Road tripping is great. Having a VW minibus to do it in is ideal… so you would think. This is where the story of Connie the Adventure Bus begins. I am not sure who said it first but sometime around the beginning of 2010 the idea of acquiring an old style VW transporter conversion van was manifest. I was on my way in a new direction and was making some plans for the coming climbing season.
Alvaro became extraordinarily enthusiastic as his good friend Timo had a bus and it worked great. So we went about finding one. Alvaro placed notes on buses he saw on the street, we all searched on-line. In the meantime my path had become muddled, the U.S. Law Schools I planned to attend come Fall didn’t seem as appealing. Could a bus solve my problem? Perhaps a bus could put me on a path that would be easy to drive into the future on.
Well, eventually we found Daniel. Now on the cusp of Rock and Roll success with GoneZoo, Daniel worked with Alvaro and had a bus! His bus had not been through inspection in some time. Named “Kurt,” the bus was stashed away in his barn waiting for me to come along. After some friendly negotiations I figured out that Daniel could not sell Kurt. Daniel would rent us the bus for the Spring and Summer but would sign the title over so I could get this freedom machine through inspection and on the Autobahn! I recall leaving his house remarking, “Well perhaps I will get lucky and you will change your mind by the end of the Summer.” While Daniel looked on and replied that he just couldn’t part with so many good memories.
Perhaps I should have thought this through a bit more. It all seemed so perfect. I handed over a thick envelope of cash as collateral, put some temporary tags on Kurt and drove into the sunset. Well the sunset came and went and well into dark Kurt decided to shit the bed and break down at a stop light. Unable to even get the starter to turn over I hopelessly called ADAC. The mechanic had no quick solution… I would need a new starter. The next day Alvaro, Marieke and I had planned to drive to Munich to pick up another friend on our way to Austria and the first of many mountain adventures with the bus. Push started by the ADAC mobile mechanic we made it the rest of the way to Karlsruhe without having to stop again.
The next morning started in a rush. Alvaro went in search of a replacement starter while I took out the old one. This wouldn’t stop us. All the time Alvaro asking, “Are you sure this bus doesn’t have any tricks?”
“What do you mean, tricks?”
“Every old car has a ‘trick’ you know…”
After hours of Alvaro scouring the parts stores throughout Karlsruhe he called Daniel to ask what he would do. Daniel simply asked, “Did you tap the starter with a hammer?”
Alvaro, then called me, asking the same.
I replied with a wave of revelation, “Oh no, Daniel told me about this. We have to tap the starter if nothing happens. Oh god.”
Two hours later with Alvaro back and the old starter back in we gave the engine a little ‘love’ tap and behold Kurt came to life. Marieke, calmly taking in the situation all the while said, “Kurt is a lady; she needs a girl name.”
Behold the re-birth of Connie the Deutsch Adventure Bus.
Since then Connie has managed to break at the most inopportune moments, the most significant of which left her with a cracked head and the inability to move. Now after having her engine rebuilt, floor pulled up and replaced, and walls insulated she is almost a beauty. Along the way, Daniel had to sell her to me because he needed the cash. I think I made off pretty well too, making some great friends including Omare the Jordanian Miracle Mechanic and permanently acquiring my adventure bus. Just imagine which mountain she could take me to next!
Some great VW Bus resources: