When Bonnie bought Dan in 1991, he had been owned by an auto mechanic who added a significant number of additional interior lights, reworked cabinets to be more efficient and useful, and added cruise control and a number of fans for cooling. Dan has two rather substantial batteries for all the interior electrics when we are camped but not connected to ‘shore’ power. But there was never most of what we consider now as rather standard equipment on any vehicle: air conditioning, power windows, door locks, and seat adjustments, even an automatic transmission. Dan is manual all the way!

The great American supplier for VW vans of all generations is an outfit down in Los Osos, California called Gowesty. From them we received Dan’s rebuilt engine which increased his horsepower by 35%, his ruggedized and elevating suspension, his 16 inch wheels replacing the original 14 inch ones, the tough bumpers he carries now instead of the original almost aluminum foil ones, and just about anything else we have ever needed for his maintenance and upkeep. Dan the Van today is a much tougher guy than he was when he joined us twenty-four years ago.

These are a few photos of Dan in some of his favorite places.

Here are some photos of Dan’s interior so that you have a better idea of what living in him is like. Bear in mind that we only very rarely camp in him in cold weather and he is just used as a vehicle, though often driven thousands of miles at a stretch. Almost all our camping in Dan is done in fairly warm weather and we live most of the time outside under and around his awning where we lounge, socialize, cook and eat.

This is Dan when we are driving or when we have stopped to eat or rest. The table to the right in the photo swings out in front of the couch and we eat there and watch stuff on a computer as well. You can barely make out the storage area we have added at the top of the photograph. Those plastic storage bins pull out and are accessible even when the top is down and not popped up.

cruise

Ready for cruise

Here’s what the same area looks like when we are ready for a little snoozing. It takes but two or three minutes to drop the couch into a bed and pull the extra ‘memory foam’ mattress and bedding over it to complete setup. Note the cabinets to the right in the picture and overhead. The ones under the table are for food, the rest are cabinets for clothes and for tools. Above the bed is an additional clothes cabinet.

Ready to snooze

Ready to snooze

Finally, here’s a look at the kitchen. To the left is the table that swings out in front of the couch and beneath it are storage cabinets for dry foods. The big door below the stove used to be a small and totally inefficient refrigerator and we pulled it out and use the space for storing kitchen pots and pans and tableware as is true of the cabinet to the right as well. The drawer holds silverware and utensils. We now carry an electric refrigerator chest that runs off battery when we are driving or camping in the wild. When we have outside ‘shore’ power it runs on that.

The kitchen setup

The kitchen setup