weekend off, Germany
Just a short weekend trip away from the crowds… We LOVE our camper and use it daily. We own the VAN one year now and just purchased a solar panel retrofit at Tonke so now we’re fully off-grid and never need to hassle with extension chords.
on a business trip… Germany
When your profession is also still your hobby you sleep on a business trip in a beautiful forest, surrounded by powerful nature, and in the morning you run a few miles in this dreamlike landscape. No people, just a few wild animals, the rush of the falling leaves, and the humming of the heater on your return to your van… These moments are sacred to me, I feel blessed.
Glen canyon, USA
Maarten, founder of Tonke, told us to visit the Glen canyon if we were around. Man, it was worth it. Compared to the Grand canyon (which is actually somehow too big to fully grasp) the Glen canyon is extremely beautiful, surrounded by barren Navajo and Apache lands.
Grand Canyon North Rim, USA
‘Just one f…n’ big hole in the ground’, said the rancher that we met a few days before we drove to the grand canyon. Would that be worth the detour? Because we chose not to visit the crowded (but much easier accessible) south rim, but the northern rim, half a day drive further. Well.. it was worth it. The Grand Canyon is almost as big as the Netherlands (so much for our beautiful little country 🙂 and it’s vastness just takes your breath away. Especially early in the morning, looking to the west with the low sun in your back…
Yellow stone, USA
Yellow Stone is truly amazing and absolutely worth the trip. Someone hit accidentally our left mirror with his truck and because this vehicle has never been sold in the US, the new mirror had to be send over from Europe. No problem at all… the guys from Tonke send us a new mirror with (very easy) installation instructions.
We were camping near a lake at a state park in Cherokee Nation, Oklahoma. The caretaker on the property was a big Cherokee indian. A man of secrets and of wisdom. Two of his friends on bikes were just about to leave. No helmets, long hair, strained faces. ‘Now you don’t take that wrong turn again’, he hollered after them, as they rode away in the dusk. As he looked at his friends leaving, his eyes caught sight of our vehicle and then he started to smile. ‘Tonke’, he said, ‘Tonke, that means something in Indian’, as if there were only one Indian language. ‘How’s that?’, I said. ‘I Won’t tell ya’, he said, and he either did not know, or didn’t want to tell.
On our way there were trailer homes with trump and real-estate-for-sale signs. The campsite was big and spacious. It was extremely hot and humid, and the voices of the people had that ‘southern drawl’, that is both comforting and alarming at the same time. It was truly weather for cold beers. And that’s precisely what the fishermen drank. A speedboat got caught in some nets or lines, and although this happened further down the lake, perhaps more than a mile away, we could perfectly understand what was said both in words and tone.
Everybody on the campsite had a big new truck, a gun, a boat, an enormous trailer, kids and a golf cart. The truck was used to pull the boat out of the water (nobody left their boats in the water overnight) and the cart was used for all other transportation on the site. Walking seemed prohibited. One couple did apparently not have a cart nor a bathroom, and during the early morning the husband rode his wife 4 times to the bathroom with his 6 liter V8 truck. The bathroom was no more than 300 feet away from their trailer.
Most people seemed to be doing good,
Cyrus McCormick Farm, Virginia, USA
On the highway there was a sign ‘Mc Cormick’s farm’ 5 miles. As one of my earliest memories is my grandfathers’ red Mc Cormick Farmall tractor, I had to visit this legendary site, where Mc. Cormick invented so many machines that made farming easier and let to the agricultural revolution that made it possible to feed the growing American population.
Saintes Maries de la Mer, France
I visited the gypsy festival of the holy Sarah 20 years ago and was happy to see nothing had changed at all. Back then Manitas de Plata still lived, but the flamenco was this year even more present then back in those days. Backstreet boys and famous Flamenco guitarists are all present in this vibrant swirl of rough guys, beautiful women, tourists and locals on horses mixed with a religious touch. The beating sun does the rest. Make sure to bring your guitar, a hat and water. After all we’re all travellers!
Wildcamping not far from Paris, France
People often ask me how I find those great spots for wild camping… Well first of all: buy a good map. Scale 1cm=1km is sufficient. You won’t find the right spots on your navigation. Second of all: never camp in or near towns, roads and so on. Dirt or grass under your feet is a must, so you can make a small campfire, see 360 degree evening skies and the wildlife in the early morning.
Start looking for empty spots on the map, not near big towns, with some water, bush and preferably grassland. I like to look around so I don’t look for too much bush, but just a little so you can hide your car more or less. This is another good example. Strange to realize we were in Paris that same afternoon, just hours before getting here! The next morning a fox passed by just meters away from our vehicles.
Plage de beauduc, France
I knew there was somewhere east of Saintes Maries a beach where people camp wild, but neither a roadmap nor google maps could show us how to get there. Finally someone told us how and if your car is not too wide (our Tonke VAN just fitted with less then 1 cm on both sides) you can get through the concrete barrier and drive for maybe 10k through the ‘Salins’ to get to the beach. It is a friendly chaos of kite surfers camping there for months in a row, but also young muslim families from a neighboring village spending an afternoon with their grandmothers and kids, picking up mussels in the shallow water and having a feast. We came at dawn and left at dusk, and loved it. Driving through the ‘Salins’ at dusk was stunningly beautiful with flamingos flying over in the purple sky.