life in a camper

Life on the road in a VW camper just doesn’t suck. In fact, it’s pretty great.

Last night Tobin, Christa, John and I pulled our campers together in Dawson City. We parked by the Yukon River, and cooked a meal together. John steamed organic broccoli, and I made some spicy wonton egg-drop soup. Christa made a fabulous rotelli with a smolked salmon sauce. As a salad course, we had some left-over taboulli, and some fresh cherries for desert. It was delicious, and we even had leftovers.

I’ve been sleeping in a VW Camper for two weeks now, but I’m still comfortable. John and I maneuver around one another in the van, managing to avoid invading one anothers’ space. We cook, clean up, and sleep. Right now, John is cooking dinner while I type this, and it smells wonderful. He’s making a pepper, onion, and tofu stir-fry, served on a bed of wild-mushroom couscous. I am *not* making this up. (Lest you think this is unfair, I’m doing laundry, and I’ll clean the dishes afterwards.)

I find that I don’t feel slimey if I find a shower every two days. When I wake up without a shower, and my hair is a real nightmare, a gas-station sink serves me well. I soak my hair, dry it with paper towels, and it’s manageable once more. (Not fashionable, but manageable.) I can brush my teeth in the van’s sink, so that’s not a problem.

And the bed is comfortable. I don’t really miss by home bed, though I do miss having my boyfriend by my side. I could sleep in here every night, and not have a complaint.

The EuroVan is very nice. The cabinents are wonderful, with tons more storage than my Vanagon. Likewise, the fridge is much better. It’s about the size of a dorm fridge, and we store tons of food in it. In addition to being larger, it seems to keep things colder than the old Vanagon fridge.

The beds in the EuroVan are also a little bit improved. The bottom bunk folds out just like the old EuroVan bunks, but because it slides as it folds out, it actually sits further back in the living area, giving more floor space. The top bunk doesn’t only fold, but you can even remove the floor and push it back, giving you head room through the entire floor area.

It’s the little things that I really appreciate in the EuroVan. The tent on top opens on three sides, giving the top bunk a great view. Also, the pop-top contains a light at the very top that illuminates the entire van very nicely. If it’s not bright enough for you, there are two flourescent and two incancescent lights around the bottom compartment.

Outside the van, the wind is whistling, and the it’s cold. Tonight we’re going to fire up the propane heater and see how that does. I’m looking forward to giving it a try.

What don’t I like about the EuroVan? Well, first of all, I miss having cloth curtains. The blinds in the EuroVan are efficient, but cloth curtains are so much more homey. Also, the front curtains in the EuroVan attach with velcro, and I much prefer the old snaps.

I don’t like the automatic transmission at all, but you can avoid that. Standards are supposed to be hard to find, but they exist. I have to admit that this is a reasonable standard, however. In addition to drive, there are three low gears.

Harder to avoid is the ground clearance. Because the EuroVan rides lower, the propane connection guard is only about six inches above the ground. Ours has scraped the earth (and roots) several times. Right now, it’s looking pretty warped.

Lastly, the EuroVan just isn’t a bus. That might be fine for mini-van buyers, but it doesn’t have as much personality as a Vanagon or older VW bus. And I want to drive an interesting car. From the outside, this looks remarkably like a Chevy Lumina or any of the other mommie-mobiles. Volkswagen needs to allow its designers to go wild again, and design something really off-the-wall. The bug was one of the best-selling cars of all time, and it didn’t look like anything on the market. And look at the microbus phenomenon, still ongoing.

Tomorrow, we arrive in Inuvik. Our journey is almost half over.



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