Have you ever wanted to do a road trip but didn’t want to sleep inside your car or motels are too far and few in between? Do you have small kids and tenting isn’t really ideal? Are you in shoulder season and adventuring in something a little bit warmer than a tent would be ideal? Let me introduce to you the solution to all your adventure needs, a Volkswagen Westfalia camper van. It’s not quite in the mobile-mansion category, but it is a step up from tenting. This German engineered, recreational inspired vehicle will be sure to amaze; not with its speed or acceleration, but with the all encompassing adventures that come along with taking one of these beauties out on the road. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that owning a Westie takes a good chunk of cash (circa 1980’s vans are sometimes considered a collectors vehicle) and a considerable amount of time and mechanical know-how to keep the thing running smoothly. This is where Wicked Westies comes into the picture.
Meet David Crouch, owner of Wicked Westies. David has combined his love for these Volkswagen vans and entrepreneurial skills and put together a fantastic little company that provides Westfalia rentals out of Vancouver, British Columbia. He has built up an impressive fleet of vans, varying in characteristics and guaranteed to take you on an adventure. Fortunately David is a skilled mechanic, and has done a great job at keeping all these beauties running smoothly and ready for their next journey.
Our journey started Thanksgiving Monday at the Wicked Westies headquarters in Coquitlam, Vancouver, BC. After a generous pick-up from the nearest Sky-Train station we were soon being introduced to some of the fleet members and the silver beauty that would be ours for the week. Now because every Westy has some characteristics, which is what makes them so much fun, our orientation with Silver was very thorough. First the key mechanical operations of the van; how and when to check for oil, where to fill with water and gas, how to decipher the 1987 dashboard and how to pop up the roof and set it up for sleeping.
Wicked Westies has conveniently stocked the vans with all the equipment you would need to live out of it; from cooking dinner in the Westy’s compact but functional kitchen to enjoying a glass of wine or mug of coffee. There’s even a hatchet for essential fire building and a flash light for those trips to the outhouse late at night. You, the renter, just need to pack your hipster chic camp clothes, your sleeping bags and pick up whatever food you need to survive once you hit the road. David assured us that if we ran into any mechanical issues, to give him a call and help would be on the way, but that his excellent mechanic skills made this situation improbable. With their prime Vancouver location, the road trip possibilities are endless; the Sunshine Coast, interior BC, the Oregon Coast and Vancouver Island, our chosen destination.
Soon the keys were turned over to us and we made haste to the BC Ferry, destination Nanaimo! The van hummed with pleasure as we headed down the road with some Bob Dylan tunes playing. Once on Vancouver island we headed to Tofino, making the obligatory stop at the Goats on the Roof Market in Coombs. Humming down the highway at a respectable Westfalia pace to satisfy the turns and hills, we rolled into Tofino early evening, selecting a beach front campsite at Bella Pacifica Campground. Within a a minute we were set up; quickly pop up the top, plug in the van, and crack open a bottle of wine. Life was good!
That week in Tofino we took in some surfing, checked out the town, did some storm watching, hiked through swamp land to a crashed 1945 bomber airplane and had the best burrito on the planet (outside of Mexico of course). The Westfalia was our humble home; keeping us warm and dry when the weather proved true to it’s West Coast nature, keeping us well fed, especially when we picked up a bag of fresh mussels, and keeping us entertained whether it be storm watching, surf watching or hosting a movie night with a couple friends. Our beach front campsite made it a perfect pit stop on a day of surfing, coming back to the van to heat up some soup and coffee in between sessions.
After recounting all we did and how well the Westfalia fit our needs, it’s easy to see why we’re wanting to rent one again next summer and why I encourage anyone and everyone to check out Wicked Westies for their next West Coast adventure!
Our week in a Volkswagen Westfalia rental was magical. It opened up a whole new world of travel and adventure. Adventure doesn’t have to be sought after from a backpack or tent or in some extreme manner. The mode of adventure doesn’t matter so much as the adventure itself, the Westfalia proves this. As we made our way back to the mainland, we enviously saluted all the Westies heading out on their adventures as ours came to a satisfying end.