VW Camper Family

A camping forum for VW bus and camper owners.

Here's a suggested outline for introducing yourself to others in the group. 

Look forward to getting to know you.

Hi, I'm _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (name)

1. I own/drive a VW type .....

2. First VW purchase year

3. Location including country

4. Where you have driven in your VW

5. Where you have camped in your VW

6. Most fun moment(s)

7. What got you started in the VW world

8. What you most love about having a VW

9. What you'd like from this group

10. What you'd like to offer to this group

11. Your personal likes/dislikes or something else about you

12. Are you on Facebook? If yes, please post your name (a copy your page address, http:// ...is best), so we can find each other.

13. Anything else?

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Hello everyone,
I'm Carole Brown, owner and driver of the YesWeCan CamperVan, or Dexter (named by previous and first owner, also female).
My VW is a 1971 Bay window Westfalia. 1971 is the last year of the 1600cc engine and small rear lights; first year of disc brakes. A good year apparently.
Currently garaged at friend's home in Millbury, central Massachusetts, USA for the winter. I'm between Millbury and my condo in Provincetown, Cape Cod, which I'm hoping to sell.

In December 2009, I collected my van from the eBay seller (a dealer) and drove 10,000 miles between Oregon and Massachusetts, spending 5 of the 6.5 month journey in California. I camped with other VWs at club events and overnighted free wherever I could; see my blog for where we stayed (http://yeswecanjourney.wordpress.com pages Route, Thanks & Travel tips).

Most fun? So many of examples. I guess it's the SLOW DRAG race at the Spring Fling event held by the Orange Empire Bus Company near Corona, California on 1st Sunday in May. We came 2nd in the 2010 race. Watch the youtube video of the final here.

What got me started was a reunion with cousins in the UK in August 2009, some of whom had VW vans and buses.
What I love most about my camper van is that it's like the dog I don't yet have: it introduces me to other people who are always nice (like you) AND it makes others (and me) smile! My THANKS page on my blog makes me smile very time I read it; the people who befriended my and my VW van on the road between OR and MA were wonderful. When I set off, I knew only three people I was going to visit. I could never have imagined all the new friends that were ahead.

I'd like this group to be about supporting each one of us with our dreams related to our VWs, building confidence for our travels, and giving us connections across the USA and around the world. I'd also like to gain more understanding of my VW and ways to keep it in tip top condition.
What I can bring to this group is my initiative for starting new things; my energy and enthusiasm, skills in social media, blog design, writing and photography; and my strange British sense of humour.

Something about me: I dreamed of coming to America yet never knew it would take 15 years for my green card (which allows me to live and work in USA). During all those years I flew back and forth countless times, living half a year in Massachusetts and half in England. Now I'm here, I'm ready to start my life over. At the age of 55 it's a bit of a challenge! My YesWeCan road trip in 2010 was to inspire me and others to follow our dreams.

I'm on Facebook as The YesWeCan CamperVan and Carole Brown
ALSO PLEASE JOIN ME HERE at the YesWeCan Journey blog

I can't wait to meet you all!

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Replies to This Discussion

Hi everyone, I am Laura Anne I drive a 1978 fuel injected Camper Van... I named him Lenny. The body was made in july 1978 but the interior was put in September 1978 so that technically makes it a 79 I guess... It is my first VW and I purchased it February of this year in Salsbury NC in the USA. I lived in Boone NC which is in the Appalachian mountains where my boyfriend and I spent about six months restoring it. Pictures can be found at my blog: http://lauraswesty.blogspot.com The newer posts are of our current trip across the US to California. But the earlier posts are of my restoration process. I am looking forward to restoring more Buses in the future.
So far we have driven it throughout NC, through SC GA AL MS AR and will continue onward along route 66 through OK, NM, AZ, and CA with a quick side trip to Las Vegas NV. After that we will probably be driving him back to SC where my family lives.
We have camped a variety of places because we lived in the Bus for two months before starting our journey so we could work out any kinks in functionality and comfort. We ended up taking out the "head smasher" (the overhead storage compartment) so we lost some storage space there...
So far our most fun was in the summer at High Country Bus Festival which was our first camp out~ we literally got him up and running the day before! We also had a good time with Lenny at Music on the Mountaintop in Boone NC~ he was at full capacity with two of my friends bunking up top, complete with a little kitty.
What I love most I would have to say is the networking that has come with owning a Bus. Meeting everyone here on the Camper family, random people coming up to us to talk to us about our bus, the Moonies, everything! I hope to attend many more camp outs in the future because life on the road right now is a little lonely.
What got me first started? I have always loved Buses and my friends have owned Bugs and Karmann Ghias and I wanted something of my own! One day I just decided that I wanted a Bus and after researching the internet about what to look for I found a perfect fit immediately on craigslist.org, I must say I was very lucky with my find.
I hope to meet some of the wonderful people on this site in person and maybe arrange a camp out! I hope to share all i know including free good camping areas along my way. After all sharing IS caring! :D
Anyone in Southern Cali want to do a camp out in the next month or so? I know it may be coooold but it would be fun!
I AM on facebook~ feel free to add me! ~Laura Anne Collins~
I am looking forward to meeting all of you :D
Hello everyone! My name is Tara. I own a 1986 Vanagon Westfalia camper, purchased in May of this year, 2010. I live in West Virginia, US. We haven’t driven her really anywhere yet, except down the road around home. We did make a small trip down to the riverbank (less than a 2 minute drive perhaps) and camped there one night over summer. We pulled her into the garage to begin the major overhaul on 10/10/10 and I would have to say the most fun moment was 2 weekends ago when we first really dug into working on her. It is all completely new to me, as I know nothing about vehicles, body or mechanical, and this is my first VW! I find it all so exciting & I love getting to know my van better with every step! What started me in the VW world is, well, who wouldn’t want one of these beauties?! Seriously! Owning my own seemed like only a dream that I would never make into reality. But a friend of the family had a couple old ones sitting around for years and finally decided to get rid of them for a decent price. So my boyfriend bought it as an anniversary gift to us. Wonderful gift, by the way! What I love most is the whole experience and the journey ahead! From this group, I look to have people to talk to about our VWs of course, to discuss and get opinions! I hope to learn a lot from you all! As I am still fairly new to the wide world of VW, I don’t have a whole lot to offer right now except for just personal experiences as I go on. I like, obviously, VWs, camping, laughter (x a million!) and good times with great people, and many many other things of course! I dislike negativity, drama, and confrontation. I am on Facebook and would love to add you all as friends on there! I am under the same name, but I’m not sure if I show up in a general search with my privacy settings, so just let me know.

My VWs story: I consider my van to be quite the lady and so I always refer to it as a she. Haha! It’s true though, and she is called Sandy. She has spent the last 9 years just sitting outside! Just out in the weather exposed to all elements & critters, without maintenance. Interior is nearly perfect, but the body not so much. In her early life she spent several years in Florida, a lot of time on the beach. And there’s plenty of nice rusty evidence of that. We’re fixing her up right though! My boyfriend’s dad does body work, and he has been busy moving right along with all repairs. After Florida, and before her time as a stagnant lawn ornament, a lovely couple (the family friend) drove her & loved her! She was valued as a camp machine, a party palace, and the family wagon! The couple & their family had many great times and made many wonderful memories with that van. Sadly, the wife got cancer, and passed on. It was after that when the van was retired. Everyone who knew her said she would be so happy to see us owning it & working on it & pleased to have in the hands of a nice young couple with years of memories to be made! So that is where she gets her name, Sandy, after the previous owner.

It is estimated that she will be ready to go by Spring & I absolutely cannot wait for our first camping trip!!!

Something fun: A friend of ours has a beautiful red ’77 bay window camper, and my boy’s cousin has a baby blue ’81 Vanagon. We all live right near one another, so when we have get-togethers we like to call it the “MBA” Muttontown Bus Association. Haha!
Laura - Love your blog & your bus! I will surely be checking back to the blog for tips (storage solutions, ftw!) I absolutely adore your fabric selections and especially the tapestry on your pop-top! The rainbow ceiling + cloud sun visors are adorable also! You're so lucky to be able to travel, I hope you guys are having an amazing time! (My boy's name is Trey also!) & while we are a long ways off from a nice big roadtrip in our van, it will all be worth it after the hard work! :)

Glynda - your van is beautiful! I love the color combo. And I'm looking forward to your pics of her now, all hippified - it sounds great! :)

Gotta say I sorta envy you ladies with your bus campouts & clubs - thats gotta be just awesome!! Ahh, someday, right? :) At least I have the good ol' MBA for now, we are 3 buses strong in membership which isn't bad for a little country town!
HI Glynda
THANKS for your great picture and introduction. Also for mentioning the JANUARY EVENT "Buses by The Bridge" at Lake Havasu, AZ.

We visited London Bridge at the Lake in June on our way from CA to MA, but it was too hot then! I'm hoping to fly to Vegas and make it to the meeting, but my van will have to stay at home.

Here's the link to the "Buses by The Bridge" FACEBOOK page for those who are thinking of going and who want to see who else is attending. Wouldn't it be great to meet up there?
Hi, I'm Kim, we live in Tempe, AZ, USA

(and sorry I posted on main page before i looked around and saw this)!

I own/drive a 71 Bus we call Betty. This is pretty much my hobby, hubby helps with the repairs and maintenance when I can’t do it or get frustrated!

We/I bought Betty almost a year and a half ago off Craigslist. She was partly restored by a grandfather-grandson, but the grandson decided to go into the service so they sold the bus. Before that they found her completely stripped except for body, transmission and back seat in a field somewhere. They did a lot of work and I hope to finish what they started!

A couple years ago I decided I wanted to get another old VW. Had a convertible Ghia before kids were born and loved it, cried when I sold it, etc... So I dragged my brother and son to Yuma one weekend for a camp-out and show to see what was out there for sale, etc. and the rest is history.

Got in with the split window bus camping/show group here in the Southwest. We plan our time off around various shows and camp-outs. My bus is not show worthy in the least (and not a split-window) but we do it more to camp with our bus friends and partake in the show festivities, etc. So far we drove as far as Chino, CA (LA area) in June for Blackstar Camp-out/OCTO/Classic Shows. (VTO!!!)

(Oh and I love playing cornhole, which is one of the many activities that go along with our camp-outs.)

So far my favorite shows/camp-outs are Busses on the River in Yuma and Buses by the Bridge in Lake Havasu, AZ. The camp-out community at these two events are absolutely the best!

I also use Betty weekly to carpool kids from school to field trips, etc. The kids love riding in the bus.

I LOVE the smell of the old interiors. I don’t know what it is, the old horsehair seats, the old vinyl??? but that smell is like aromatherapy for me. Sometimes when I’m stressed out, I just go sit in Betty and breathe. Weird huh?

Everyone’s stories are so great, that’s why I joined the group! Hopefully I can meet some other bus women and we can meet up sometime?

I am on facebook, should be able to find me by Kim Hayes, put in a note your from this group though, I don’t accept people unless I know where their from.
Hello Kit, Great to see you here and also to meet a newer VW.
I loved reading about your adventures over the years. You mention England and I'm a Brit living in Massachusetts. I collected my eBay purchase (a 1971 Westfalia) on 15 December last year in Medford, Oregon and then drove it for 6 months and 10,000 miles to Massachusetts. Every time I tried to leave California, I got drawn back, so that's why it took me so long.

There are some great mechanics out there. Quillen and Westywoman who are members of our group gave me advice several times on the road about how to find great help at reasonable cost. I'm going to ask them to comment so it's not me hogging this space much of the time. I'll start a new discussion thread called .... VW engines and helpful mechanics, etc.

Please feel free to post your own discussion topics, any time.

Cheers, Carole
Hello Kim, Another great introduction - thank you!

I must have met you at the Blackstar Camp-out/OCTO/Classic Shows, but I was overwhelmed with so many people and also from turning round in Albuquerque and going back to California. I just couldn't resist one more wonderful CA camp out before heading to my home state of Mass.

You have to explain 'cornhole' or can you teach me and others at BBB in January? Hope you can add a comment to the new DISCUSSION FORUM TOPIC - BBB, since it's one of your favorite shows.

I love what you said about 'aromatherapy'; not weird, at all (honest!).

You and I are friends on Facebook already, but I think you are not a friend of my van yet are you? Please search for 'The YesWeCan CamperVan' and select 'like' to join our Van page.

Cheers, Carole


Hello, I am Grace


I have had my 1968 campmobile since 2002. I was 15 and I learned how to drive in my bus. My boyfriend and I recently rebuilt her engine for our first time last summer. We live in California but like to travel around and go camping as much as possible in the warmer months.

We have completed one crosscountry trip in the bus, both ways, once with the old engine, and once since it was rebuilt. We experienced several minor set backs along the way, but since learning to work on the bus, they are usually things we can fix ourselves in a short period of time. We camped out along the way, sometimes in the bus and sometimes outside, and we do a lot of camping in california around our hometown in the summer.


Funnest moments I can think of involve getting all of my friends in the back and driving around in the woods, camping and road trips. I love all the people you meet along the way when you drive an old hippy bus. People who come up and talk to you or help you out when you have car trouble, and they always have cool stories to tell about their bus they had back in the day.


I have been interested in VWs since I was a kid. I thought a vw bus would be the coolest vehicle ever when I was 10 so I bought it as soon as I was old enough to drive. Also VWs run in my family I guess you could say. I love that their so easy to work on.



Hi Grace, So lovely to hear from you. I'm so pleased that we met by chance at the McDonalds in Holbrook, Arizona, when you were going west back to California, and I was driving east to Massachusetts.

I guess you are too busy with your job at the ski resort to make the Buses by the Bridge meeting next month in Lake Havasu?


Hi, I'm Peg. I own Rita, a '75 Westie. We live in Eugene, OR. Been together since Aug. 2008. My first VW was a '74 Super Beetle that I purchased in 1981. I had a '68 Wolfsburg Beetle in 1993-94. I fell in love with air-cooled VWs at a young age. My dad drove a red '63 Beetle when i was a kid. We took a road trip in July to North Carolina. I sweltered in the back seat with a drooling Golden Retriever. I now own a VW AND a Golden Retriever! 


I mostly camp in the Oregon Cascades and along the coast. This past summer I did a bit of camping in the Washington Cascades. 


I am on Facebook: Peg Freas Gearhart

Hi Peg, I just happened to be on-line when you joined just now. So happy to see you as you were one of the first women to reply to my initial post on the discussion forum asking how many women had VWs! 

I love your VW photo and the story of how you got started, golden retriever and all.

Please feel free to start any new topics on the discussion forum. I'll look for you on Facebook and let me know if you like the idea of a group phone call in January. It seems hard to get replies to questions here; I think members do not always have their email notifications switched on to see when they get messages. 

Cheers for now - it's way past my bedtime over here in MA.


Unfortunately I am, but even if I wasn't the bus needs some work before I'm willing to drive it out of state again. Wish I could make it though, I just saw it on facebook and it looks like a lot of fun! I'm going to be taking some classes here in tahoe, so my schedule is pretty full right now. Hope everyone has a good time there!


Hi Grace, So lovely to hear
from you. I'm so pleased that we met by chance at the McDonalds in
Holbrook, Arizona, when you were going west back to California, and I
was driving east to Massachusetts.

I guess you are too busy with your job at the ski resort to make the Buses by the Bridge meeting next month in Lake Havasu?



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