VW Camper Family

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Last week was HOT is Southern California. While much of the country was sipping steaming cups of hot pumpkin lattes in crisp fall air, we were gulping down ice water in a sweltering 97 degrees sun.

With such weather, there is only one thing to do - GO CAMPING!

And so, we we headed off for some RnR in the Santa Ana mountains. The campground was a full 3087 feet above sea level. We were glad Bustache is was ready for a challenge. I'll review our most recent camping experience in our next post, but today's topic is about how sometimes you just need a break from sleeping.

Allow me to explain...

As you might imagine, hot weather is not always ideal VW Bus weather. First, the propensity for over-heating is a factor - air-cooled doesn't work as well when the air isn't cool. Second, as with any car, our bus can turn into an oven without proper ventilation, cross-winds and shade.

We learned this lesson the hard way.

Earlier this summer we utilized Bustache in one of our most budget-friendly ways - as a mobile hotel in front of our friends house. This happens most often where we're invited to a party or event and we're not sure which of us is going to drive home at the end of the night. We save money on taxis, hotel rooms and we don't have to inconvenience our friends. And when Westi comes along she has a safe familiar place to lay her head. Plus, Bustache's bed is really comfortable (probably has something to do with the 10 PILLOWS!), so it never feels like we're sacrificing.

Parking in a neighborhood is always a bit tricky. You don't want to be too obvious or too much of an eye-sore in front of some innocent person's house... and, well, Bustache is not inconspicuous. There's also the safety issue. You want to pick a spot where you won't be bothered by the police or rascally-rascals. We've never had any problems, but you can't be too careful.

Usually, this involves finding a shady, quiet spot in the neighborhood very near our hosts home. Due to the popularity of our friends, however, on this particular occasion we had to park a little farther away than planned. And the spot was sunny with nary a tree nearby. But it looked safe enough so we took it.

After a long day of celebrating and a late night food run, we (Steve, Westi and I) came back to crash in Bustache. The day had been a typical San Diego summer day - hot. I thought about opening the windows before we snuggled up in bed, but I second guessed as I considered how far we were from our friends.

Bustache's windows are not the simple slide open or roll down kind. They stick out, like wings, on the side of the car, announcing to every passer-by that "SOMEONE IS IN HERE!!!"

Screw Redbull - Westy's give you wings.

And if that wasn't enough, Bustache's sky-light pops up like a snorkel. Again, like a flag indicating that "THIS BUS IS OCCUPIED."

Taken from this past weekend. Bustache has gone pink to save the boobies (in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I didn't want to attract attention or invite unwanted visitors. So, we left Bustache tightly closed, crawled into bed and fell asleep.

For the next 3 hours we tossed and turned. Neither of Steve nor I realizing how awake the other person really was. At one point, I actually turned so my head was at the foot of the bed - just trying to find a position that might offer some fresh air. Steve acted like he didn't notice.

We were cookin'. With 3 bodies emitting heat in a small contained space, Bustache's temperature just kept rising.

Finally, after what seemed like forever, Steve sat up and said, "This is ridiculous!" He reached for the sliding door and in one fell swoop, it was open. Cool air rushed in.

"We need a break from sleeping." Steve exclaimed.

Westi, who seemed to be the only one unaffected by the heat, perked right up. "Is it morning time? Are we going for a walk?" she must have asked herself. She hopped right out of the bus wide awake and ready to go.

Disregarding the obvious risk we were taking for being caught, we opened the back door, cranked down all the windows, popped the skylight and basked in the glory of fresh air and a cross breeze.

It was glorious.

"We're leaving the windows open for the rest of the night. I don't care if we get caught." Steve asserted.

I couldn't help but agree. We wouldn't get any sleep otherwise.

I have no doubt our temporary "neighbors" figured out some bums were sleeping in that hippie-bus parked in front of their house. But they were kind enough not to report us (thank you random San Diego peeps!). We spent the rest of the night knocked out, soundly asleep.

And, thus, we learned a critical lesson in our VW Bus ownership quest. Proper ventilation is key to survival. Do not take it for granted.

More stories from this weekend to come! I know you're excited. :-(D

How about you? Have you ever slept in a possibly illegal location? Ever needed to take a "break from sleeping?" Do you prefer a Westy over a Redbull?

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