Join the Army and See the World… or Buy a Cute Little Camper Van in New Zealand!


*What could possibly go wrong?

The Missus and I need a big house so we both can have our own space.

And in the land of semi-retirement, you watch your money pretty closely.

So, of course, we just bought a little camper van.

In our defense, it’s not really a camper van.

Certainly not like the big one that two families squished into 20 years ago to tour all of New Zealand.

That one had eight berths and a stove and fridge and pooper and shower.

That kind if serious camper van now rents for about $400 per day.

So, when you throw in insurance, diesel and campground fees, etc, it costs about $9,000 to get our of your driveway.

Which poses a dilemma.

How do you quityerbitchin’ about living in the most beautiful country in the world yet never actually seeing any of it?

The answer came last week from above. Or at least the internets.

I was looking for a cheap car, using my super-braniac search engine words “moving to Australia.”

And poof.

There, among all the actual cars, popped up the cutest little camper van you ever saw.

I mean, it’s called a Mazda Bongo Friendee.

How could that not be a thing of happy destiny?

So, the Missus and I logically and throughly reviewed the opportunity in front of us and decided:

  • the Bongo is soooooo cuuuuuuuute (like a Shih-tzu with a pop-up top!)
  • it will sleep four adults and any number of Crack Puppies (so it’s future-proofed)
  • it was cheap AND the previous owner had spent big monies getting stuff fixed, then had to move to Aussie (win!)
  • and, here is the clincher, the Bongo can be our camper van and the Missus’ official back-up car, for emergency shopping that must be done when her chauffeur is off duty.

Despite careful analysis, using spreadsheets and a magnifying glass for several whole minutes, we determined there was no downside whatsoever.

So we bought it.

What could possibly go wrong?

The Stupid Mall

The Bongo — how cute is that??? — is 2.1 meters tall which, converting to American, is 7.6 gallons high.

Wait. Wrong conversion website!

The Bongo stands 6-ft-10.67, or basically, Kevin Durant.

Remember that fact.

We decided to have it groomed by the guy who operates out of the big mall’s underground parking lot.

So, here I am, driving by the mall and about to turn down the ramp when I see a giant plank of wood hanging from the ceiling, saying “Maximum Height — Kevin Durant”.

And I am thinking, no way Jose, er, Kevin.

I’m thinking half of KD’s head would’ve been scraped right off if I’d hit that sucker at speed.

So, being a man of the masculine persuasion, I did the logical thing.

I cursed and drove around the block, giving the board plenty of time to raise itself way up and give me adequate clearance.

But, if can you believe it, when I drove back to the entrance, the stupid piece of warning lumber was still way below adequate KD head clearance.

This required careful, precise, innovative thinking, or the Bongo would be dirty when I returned it to the Missus.

A very bad thing.

So, I drove around the block again.

Then it came to me. I decided to ooch.

You know.

Sort of ooch the Bongo in, real slow-like; sneaking up on the warning board, thinking real low and sliding under it.

Like a cat.

Beep Beep Beep

So, anyway, I started ooching down the ramp.

With my head craning out the window, trying to check clearance, all scientific-like.

Sensing danger, I tuned on the emergency flashers, got out and had an actual look-see from a distance.

Without a doubt, maximum clearance was not KD.

It was maybe Steph Curry.

Stupid lying mall mamimum clearance board.

By now, there was a line of cars behind the cute little Bongo that was too tall.

They wanting to happily enter the basement car parking after easily sliding under the Official-Steph-Curry-Memorial-Maximum-Height-Board.

I started backing.

They started honking.

And there I sat, thinking, and so it begins…

(Stay tuned.)


* Internet photo of random Bongo. We don’t have the tent. Yet.






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