Time for new adventures…
It’s been way too long since I’ve been on a road trip. Lockdowns, Covid-19 and all that’s been going on in the world, travel hasn’t really been high up on the agenda. Fortunately, with successful vaccination rollouts in the UK, things are slowly beginning to open up once again. So if it’s time to hit the road again, I might as well do it in style!
As regular readers/followers will know by now, I adore Scotland. It is a country that seems perfectly made for amazing road trips, so no surprise as to where I’ll be heading this time. One of the great things about Scotland is there is always more to see, more to explore, and the journey anywhere is always pretty spectacular!
Road trip mission
Normally, road trips for me are about getting away, exploring new places, having a new adventure. However, this one will be a little different. This one has a purpose.
Sometimes you hear stories of people who make strange or random impulse online decisions or purchases late at night? I might just have been one of those people during the lockdown. All still to be confirmed, but there’s an opportunity north of the border that I need to check out! All shall get revealed at a later date if things work out!
A big change
Lockdown and the Covid-19 pandemic has brought about many changes in peoples lives. One of these for me was the purchase of another VW van! Panic not, no I’m not getting rid of my beloved split-screen bus! And much to my wife’s relief, I haven’t purchased another split-screen bus either!
Air-cooled meets water-cooled
Some say that air and water don’t mix. However, I do believe they can coexist quite happily. The opportunity I mentioned earlier is going to require me to get a load-lugging, mile-munching bus to get me up to the far reaches of Western Scotland on more of a regular basis.
Whilst most of the requirements this opportunity presents could have been done with my trusted split-screen camper, getting a bus with a little more power for long stints of motorway driving which returned a more economical mpg, seemed to be the way to go. Hence I decided to look for my split-screens much younger relative, a late diesel T4 SWB 2.5 TDi transporter!
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know the jibes! Builders van, too modern, killing the ‘scene’, etc. etc. etc. However, this is not a replacement bus for me, it’s just a practical workhorse for a specific, potentially exciting opportunity (time will tell on that!). Let’s just hope this possible opportunity comes off in the end then!
Lots of changes to get used to. Having a 5th gear was quite a revelation, upgraded disc brakes front and rear, plus the power of the amazing 2.5 TDi engine under the bonnet (at the front, not in the rear)! No more struggling up hills that’s for sure! This has tons of torque being the 110+ BHp model. Having to get an MOT and road tax was also a whole new experience. Just not so much of a good one!
Road trip ready
Fortunately for me, Resto Classics, don’t just deal with air-cooled vehicles, they also have an excellent reputation for looking after VW T4’s and TDi engines. They already look after my wife’s VW Golf GTDi. So after I bought it, it went straight to them to get a full mechanical overhaul. It was an ex-AA van, so for most of its life, it has been very well looked after. It still has its bright and distinctive original yellow VW LL1F paint (so won’t ever get lost in a car park or on the street!) plus a few age related dings. I just wanted to make sure it was refreshed and mechanically reliable for the road ahead.
Original paint and dings? Sounds very familiar already! Although not sure the VW T4 loving crowd are quite ready for original paint and patina appreciation just yet!
Over the summer I spent time considering what sort of interior to have in the back of the T4. I didn’t need anything fixed. I needed to keep the rear flexible for load-carrying purposes. I already had my camping set-up in the splitty that served my needs perfectly.
Apart from the fitted rock and roll bed in the splitty, everything else was removable. It made sense that all the camping essentials could then simply become interchangeable items between the split and T4. I really liked the idea of sharing the camping components as and when required. Reuse is the way to go. Avoids unnecessary duplication and costs.
To this end, I had a new leisure battery fitted to the T4 to power the Waeco coolbox. Then I could transfer over my two camping gear storage boxes, put a mattress on the floor and bingo, a no-frills basic camper set-up is complete!
So this road trip will be very different for me in many ways. It’s a totally different driving experience with the T4 compared to the split bus. Less time spent enjoying the journey or the process of getting there as I normally do in the split. More a case of just covering the miles.
The split always brings a smile to my face. Always has, always will. It’s going to be a very different kind of road trip with the T4. However, enjoying a road trip is as much about your attitude, as much as the vehicle you drive. It will be different, but I will make it fun! I still need to sort a few more bits out before heading off, but as for the next destination, let’s see, where shall we go…