WHACKY WHEELS

Nearly 50 years ago, Josef and Jo­hanna Tol­may from Drie Rivieren rented a fold-up car­a­van to take their baby boy to see the ocean. They have been camp­ing non-stop ever since.

Go! Camp & Drive - - Contents - Edited by Kyle Kock Photo Josef Tol­may

In 1969, Jo­hanna and I had been mar­ried for only about three years, and our first-born Danie had just ar­rived. Jo­hanna and I both love the ocean, and we dreamed of the day when we could go show our son the vast wa­ters. But there was one prob­lem: At that stage we couldn’t af­ford to rent a hol­i­day flat near the sea. So we had to con­sider an al­ter­na­tive, and that was to rent a car­a­van. But I drove a 1966 Fiat 1100D. With its lim­ited per­for­mance the op­tions of what I could tow were fairly lim­ited – I needed a light car­a­van with low wind re­sis­tance. I soon re­alised a fold-up car­a­van was the an­swer. I started look­ing and even­tu­ally we were re­ferred to some­one in the Ma­gagong area in the North West prov­ince. They had a fold-up car­a­van and were will­ing to rent it to us for R2 a day. We agreed and towed the car­a­van to Harten­bos. The car­a­van was sim­i­lar to a trailer but it had a heavy metal roof. You lifted the roof and then two metal poles – one in front and one in the back – propped the roof up. But that was eas­ier said than done – it took two strong men to lift the roof. With the roof in place, two sin­gle beds folded out to the out­side. The frame’s sails were per­ma­nently fixed to the roof and both beds were sup­ported at the bot­tom by metal props. These props and the two that kept the car­a­van stable at the back op­er­ated with tele­scopic poles. The sails of the en­tire frame­work were fas­tened with brack­ets to the bot­tom of the beds and the body­work. I re­mem­ber there were two sin­gle benches with a small walk­way in be­tween. It was a great place to sit and had ex­tra beds for two more peo­ple. You could lift up the benches – and that was the only stor­age space in the car­a­van. The tent also didn’t have any zips, which meant you didn’t have much con­trol over keep­ing rain, wind or the cold out. You climbed in at the back of the car­a­van through a door that folded out to the bot­tom. On the in­side of the door was a built-in step; I re­mem­ber it was a clever plan that made climb­ing in and out much eas­ier. That hol­i­day by the sea was our camp­ing bap­tism by fire and an un­for­get­table ex­pe­ri­ence. Since then we’ve been en­thu­si­as­tic campers who’ve trav­elled all over with our Jur­gens Expo. I do wish though that we knew a bit more about the ori­gin of our rented foldup car­a­van. Maybe some­one can help with some info.

Some­one in the Ma­gagong area had a fold-up car­a­van that they were will­ing to rent to us for R2 a day. We agreed.

Have you spot­ted any wacky wheels on your trav­els? Tell us about it and send a photo to drive­camp@go­mag.co.za or go! Drive & Camp, PO Box 740, Cape Town 8000.

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