Our names are James and Rachel. For over two years, we have lived in our 1976 Westfalia named Sunshine, camping and cruising the open spaces of North America. We’re having the time of our lives. People always wonder at our journey. They admire the bus, but tell us that perhaps this isn’t the most practical choice for a journey such as ours. We couldn’t imagine it any other way. For us, a bus is the ultimate home and road trip vehicle.
It was January 2013 when we moved out of our apartment in San Diego and hit the road. Since then, we have taken thousands of dusty back roads and gravel trails, traversing our beautiful country in remote and unknown places. We don’t have many upgrades or fancy detailing; Sunshine is a rough and tumble gal, taking us up jeep trails and over river fords. We've been stuck more than a few times; but if you’re not stuck, you’re not trying, right?
Sunshine is a beautiful bay window that we stumbled upon high in the mountains of North Carolina in 2008.
Her paint and upholstery are original. We’d always dreamt of owning a bus, but hadn’t actively acted on our desire. We really scored with an (almost) rust-free body and frame for only $5,000. In 2011, we had the engine rebuilt in Venice Beach and haven’t had much issue to speak of since. Sunshine’s engine is a rebuilt stock 4 cylinder 2 liter. We aren’t breaking any speed record or getting anywhere on time with our little four banger putt putt, but that’s the way we like it anyway. Small, air cooled, and easy to fool around on we enjoy keeping it stock. Perhaps the most unique feature is that our transmission is automatic. At times this is a luxury (in San Francisco) and other an annoyance (aggressive dirt roads). It shifts through its three speeds well and has so far got us wherever we are going. We love our B.F. Goodrich all terrain tires; one of our best investments for back roading it to date. Sunshine seems to light up when she feels the grind of dirt and rock beneath her feat.
James does all the maintenance and a lot of troubleshooting…
He’s learned everything he knows from our bible, John Muir’s “How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive.” However, we have to say, that without mechanics both professional and amateur who’ve lent a hand and gone above and beyond, we’d wouldn’t still be cruising today. We don’t do the maintenance by the reading on the odometer but by the song in sunshine’s heart. Whenever her purring sounds a little nervous we park under a shade tree, do an oil change and adjust the valves. That fixes 90 percent of all hang-ups. The best part of driving a bus, however, has to be the community. We have met countless wonderful souls on the road, and the best of them have been VW people. People are always willing to lend a hand when we run into trouble and are great campfire conversationalists. It’s amazing how fast relationships can form with other bus enthusiasts.
GRAYL® makes water treatment for every travel occasion. At the tap, on the trail, or when facing the uncertainty of international travel. The interchangeable filter system provides the right filtration for your lifestyle and location. GRAYL® transforms personal water filtration into something that works!
Greeting Bus Junkies! I bought the Single Cab VW pick-up in 2004, and did the restoration and design build with all the added custom details every year since then. You could say I got "infected" by the old air-cooled...
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