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  1. Default Fresh out of highschool, VOLKSWAGON BUS QUESTION

    Hi, i am new here and me and my girlfriend have been talkin about a roadtrip for some time now, and i wanted to know if a volkswagon bus is ideal for the job?... we plan on going to yosemite from oregon adn then from there to anywhere, no real plans just want to get out there and experience it.

    Also i wanted to know if it is illegal to sleep in a van? i dont want to waste money on motels and stuff. i plan on getting a 70 -79 volkswagon bus in good condition and those have alot of room so i just want to just sleep in there whenever me adn my girlfriend find a nice spot.

    And (lol) we plan on following rivers so we can just take baths in them as we go heh.. sounds pretty kickbutt to me.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default How are you going to pay for the fuel?

    Quote Originally Posted by marsvoltafrances View Post
    we plan on going to yosemite from oregon adn then from there to anywhere, no real plans just want to get out there and experience it
    Well, there are a few things you might to think about. Here are some tips about saving money and here are some ideas you can share with your parents.
    Also i wanted to know if it is illegal to sleep in a van?
    It mostly depends on where you do it. County and state parks won't be a problem -- but camping illegally on private property is not a good idea. And showers would be a lot easier in campgrounds than in the river....


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Dreams vs. Reality

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums

    The fact is that despite the romanticism associated with them, Volkswagon buses or vanagons, or campers were never that great a road vehicle. They are underpowered and present the most non-aerodynamic front to the wind, so they don't even get that good gas mileage. More importantly, you will not simply be able to sleep "whenever you find a nice spot." You will almost certainly be trespassing, and in some parts of the country this can get you in serious trouble. Sleeping in rest areas is now illegal in most states, and campsites cost money. The camping possibility that comes closest to what you have in mind is "distributed camping" in some areas of the National Forest system, but you will have to ascertain beforehand which forests allow this practice and what the extent of the forest boundaries are. Finally, I'd be willing to bet that neither you nor your girlfriend have ever bathed in a mountain stream if you still think this is a good idea.

    What I'd suggest is that before you go to the trouble and expense of finding an buying an old VW, is to try a weekend camping/RoadTrip with your girlfriend where you try to find a distributed camping site in a National Forest, try a campground in a state or national park, and see what they cost. Then you'll know how much you're going to save by your extreme low-end proposal. In the meantime here are some other ways to save money on the road.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default A much enjoyed chuckle herein

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    ...Finally, I'd be willing to bet that neither you nor your girlfriend have ever bathed in a mountain stream if you still think this is a good idea....
    I am still enjoying that turn of phrase -- yep, that water is cold.... And there are sorts of little buggies swimming around in it...


  5. #5
    RoadTripper Brad Guest

    Default Cold water

    Saying the water is cold is an understatement. Hypothermia comes to mind... even down stream far from the source you're looking at very very cold water.

  6. Default

    I actualy get around 350 a month from child support from my father and i wil be saving it for about 5 months prior to takeoff.

    i have bathed in rivers and streams, very cold but i dotn mind it at all. in fact i live about 10 miles from mount hood in oregon and i swim in all the streams from that melting ice about everyday.

    thanks for the replies and tips tho, greatly appreciated.

    my dad owns a few car dealerships lol, so he knows tons about cars and waht not, he says vw vans and specifically the one i will be purchasing gets 30 mpg. not to bad if u ask me.

    when i said nice spot i didnt mean like onthe side of a nice road lol i ment a park taht permits it or camp site ect.

    again thanks and good forums btw.
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 09-22-2007 at 11:48 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default Get your love beads before launch date

    Seriously, you can't do the VW Bus thing without love beads....and tie-dye shirts. ;-) I'm a big VW fan. Most of my cars have been VWs. I've had air-cooled and water-cooled. Have both right now. But I never take the older 73 VW Beetle on the highway. Never. I'm way too impatient. Driving at 45-50 on the highway just doesn't cut it for me. And, to be honest, they feel like tin-can death traps to me these days. I'm not as invincible as I once was. But I have friends who don't mind. I know several who are involved in VW Bus clubs that do road trips/camping trips together and have a blast.

    So, if you don't mind the slow moseying down the road, traveling with plenty of duct-tape and baling wire, having basic tools and knowing how to use them, and get a copy of "How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive", you'll find the VW Bus the perfect travel rig.

    You will still have to pay for campgrounds, unless you do the distributed camping Buck mentions. County and state parks tend to be the least expensive, in my experience. Also Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Army Corps of Engineer campgrounds. National Parks are still a bargain but tend to be a tad higher. You can find many of these by searching the database at

    If you really plan on doing river-bathing, please please PLEASE buy bio-degradable soaps like "Camp Suds" or similar product.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default mechanically inclined?

    Out of curiosity, how good are you at making car repairs yourself?

    I've never really understood the attraction to the VW bus myself, at least not in this day and age. I get there's a nice retro-hippie attachment to them, but in a practical sense a 30+ year old vehicle, that wasn't ideal to begin with, has a ton of potential problems. Not only is there a high likelyhood of having a mechanical problem, but when do have a problem, finding a place that keeps the parts in stock will not be all that easy.

    I'm also highly suspicious of the 30 mpg number. Even when new these vehicles rarely got more than 20. I'm not sure how the model you're looking at would have been able to improve that by 50%.

    There's also the safety factor, as in there are no safety features whatsoever.

    You asked if we thought the VW bus would be ideal for this trip, my answer is that it would be quite the opposite. VW busses are a lot like fond memories of an ex, there is a nice romantic pass with some fun things to remember, but in all actually there are a ton of negatives and there is a reason that they aren't in production anymore. As a collectors piece, and maybe to take on a nearby camping destination, it could be a fun ride, but as a vehicle for a serious roadtrip, I don't believe it would be a good choice at all.

  9. Default d

    Me and my girlfriend dont mind having to stop and repair everyonce in a while it sorta was a given when i decided to drive the vw, and to be honest i sorta look forward to it, it kinda fits in my picture of a roadtrip.

    thanks for the campsite info taht helped alot.

    and yes they do get that much mpg in some cases, i would say on average they get 25, i just cant see doing a roadtrip in a crowded new car, it doesnt fit the picture i have in mind for ideal roadtrip.

    its not the destination taht i am pushing to get to fast, if i planned everything i would feel sort of cheated, we are gonna just hit the road with a general direction taht we want to go and have fun, and whatever happens on the way i welcome it. my girlfriend and i are very patient chill people, we wouldnt get mad whatsoever getting stranded somewhere for a day or something it would just add to the experience.

    OH and of course we will use bio degradable suds, wouldnt have it any other way :)
    i can make repairs easy, been around cars all my life... no real teaching or nothing but if u ask me its not to difficult at all.

    tthanks for the input people

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula

    Default One last VW Bus comment...

    I love 'em. I attend VW shows once in awhile and I'm drawn to the busses. The ones with camping packages, and the folks who have made the effort to outfit their rigs with vintage gear, are inspiring. I saw a Synchro set up once that was for sale and I would have sold my first-born to get it if she would have cooperated. That said....I still wouldn't do the type of trip you want to do in one.

    It's easy to say speed isn't an issue until you're crossing mountain passes and can barely maintain 30-35mph while folks are zipping past you at 60mph. If there are two lanes, this isn't a problem. But a lot of mountain roads are still single lanes. So just be sure to follow rules of etiquette and pull off the road on wide shoulders (rare on mountain passes) or pull-outs designed for it to let faster drivers scoot past. Be aware that if you've slowed down further to do this, you may have a heckuva time getting back up to that 30-35mph you were traveling previously.

    I can think of other driving experiences where your lack of speed might make from some hair-raising moments. Mostly on busy freeways through cities where traffic, even in the slow lane, might be whizzing past you. Remember, accidents can be caused by slower drivers as well as by speeders.

    I think what concerns me most is the lack of safety standards. I don't drive my 73 Beetle on the highway because I feel like I'm a target for The Grim Reaper. If someone hit me, I'm dead. Period. Or so injured I might wish I was dead. Same for your Bus.

    You might consider a VW Vanagon or Eurovan, or outfitting any brand of minivan for camping and you'll get the same general experience in a vehicle more suited for freeway/mountain pass travel.

    But, hey, whatever floats your boat...if you're up to the challenges, aren't in any hurry and drive safely, your trip could really rock!

    Please let us know how things go. And I wanna see pictures of that bus!

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