How Crooks & Liars Drove Me to A EuroVan & the Road


Enough of this world and all of its crooks and liars crushing the light out from the morning headlines! A high octane call to take to the road fuels my inner nomad. Drape me in beads and hats. Pack my bags (minimally). Climb aboard Gilda, the 1997 VW EuroVan with 136,000 miles already journeyed by the day we (Spouse and I) handed over a check to the charming couple from Santa Barbara, whom at 80 years old decided it was time to sell their road-tripping van and take cruises instead.



Why a EuroVan? Begin with my rant in the previous paragraph, followed by a perfectly reconditioned 1960’s VW van in a local car show. Spouse and I admired the classic van. I hinted at maybe purchasing the thing. That itch to leave modern world behind for mid-century world neared infection. It needed salve, not my fingernails.

“Honey,” Spouse began with the first word that means I need to correct your thinking on this, “can we consider something that might be able to manage an uphill climb faster than a crippled, aged and lumbering 3-legged turtle?”

Admittedly, I’m not a motor head like Spouse. “Honey” (me) explained her position. “I don’t want a big motor home that gulps fuel like I gulp coffee in the morning — you know, the planet and all!” Yes, I care about the planet and I don’t want to impact its health any more than I already do as an American consumer.

Within seven days, Spouse negotiated the price of what we would affectionally name Gilda.

No more than 20 miles along Highway 101 north, drivers in southbound Westy’s and older VW vans, waved. We were immediate members into a new club.

We’re going camping! And this from a woman who adores the style and class of the Ritz-Carton, and  known to adamantly state, “Camping is a room at Motel 6.”

Gilda is no Ritz-Carlton and lacks the convenience of “camping” at a bargain motel. But Gilda has a wheel up on these other travel options because she can take me to places without accommodations and hordes of people, where there’s no tipping involved, and like this very moment from where I write this introduction, Gilda is parked beneath a canopy of trees in a Central California campground. The single distraction is a  burbling creek 10 steps from the camp table from where I sit to write and review yesterday’s photos. A few curious scrub jays screech in a sycamore towering above — showing their campground savvy for possible leftover scraps of food. They’ll soon learn that I’m not one of those kind of campers. I won’t feed wildlife. The only other camper on the grounds is a young couple in a blue Westy and they are not interested in grandpa and grandma in the white EuroVan where I slept like a baby in my own bed with my own pillows, sheets and blankets.

And thus begins the tales of this old broad with camera (OBWC) and life beyond, above, and below mankind’s follies. Thus begins a personal study in interconnectedness with the thinning vestiges of nature’s beauty and preserved history.