We’ve actually had the Bumblebeast for a couple of months now. We bought her from a stereotypical American woman, Donna, who’s been living in Utrecht for 25 years or so and has been buying/selling/buying-back/re-selling her fleet of mostly VW campers for the majority of that time. Her advice to us was to buy the van early, give it a couple of test runs around the Netherlands or beyond and then bring it back to her to get all the things that needed fixing sorted out. She seemed pretty sure that there would be a few things. She was right. Thankfully none of those things were engine-based, but it was touch and go for a while there.
Our first trip was just over the Dutch border, to what was an as-yet undecided location when we started driving out of Amsterdam. Turns out that’s not really the best idea. After an hour or so of driving on and off the ring road trying to find the best way to ‘go to Germany’ without a map, we turned off, sat by the side of the road for a breather, had an impromptu driving lesson (for me), and then found the nearest gas station, picked up a map and henceforth decided on a destination. Wissel, it is. Not the most glamourous destination on the European map but hey, it’s out of the Netherlands and we got to drive along the Rhine which was kinda cool.
Everything was going great when we pulled up to the Lake Wissel campsite. We went for a big walk around the lake, played on the swings, discovered a flea market was on the next day, made our first dinner in the van….and then the rains came. Like really poured from the heavens. We holed up in the van with our books and blankets, then eventually gave up and got ready for our first sleep in the van.
All tucked in, off to sleep until I woke up at about 5.30am to some form of Chinese water torture being performed on my forehead. Drip. Drip. Drip. The van has a leak. In the roof. Add that to the list (that so far includes speakers that don’t work and no cigarette lighter). Shit.
The drip wasn’t giving up and I wasn’t getting much sleep so we were up pretty early to head back to Amsterdam to catch the first New Zealand match in the World Cup. So trip #1 was down (in under 24 hours no less), and there were hopefully many more to go.