woulda, coulda, shoulda...An unavoidable aspect of getting older is coming to terms with pangs of regret for the roads not taken, metaphorically and literally. The post I did recently on old Mercedes vans and campers triggered a wave for me, especially the 0319 motor home conversion. And then when Alistair sent me the pictures of this Mercedes L319D Camper, along with a bit of its story, the waves gathered strength. But when I opened the picture of its rear doors, upon which all the destinations of this globe trotter are painted, it was almost too much. Alistair, you really shouldn’t have…
There it is, and what a list it is. From what I can tell, there were two major globe-trotting journeys, one documented on the left, the other on the right. Here’s a closer look at each.
The first started September 21, 1964, in Victoria, BC Canada. Drove across Canada, shipped out to Rotterdam, criss-crossed much of Western Europe, shipped to North Africa, traversed east to Cairo… Lebanon… Israel… Turkey…. Yugoslavia… Italy…. Vienna… Ukraine… Moscow… Scandinavia… Paris… London… Berlin… even East Berlin… back across Canada… and back home on October 6, 1965 (presumably). A full year on the road, with the winter spent in Northern Africa. A truck full of memories memorialized.
A few years to digest those before wanderlust set in again, and the Benz was off on trip #2, in 1970. This time down across the US to New Orleans, a second trip across other parts of Africa… Spain… France… the Stelvio Pass, taken slowly no doubt, given the 43, 52 or 60 hp, depending on exactly which diesel engine this L319D has. The Brenner Pass too, down into Innsbruck… Germany… Poland… USSR… Turkey… Greece… and then shipped back from Livorno, Italy. And then the return trip from New Orleans to Victoria. This time the trip was seven months long.
I can see my younger self here behind the steering wheel, watching the world go by (sloooowly), ready for the next new country and adventure. Here’s Alistair’s comment on this veteran:
The MB 319 feature some weeks ago had me biting my tongue. My across the street neighbour bought this van during the summer, but is technically not a CC. I actually put him on to it, having found the ad. As you can imagine there is a long story behind it, the original owner’s son was selling what really was a family treasure. My neighbour had thought he would fix it up but I feel he is now daunted by the task.