WEBASTO - Feel the Drive
  • Andreas Fischer enjoys the view of the mountains.

    A Mini-Break Close to Home
    in the Camper Van

    The sun is shining, the snow on the mountains is melting. You want to pack your camping gear in your van and set off on an adventure in the great outdoors?

    Munich-based journalist and photographer Andreas Fischer had this exact kind of wanderlust. In spring he went on a mini-break close to home. He tells us how, after months of coronavirus restrictions, he prepared for the excitement of going on a proper adventure in the camper.

  • 1. A weekend in the nearby Bavarian mountains – nearby for some, at least!

    Very close to the German border to Austria, between Bayrischzell and the Kiefersfelden border crossing, a small mountain road called Tatzlwurmstraße winds its way from west to east. It starts off steep as it works its way up to the small ski resort with the not-so-gracious name of Sudelfeld, then back down towards the municipality of Oberaudorf. There is very little snow up here now, in early May.

    It creates very interesting contrasts as the southern mountains are at their most beautiful during this season. In the foreground you have the delicate green of the young shoots and leaves. Way in the distance you have the vivid white, still-snow-capped hills and rock faces of the Kaiser Mountains. You can also see the Großglockner and Großvenediger mountains even further south than this.

    To see these mountains in all their glory, you do need to go even higher. A small camper is perfect for this. If you’re coming from Tatzlwurmstraße, you turn left just before the road to Oberaudorf, onto the single-track and very narrow paved road, following signs to Lake Bichlersee.

    At the small Fischbach stream, there’s a steep climb up to the sunny Alpine pastures of Riedleiten. Once you have crossed these meadows, you will reach the grounds of the large Berggasthof Bichlersee inn.

    VW T6 on the way to Lake Bichlersee If you want to truly enjoy the views of the mountain backdrop, you’re in for a steep climb.
  • Andreas Fischer enjoying the view of the mountains in his camping chair by his T6 camper van. After the hike, Andreas Fischer enjoys the glorious mountain backdrop. 

    There is plenty of parking for hikers here – a normal summer weekend sees cars arrive in droves.  Right now it’s gloriously quiet. The beer garden in front of the inn lies empty in the sunshine. The view across it to the southern mountains is truly magnificent. Just a few hikers are using the inn this weekend, stopping for a break on the beautiful meadows by the artificial lake that has been built up here.

    For a small fee, Susanne and I park the camper in the inn’s parking lot and set off on a short hike north toward the Hohe Asten farms. We are back by the late afternoon and enjoy having everything we need for a light meal in our cozy camper again at last – not to mention the independence that goes with it. We find the farmer and ask whether she would allow us to stay up here for a night. It’s no problem, for a small fee.

    And so begins the ritual that we have missed for so long: looking for a really good, flat place to stay, getting the chairs out and setting up the small table.

    Sitting comfortably, with the balmy mountain air, listening to the sounds of the sheep and looking forward to our small dinner in the camper: It feels like being on holidays far from home.

  • Later, after the sun goes down, it does start to feel a bit chilly. But with the right equipment, you can enjoy this atmosphere in the mountains: we sprawl across the fold-out bed in our camper and enjoy the view of the mountain backdrop at twilight. The Webasto parking heater under the front passenger seat hums away and keeps us nice and warm. With the heater doing its job, spending a crisp spring night in the mountains is quite comfortable.

     

     

     

    Berggasthof Bichlersee

    Regau 2
    83080 Oberaudorf
    Germany

     

    47°40'19.6"N 12°07'39.0"E

    47.672109, 12.127500

  • 2. All-wheel driving practice at Offroadpark Bayern

    Over the next few months, we want to be out in our camper van again as much as we possibly can. Finding the best places to camp often involves a bit of off-roading. Given everything that’s going on with the pandemic, we’ve used this time to get to grips with off-road driving. For example, we took a course at Offroadpark Bayern, an ATV recreation park in Bavaria.

    On a sunny Sunday, three vehicles with five drivers gather and hang on the jovial and very competent Andi’s every word. What did he say? Here’s a brief summary for you:

    Safety: Be aware of other off-roaders. Keep an eye on everything happening outside around you. The driver going uphill has right of way, otherwise right has priority over left.

    First learn how to drive uphill, steer as little and as calmly as possible, map out the line you want to take, drive slowly in first gear (this applies to both manual and automatic vehicles).

    Get out of the vehicle beforehand, examine the track, read (understand) the terrain. If in doubt, get your passenger to get out and lead the way, giving you signals.

    When driving over deep ruts, always keep both hands on the steering wheel, with your thumbs on the outside. Keep the camper on high ground if possible. If you have to cross the ruts, always approach them in a straight line, never side-on. Don’t use the clutch, don’t change gear.

    Driving on a side slope: By instinct. It’s better not to have a lateral tilt of more than 20 degrees.

    Steep hill climbs: Don’t approach on a tilt. Instead, have an angle of attack of 90 degrees at a constant, moderate speed. Build up enough momentum and come off the gas before the crest (but not too early).

    Practice recovering your vehicle: Practice using traction aids, jacks, and recovery boards in case of emergency.

    VW T6 off-roading with an instructor. Instructor Andi explains key off-road driving information to the enthusiasts.
  • VW T6 off-roading through the terrain. Off-roading is much more fun with the right practice and the right knowledge.

     

    All this is so much more fun with the help of a coach. It also keeps drivers calm and safe. And it increases the prospects of finding the right (better!) places to camp on longer journeys. Even in the mountains, where you can spend the night on the pass or almost any spot that has the best view. This is also made so much easier with the right parking heater from Webasto: the Air Top 2000 STC model.

    I think we’re now well prepared for the next camping adventure. We cannot wait for the time, hopefully in the near future, when the coronavirus restrictions are mostly a thing of the past.

    Site of the Demlinger Steinbruch, a former quarry

    www.offroadpark-bayern.de

    85098 Großmehring
    Germany

    Phone: +49 (0)172 9826819

     

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