Tami and I just flew to Vermont to buy a diesel Vanagon that has been converted into a Westfalia camper.
We have a couple of motivations for this. Firstly, she is leaving on sabbatical for a month starting in February. She intends to strike out for the open road from Miami, where we will be attending the Grassroots Festival on Virginia Key.
It was one thing when she announced her sabbatical. And another when she explained that she would be “camping.” One thing about Tami is, she doesn’t camp. I have occasionally lured her into my pup tent at Shakori Hills, but it always ends badly, with comments like, “I had to sleep on the ground.”
Since “camping” for her entails multiple mattresses, I figured we should get her something more comfortable than a tent.
I’m not sure what I will do with myself when she leaves on sabbatical. Maybe I can just walk home from Miami.
Secondly, I plan to use the Westy for speaking gigs and book stuff. I can’t very well show up in a gas pig, so whatever we acquired had to be diesel. My readers prefer it when I walk the walk.
So we needed a diesel camper. Heidi constructed this one from scratch. She used to work at Solar Energy International, and she tricked it out with Viton lines for B100. Perfect. The only problem was that it was in Vermont.
We landed in Burlington, on what I would like to believe is the last airplane ride of my life, bought the camper and headed for Putney for an evening with Jack and Meredith.
I borrowed ski gloves from Zafer (too small), and ended up in my bedroom slippers—better protection from the snow than Birkenstocks—and we froze on the
way out of Burlington. By the time we left the thruway a horrific blizzard had set in. Reduced visibility, snow and ice, the poor Westy was sliding about and doing doughnuts.
By the time we reached Jack and Meredith’s remote country snow covered home, we were ready to kiss the ground. When we reached their woodstove we were shaking from a combination of fear and cold.
Today we awoke, fired her up, and drove across NH, MA, CT, NY, NJ, DE, and MD. We stopped for the night in VA. She has performed beautifully in traffic, construction, bad weather– you name it. And I can write poems in the back while Tami is driving. Perfect.
My daughter Jess is concerned about this acquisition. She believes we are “becoming camper people.” Like Tami, she does not camp. She believes we are suffering from what she calls “early onset camper issues,” and she claims to be looking for a support group to help her out. She is not OK with the Westy.
I have a secret theory about that. Jess will be fine. Her real problem is that she looks exactly like Velma from Scooby Doo, and she is sub consciously rattled by the fact that we now own a “Mystery Machine.”