After a road trip to Italy in the Clio, we decided we missed having a camper, so we bought Bep. Bep is a completely normal 2000 VW T4 California with a pop-top and a 2.5 turbo diesel, which gives a bit more power and is very reliable.
When we got back from the trip, we really did try to live without a car, but it turns out we need about 1/4 of a vehicle, so we bought this 2005 Renault Clio. We could do various car-sharing options, but the best option financially was just to get a relatively old car and rent it out ourselves via car-sharing platforms. The Clio has been great for that. Drives nicely and meets our needs.
Busje is a 1990 VW T4 camper van with a high top. For us she was the ideal travel vehicle , easy to take camping just about anywhere and without too much planning. The kids slept in the high top, and we slept below. She’s got a stove, and a sink and lots and lots of storage, more than we ever use actually. We sold her just before the world trip and hope her new family likes her as much as we did.
The 1998 Seat (pronounced Say-at) Cordoba never really got a name. Seat is a Spanish manufacturer which has been taken over by Volkswagen, so it’s really just a rebadged VW, but cheaper. It was a fun car to drive, and a very handy size – North America is really missing out by not having this format widely available – it’s one of the most popular types of car for families here. We sold the car after we bought the van, twice. We first sold it to a pair of Canadians (from Gabriola!) so they could road trip through Europe, and then bought it back (as agreed) and sold it again.
Penny is a 2002 BMW F650cs, a bike only in production from 2002 to 2006. Powered by a single-cylinder 650cc engine, she’s a torquey little thing, but very stable, especially since she has ABS. And with the gas tank under the seat, the centre of gravity is low, which makes her very flickable. She really likes twisty roads. Her most unique feature is the stuff bay, a hollowed out area where the gas tank normally goes which can hold a tank bag, or groceries in a pinch. Her name comes from the colour, and ’cause she’s purdy. Penny came with us to the Netherlands.
Miepje (meep-ya) is a diminutivized Dutch name, which has come to mean something like “silly goose.” Miep is also the sound her horn made. Miepje was a 1998 Kawasaki Ninja 250, a very popular beginners bike, powerful enough to be fun, but not enough to be dangerous. She could, however, get her rider in trouble as Ivo found out with a lovely performance award in California. Although she was sporty, she had a fairly upright postion for taller people and could be ridden long distance. She had a rough life – crashing twice under Harmony and once under Ivo – but she had her booboos fixed and kept gamely going along. Miepje was sold when we left Canada to a nice new female rider.
Barney is a 1998 Honda FES 250 – a Foresight in the UK, similar to a Reflex in the US. Barney was purchased for Harmony’s 2004 Europe trip, when she was still very nervous about crashing since she hadn’t been able to ride since her second crash. His primary attraction was that he was impossible to crash and fairly comfortable to ride – the storage space under the seat that fit most of the camping gear was an added bonus. The idea was to sell him on return, but that didn’t work out, so he’s now living in our back yard waiting to be fixed up to sell. Barney was named after the purple dinosaur.