The big test
I had been looking forward to today for five years. Now the moment was filled with trepidation. I had no idea if my repair would hold or not? There was only one way of finding out… so it was an early start from Barrage de Gileppe in Belgium, back on the road again for the final part of my attempted journey to Hessisch Oldendorf in Germany. It was going to be HO22 or bust!
This was going to feel like the longest 200+ miles I had ever driven. No music on just so I could hear the engine sound. I was constantly glancing down to scan for any flickering of the dreaded green oil warning light. I had an anxious aching in the pit of my stomach.
Along the way, it was good to see some other cool buses on their way to the show. Mind you, some of their journeys didn’t always involve being driven! At the first service station I came across, I pulled in and bought another litre of oil to top up the engine to compensate for any earlier losses. Better to be safe than sorry.
Slowly but surely
Then straight back on the road again. Aiming to keep at steady speeds of between 45-55 mph, I tried to keep things as smooth as possible as I drove along the autobahns. After the first hour of driving without the sight of any activity of the green oil light, my tension slowly began to ease.
Then my focus shifted to seeing how miles were left before I would arrive. Each little milestone, a mental celebration. So far so good I thought, getting closer all the time. A third of the way, half of the way. Each felt like a major achievement. Eventually it got to the point where I grew in confidence that I was actually going make it. I felt safe enough to pull over and have a bit of a break and grab some food and a welcome cuppa.
This was all a pretty new experience to me. My camper has normally been fairly reliable and I’ve not really had many issues like this to contend with before. I guess it’s a good thing to go through, as these things can (and sometimes do) happen. It goes with the territory of owning and driving an old classic car from the early 1960’s I guess. It’s all about how you deal with any problems that’s important. It was a serious consideration at the time, but I’m glad I didn’t take the easy route of calling for the breakdown service. This has been a good learning opportunity for me. Roadside repairs are good for character growth, however stressful they are at the time!
Time for a little celebratory music for the last few miles of the journey! Shortly after, the moment happened that I had been waiting for, the first road sign for Hessisch Oldendorf came into view. Probably my fave picture of the trip thus far. I was going to make the show! Not long after this, I was being welcomed by the event stewards in their distinctive bright orange t-shirts to the camping fields that would be home for the next few days. I had finally made it!
Field of dreams
Arriving a bit earlier than last time to the show, gave the advantage of being able to choose your spot. I went for one with a tree for a bit of shade whilst also allowing plenty of room to use the solar panels for keeping the leisure battery topped up. The weather so far had been great, lots of sun and temps in the 28-32ºc region. I’ll have no issues being off-grid for the next few days.
Have to say, that the recently fitted Victron DC-DC charger system has been brilliant. I’m arriving at my destinations with a 100% fully charged and ready leisure battery. No more having to rely on a battery that has only been bulk charged to 80% of its capacity! With the higher ambient air temperatures, the Waeco compressor cool-box has to work that bit harder to maintain my desired 2ºc fridge temp. The leisure battery handled all increased demands in its stride. Having chilled water on-demand was an absolute winner in this weather – scorchio!
Waking up and opening the cargo doors for breakfast was a view of joy to behold. Doubt you often get views like this on your average campsite. Not often do you get Schwimmwagens driving past you as you have your morning porridge and tea! Before the main Hessisch HO22 show starts, just walking around the camp ground was like going to a cool car show in itself!
Some cars even got the luxury of having their own tents to shelter in. Some serious camping accessories going on here. I must have forgotten to add this to my packing list of things to bring!
Why walk around when you cruise around on one of these fun little two-wheeled air-cooled camp ground cruisers? It’s all about fun accessories and retro goodies.
I guess if you find the cramped conditions of a vintage split screen just a bit too small, the answer might be this. An über kool VW Kemperink camper. Extra headroom and an extended wheelbase, this must be the king of kool when it comes to a retro camper! A pretty rare and beautiful looking bus.
There was pretty much something for everyone. Modern motorhomes through to bad ass barndoor buses and everything in-between.
One of my faves was this amazing Mango camper and beautiful Westfalia caravan combo. What better way to rock up to a campsite than with this vintage camping combo! The Westfalia caravan was like a tiny Tardis inside with a stunning interior to cover all of your camping requirements!
Remember, this is just some of the stuff on the campsite, the actual Hessisch HO22 main event hasn’t actually started yet! Think of this as the hors d’oeuvre… wait till you see what gets served up for the main course!