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?