My friend Andy’s transportation options include a motorcycle, a 1966 Volkswagen van, two bikes, and a bush plane. He has lived in Boulder, Colorado for over 20 years, and he regularly flew the bush plane to work when he worked full-time out of an office in Denver. He’d ride his motorcycle out to the Boulder airstrip and have a truck waiting for him at the landing strip in Denver, which happens to be a convenient two-mile ride away from the office. The first time I heard this about Andy, it ignited in me a fire of ideas. I knew only a few people who had their pilot’s licenses, and I still haven’t met anyone else who flies into the office. The things we never think of.
I drove up from Denver last night to meet Andy for dinner in Boulder, and I had never been to his place before. But as soon as I turned down his street, I knew where he lived. An unmistakable rainbow-colored Volkswagen was parked out front. Groovy.
Being a van-lover, I squealed with delight and promptly asked for a tour. We first inspected the exterior, which is painted with a rainbow band, clouds, and a cluster of flowers.
“Wow. Did you paint it yourself?” I asked.
“Yeah, me and about ten friends…and a pot of mushroom tea,” he said, scratching his head.
We popped open the engine compartment, and he explained how he’d replaced the original air-cooled engine for a water-cooled one. I ran my fingers over the radiator mounted on the vehicle’s left side. Mechanical genius.
Andy’s van has a pretty good living room—the bench seat looks comfy, and it pulls out into a bed that sleeps two. He told me that he sometimes comes out to sit at the table—because that’s the best place to pirate wireless from his neighbors (a man after my own heart, truly).
Despite all of his vehicle’s strong points, I’d say that the split window is its sexiest feature. The windshield was beautifully curved, perfectly proportioned and balanced by the split down the middle.
Before heading into town, Andy asked me what we should drive to dinner: my rental car, his motorcycle, or the van.
“The van, for sure,” I said.
“You wanna drive?”
“Nah. You go for it.” I strapped myself into the passenger’s seat: sometimes it’s just better to enjoy the ride.