Wednesday, May 9, 2012

VW Buses = Happiness for All Ages & Critters

This weekend was OJ's first big trip of the Summer 2012 season and she was a rockstar!  We headed south to our home turf, about 30 miles south of Boston for some family time. 
Toby LOVES riding in the bus & his mohawk is rocking! See that smile?

Tim's family was Saturday and Uncle Tim and Aunty Jill's bus has taken on quite the reputation with two of our older nieces. This past summer I told one that when she saves up $4,000 she could buy it from us, she was 7 at the time but I am worried because she's WAY into this bus and she's the daughter of a CPA! Never make a promise to a kid smarter and more motivated than you are! 

About 20 minutes after we got there in the bus the, "Can we go in the bus?!?" pestering began. We held it off till after dessert - chocolate fountain and cake. Perhaps not the best idea to let a gaggle of sugar crazed children take over your 37 year old bus. But it was AWESOME! The kids just love the thing! They climb up in the 'upstairs bed' in the pop top, they dance on the main floor, they play make believe house for hours, they get their stuffed animals to show them the bus. We took them for a ride and it was better than Disney - the screams every time Tim took a corner, the giggles, the laughs...I'm not sure there is much that could make us smile bigger. 

The bus ride! 
"Upstairs" in the Pop Top 
The littler ones even got into it
Look at those smiles!  There's something about VW buses & Happiness 
Uncle Andrew, Tim's Brother commented while taking a cruise, "I love this car, I love its smell, I love it's sound, I love everything about this car." 

Sunday we went for an early Mother's Day brunch with Jill's side of the family. Jill's Mom Peggy and Dad Larry are the reason the bus is still rolling today. Back in September 2009 the bus broke down upon arrival at the Willie Nelson Concert in Mansfield, Mass. We like to think she had arrived "home" and gave up life. We were told her engine had seized and that she'd need a whole new engine - think $$$$ that with Jill starting grad school we didn't have. We towed the dead bus around the Seacoast every time we moved including one exceptionally illegal move down Route 33 in Greenland with friends and a "Car in Tow" sign hanging on her. We talked numerous times of selling her, we wrote Craigslist listings but chickened out on posting them, we cursed her and had basically lost all hope. THEN Peggy & Larry gave us the best wedding gift EVER -- they brought the bus back to life. They said, "Get her fixed, get her rolling and then do what you will with her but at east get her running and we'll foot the bill". So we brought her to European Auto in Rye and Kevin, the bus's guardian angel, saved her. She didn't need a new engine at all. Kevin filled her cylinders with oil, put her in 3rd gear and every day for a month he put his shoulder into her and gave her a good shove. By leaving it in gear he used the weight of the car, combined with the oil penetrating into the cylinder to free up the engine. He also did some extensive exhaust work that she desperately needed replacing both heater boxes and she's run like a dream ever since. Someday when our own little ones are screaming with excitement in the bus we'll tell them that their Gramma & Grampa saved this bus for them to have adventures in. 

Peggy is a phenomenal human being. She's 75, looks 45 and acts 35. She's kicking breast cancer's ass and is a daily reminder to all of us to live life to the fullest. Peggy LOVES to ride in the bus so on the way to Mother's Day Brunch Peggy took shotgun. As we're wandering around Jerusalem Road in Cohasset Peggy said, "The world looks different, better when you're riding in the bus." We decided it had to do with the big bay window windshield and the fact that you're sitting on top of the front tires with no hood (bus engines are in the back) so the road and the scenery is all around you. A spring Sunday rambling along the coast in the bus, doesn't get much better.

Riding in the bus is a treat and an experience, you feel like you're always in a 4th of July parade with the waves and honks and peace signs flashed. You don't get anywhere fast, you have to accept that right lane travel (or "the hippie lane" as Tim likes to call it) is the only mode of travel you will ever be doing on the highways, but you wouldn't believe how much more you see on the sides of the highways when you're going 50 mph. And when there's alternatives to the highway you take those, the scenery is better and the old girl's 4 gear engine likes it more. The bus is a change in lifestyle, it's a shift from the typical day to day of modern society. It's not about being fast to get to your destination it's about the journey. Right now the bus has no radio so we just talked for the whole 3 hour ride south from NH. When do you get a chance to chat for 3 straight hours with your partner? There's no A/C so windows down with the air and the smells of the landscape are your cooling mechanism.  You arrive places late, smelling a bit like gasoline with your hair blown back and a 3 mile smile.

Ned, Shoally, Tim, Toby & Jill - all smiles! 

Kyle, Catta & our old best bud Jack heading camping!
The bus reminds us all, young, old and canine that there's nothing better than getting out of the ordinary rush of life, computers, Cancer, school, parents, highways and schedules and slowing down, taking in the sights, smelling the air and rambling along surrounded by groovy orange plaid. 

"Slow down, you move too fast.
You got to make the morning last.
Just kicking down the cobble stones.
Looking for fun and feelin' groovy.
Hello lamppost,
What cha knowing?
I've come to watch your flowers growing.
Ain't cha got no rhymes for me?
Doot-in' doo-doo,
Feelin' groovy.

Got no deeds to do,
No promises to keep.
I'm dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep.
Let the morning time drop all its petals on me.
Meggie D, Seth & Jill headed north to Dolly Copp for some camping!
Life, I love you,
All is groovy." 

- Paul Simon's "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feeling Groovy)" From Simon & Garfunkel's 1966 Parsley Sage Rosemary & Thyme

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