Joshua Tree National Park // pc: Casey Acaster
Adventure is in the air. You've likely seen inspirational van photos strewn across the interwebs, and like myself, it has probably evoked feelings of adventure and inspiration in yourself. Maybe you want to try life on the road for a weekend-- but how does this #vanlife work? Short answer is that there isn't a short answer. Hitting the road in a camper van starts and ends with endless options and possible scenarios. Epoch Restorations and Adventures provides a typically vintage and unique experience. That might not be your style, though. You might want the newer off-road capable Ford Sportsmobile or Sprinter van to take on a two-track mountain adventure, and we definitely can appreciate that option as well!
The following is what you might expect with older vintage rentals, and some tips you should take along with you, no matter the rental service. First and foremost, the risks are definitely worth the reward! That said, we'll get right into it. Never be in a hurry. I always tell renters that a 50 year old vehicle does not like to be rushed, and it is much more beneficial to spend 30 more minutes getting to a destination that having to get the van towed because it overheated in the desert. Also, when you drive older vans slower, they often give off "warning signs", which can allow you to manage your situation a little better. Limping into a service station is much more desirable than being stuck on the side of the road; but hey, at least you have a nice bed, sink, stove and fridge to hold you over in the meantime. I have yet to charge a late fee for someone for the sole reason that I don't want them to feel rushed driving one of the campers.
Epoch Collective: 1966 Clark Cortez // pc: Jason Rothenberg/Outside Magazine
While we do our best to keep these vehicles in top shape, sometimes there are mishaps, so just like any vintage van owner can attest to, you have to be patient with these rentals. Expecting to hop in a vintage vehicle and have it run like a new car is unlikely. Let's take Jay Leno, for example. One of the most amazing classic car collections in the world, with full-time mechanics keeping them maintained, and yet he still has the occasional mishap. We've had great success so far in keeping the mishaps manageable, but taking your time and ignoring the guy riding your ass is going to be your ticket to a fun-filled trip along the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway. Here are a few more quick tips:
-Take the time to understand how each camper van is set up; especially electrical to prevent a dead battery on the road.
+Water pump switch, inverter, pop-top, solar setup, etc.
-Many older vehicles don't have brake boosters or power steering, so be aware you might need more time to stop and you should get familiar with how no power steering feels. Not a big deal, even if you've never dealt with it before.
+Air conditioning isn't completely out of the question, but many vintage campers don't have it.
+There can be a decent amount of information to go over, so if you are unsure about anything, ask away. The most important thing is to feel comfortable with the camper when you pull off the lot.
TO BE CONTINUED IN OUR NEXT POST...
Thanks for checking us out!
-Epoch Restorations and Adventures