Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Syncrofest 2016

I have been trying to think of an appropriate way to start a post that justifies such an incredible weekend, but not sure if I can do it justice. I guess it all started when I was a child growing up with VW's in our family and my father's 57 oval beetle. From there my love grew into my first job at a VW dealership where I drove Vanagons and Syncro campers when they were brand new. I also fondly remember driving a 1987 VW transporter for a year delivering parts to various shops in the area. Who knew that 30+ years later we would own a beautiful air-cooled camper that would be part of the most amazing Vanagon event attended to date. Syncrofest is the ultimate gathering and campout that showcases the best of the best in the Vanagon world as well as exposing the exceptional capabilities of these unique vehicles.

We have recently joined a collective group in the Los Angeles area that shares our love for Vanagons and wanted to arrange a large representation for this event. With this in mind, I coordinated a 350+ mile caravan to Syncrofest from LA - Hollister. Preparing for such an event is no easy task and actually took a few weeks to get ready from ordering parts/supplies to packing for 5 days of fun. Here are 2 shots taken early in the morning before the adventure began. Who says the stock Dometic fridge is small?

Our monthly meeting location was a good starting point for 6 vans to begin our adventure and 2 more vans to join along the way.
As with any 30+ year old vehicle we had our reliability "issues" and sampled the first breakdown that luckily occurred during our lunch break.

Thanks to Neil's excellent suggestion, we made it to our first destination - MontaƱa de Oro campground for an early night collective including 12 Vanagons.

Although we didn't get to fully enjoy the campground, it did give us a great early starting point for the final cruise to Hollister. We found out that Starbucks opens at 5am due to Eric's normal pre-dawn rituals.
 This was my rear view for most of the trip.
Once again the 30+ year old vehicle odds hit us and another of our group made it to Syncrofest on a flatbed but this is probably the best place to be when you have problems to be fixed = glass half full!
Vangelenos represented strong at this event and I apologize for not getting a picture of the entire group.

Now it was time for everyone to enjoy the sights, sounds, and action that is Syncrofest!
We will start off with some incredible off roading in these amazing vehicles.

Some unbelievable videos:
Syncrofest marks the first official off-roading experience that I have been part of and has left me wanting more. Kudos to Jim for the fun ride in his Syncro.

You also can't own a VW without knowing how to fix it. Whether it's as simple as lowering the air pressure.
 A new bumper and swing arm.
 I'm not sure if this project was completed......
A big shout out to all the organizers for making Syncrofest a great family event as well.

I'm pretty sure she had a blast.

And the split window bus was a hit.
I know that many aren't happy with the stock Dometic fridge performance but I'll post this again after 4 days of camping on propane. I was actually a little upset as none of the meat actually defrosted - love this fridge!
Syncrofest is not only about the vehicles but the amazing people you meet. It was almost like an Instragram meet-up as I was finally able to put some faces to the people and vans I have admired for years.
Writing this blog put yet another smile on my face reliving the events and fun we had over 5 days. I consider myself extremely lucky to not only have a wife that puts up with my infatuations but now have a family to enjoy them with. I hope everyone rests up for next year!