How Not To Go SUV

Big changes, dear worst-reader. Hence lack of summer worst-posts. The deal? Well, it goes something like this. My better-half and I have been battling with the idear of mobility in our lives for the last ten or so years. We bagged the two car household about six years ago. Subsequently we went full-on ebike w/ the funds from the reduction. The only time we need a vehicle is with really bad weather (and I mean really bad weather) or the occasional road trip. For the last few years we’ve been seriously considering getting an electric car. Driving range of todays cars is more than adequate for our needs. The big hurdle with the e-car, though, for us, is the charging. Reason? Since we are renters (of a really cool little townhouse) we would have to rely on the property management company to deliver at least part of the charging capability. They made it clear that the cost of rigging the property (with a half decent charging connection) would fall 100% on us. There are two other electric cars in our parking garage and neither of them charge their vehicles there. The expense has something to do with the property’s electric grid, which has to be altered to provide electric car charging. So they ingloriously claim. ;-(

As winter was winding down this year, the wife asked me for the umpteenth time, especially considering that Covid had made it extra popular, if we could rent a mobile camper and do the camping thing. She was getting desperate for a vacation. I told her, as I always have, I’m not ready to join the Spießer (petty bourgeois) camping community. My Spießer comment didn’t go over well. It was then I tried to add a vacation solution. So I performed some husbandry…

Come on, baby. Let’s wait another half year. Covid ain’t gonna last forever. Don’t look at me like that, baby. Listen. How bout this. We haven’t been on a decent vacation in what? Two years? I know. It’s tough. But. That means we got plenty of funds for a nice stay in Bali or Thailand or maybe South Africa. What do you think, baby? Come on. Don’t make me hang around all them old people and their smelly, gritty campsites.

She wouldn’t let it go. She always wanted to go camping—so she claimed with those… eyes. Really, I thought to myself. I never got that impression before that she was a Spießer—I mean camping fan. Are there other surprises awaiting this—going on twenty year—relationship? Oh my.

Long worst-post-short. During some after dinner marital discourse with her filling my wine glass more than usual, I told her about the time I spent a weekend in a T1 VW camping bus just outside of San Diego, CA. It must have been thirty or more years ago. What a blast that was, eh. Of course. I left out the part about the the beautiful Danish chick I was with who turned out to be a ravenous succubus who wouldn’t leave it alone even when I was trying to sleep or get out of Nordic-driven commitment hell… But enough of worst-writer’s search for (the meaning of) love.

A few days after our nice evening of marital discourse—and I having nightmares of too many succubus experiences—she came home with a brochure from a camper rental company. On the cover of the brochure was a new VW Camper, dressed in full glory camping kit, with cute little stickers all over it that reminded one, with any imagination, of the hippy bus of yore. Between some great marital discourse and the cool-factor of VW still making this Bulli after fifty friggin years… yea. She won.

We spent three weeks in the rental Bulli driving and camping along the Baltic coast and had a blast. Not only that, this frickin VW drives like a dream. It reminds of an early 80s Cadillac that I drove back in the day. Ever driven a Cadillac, dear worst-reader? They’re dream-boats, baby. But the real magic of this vehicle, ultimately, is the fact that it’s just a car. Sure. It’s a big car. It can sleep four. It has a sink with running water, a two-burner gas stove and a fridge. Heck, it even has a shower in the rear. Toilet? We had to buy that extra and it’s small enough to fit under the sink. All that and its height is what makes it not quite a car. And it still fits in our garage. And when the time comes it’ll also fit through all those little towns and villages that we’re gonna visit in France, Spain, Italy or Greece.

In worst-closing. We were so enamored with this Wunder-Wagen that after fulfilling the wife’s camper dream we immediately started looking around to buy one. To hell with ideological worst-wishes of environmentally friendly e-cars—give or take the few caveats regarding how environmentally friendly they really are. Instead. Our quest to be car-less has become a discovery of utility. Leisure utility, baby. As worst-luck would have it, even though orders for this thing are backed up for up to eighteen months, we found a dealer that had this one in “pure grey” that he was using as his dealer car. Although it was used for test drives, it was mostly driven by employees.

Our Bulli is a 2022 model, front wheel drive, 150hp and gadgets and do-dads till the cows come running. The pop-up roof is electric and the upper bed is one of the best I’ve ever slept on. The mattress has these funky rubber plates that work like springs. Even though you can feel the plates through the relatively thin mattress, it feels like you’re sleeping on a thousand baby hands. We had to wait six weeks —after committing by contract to purchase it—for delivery. And get this. We also had to sign a whole bunch of contract amendments because we are, technically, buying a used commercial vehicle. The thing that stressed me the most was the fact, when we test drove it, it had just over eleven thousand kilometers. We had to sign—and pay for it—and allow the dealer to put up to 5000 more kilometers on it. WTF!

When we finally did take delivery and the salesman could see the stress from the veins popping out of my bald angry forehead, he showed me, of the six weeks we had to wait, it was only driven for three where they put a thousand kilometers on it and not five thousand. The other three weeks were due to the delays in Covid having pretty much brought German car registration bureaucracy to a stand still. My blood pressure began to subside and I managed to get on my knees and thank Germany, VW, and the universe for allowing me make such a purchase. Slap. Thank you mother, may I have another.

So buckle up worst-campers. More to come.

Rant on.

-T