Tag Archives: earthship

VW Suana, Hot Tub, Prayer Flags (also daveo)

just settle in and everything will be alright…

Handy when the psychedelic VW bus sauna, hot tub, and other time travel portals are all conveniently next to each other with the prayer flags.

As seen at Mangy Moose / Scraggly Squirrel ski cabins, Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. Thanks Honi and Dave!

{loads more from this visit to come in another post but in the meanwhile, check out the Lomo photo pictogram cards}

photo: Adam Burningham

 

Tintin Expo86 / Belgian Pavilion

Oh and here’s Tintin on the Moon sticker from Belgian pavilion on the aforementioned beloved VW bus. I loved transportation, geography and wanted to “go everywhere, gather stories and share with pals” which is what i’ve done since then #expo86

Tintin, Belgian Pavilion Expo 86 Sticker / in 1974 VW Bus “Earthship” in Granny’s backyard in Logan UT

Note: i also have the corresponding poster – both a tattered original and a quality framed version thanks to JMV (photos may appear elsewhere in this archive).

#daveo50 ~ 2016 / 50 years > days > photos

Dave Olson, 2016 #daveo50
#daveo50 ~ 2016 / for passport, visa, or other ID

Project: Upon turning 50 years old on August 16, 2020, Dave Olson (me, hello) is posting a photo (or maybe photos) a day / per year – starting with 1970 with intent of chronicling existence through various primary evidence sourced from studio portraits, class photos, ID / passport photos, or occasionally other “casual/group/random” shots when    the above don’t exist in my archive (note: not “artificial intelligence,” really me, pulled from shoeboxes, journals, wallets and whatnot – diligently scanned and dated via glasses and haircuts, lightly annotated).

Continue reading #daveo50 ~ 2016 / 50 years > days > photos

Invite / letter: “Far Far West Party” – 1994 / Logan, UT

Invite / letter: “Far Far West Party” – 1994 / Logan, UT / layout version, outsider

Somehow, somewhere between my first couple trips to Japan (frankly it’s a little bit foggy after a plan to go to Mexico and live on the beach didn’t materialize, hemp fests, Dead concerts, flower sticks & hemp bag selling), I was in Logan, Utah (where i had spruced-up my Volkswagen bus “the Earthship” only to abandon it) where my Mom rented a rambling old polygamist house in the shadow of the LDS temple which she rented as a boarding house for various students plus a few randoms living in the backyard in a sort of tent/van village.

Logan isn’t my favourite place (so many cops and rules!) but, here I was and as such, I put together a party to reunite with old friends, share stories, collect lent items, play some music and hit up hot springs.

Invite / letter: “Far Far West Party” – 1994 / Logan, UT / layout version, inside

I designed this “aerogramme-inspired” invitation (meaning the paper was both an envelope and a letter), including various snippets of haiku art, doodles, maps and intentions, and floated them out into the world. The party was called “Far Far West” in homage to a Gary Snyder poem about going to Japan and my westward facing, Pacific centric geographic mindset.

Wasn’t sure what to make of it all as addresses were stale, friends were transient, memory scare, but, as it goes, worked out just wonderful as dozens of people came throughout a few days with folks camping out in the backyard to the chagrin of the neighbours who tried to poison the dogs (seriously!) as well as called the police who stealthed into our backyard campfire while we were singing along to Larry’s autoharp and Marty Kendall’s ceramic drums and, surprisingly, the police were rather chill about everything / they asked us to play a song, we did, they told us to have a good night, they left, we laughed and we sparked up another one and kept on going.

As it goes, there was a *loaves and fishes* vibes as my wonderful Mother put on big pots of curry and different stews with ingredients folks brought along, and we kept pots of coffee and exotic teas going in a truly freeform fun for all couple of days.

Sensei Larry Harper and Dave at some derelict hot springs nears Tremonton, Utah during the “far far west” part weekend, 1994 (?)

I recall the 2nd day included a trip out to a derelict hot spring on the side of a forgotten highway which had sort of been roughed in by a dangerous assortment of bricks. Nevertheless, we soaked, we played banjo music… and I have a photo of me and Sensei Larry to prove it (somewhere in the boxes there might be a few more snapshots).

Invite / letter: “Far Far West Party” – 1994 / Logan, UT / production version, inside

I will say that I was surprised to see this invitation – both the original layout as well as a production copy printed on 50% post consumer recycled “redrock” paper and dutifully printed with some copywriting that somehow makes me smile still. (Note: included the layout and production versions for posterity and archiving).

Invite / letter: “Far Far West Party” – 1994 / Logan, UT / production version, outside

Note: poetry snippets from “January in Hot Springs” series

Artifact: Tom Tom’s Volkwagen “Museum” / Moab, UT, 1990

Artifact: Tom Tom’s Volkwagen “Museum” / Moab, UT

My beloved 1974 Volkswagen van broke down in Moab on an ill-fated mission with friends – including a child – in tow. As such, I went in search of a replacement coil (a lil cylinder needed to fire the ignition) and after a few stops, ended up at Tom Tom’s “museum” which is really just a lot of great buses (with a great view) which he can’t decide if they’re for sale or for parting out.

The truth is, I was in a jam, no parts available anywhere, was push-starting the van, needed to get somewhere, was getting late on a Saturday (Sunday in Utah limits options) but he wouldn’t sell me sell me a coil despite having dozens and dozens.

Now in way of confession, after he left, I took one, stuck 10 bucks in the mail slot and left, found my friends (who were rather upset at that point) and drove back north. A miserable trip.

PS I shared the story in a rather pretentious Moab-area topical internet forum and was lambasted for being a thief, warned never to return to Moab (keep in mind this was 1990)  and called a coward for waiting out “statute of limitation” / yup for a $10 at best par / all this despite the people in the group regularly discussing their *renegade anti-establishment* views and clandestine “night work” activities. Such hypocrisy, but hey, goes with the territory. 

Momentos: USA University Road Trip (with Spanky and Kaimi), 1989

USA roadtrip, 1989, by 1974 VW Bus “Earthship”

In 1989 (iirc), my beloved VW bus criss-crossed states at a frenetic pace with long drives to Kansas City for Drum Corps, California for punk concerts, over the Rockies to Denver for The Who, a Vancouver trip or two in there, couple of Moab and then was wrangled into the epic trip starting in Utah to the US Northeast and swinging back down through the Midsouth stopping by universities and colleges of all times so a fellow named Kaimi could pitch his idea of selling flag T-shirts to various bookstores. 

The deal was: he would pay the bills, do much of the driving and other logistics and I was just along for the ride and providing the wheels.

USA roadtrip, 1989, Kaimi at wheel, Dave shotgun in 1974 VW Bus “Earthship”

Resulted in many harrowing nights in places like New Haven, Cambridge, New York City (where we weren’t allowed through Lincoln tunnel because of onboard propane and required a complicated turn around in the midst of traffic), a break down in Connecticut – replacing fuel pump with a random mechanic in his driveway. I remember driving on a graceful parkway then seeing a horrific accident unfold in the pouring rain storm. Sneaking into all sorts of university dorms for clandestine hi-jink, being mysterious “aliens” from the west marauding in this renegade van. Seeing a wonderful girl I knew from Utah working as a nanny in Connecticut (rip Janel H.), making friends with the father of the house (he let us sleep in the basement because I was reading Jack Kerouac), buying beer with fake IDs and never a second glance, (racks of it drinking back while crossing midwest and through Penn), stops at Wrigley Field in Chicago (no game :(!), Sun Studios in Memphis (met a fine lady there), watching Kaimi spin spin spin with endless energy. Oh, staying with his family around Washington DC and going like a “show and tell” item to his younger brother’s high school class (to much acclaim :)). The van getting broken into and ransacked while parked in Washington DC to see the Smithsonian. Must’ve been a couple of other significant roadside attractions along the way. 

 
USA roadtrip, 1989, with Spanky in front of Sun Studios, Memphis (obviously)

Pal Jerrod aka Spanky was also on board (as kinda Kaimi’s svengali) and brought his guitar so, along with my bongos, we did some busking here and there ++ saw Fugazi play at All Soul’s Church, DC and REM play at Merriweather Post, Maryland, just missed secret Rolling Stones at a frog-something-named-bar by Yale. Rambled campuses and saw how the system of private patronage in the East works – they ain’t no smarter, just better connected / mostly. Skullz and Bonez.

USA roadtrip, 1989, Spanky and Kaimi (grumpy) out back Sun Studios, Memphis

I had no schedule nor expectations except to just go go go and so we did. And, behold I have evidence.

USA roadtrip, 1989, in front of Wrigley Field (we were told there was a game but nope, White Sox were playing across town)

Riff: VW Beetle / busted up, 1986 (+ pizza beast, Earthship, REM and a sketchy boss)

Battered VW Beetle with broken spindle in American Fork, UT, ca 1986

Just before I turned 16 while living in Orem Utah, I purchased an (soon to be infamous) 1974 VW “turtle top” bus ($1475) and, that winter – after failing my driving test driving the bus and driving away from the licensing bureau but passing in the next time (that big bus wasn’t easy to parallel park until you got the hang of it) – drove up to Vancouver in the middle of the winter which included the snowy regions of the Cascades…  On the way back, with no money for a motel and 2 brothers on board, the van caught fire (engine compartment) in snowy Prosser, Washington at 2AM (had extinguisher, slept cold, finally found a mechanic who didn’t do anything and limped home about 700 miles on 2 cylinders, 35Mph… #anotherstory #focus).

Anyhow, this is all to tell you that this led to taking a job with a sketchy man who lived in our townhouse complex who had opened up pizza restaurants, Roberto Prieto (or so he said). He was a dodgy fellow with an underage wife, quickly burnt out his business partner at  “pizza heaven(?)” and bailed and opened a rival “pizza beast” in Provo. So i went to work for him cleaning out this former Chinese restaurant and turning it into an assembly line of high-volume pizza for BYU students,  in exchange for him paying me ($3.35/hr) but also helping rebuild my Volkswagen bus as he was allegedly a great VW mechanic and had an awesome set of tools (somehow all brand-new) in his garage.

He did basically nothing for my van except a lot of talk and no action and assigning me hours in a solvent tank washing parts, and some months later (after the accusations about s3xy times and dodgy substances picked up momentum plus he had purchased fancy Camaros for he and his wife which he couldn’t pay for it seems) he bailed in the middle of the night with all sorts of wreckage left behind.

Bob and I went to his house, hopping into the backyard to see if there was any remnants of the van parts as the engine was “gone”. Nothing useful, however there was an hungry/angry mother dog and her starving pups in the backyard who came running after us requiring a mighty leap to clear the fence.

{Anyway, somewhere there is possibly still bad man and all the stories about young girls in coca!ne who has long forgotten about me and the pizza beast I suspect but if I come across an artefact from that time, I’ll hook you up – must be a snapshot somewhere.}

In the *interim* of not fixing my bus,  he lent me this battered Volkswagen bug which was exceptionally dangerous as there was no seatbelts, no passenger seat, and in the backseat where the battery was housed, sitting down caused the battery to short so only could have one person sitting behind the driver which made the vehicle very unbalanced.

I would drive this home, with dodgy headlights etc. after working at the pizza restaurant in Provo to American Fork (a vaguely neighbouring town), and two times had near death experiences, no exaggeration.

One time, I drove over a dip under a railway bridge which, turns out, was pure ice – the bald tires spun immediately completely out of control…, I remember seeing the light of oncoming traffic honking as the car spun aimlessly and aggressively in a narrow space wedged in between concrete poles and various stanchions for railroad crossing gates… but *fortunately* landed in a snowbank . Was stuck there, trying to push my way out, no one stopped to help, just honk, but finally I got it going and drove on bewildered (no way to call for help as no phone around), but couldn’t get all the way home as our current home (a story in itself) was top of the steep hill. After a few false starts with ridiculous backwards slides, finally gave up, left the bug, trudged through the snow to the house.

The next time, while driving along the same road, the lil car gave a mighty thud then a hard scrapping squeal and lunged to the right. Felt like much more than a flat tire and turned out the wheel, tire and all had completely come off the spindle, and yes the wheel spindle itself, a thick solid post of steel, had somehow completely, not snapped, but somehow worn right through and come off with wheel tire etc with it.

I fought for control and somehow crash landed on the side of the road… Likely hitchhiked home or walked or something, but this is where that bug lay. Never drove it again. I can take a hint universe.

While I’m riffing, later an eccentric man in Pleasant Grove called Martin took on the task of repairing the mighty Earthship bus, which at this point has been sort of out of commission for a while and was really cramping my style, but let me a 1976 fuel injected VW Bus, not a camper, but it was a runner… I maybe took advantage of his kindness a little bit by driving it to Moab several times and then on a road trip to Omaha, Nebraska to see our REM with a few pals. I did my best to take care of it and wow, it was a nice ride – not all the accessories but just went and didn’t leak oil (shocker).

Finally, the mighty Earthship was up and running and ended up on so many adventures back-and-forth across USA, many Grateful Dead tours, the hostage incident in Taos,  up and back to BC and down Mexico several times, living in it while working at a bike shop in Burnaby, BC and going to university of Utah in SLC, and now lives as a sauna in big Cottonwood Canyon (more to this story on the docket to share).

There were several other significant car incidents besides the bus catching on fire, and the bug causing a few near misses including the terrible Blazer crash on Christmas Eve in Jerome, Idaho but I don’t speak of that terrible incident any further. Pictures exist (and a newspaper article) and they make me shake and nightmare. 

So yeah the photo at the top is the bug with broken spindle. Somewhere there’s a guy named Roberto who owes me and a guy named Martin who i am grateful for and a stretch of highway between Utah and BC laden with calamity for me. All in the past. 

Artifact: Tintin at Belgian Pavilion at Expo 86 / sticker in VW Bus

Tintin, Belgian Pavilion Expo 86 Sticker / in 1974 VW Bus “Earthship” in Granny’s backyard in Logan UT

Grateful Dead rambles / “family photos” (with renegade pals & VWs)

Eugene, Oregon, 1990 – the first “gathering of my tribes” meaning Utah pals and BC crew meeting for first time and forging lifelong relationship, in front of my beloved 1974 VW “turtletop” the Earthship (now a sauna)

Back in the days of rambling around to Grateful Dead shows with pals in various (usually Volkswagen) vehicles, cameras weren’t really part of the kit. Usually, ticket(s) if possible, contraband if practical, maybe extra clothes to accommodate climates, hopefully a few bucks.

However, as part of my documentary instincts, i hauled along a tripod and a 35mm Alpa camera for taking “family photos” in which i would cajole (with much whingeing usually) the assembled renegades to pose, i’d hit the timer and run back (as such usually right in front) and take 1 and only 1 shot. Years later these would usually get developed.

Many are lost to the fog, however, some are gathered here for posterity and memorial. 

near St George, Utah on way away form Las Vegas shows, 1992 i think? again the Utah and BC clans combining for some wild times in front of Willis’ VW Thing, Chris’ green VW bus. Great folks here (and at least one who is passed on, rip JJ)

Continue reading Grateful Dead rambles / “family photos” (with renegade pals & VWs)

All of the words at once…

No need to fit in a word

Said all of them, all at once

One stream or ocean

Of (un)consciousness

Neal Cassady is dead –

So who will spiel all of the words instead?

VW Earthship, from Salt Lake City to Okayama Japan

My senpei & pal (and Japan’s biggest deadhead) Mac Kobayashi came to Salt Lake City on his honeymoon in 1991 and visited me and the noble old earth ship in The Avenues on a blustery day.

Note; Soon after, i bailed on Univ of Utah and headed out on Grateful Dead tour fulltime… including the “hostage incident” with Sooby Ahmed… then everywhere/thing else.

He shared these snaps (obviously snapped from a photo album) in 2019 as a pleasant flashback. 

As it goes, in April 2019, he’ll be hosting a wedding party for Ryoko Fujita and I at his goat farm. 

 

 

 

Flashback: Notes about Orem (Utah) high school, on occasion of 30th reunion (2018)

A high school i attended for 1-1/2 year-ish in Utah held a 20 anniversary for my graduating class in summer 2018 – while i wasn’t technically a graduate (nor did i attend the event), i added my dispatch for the record. Shared here for the posterity etc.

Via Orem high School Class of 1988 FB page 7 July 2018

A few flashbacks… (PS i was Dave Elliott in those years)

I was a sorta “walk-on character” in the Orem High sitcom – arriving from Canada for the last couple months of 10th grade and then dropping out 2 weeks into 12th grade but dang,… made 11th grade count.

"in character" as a earnest archeologist, circa 1936, location unknown
“in character” as a earnest archeologist, circa 1936, location unknown

Ergo:

* Running Paul Moody’s “campaign” for Student body president including the “fascist takeover” at the assembly and screening of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” in lounge for a campaign promotion – and the acknowledgement speech at assembly in which someone temporarily declined to announce the winner because of the number of “refused” ballots

* The (notorious) Martin Luther King day protest including long banners on newspaper roll ends covering the lockers with rather controversial slogans

* Making a “Stop Aids” balloon/flag/kite and running it up the flag pole with Cory DeMille and my brother Bob Olson (now the US military’s 2 finest examples)

* Thought i wasn’t enrolled in Unified Studies, my attendance was almost perfect

* KOHS, possibly the best invention in the history of highschool (until my FCC license was revoked)

* Ace-ing AP US History with a 98% on the test but failing because of the tardy/absence policy (drop a grade each time or something) – it *was* the first class in the morning

* Being amazed at seminary – meaning you could sign up and have basically a period off (before moving to Utah, i had attended early morning seminary (imagine the horror of riding to church house on cold Canadian mornings at 5AM!)

* Swim team – i wasn’t cut out for football, basketball etc so signed up for swim team which basically meant roadtrips to other schools, hanging out in a Speedo waiting to lose to “whichever school we were competing against” – our girl’s team won all the time though

* Having no idea was the heck a Sadie Hawkins dance was until getting invited by a card written in Alpha-bits cereal – was completely baffled (later Napoleon Dynamite made this clear)

school dance (in shorts natch) with Kim who drove a lavender Karman Ghia
school dance (in shorts natch) with Kim who drove a lavender Karman Ghia

* Umm… after growing up in a very multi-cultural part of Vancouver (little Punjab), arriving to a ummm… sorta non-diverse school

* Feeling like a total outsider but quickly making friends by virtue of driving a limo to school – which was later replaced by an even more fun VW bus (Spicoli had nothing on me)

* Wearing shorts every single day of the school year – usually with wool socks and duck boots and flannel shirts – i didn’t exactly invent “grunge style” but do deserve an honourable mention

* Frequently teased for using Canadian spellings / we like to put in extra an “u” and switch around “re” instead of “er” and saying “zed” instead of “zee” #sigh

* Requiring a note to read Catcher in The Rye in 11th grade AP English > also realizing the teacher had absolutely no idea why the book was “banned” in some alien circles

* Amazed that so many girls looked like straight out of a magazine or movie #outofmyleague – i was more accustomed to punk rock girls

practising to be in a John Hughes movie with JPJ
practising to be in a John Hughes movie with JPJ

* Never attending a single football game (now if there was a hockey team…)

* Coming “back” for 12th grade homecoming dance and bringing non-Orem high pals and taking photo with the reggae band (Irie Heights)

crashing homecoming dance and posing with Irie Heights band - game: who's in band, who's attending dance?
crashing homecoming dance and posing with Irie Heights band – game: who’s in band, who’s attending dance?

By the way, when i bailed on Grade 12 (12th Grade), i went to Utah Technical College (later Utah Valley Community College, Utah Valley College, Utah Valley University, Harvard of the West…) and “earned” an Alpine School District Adult High School diploma after rigorous schedule of ceramics, mountaineering, photography and “independent study” – also creative writing (which turned out handy). I did attend class of 88 grad as a spectator.

Later? after a run of a few more higher-ed institutions (University of Utah, University of Guam) i graduated from Evergreen State College, just took me a few decades. Since, travelled 40+ countries, 100 weird jobs (most recently VP at Hootsuite (social media company), gave TEDx talk (not near as popular as Jani Radebaugh‘s) and now live on various remote small islands making poetry, podcasts and paintings (also deal with a weird complex illness #boring).

I have been able to meet up with a few excellent folks from those years (Cory DeMilleMark SwensonJayson LeeKyle BlackhamJennifer Powers-JohnsonJeniffer Johnson GoodmanJennifer Hawkins PixtonNichole Ortega… in the last few years – albeit some only virtually).

Thanks for letting me share – i won’t be at the reunion (i am far away elsewhere) but carry fond memories.

Would very much like to know what you are up to?

I also love to write letters/postcards so message your address (or fill out form on my website) and one day you’ll receive postal mail from this “walk on character”.

Fondly, dvo, elsewhere

yeah, i is a graduate-d
yeah, i is a graduate-d

Annotations

Jennifer Hawkins Pixton You were ahead of your time! Love that your VW bus is now a sauna.

"Earthship" new incarnation as sauna at Mangy Moose lodge up Big Cottonwood Canyon (near SLC, UT)
“Earthship” new incarnation as sauna at Mangy Moose lodge up Big Cottonwood Canyon (near SLC, UT)
Evidence of Sauna inside Earthship VW bus
Evidence of Sauna inside Earthship VW bus

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Michelle Scofield You and your brother were exactly what the school needed!! Thanks for spicing things up.

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Marianne Paul Jensen You were definitely ahead of your time. And you definitely increased the character of the non-diverse school.
Thanks for sharing these awesome memories!

Dave Olson Marianne Paul Jensen So kind of you to say… I was apprehensive posting this thinking that everyone would wonder “hmm don’t remember that guy, do you?”

Marianne Paul Jensen Dave Olson I totally remember you. I was hesitant commenting because I’m sure you don’t remember me.
But you really had an impact in the time you were at OHS.

Dave Olson Marianne Paul Jensen Making me feel like ¥1 million here. And for sure I remember you.

Dave Olson Funny how in those impressionable days of high school, we get defined, &/or define ourselves… I guess I was a little naïve about the different cliques and hierarchies of high school in the US… I had gone to four different schools in 10th grade and just desperately wanted to find a tribe to hang out with so tried to be friendly to everyone. Of course most people had known each other for years through junior high or the same church groups or whatever but I came in with none of those preconceive notions.

I’m sure I overcompensated for my nervousness with too much chatter and goofballery –

As it goes, no matter how “popular” one was in high school, we all had to go out in the world and find someway to make a living and make ourselves happy. It turns out there’s a little benefit to “peaking early” And being “cool” in high school doesn’t predict a future of life success/happiness.

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Rick Herlevi I was telling my kids the other day about the one and only time in my life that I hiked the Y. I skipped class and went with Kraig Kiggins, I think Cory was there and the two Canadian brothers that drove a limo and hiked they Y. Why would I ever want to do it again after that pinnacle experience.

infamous "Starlite" renegade limousine service with noted customer
infamous “Starlite” renegade limousine service with noted customer

Kelli Robison HerleviKelli and 24 others helped build Orem High School Class of 1988 by sharing it, inviting people or writing posts when the group was new. This convo definitely did take place very recently. It was probably our FHE lesson. I thought Rick was making up the story so he didn’t have to commit to a “Y” hike. But it looks like there’s truth to his story. I won’t make him hike the “Y” again. I can’t compete.

Dave Olson Next time, we will just drive the limo up to the Y with a catered picnic – It’s all true, even the parts that aren’t 🙂

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Cory DeMille Many great memories in this bus! Remember our Good the Bad and the Ugly video Party and camping in the bus in full cowboy regalia on OHS campus? Now that would be considered a terrorist incident!

"Earthship" VW bus in similar set-up as high school era - changes include a rebuilt interior, additional dings and a dog in the back
“Earthship” VW bus in similar set-up as high school era – changes include a rebuilt interior, additional dings and a dog in the back

Dave Olson Cory DeMille Oh great memory! Just the sound of popping popcorn on the bus’s stove would’ve created phone calls to the police about suspected gunshots

Dave Olson Also remember driving around and shooting Roman candle bottle rockets out the back of the bus, and later water balloons (filled from the bus’s sink) and big gulp cups through the “accidental” sunroof – would soak BYU students and act all nonchalant like “it wasn’t us”… Sometimes when chased, the only reasonable strategy was to drive really slow rather than trying to out run them. Those activities did produce some actual police incidents however

Cory DeMille We were dicks at times!

Dave Olson Cory DeMille Our revolution was not Instagramed (As such, no evidence thankfully)