So we are no longer a one-car family.
Once upon a time, a thousand or so years ago (well, twelve to eight), Jim and I owned a very fine VW Westfalia camper. It was "Taiga Green" in color, or "Taigagrün" in the original Deutsch, which I think rolls off the tongue beautifully. We took it up and down the California coast. We camped on roadsides. We camped in campsites. We honeymooned in it, and every morning we had delicious strong dark French press coffee.
Then, in rapid succession, we had a baby, moved away from Santa Cruz and had absolutely no money. So we sold the little green bus.
Bad move; sad mistake. How many times since then we have sighed with longing at the sight of a well-equipped Campmobile (should really ought to be Kampmobil, just to make me happy) shuddering its way doggedly up a gentle mountain slope! How often we have thought wistfully of the pop-top bed and its wafer-thin mattress, the swivelling brown laminate table, the determined little Tape Player that Could.
So a few weeks or so ago, Jim found (on Craigslist o’ course) this little bus going sadly unused in the distant realm of Scotts Valley. About twenty minutes’ drive from Joe and Karan’s house… Joe being, of course, our consummate mechanic buddy. Joe checked it out. Joe pronounced it good. We overnighted a money order, and the bus was ours sight unseen.
And this last Sunday morning, we took time out from the round of wine tasting, window shopping, river paddling and generalized lounging that was our family vacation and headed down to Bonny Doon to pick up the bus from Joe and Karan’s house. It was a long and arduous trip made longer and arduouser by our mistaking one road on our ill-marked map for another; but eventually our wee caravan made it back to Healdsburg.
Yesterday morning, though, was the true test of the bus’ mettle. Healdsburg to Portland, over windy roads and daunting hills and long stretches of indifferently maintained freeway.
But we made it.
And now the bus is in our driveway, just waiting for us to plan our first official camping trip. (We’re thinking a week from this weekend, probably along the Columbia River Gorge somewhere. Any Oregonians want to weigh in with suggestions?)