it in place. That was clever until the table worked loose a couple of times and went sailing across the passenger compartment at high velocity when I made a hard left turn. I still have to fix the hole in the sliding door panel. After that the table floated around to various unsatisfactory storage spots until I found a new way of storing it.

My current solution is pretty minimalist, but works like a charm. It's easy to get the table out and it takes up the same space it did when it was prone to go sailing.

Removed the screw that holds the stove-lid hinge (just behind the driver's seat at the back of the cabinet) and put a rubber lined metal p-clamp in place under the head of this screw then re-tighten it. Take a length of rope and make a loop through the p-clamp with sliding knots. Slide the table into place and adjust the knots snug. The stretch of the rope allows it to be pulled up and over the outside edge of the table to remove the table from storage.

I still use the table leg to hold the table from banging forward and back, just a little pressure will keep the table from coming forward and clunking.

picturesCollapse )

x-posted in a slightly different form to eor
Sunday, June 8th, 2008
11:20 am
vw camper improvements - paper towel holder
It's always nice to have a roll of paper towels handy in the camper. Unfortunately if you put them on a flat surface they tend to a) take up space b) roll off onto the floor. My solution was to create a holder out of coat hanger, which attaches to the light valence above the rear table.

My method was to straighten out a piece of metal coat hanger and bend to fit around valence. The long piece needs to be long enough to just barely reach beyond the end of the tube. The shorter piece slides into this then attaches to the valence. I coated the end with the stuff intended to coat tool handles and such, available at your local hardware store. It's a quick fix. Only downside is that if you forget to take it down and travel with your windows open you'll wind up with the whole roll unwound on the floor. Oops.

Pictures because the shapes are easier to see than explain in textCollapse )

x-posted in a slightly different form to eor
Thursday, May 29th, 2008
7:31 pm
house lights
When I'm camping I find the stock 12v light too bright and not well located for most things I'm doing. I have also have a history of battery troubles which have made me energy paranoid, so I went searching for high efficiency lighting. I found lots of solutions that required all kinds of money or threw off all kinds of heat (which smelled of inefficiency to me).

For mellow lighting I started using candle lamps, which I may post photos of later. But I found they don't provide very good light for reading or small work.

I thought of trying LED lights, but found most of the solutions available either expensive or not small enough to suit me. Then one day walking through Home Despot I walked by my solution: LED headlamps. I already had a headlamp for night hiking and working outside after dark, but until I saw ungodly cheap headlamps I didn't consider hacking them up for the van.

I bought some of the cheap headlamps, cut off the straps, and applied velcro to the forehead pad. For mounting brackets I took small scrap pieces of aluminum (the mounting brackets from VW horns) and applied the other half of the velcro to them. I then picked existing screws in places I wanted light and attached the brackets. I have one bracket on each side of the stock 12v light, two on the bottom side of the top bunk, one on a screw that holds the roof vent on, and one in the closet. When not in use I store the lamps in the silverware drawer.

For an additional lighting option, I use a headlamp we have for the bicycle clamped to the poptop bar. It can be left in place when the top is lowered.

Pictures for those who are more visual: Collapse )

I use rechargeable batteries and have a solar charger, so the solution is reasonably green. So far I'm really happy with the setup, I can easily vary the amount of light in the van and if I ever want to turn it back to stock look it'll take five minutes and a screw driver.

x-posted in a slightly different from to eor
Tuesday, May 27th, 2008
7:34 pm
table stay
Many people seem to have the problem where the rear table swings out when you go around corners. I've tried several solutions to this with differing levels of success.

At first I tried to stuff my front curtains down between the table and the cabinet. This worked somewhat, but every now and then the table would work its way out and start swinging again.

Next I tried a solution pictured several places on the Internet: a bungee cord running from the table knob up around the edge of the table to the grab strap above the table. This worked for the most part, although after a while the bungee got tired enough to allow the table to swing out a bit then back in with a thunk. The bungee also put an upward strain on the outside edge of the table top, which eventually broke the welds holding the nut to the plate.

My current solution holds the table tight in a flat position. It's easy to remove and has additional benefits, if you have a breakdown, you've got reading material while you wait.

cut for picturesCollapse )

x-posted in a slightly different form to eor
6:26 pm
Intro post
Hello! I don't know if anyone is still following this group, but I'll try to bring some life back into it.

My daily driver is an '84 Westy, now with a Tiico engine. I've been slowly making improvements over about 10 years. I've decided to start posting some of the solutions I've come up with for what may be common problems and notable improvements to stock equipment that I think are worth considering.

By way of introduction: A pic of what it looked like after my first improvement, a three window tent. A lot has changed since then.
Wednesday, March 7th, 2007
1:32 pm
camper in netherlands
hi, i am a new member and i joined because my fiancee and i are looking into buying a new camper. now, ours is for a particular purpose - to travel around europe. so, here is the question:

did anyone ever rent or buy a camper in or near amsterdam? do you have a dealer that you may be able to recommend?

we are looking for a camper to travel long-term (longer than three months) in western europe. we will need help from the dealer with the registration and "green card" insurance. if anyone is familiar, i would appreciate a pointer. :) thank you in advance!

x-posted to eurotravel
Tuesday, April 26th, 2005
10:08 am
My kingdom for a fridge!
Before this latest road trip, I had finally gotten a new fridge installed in the bus. What a massive trial that has been!

I bought this bus, a 95 Eurovan, Winnebago conversion, Spring of 2004. The original fridge had been screwed up by the previous owner and didn't run at all. On the very first roadtrip I took with it, I found a shop that specialized in RV and marine fridges. They said the fridge was a total loss and I needed a new one. That original fridge was made by Norcold, and this guy was an authorized Norcold repair shop, so he could just put in a new one, right?

Sigh, not so fast. This fridge was a special model made but Norcold especially for Winnebago. So, you can't get it from Norcold direct. The only solution was to find a Winnebago shop and have them order the fridge for me. Grrr. Fine. So I had the Norcold dealer pull the old fridge for me (since he had it out for troubleshooting anyway) and figured I would find a local Winnebago dealer when I got back home.

So, that Summer I started looking for a local Winnebago dealer. After doing some digging, the only option turned out to be 30 miles away in the Santa Cruz mountains. I called them, explained what I needed, gave the the part and model numbers from the original Norcold fridge and helped them find the part numbers for the modern version of the same fridge. They took my credit card number, put through a charge for the new fridge, and placed the order wit Winnebago.

Once a week after this, I would call and ask if the fridge had arrived. "Not yet - sometimes these things are back ordered - I'm sure it'll be on the next shipment." After a month of this routine, I called again and started raising the volume a bit. And finally got a response of "Huh. I just got off the phone with Winnebago. They don't seem to have a record of the original order. Want me to place the order again?" Arrrgggh! At this point, I was ready to start a major cross-country roadtrip that I had been planning for several months. So, to hell with the fridge (for now), I decided to get on the road.

Fast forward to this Spring. I spent some time looking for any alternative to this Winnebago dealer. And failed. So, I went back to them again, and again asked them to order the fridge for me. This time, it arrived within a couple of days. Amazing! I scheduled an appointment to have the fridge installed, and within a couple of weeks I finally had the bus back, with a shiny new fridge. I'm grumpy because they cracked the black plastic facing on the control panel just above the fridge, but I plug in the shore line and run the fridge on AC overnight and it works just fine. So, that counters my grumpiness about the cracked plastic. The next day I ran the fridge off battery for a while (just to make sure it worked) while I switched the hinge on the fridge door so that it would open the other direction. No problem.

Then I took off on the latest roadtrip. And quickly found that while the fridge runs fine on AC (when the shoreline is plugged in) and on DC (while the bus is running, so the alternator is keeping the camper battery charged), I cannot get the fridge to run from propane. I carefully followed the lighting procedure from the fridge manual, but it just won't stay lit.

This trip passed through Portland again, home of the Norcold repair shop I first visited a year ago to have the old fridge pulled. So, I had them look at the fridge installation. They found a number of mistakes in the installation, including a screw that kept the electronic propane lighter from engaging. When I arrived to pick up the fridge , it had been running off propane for several hours and was suitably cold. And best of all, they didn't charge me a dime, but billed it all as warranty work on the fridge. Excellent!

So, a happy ending. Except... on the back end of the road trip on the way home, I tried running the fridge off propane again. And still couldn't get the damn thing to light.

I'm cursed. That's the only possible explanation.
Monday, April 25th, 2005
11:55 am
Recent roadtrip, CA, OR
I just got back from a nice road trip up the California and Oregon coastlines, and back south through the interior. It's nice to have slow and leisurely roadtrips, with no deadlines, no timeframes, and plenty of space to revisit favorite paths and to explore backroads.

The route north started in the SF bay area and followed Highway 1 along the coast line. The first night, I camped at Navarro State Beach, on Highway 1, near the exit for Highway 128. This is a tiny little site, tucked against the cliffs and right on the beach. There are only ten campsites, with no more amenities than porta-potties. But, it's quiet, and right on the beach, so that works fine for me. :-)

We got there late in the afternoon, just in time to watch the surfers come in from the waves, and the sea lions huddled together on the beach soaking up the last of the sunlight. The only downer was the jerk in the monster motor home two campsites away, who ran his generator well into the night.

Surfer walking along Navarro Beach

The next day, the Highway 1 finally blended back into Highway 101, cruised through towering redwoods, and finally came meandered back to the coast around Eureka. I stopped in Arcata (home of the fabulous Arcata Police Log to enjoy a soak at the Café Mokka Finnish Country Sauna (at 5th and J Streets), and then camped at the Patrick's Point State Park near Trinidad, CA. The midnight rains were a little more intense, but the sky cleared early the next day and we followed some back roads around Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, along the older roads that used to make up 101, dodging pothole-craters all the way.

The California coastline

Crossing into Oregon, we found the Bullards Beach State Park, next to the town of Bandon. Not a bad campsite, but the evening rains got a little more intense, So, the next day we continues up Highway 1 to Lincoln City, where we took Highway 18 to Portland to visit with friends for a few days.

Once we finally got back on the road, we headed southeast on Highway 26 passing the glorious Mount Hood, into the Oregon "High Desert" country. In the middle of summer, I think this area would be too hot for comfort, but it was a welcome change from the gray skies of Portland. We continued on Highway 97 through Bend, down past Crater Lake and Klamath Lake, before cutting west to I-5 to camp at the valley of the Rouge State Park. I love the Rogue River, but this is a campsite I could have skipped. It was groomed ruthlessly, so that from any campsite you would have an unobstructed view into every other campsite in the place. Okay, I exaggerate, but only a little. It was right on the river, but it was also right beside I-5 and all the accompanying traffic noise. Next time, I'll explore 234 and 62 and see if there's better camping along less populated parts of the Rogue River.

Mount Hood

The next morning, we drove down I-5 as far as Yreka before diverting onto Route 3 through the Trinity National Forest and alongside Trinity Lake. This was a fabulous area to explore, and one I'll definitely be returning to. We saw a lot of small state campgrounds that were still closed for the winter, despite the fabulous weather we were experiencing. Eventually, we hit Highway 299 and followed it west to Highway 101. We headed south from there, camping at one of the campgrounds in the Humboldt Redwoods State Park. This was a nice park, but the perpetual dusk caused by the impenetrable canopy of the redwoods was a little overwhelming. Still, I'd like to come up there and stay a couple of nights in a row, when it's warm enough to swim in the adjacent Eel River.

From here, it was a straight shot down Highway 101 back home. A great trip, even if it always feels like it was too short once I'm back home.

Current Mood: relaxed
About LiveJournal.com