Your know your car has character when it plays practical jokes on you.  Today was the day we finally moved out of our house and literally the first time I have ever ridden in this bus.  We made it about, oh, 20 miles or so before the horn came on… and stayed on.  We had to pull over and disconnect the wire to the horn.  Classy.


-Red Beard

We’re not really the honking type, so we probably don’t need it anyway.  One interesting observation:  At first, the people around us turned to look at us in disgust… assuming we were an impatient jackass blaring their horn at a little old lady.  Once they realized it was coming from the old red bus, they all just shrugged it off – like it was either expected or excused coming from an old VW.  When I was in high school I inherited my grandfather’s old truck.  It would honk whenever I turned left… that’s character.

Anyway, getting that far down the road was a feat in itself.

Now would be the time when we thank our new tenants.  We appreciate their patience while attempting to move their beloved possessions into their new home, but waiting for their new idiot landlords to get their heap packed and out of the driveway.  Did I mention Jason has a PhD in something really impressive?  You would never guess if you were to judge by today’s display.  Think Beverly Hillbillies.

Aside from the frantic last-minute packing and shoving-off, we will be floating around the Bay Area for a few more days until we sell one last car.  It’s a bit of an anticlimactic start, but we see it as a blessing.  We’re now relaxing at the home of a generous friend and hope to take a few days to ease into our new life, run some more errands, re-pack under less stress, and maybe do some local sightseeing before heading out.

Speaking of generous friends… thanks to all the people who have helped us get it all together in the past few weeks. There are old friends like Doug who helped play Tetris with our furniture in our storage room, Breean who not only helped clean up the house but also dyed my hair in the front yard (the house was already cleaned out!), and Sarah, Jennifer and Julie for feeding Bode sorbet and keeping him entertained while we packed everything up.  There are also new friends like VW guru Kris who has come over at least 4 times to help tweak up the bus, donate parts and bent over backwards to help ensure we could leave successfully (note: inspect the horn next time!)

We were most surprised by new friends and some complete strangers who were interested enough to come find us and share their well-wishes and experiences.  These are the types of people we hope to continue to meet along the way…


13 thoughts on “Character

  • August 15, 2009 at 12:37 PM

    As a long time Alameda residents we were alerted to your trip by the local newspaper. My wife and I wish your adventure is all you hope it to be. We for many years have dreamed of the trip you and your family are taking. We are so envious of what waits ahead. As former R.V. owners we found that a store of Peanut Butter, canned Chili, and Tuna are easy staples that make for a quick and meal.

    We will follow along on your adventures
    Marc & Pam

  • August 15, 2009 at 1:19 PM

    Thanks for the support! We’re told that canned tuna rolled in a tortilla is a Central American trekker’s “go-to” meal.

  • August 15, 2009 at 4:58 PM

    You should fix the horn. Down here it is a preferred means of communication. But to really fit in, you need to cross wire it with the car alarm so the they both go off together when you hit the horn. Otherwise your ‘communication’ won’t be as…respected. (and if you really want to be heard, add some lights.)

  • August 15, 2009 at 7:26 PM

    Congrats Jason! Would love to see the bus now that you have finished it. Very envious of your trip, Perhaps you might want to

  • August 15, 2009 at 7:28 PM

    … (stupid enter key, continuing)…
    Head up to Bus Fest in vallejo tomorrow and show off before heading out. Call me if you want directions. (Email me if you need my number).

    Serious Envy, enjoy the ride and blog constantly.


  • August 15, 2009 at 10:58 PM

    If you haven’t already, you have got to see the movie “Little Miss Sunshine”…the horn honking scene in that is hilarious! I guess that is just the nature of these old buses, but they do have character.

    There is a sailing magazine that has a little quote that goes, “Attitude, the difference between an Ordeal and an Adventure”. I definitely feel that you have the right positive attitude to have the trip of your lives, and hopefully the “personality” of the bus will add to that. It was very nice to have met you all, and it was my pleasure to help out in your adventure.


    P.S. Give me a call if you need that horn fixed, you might need it to get a cow out of your way or something 🙂

  • August 15, 2009 at 11:20 PM

    i was already planning on rebuilding it and making it… more impressive. i never thought of adding the lights to it. Hmmm….

  • August 17, 2009 at 11:26 PM

    You three are going to have sooooooo much fun! Red beard will let you know in plenty of time what he needs just as our sweet “Daisy” does. Be safe tomorrow and Gods speed… Gary

  • August 17, 2009 at 9:15 PM

    thanks for the support! we can’t wait to really get rolling and get into the groove of full-time travel. Just about every single day someone stops to chat with us and recall their own cross-country adventures in an old VW bus. Red Beard is only forty or so years young and just getting started!

  • August 17, 2009 at 11:15 PM

    Love it! My first car, “Red”, was a 71 VW Squareback type 4 that developed the same horn problem. I replaced that horn a couple times. My ’65 Ghia did the same thing a few years back and got me so mad I ripped the horn button right out of the steering column. Those wires are still staring at me… it would honk around corners too… until the horn gave out.

    As life-long VW owner… all the best on your trip. If you want a free meal… beer… maybe go for a swim… let me know if you are coming through Roseville, CA or Lincoln, CA. You’re invited.

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  • August 26, 2009 at 8:30 PM

    if you pop the little black cap off that is in the center of the sterring wheel, there is a wire thats shorting out on the steering colum. Well, most of the time thats where the problem is. Even after fixing it it will happen again.
    My old bus did it only on left turns, was kinda funny.

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