Life: Lady in Waiting

The van, garage-bound.It is true that I own a 1970 Volkswagen van. This fact might be unbelievable because it has been stashed in a friend’s shed in Limon, Colorado for the three (plus) years that I have been bouncing in and out of the U.S. I don’t have the heart to sell the thing, and now I’ve paid more to store it (over $1500) than I paid for it to begin with ($1000, cash).

But when it comes to Volkswagen vans, all costs are relative. During the first summer that I owned it, for example, the engine blew up while I was driving across the Mojave Desert. The clutch went out on a highway near Santa Monica. The starter died. The front shocks went kaput. And the electrical system failed on my way to Pasadena, leaving me stranded…at night…on a highway…without a shoulder (I called 911 on that one). In a single summer, I burned—literally—thousands of dollars on repairs. I could also mention the panic, the towings, the begging of alternate transportation from friends, and the sweaty waits in Volkswagen repair shops…but I’ll spare you the details. It’s an adventure, right? And so it’s priceless.

Wade Bailey, Superstar Mechanic.

Anyhow, I grew attached to the van despite its complete lack of mechanical integrity. I’ve replaced the cracked windshield and had it restored to its original shiny red. I’ve sewn new curtains, reupholstered the seats, sanded and repainted the bumpers and rims. I dream of living out of this vehicle when I return to the U.S., a fact that I’m sure worries my family and some of my friends.

Yours Truly, On the Road Again.

Over the weekend, I drove out to Limon to visit the van and to see if I could get it going. I hadn’t seen it in over three years, and Wade—mechanical friend and owner of said shed—had told me that there was “no way” it would start. The front right tire was flat, but after we pushed it out of the shed, I turned the key, and it fired right up. Let me repeat that. After three years of sitting in a shed, the van fired right up. Unbelievable. Seriously. Miraculous. And so I keep it, waiting in the shed. And so I still dream of the day that I can return to the shed and drive it away with me, out on the open road. But for now, it waits. And I wait, too.


4 responses to “Life: Lady in Waiting

  1. OK, first of all: nice job figuring out how to put more compressed pics onto your blog! Seriously. It makes a HUGE difference on my end and increasing my viewing pleasure exponentially. 🙂


    That’s all. Oh, and I’m glad the van started. That’s amazing.

  2. traci! the van! i see her at last. that’s phenom that she started. way to go. also, your blog FREAKING rocks. i love the four corners and haven’t been there in YEARS. maybe i’m due… it’s great seeing all your pics. xo

  3. I’m also glad the van started, but pissed you didn’t give that baby a good solid photo shoot. Maybe you did, and that will come later….or maybe not. I’ve yet to see it in person, so the photos are always nice to see.

    Just reminiscing about the van photo album that was shared on the family trip to Longview, WA in 2003. I thought Grampa was pretty impressed with your adventurous spirit, despite all the rolling eyes.

  4. OK, Tray…. this is your Dadman…. Wade is a cool guy to let you store the van there; and I always look over at the shed as I go by on I-70 heading for Denver. BUT, I think you should negotiate for a lower storage fee – or, Wade should build a new shed and fix your flat tire. 🙂

    See you soon, MacDaddy

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