Author Archive for Bjorn Rettig

Progress update

The marriage of the living quarters and the truck. We’re excited to finally see this.

The box won’t remain white, it will be painted in the same color as the truck.


Speaking of colors. In late February I visited orangework once more together with my daughter Elena. We spent an hour going through fabric samples to pick out interior colors and fabrics. I didn’t really appreciate how difficult that would be, but fortuntately the fabric can be changed in case we don’t like it. The exterior color is much harder.

Our interior colors

Unfortunately the truck was currently at the paint shop while I visted, so we only get to see it covered up.

Truck getting spray painted


It was nice to see the interior for the first time in person.

The interior


The next time I will see the vehicle is hopefully in May at the Abenteuer & Allrad in Bad Kissingen. Orangework will do their best to get it completed enough to show. The final completion won’t happen until September.


125 g almond flour  (for pistachio use 50 g pistachio + 75 g of almond)
210 g confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar)
for 1 minute in food processor

100 g egg white (about 3 eggs, but it needs to be 100g)
30 g sugar
whisk briefly by hand to combine
and then:
2 minutes (with timer) on medium
2 minutes (with timer) on medium high
2 minutes (with timer) on high
in stand mixer (or with hand mixer)

Add any coloring (paste or powder, no liquid) now and mix for another 30 seconds

Sieve almond/sugar into new bowl until no more than 1 tbsp is left.
Add almond/sugar mix to egg whites
Fold 30-35 times until it reaches flowing consistency, but not too flowing

(see here: The Science Behind French Macarons – Kitchen Conundrums with Thomas Joseph)

Print the template at the end of the post. Place template under baking paper.

Use pastry bag ( to pipe.

Drop baking sheet 3 times on counter top (removes air bubbles)

Let sit for 15-30 minutes to dry out top (when you touch the top, it should not stick to your finger)

Good time to preheat oven to 150C/300F normal (not convection)


Bake for 13-16 minutes, turn the baking sheet at 7 minutes.


Immediately remove from baking sheet to wire rack and let cool for 1 hour before filling.




Watch this video for process:

The Science Behind French Macarons – Kitchen Conundrums with Thomas Joseph

But don’t follow his amounts 🙂


How it all started?

I grew up in a small town in Germany. When I was ten my parents bought an old Volkswagen van. Over the summer my dad, my brother, and I spent countless hours cleaning and then sanding it. A neighbor who was a retired woodworker built custom benches, that could be both used for storage and for creating sleeping space for the 4 of us (plus 3 Great Danes).

Our “Bus” at Pyla-sur-mer approx. 1980

In the following years my brother and I kept planning a grand trip through the USA, which never happened, because it was too expensive. Yet, I kept dreaming about a big trip. Through the years I owned several Volkswagen camper vans, both in Germany and later in the USA. In 2000 we bought a 30ft C-class RV, which we used extensively for short trips throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Our Bigfoot.

The RV was perfect for Anja and I, and our two daughters Julia and Elena. Large enough to have enough room when it rains, but not too large to get into the state and national parks. There was still my dream to at some point explore the USA, but it never seemed to be the right time. In 2004 we were reminded that we shouldn’t take life for granted. I decided to take a leave of absence from work and finally go on the big trip I have dreamed of.

The 2004 bigtrip

The trip was a great experience for all. Already during the trip, we decided that we had to do something like it again, when our daughters were teenagers. We had sold our first RV in 2005, because with the children busy at school and us busy with work and life, we just didn’t find the time to use it much.

In 2007 we visited Australia, in 2008 we did a 3 week tent safari in Namibia, in 2009 we visited Thailand and Japan. Time was moving along, the kids got older, and finally in 2012 we were ready for the next RV adventure. I had a sabbatical from work and both Julia and Elena were teenagers. We bought a used RV – this time 33ft with two slideouts. We got a good deal on the used vehicle, so we spend money on updating it a bit insight (best feature was a dishwasher). Off we went again. This time we focused on the Western USA.

2 years earlier though, while researching what kind of RV to buy for the 2012 trip I had discovered a different class of “camper” that was mainly a European phenomenon – an expedition vehicle. The Facebook post below was the first of such vehicles I saw.

How it all started
In the next few years I researched more and more. I found different websites, forums, and attended Abenteuer Allrad, an off-road trade shows, for the first time. Each time I had seemingly found the right choice for us, I learned something that was a showstopper. After all research it became clear that we needed a vehicle older than 25 years to be able to be imported to the US without regard to whether it complies with all DOT Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.