Choosing the vehicle to take on my travel was the easiest choice of all. What could be better than a rusty VW bus that is over 40 years old to go traveling the panamerican highway with? While I know that sounds a little funny there is actually some good reasoning behind it. First reason is the fact that I already had the beast and didn’t have to go out and buy something, but even discounting that there are some other great reasons for it. The size of it is much more manageable than an RV, in fact width and length are very similar to many of the passenger cars, yet it is still roomy enough to pack things in and sleep in, so you don’t need a tent. It is mechanically quite simple, so you can usually fix it yourself or find someone that is mechanically inclined to help you out. No need for fancy computers, dealers, or deciphering of cryptic error codes. It is just air, fuel, and spark being used to make a little engine push a box on wheels around. It’s also nice that everything is pretty easy to get to. Parts availability should be good as well in most countries, considering that the bus and the beetle were produced in huge quantities for many years and many of the parts are interchangeable, and frequently if you can’t get the right part you can get by with some tape, a paperclip, and any number of other household items. I read an article where a guy cut a bouncy ball to use as a transmission bushing. So while the vehicle is more likely to have some reliability problems than something newer, at least the probability of getting back on the road is high.
Traveling in a 1970 Volkswagen bus has it’s advantages and of course its disadvantages. Sometimes there are some things you can do to makeup for some of the disadvantages. The following are some of the upgrades or modifications I decided would be helpful when I decided to turn the bus from a weekend cruiser to an over landing home base.