Tag Archives: vw

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. 

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. 

No Reserve: 1962 Volkswagen Bus 23-Window Samba

Ya missed out, will hafta spend your $122,000 USD on another 1962 23-window VW bus (somehow so appalling yet somehow so worth it)gorgeous /  fully restored like wow.

Tip: buy a Brasilian “remix” bus (cheap and cheerful, delivered) 

Blurb: 

This Volkswagen Type 2 is a nine-passenger, 23-window Deluxe model that was built to US specifications on May 22, 1962. It has been driven less than 300 miles since a restoration that took place before it was purchased by the previous owner in 2016, and the selling dealer acquired it in May 2020. The Bus is finished in Beige Grey over Sealing Wax Red and features a sliding canvas sunroof as well as pop-out Safari windshield and rear window glass. Power comes from a 1.6-liter dual-port flat-four sourced from a later Beetle and paired with a four-speed manual transmission. Additional equipment includes a Bosch 009 distributor, a Bocar carburetor, 15″ steel wheels, and four-wheel drum brakes. This Samba is now offered by the selling dealer with service records from 2016 onward, a refurbished tool kit, and a clean Washington State title.

 

Books: Otherwise / chapbooks, magazines, oddities, ephemera

Ending “book round-up” week (just came up with that) comes “stuff that didn’t fit anywhere else” – chapbooks, odds and ends, ephemera, a bit of therapy and grieving, extended brochures, slices of history and a few guides to new life.

Topics include: VWs in Japan, Rescued Buildings anywhere, not working, Titanic sinking in Nova, folktales of Newfoundland, Motoring in Utah, grieving and picking up the pieces, and a special journal by a young girl in Quebec. No further annotations provided. 

Continue reading Books: Otherwise / chapbooks, magazines, oddities, ephemera

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?

Artifacts: 2 Cameras, 4 Phones, 2 VWs, 2 Maneki Neko (in a coffee shop in Nozawa Onsen)

Wandering into a coffee shop in Nozawa Onsen, Nagano to find all sorts of treasures. 

Artifacts: Phone, black, no dial (in a coffee shop in Nozawa Onsen)
Artifacts: Phone, black, no dial (in a coffee shop in Nozawa Onsen)
Artifacts: Phone, brown, no dial (in a coffee shop in Nozawa Onsen)
Artifacts: Phone, brown, no dial (in a coffee shop in Nozawa Onsen)
Artifacts: Phone, pink, rotary dial, 10 yen slot (in a coffee shop in Nozawa Onsen)
Artifacts: Phone, pink, rotary dial, 10 yen slot (in a coffee shop in Nozawa Onsen)
Artifacts: Phone, black, rotary dial (in a coffee shop in Nozawa Onsen)
Artifacts: Phone, black, rotary dial (in a coffee shop in Nozawa Onsen)

Continue reading Artifacts: 2 Cameras, 4 Phones, 2 VWs, 2 Maneki Neko (in a coffee shop in Nozawa Onsen)

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. 

 

 

 

Earthship VW bus/sauna, Big Cottonwood canyon, Utah (2016) – Lomo photos (colour)

Earthship VW bus/sauna: dave and bus
Earthship VW bus/sauna: dave and bus front

As documented here and there, i once owned a 1974 VW bus and travelled all over the place and enjoyed many adventures and undertook extensive repairs and renovations. as it goes, it sat in my Granny’s backyard as my travels took me further afield to foreign lands, as such, i passed it along to cousins who sold it to a fella called Zac, who also let it sit for sometime in garage before some adventurous and creative folks called Honi and (Dayglo) Dave bought it for a daughter and quickly realized that it would be an unfit vehicle due to reliability concerns.

You see, Honi and Dave have some great rental lodges and extensive compound in Big Cottonwood canyon (outside of SLC Utah) which they rent primarily to skiiers/boarders and other recreate-ers. They already have a hottub, tipis and so on and converted the noble “Earthship” into a sauna. We connected over some serendipitous internet-happpenstance and  i rallied up a gang of pals to go visit. H&D were wonderful hosts and the visit soon turned into an all-night party including hot boxing the sauna (in a couple different ways, soaking in hot tub, and firing up the jukebox in the Mangy Moose cabin. Incidentally, a momma moose and her kids paid a visit.

The bus has been privy to weddings, parties and all sorts of merriment. As is obviously, its extensively painted and decorated, the insides gutted (who knows what lost items were found) its parked in a flower bed of sorts. They presented me a key which travels with me all ’round the globe.

Here are a few pieces of documentary evidence snapped wth Lomo La Sardina (sardine can) camera. Also made a series of friendly postal pictograms with these images. Many of these snaps were captured by Jamielee Eldridge.

Earthship VW bus/sauna: inside the bus sauna (enter via passenger door)
Earthship VW bus/sauna: inside the bus sauna (enter via passenger door)

Continue reading Earthship VW bus/sauna, Big Cottonwood canyon, Utah (2016) – Lomo photos (colour)

Post’d: get on the postcard bus

“Get on the Postcard Bus” – another handcrafted batch of greeting cards, this cohort featuring snapshots of my former beloved VW bus dubbed “the earth ship”.
 
Photos were snapped with a Lomo Sardine Can camera (cork covered) with expired 35mm film during a “reunion” with the bus after over a decade during which old pals and I reacquainted ourselves with the noble beast thru stories and inebriants.
 
The steed is now retired, painted majestically in a complete mural featuring various Grateful Dead-inspired motifs – including Jerry Garcia and a dancing bear at the “wheel”, dancing skeletons, curious creatures and psychedelic meanderings throughout – as lives as a sauna(!) & wedding altar at the Mangy Moose Lodge up Big Cottonwood Canyon outside Salt Lake City, run by the funnest couple Honi and Day-Glo Dave. They even presented me with one of the old keys of this beloved vehicle which I keep with me in my travel wallet.
 
The batch of cards were water-coloured, inked with fountain pen, photos glued, tender sentiments written inside, and mailed to dear folks worldwide with affection.
 
Oh and some of these photos were taken by @twillomusic – thanks!

Roll your own adventure…

#bus #rollyourown #vw #getonthebus #roadtrip #sandwich #volkswagen #camper

Pictograms: Earthship (Lomo photo + watercolour)

Pictogram: EarthShip VW bus (with annotations)
Pictogram: EarthShip VW bus (1, with annotations)

Snapped with Lomo La Sardina (sardine can) camera – some pics by Jamielee Eldridge – of my old VW bus (dubbed “The Earthship”) which is now a bus sauna at Mangy Moose Lodge in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah. Pics stuck to watercoloured paper, annotated or otherwise embellished and mailed to folks.

Pictogram: EarthShip VW bus (2)
Pictogram: EarthShip VW bus (2)

Continue reading Pictograms: Earthship (Lomo photo + watercolour)