Happy New Year 2012!

We wish you a Happy New Year and all the best for 2012!

The Love Bug in front of the so-called Salvation or Love Mountain in Niland, California.


The House of the Setting Sun

There is a house in Ridgecrest, they call the setting sun…
It was again just an unbelievable gorgeous sunset we had here in Kern County today. Domi immediately grabbed a camera and ran outside. What he saw remembered him of the traditional folk song “The House of the Rising Sun” – even though it was a sunset.

Sunsets in the Desert

Herbie is enjoying the sunsets out here in the desert. In fact our camp is located in the Mojave Desert of California. A big sky and these huge landscapes are creating an incredible atmosphere – and the best thing is, there is no humidity at all!

When we got back to the United States there was no single rust spot on one of the chrome parts on Herbie, even though our beloved VW Beetle was waiting for us just outside. We think that he’s feeling very comfortable in such dry area.

Booking confirmed

If everything works out Herbie will go on a cruise across the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. His ship leaves on January 30 in Veracruz, Mexico, and reaches Cartagena, Colombia, on February 6.

Anyway we’ll have to drive down there first. Our route will lead us through three time zones within California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas before crossing the border to Mexico.

Just the Best for Herbie

Many people ask us what kind of motor oil we use while traveling around the world with a camper in tow. We are probably pretty different to others but there is one thing for sure, Herbie just gets the very best – especially regarding his engine.

Therefore we are just using fully synthetic oil with a very high high-temperature viscosity rate like a 15W-50 or a 5W-50. And we think it doesn’t really matter what kind a car you have – a fully synthetic with a number 50 or even 60 in the end is always the better bet.

Herbie Goes Bananas

From Ridgecrest, California, where we are now, via Brownsville, Texas, to Veracruz, Mexico, Herbie will have to drive 2,350 miles (or 3,780 kilometers) to get on a vessel in order to be shipped to Columbia. This is actually our plan for January!

“That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for Herbie”. This is not a mission to the moon but it is still quite a trip, although our Volkswagen brought us already so far. But we are pretty sure that he’ll manage this too.

Our plan is to travel across South America following our “Yellow Brick Road” – this time the Pan-American Highway. So we’d travel through countries like Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina.

Merry Christmas!

We wish you a “Merry Christmas”!
You’ll find today’s issue of the Austrian newspaper “Heute” in which we are sending our Christmas wishes to our Austrian fellows, friends and family members. If you don’t have the chance to get the printed version here’s a copy or you read the article online.

The OZ House

This week’s issues of “The Daily Independent” and “The News Review” in Ridgecrest include stories about “The OZ House” and our friend and camp’s host Lyle Gregory and his brother Noli Laqui from the Philippines.

The Darién Gap

We’re planning to go to South America next, in order to continue Herbie’s World Tour. We’ve already driven across all 48 lower United States, we went to Canada and traveled through Mexico and all Central American countries. There is just South America left. But why haven’t we been there yet?

We actually wanted to go there last time but we couldn’t because first of all our passports were completely marked and full with visas and secondly we didn’t want to ship our car and camper at that time. Many people forget that there is a “huge” gap between Panama and Colombia – at least for travelers who depend on roads.

The so-called Darién Gap is a 54 miles (87 kilometers) stretch of rainforest in the very south of Panama where they tried to build a road in order to complete the Pan-American Highway system but they failed. So there is still this gap and the only way to do it is going by plane or either by boat around it.

The Pan-American Highway is with 29,800 miles (47,958 kilometers) the world’s longest driveable road and goes all the way from Alaska down to Tierra del Fuego (Chile).

All’s well that ends well

There is no other way than shipping a vehicle from North (or Central) to South America. Therefore we’ll have to put Herbie on one of the big cargo ships where thefts happen quite often. So we ordered a lock for the engine hood.

But we had to get it twice because the first one didn’t work properly and it broke.

Thanks to ISP West we got the broken one exchanged.

“All’s well that ends well”, Shakespeare would say! Everything is good now and we can go down South without any worries regarding our probably most important widget – Herbie’s engine which hauled us already through four continents.

The OZ Camp

Since we are back in the US in order to continue our journey around the world we’re staying at the so-called “OZ Camp” in Ridgecrest,  preparing Herbie and ourselves for our ongoing trip. As last year we helped decorating the whole block in the manner of “OZ” – coming from the most famous American fairytale “The Wonderful Wizard of OZ” written by L. Frank Baum and first published in 1900.

The story about the little farm girl Dorothy from Kansas got probably even more popular when MGM produced their first movie in colors – “The Wizard of Oz” – in 1939.

Also Herbie got part of the show – highlighted in his iconic blue and red colors.

It became a big tradition out here in the desert. Every year “The Land of OZ” is born again. And Herbie and his camper are enjoying themselves highlighted in the front yard.

Herbie’s got new Rubber

We drove to Lancaster for shopping and also in order to change all four tires on our almost 49 years old VW Bug. That is the third time that we put new tires on Herbie while touring around the globe.

On the internet we got a pretty good deal on these tires. So we ordered them online and received them just couple days later.

We chose “low noise” tires with the following dimensions: 165/80R15

Thanks to Randy Hannah!

We want to say many thanks to Randy Hannah from Burroughs High School in Ridgecrest, California, who helped Domi with all kinds of repairs on our Herbie car during the last couple weeks.

The Love Bug Fans

Today we had a blast! We set up a meeting with a young guy called Kyle from Palmdale. We got to know him via LoveBugFans.com. Since the age of 12 he owns a VW Bug which he transformed himself into an awesome Herbie replica.

Here you can see Kyle with his Californian Herbie and Domi with our Love Bug from Austria. We definitely want to stay in touch with Kyle and we’re looking forward meeting him and his Herbie again very soon.

World famous “Pupusas”

Our friends and neighbors are opening their very own restaurant in Ridgecrest. The Ramírez family is already well known for their excellent traditional Salvadoran food. And they’ll be the first introducing the people of Ridgecrest to so-called “Pupusas” – a very special meal in El Salvadoran culture.

The brand new and only El Salvadoran restaurant in town – “La Fuente” – will open its doors to the public on Monday, December 19, starting at 10:30 a.m.

It’s located on 221 E. Ridgecrest Blvd. and will be open from Monday through Saturday.

You are on the right spot if you think about where the old “Junk Food Junction” was!

A traditional family restaurant owned by Lilian and Orlando Ramírez and their four kids.

We’ll see you there! Watch out for Herbie at the grand opening on December 26!

Love goes ‘round the World

“The News Review” – a weekly newspaper here in Ridgecrest, California – brought out a nice story about us and Herbie “The Love Bug” going around the world in today’s issue. The article is written by Linda Saholt.

Good “shocking” News

Finally we got the right shocks for Herbie. We ordered four new ones by Monroe (made in the US) – Domi’s favorites! It was as it used to be here in the Mojave desert a nice and warm day – great to work outside.

The reason why Domi likes the Monroe shocks the most is probably because we had the same brand of shocks on our back wheels while touring all around the globe. And now they are supposed to be even better, because they are now gas charged.

While Domi was working, his dear friend Michael Phillips from Ridgecrest took photos.

Everything worked out great and we already took a ride in Herbie with his new shocks. It was just a short trip to the supermarket but although it was a much smoother drive.

Here you can see the old shock and the new one as well. Even though the old ones seemed to be fine, it is probably better to change them after so many miles.

Herbie’s World Tour Fully Reloaded

Welcome to our very new blog! Thank you for having you here!
Herbie is fully reloaded and we are back on the road in order to explore the world together. As members of “DLV Aircooled Community” you’ll still find our latest posts of our ongoing trip around the globe on DLV.co.at too. In cooperation with them we want to share our adventures with all of you. We hope you’ll enjoy our blog!
Yours, Domi & Zainab