Posts Tagged With: travel

Mission double trouble .. accomplished!

Right.. where do I start..

Hmm.. the fact I’m drunk on high roofs.. well that’s not new to most people so it was only a matter of time until I would get another one..
As many of you do, I was surfing the net one evening and got a mssg on FB from my buddy Matt.. We started chatting about the birds and the bee’s and I told him I wanted another bus.. He knew a few for sale and lucky me they happened to be highroofs too 🙂 so he forwarded me some links.. I contacted the seller and a few days later I was on the phone closing a deal on my new family member.. a 90% restored ’63 highroof..

A few weeks before this happened I was at Bob’s in Belgium for the pre HO party when a lovely french guy, Arnaud, introduced himself with a head turning subject.. “Hi, I like your highroof, I’ve got one too.. It’s a project but it’s for sale.. are you interested” I nearly spilt my beer on my t-shirt as at that time I was looking to buy another highroof. We exchanged details and I sent him an email. Unfortunately Arnaud’s computer hasn’t been up to much this summer and let him down quite often which resulted in not getting a response for weeks.. In the meantime I’d bought the ’63 .

Highroofs have massively increased in popularity over the last 2 years, so much, I get emails every week from people whether I know a highroof for sale or if I want to sell mine. I could’ve easily sold the highroof from France and made profit but, I knew Chris had bought a RHD project that he’d underestimated and he so wanted to have a highroof on the road soon. I phoned him up and said I had found a decent project for him..
Fast forward several weeks – and we close the deal with the highroof in France thanks to the great help of Pascal “Windsplit” Amodru for translating and helping negotiating.. (highroof community as it should be!). 😀

In the meantime I had a message from Portugal that the rain season had started and that my bus was moved outside because the PO needed the garage for his own car. I realised I had to act fast because my bus wasn’t protected and parts were open and available to potential thief’s .. I started organising a trip to collect both highroofs from France.  To get my highroof in France I had to find transport from Portugal .. ? After a proper search on the net I ran into an ad from a guy named Mat – Black bull transport. Because I had no clue who I was dealing with I was quite anxious to leave my new pride and joy in the hands of a “stranger”. Fortunately Mat seemed to be the right call!

We arranged to hire a recovery truck, borrowed a trailer, booked the train and planned a 2 day journey back and forth.
We left at 5.30am in the morning and after a bit of hassle at the Eurotunnel, due to not getting the trailer on the truck properly, we finally set off for the South of France..
After a whole day driving we arrived at Arnaud’s place who lived on a cool old farm. We received a warm welcome and got offered a few beers before we got to bed – tired from driving all day.
We’d loaded up the roof tent, which we tied up to the trailer, and slept in his garden. Although we thought it would be very cold it was actually quite warm in the night.

We got up in the morning at a decent time and of course well excited to see the new highroof. We soon found out that Arnaud had seriously caught the VW virus as everywhere you looked there was either a car or some parts.. A zwitter, oval windows, early beetles, bay windows, razor edge, buggy, 181.. he had it all and more.. Unfortunately we didn’t have too much time so we started loading up the highroof on the trailer. A bit later I received a phone call from Mat telling me he’d drove solid through the night to make sure he could deliver my bus in time and he was just a minute away. Mat is English and lives in Cadiz/Spain and is actually a really nice guy, he did the trip with his lovely wife Holly and delivered my bus for a great price, I can definitely recommend these people if you need a car transported from the south of Europe!
Mat told me that it wasn’t easy to get the bus on the truck as there was no steering box fitted and the steering pin was seized.. We decided to get both recovery trucks backwards to each other and loaded the bus from one to another. About 20 mins later we strapped everything tight and we were ready to go.

Before we left in the UK I sent Mike from Fabrik interiors a mssg if I could borrow 2 of his amazing windscreen covers so at least we could reduce the rain coming in if we had bad weather. We fitted these, said goodbye to Arnaud, Mat and Holly and set course to the UK.
Not long after we left we had to pull over as we noticed that the windscreen covers were coming loose due to both highroofs being loaded backwards for weight distribution. As we’d just pulled of the covers and were ready to leave, 2 border control cars “Douane” showed up.. Oh dear.. I had only copies of the original documents with me and I know Police can be funny about that. Also after the recent “love story” from Ned, Vic and Bobby with the police in Germany I thought sh!t this is going to be trouble.. Of course the first thing they asked was the papers for the buses. I handed all papers over and could see that they were looking funny at the copies. They asked if I had a bill of sale but I only had a paper where the PO stated he’d sold the bus to me without a price on it. Then they asked me if I paid cash, so I answered “no, I transferred the money online”. Do you have a bill?? “NO, I haven’t sir”.. hello.. online banking?!  This is 2013 you know.. ?! Then they asked me how much the buses were so I gave them a ballpark figure and this is when the whole conversation changed.. I also told them how much they’re worth when restored. Now they got really interested 🙂 So they asked what year they were and where we find parts and how many there are about. After about 10 mins they handed me back the papers and we were free to go.. They even drove behind us with there flash lights on the make sure we got on the motorway ok. 😀

The rest of the journey went quite well and we even drove 70mph at some points with our highroof road train..
Arriving at the eurotunnel I was still worried about the border control for the same reasons. As luck would have it, they were checking a coach just as we went through. They did look a bit weird but as they were busy we just drove straight through..
We finally arrived back around midnight. Being warned about the upcoming storm we were lucky to only have had a bit of wind and rain. The first highroof went of the trailer really easy, but getting the other highroof of the truck was being a real pain as the steering was seized, no brakes and the winch didn’t wind out.. After about 1,5hr we finally managed to get the bus safely on the floor..  We then had to drive all the way back south to return the recovery truck and by about 5.30 am I was finally in bed.. Tired but well happy!   Mission accomplished.. !

Everything prepared and ready to go..                                          Picked up the recovery truck, this was now a looooong vehicle..
















A quick lunch stop.. hot dog time!                                                                        And then back on the road eating more miles..











At last, after approx. 17hrs on the road we finally made it.. A few beers down the throat and ready for bed..



Although it was quite chilly during the last few nights in blighty, it was a very nice temperature here in France. We got woken up around 7am by the friendly neighbor farmer who thought it’d be a great idea to start plowing his field to which we were parked next to..  It was as if we were parked in the middle of the field..

Oh well, time to get up anyway and have coffee & breakfast!


Time to have a wander around the farm from Arnaud! There were cars everywhere.. VW’s mainly..























Even half cars were a common sight on the farm .. 😀














A beautiful zwitter, a late bay and a thing were part of his collection too














Another garage showed a stack of parts and in the back we noticed the rear end of a mint razor edge hiding..   wow!

We could tell that Arnaud was a huge VW fan.. not only by the amount of vehicles and parts everywhere but also by some small details we found.. 😉











Now what did we came for again.. 😉 … we were a bit carried away with all that precious VW stuff kicking about so we realised we had to get into action. As soon as the other highroof would be here we’d have to be leaving straight away to catch the train back to the UK..

Getting the highroof out was easy for Arnaud.. just take what ever car there is .. a rope .. and with hardly any warning Chris found himself driving the bus out of the shelter .. 😀









We put the trailer just before the little slope so it was easy to push the bus on.. We choose to load it backwards for weight distribution as the tow bar on the truck was rather a bit high and the backend of the trailer had been dragging on the speed bumps on the way up..  We fitted the beautiful windscreen cover from fabric interiors 🙂 and .. job sorted..

Just as we finished strapping down the blue highroof, I got a call from Mat @ Blackbull transport saying he was just a minute away.. Perfect timing!!

Mat mentioned getting the bus on the truck was not a straight forward job, because of the seized steering pin and the lack of a steering wheel/steering box and the front wheels pointing to the left..
I backed up our truck  slightly sideways and with some sliding and pushing we managed to get bus on properly!











At last they were both strapped tight and ready for transport.. 😀

We packed up and said goodbye to Arnaud.. What a nice fella!!

Not long after we were on the road we had to pull over, because the buses were loaded backwards the windscreen covers didn’t like this and to reduce the risk of losing them we simply took ’em off.. Despite their high quality and perfect fit, they’re not made to be used when a bus is transported backwards.. 🙂

Just as we wanted to hit the road again we got a little visit from our french boarder control “friends”.. 😉

Oh well .. nothing a good chat couldn’t sort out and a bit later we were back on the road..

A highroof road train is quite a spectacular site on the road..  😀



The trip back to the eurotunnel went really well and as luck would have it we didn’t have a check at all when driving through border control..





We got a text mssg just before we went on the tunnel that there was an upcoming storm in England so we checked all the straps and made sure everything was well secured..







Another 2,5hrs and we finally made it to the barn safe and sound..

The first highroof went off very quick without any problems.. the one on the truck became a bit of a nightmare and it took us nearly 2 hrs to get it off safely..













With the highroofs safe and sound in the barn the only thing left was to drive back south to drop off the recovery truck, take the car and come back (again).. By the time we arrived back, the birds were up and singing happy songs in the barn.. 🙂 I made my bed in Stella and snoozed in between all the highroofs..

Sweet dreams eh 😀









What a great mission.. and definitely a very satisfying feeling as all that was planned worked a treat..
It would not be successful if it wasn’t with the help of Chris hill, Mike from Fabric interiors, Mat and Holly from Black bull transport and Pascal “Windsplit” Amodru..

Thanks all !!!

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And then there was music..

Wow, been a long time since I’ve updated the blog but we’ve been quite busy..

I finally installed a radio and leisure battery in Stella.

I got help with the wiring for the leisure battery from Ian Wheeler and his mate Graham.. thanks for that guys.. Even tho it was an easy job it felt a very hard one as we were all quite hangover!! 🙂

I used speaker baffles which protect the speakers from moist and other crap that sits or lives behind these panels.. good stuff all be it a tight fit..
















I had all stuff kicking about for more than 2 yrs so glad it finally went in.. unfortunately the tweeters don’t work but that will be sorted soon..

Happy dayszz now in the bus..

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Le roadtrip..

Check out this french couple (Seb & Soizic from Toulouse)  who are driving around the world in their ’66  Split bus..

They’ve already covered Canada, US, Japan, Cambodia and many other countries..

Have a look on their website to find a lot of interesting stories!!

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Easter @ Antwerp

You never know how much you miss something until it’s gone…

So when I had the opportunity to go back to my hometown, Antwerp, I loaded Stella up and .. up up and awwaaaayyyy..

With temperatures still around 0˚ it was a cold drive down. Not being well myself, I opted to drive straight down to Antwerp to catch an early sleep on my favorite spot at the river. Unfortunately the spot I normally park was now filled by several containers which were designed as hotel rooms with a view on the river.. Hmmm.. So I parked a bit further underneath big industrial ‘historical’ cranes, thinking, I won’t be spotted quickly and hoping on a quiet night.. WRONG bet! It turned out that the big events hall, only a few steps away, had some kind of a party going on and 20 mins after a put myself in bed there was one car after the other driving up and down the “knobbly” stones which made a noise as if I was sleeping on the motor way.. oh dear.. As if that wasn’t enough I had people walking past the bus all night and I even woke up one time thinking the bus was being rocked.. whether that was a dream or not I don’t know but it sure wasn’t a great night of sleep..

So I woke up early and took the advantage of shooting some nice pictures..


The sun was up early, and it was very welcome after such horrible weather in the past weeks..


I made a phone call to see partner in crime Iris and left, cruising past some of Antwerp’s stunning buildings..


Not the best picture, but, this recent impressive build is the new museum MAS (museum at the current).  There’s a lot of locals who are divided about it..

I think it’s a cool building, in the wrong place 🙂

The below building is one of my favorites! I lived opposite for several years and it was my first view when I walked out of the door.. Strangely though.. I’ve never seen it on the inside.. ‘the Museum of fine art’ houses an impressive collection of some of the biggest artists from the 14th century onwards..

The rest of the day I spent with my friend walking in the city, visiting the flea market and ..  a well know known typical “brown” cafe named the “Duifkes” for some proper Stella’s from the draught!! Oh man.. I miss this pure golden liquid!!

After a good time in the evening I left Antwerp city and drove to my all time favorite club LAROCCA in Lier.. It’s approx 1.30am when I arrive. I asked my buddy Dennis to leave me a space on the parking in front of the club..

Larocca is not your average club.. it’s something where you come home to.. It feels just right, time after time, and so after a bunch of friends arrive the party kicks off until the early hours.. whoop whoop..

It’s about 9.30am when I get woken up by my buddy Leslie who pulls me up from the sofa at the entrance and drops me of in Stella.. A few hours later a wake up not really sure where I am and I freak out seeing a half naked dude next to me in bed.. EEeeK!!   😀

It was now well past lunch time (1.30pm) and we could still hear the club going strong..

A quick view out of the bus made me realise we were now camping on the parking of Belgium’s best club 😀

The next morning I woke up, fresh as a bird :-), and ready to help Leslie out with a costumer’s ( and friend’s) bus who was waiting for some welding jobs..

As usual there’s always a very impressive collection of cars in the garage and this time it was no different..

Good lad Bart was represent as well, I met this fella last year and he’s is just so hilarious when you’re out on the piss and he’s suffering a hangover the next day.. Good to see you Bart!

A genuine Early speedster!!

A ’60 double door 15 window.. common as fuck.. NOT!!! and another 365, this time a genuine convertible!


Bobber’s and a stunning 57 mango that will see the roads very soon!




1930’s something – Vauxhall in original paint.. I started talking to the owner about how cool it would look being chopped, slammed, shortened but he was not having any of that .. LOL
















This is one uber sexy ride for sure!!!

The double door 15 window needed some basic cabfloor repair.. so I thought.. ?

She’s in overall good condition, but, does have some issues and the doglegs were actually in worse condition then I first thought..


Clean cut and ready for repair ..

Wimson stopped by at the garage to fiddle with his bobber and because I always see him showing of pictures of the lovely food from his ‘Teerak’ I kindly invited myself over for dinner.. Man .. his lady can cook some proper Thai food.. to say this was good is an understatement!!    yum yum  🙂       (thanks PUY!!)











The next morning I was back in the workshop rebuilding the LHS dogleg and trimming the replacement piece to go back in..










I finished the LHS of the cab floor and cleaned it all up looking all factory again and leaving as much of the good original metal as possible.


Good fit!

My Buddy Arnold from Holland came down to the garage as well and Wim invited us all for another fantastic Thai evening, his girlfriend Puy can cook some really really nice food.. Thanks again my Teerak! 😉


Main dish..

And desert.. I’m seriously on a diet now..

On one of the mornings after leaving my bus parked for just 5 minutes ,I came back from the bakery only to find my mirror splattered all over the road.. Thanks tw@t!!  Both of them now need to be replaced.. 😦

So after a weeks holiday it was time to drive back home to London..

But, not before my stop at Piet & Katrien who invited me for dinner and they even put a heater in Stella..  This was very welcome as it was very very cold every night.. I’d slept in Stella in the alps when it was snowing but somehow it felt much colder this week.

After a really nice evening filled with beers and great Belgian food I left in the morning to catch my ferry.

Whilst waiting in the queue to get on the boat I noticed this a old 4×4 with full length roof rack and overland roof tent and thought .. cool ride.. that dude is probably having a similar sort of trip.. A bit later on the boat I ran into Mark owner of the “kempes” barndoor and it turned out that the 4×4 is his and he just came back from a snowboard holiday and slept in his tent.. Proper hardcore me thinks !


Another flawless trip for Stella! Leslie did some tweeking on the carbs as it was puffing a lot and found the carbs being set to rich.. It now runs a lot better and is far more fuel economic!

A big thank you to all friends for your hospitality, food, drinks and showers..

I’ll be back in June for more fun 🙂

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Our latest trip is online..


Check the RoAdtRip menu !

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Home sweet home..

A while ago we went back and forth to Antwerp..

Even tho it’s only 7 months since we moved yet it seems so long since we’ve been here together..

We slept at our favorite spot near to the river..   it becomes a standard now when we go back. 🙂

He’s becoming such a little poser.. ! lol





















There’s always something new around this place..


Until next time, hopefully not too long!!



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One day this will be me driving around in Australia!!

Great roadtrip from Brian in “Ozzyland”, He covered around 10oookm in a few weeks time!!

Check out his lovely blog for some really nice pictures and write up!

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Suspension sorted!!! Rollin time!

Suspension in the back is sorted!! 

We found some shock absorbers (which needed slight modification) and they work superb !!

I’ve also switched the previous rear shocks (heavy duty) to the front and the whole suspension of the van is just perfect!! Combined with the new engine makes it so much fun to drive!



Stella is also fitted with 17″ Brm’s on the back and new tires all around !




Enjoying the sun at the river..









My last days in Antwerp..

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I want to go rollin!!

 A good day work and she sits much lower and better now ;-)..

Unfortunately the early bay IRS is not really meant to go very low but it still sits very very nice!!

I’ve also added a new pair of 17″ airevo BRM’s on the rear!!

Can’t wait to go out driving if only I can find the right (very) short shocks!! 

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