together again

I had this notion that the adventure to the West coast would start on my departure date in October, with a sidewalk full of friends waving at my tail pipe as I steered my new Vanagon out into the flow of cars headed westward.

I should have known that the journey starts now.

I bought the van.  It’s new to me, but by no stretch of the imagination is this car new.  A 1985 VW Vanagon, and let’s face it:  she’s a beater and a she-wolf.  A beater for obvious reasons:  the remnants of duct-tape glue holding her panels together and her side-mirrors on her frame.  Her body sags just a bit with the weight of past adventure.  When I bought her, the muffler was attached with a piece of fence wire; twist-tied as you would a garbage bag.   The speedometer has stopped working all together, as if speed has ceased to be important.  The road is where it’s at.

But she’s a she-wolf all the same.  Wolves, to me, are half dog, half cat.  Eager to please and easy to play, but minus that blind-faced loyalty.  Wolves live in packs and work together, but that doesn’t stop them from a full resume of attitude, cunning and cynicism.  Wolves have eyes that narrow into slits.  Wolves are just a little bit dramatic.  And so, I think I have bought a she-wolf.  Because this car has attitude.   So far, there has been nothing easy about her.  And I have a sneaking suspicion that we’re going to have to sniff around each other’s butts for a while before we get to know one another.

I bought her from a young French couple that had flown from France to British Columbia for vacation.  They bought the van and took 3 months to drive it all the way to Montreal.  With four days before they had to fly back to France, I offered them a ridiculously low price.  And thank goodness I did, because in order to switch the plates to Quebec license plates, I had to have it inspected.

Which it failed.

In order to have it re-inspected, I’ve had it in the garage for near to a month, having all of these little pesky things replaced:  lights, blinkers, hoses, and the horn.  I think I’ll leave the speedometer for now, cause I believe slow and steady wins the race.

I picked her up from the garage yesterday to take her across town to have the re-inspection completed, and finally get her on the road a bit over the weekend.  I wanted to do some house cleaning, and hang some curtains.  We made it exactly 10 minutes towards our destination when the temperature lights started flashing and smoke started billowing out from her nether regions.   This she-wolf won’t be domesticated so easily.  Stubborn, I can tell already, she refused to restart, simply too hot or too tired, and so I had her towed back to the garage.   Ironic that the vehicle that is supposed to ferry me across the country did not even make it across town.  I’m starting to wonder if this trip might actually be a study of mechanics and garages across the great nation of Canada.  Can we make a documentary???

I have not owned a car for over 10 years.   Like David Hasselhoff and KITT, I’ve forgotten that owning a car is a relationship just like any other.  There are all of those idiosyncrasies and bad habits to accept and learn and understand.  Discovering each other’s limits and boundaries.  Learning how to communicate by listening to the clucks, clicks, purrs and whines of the engine, as if you would decipher a secret code.  My Vanagon is going to be grateful for the size of my bladder.  The need for just a little extra gas when you slide out the clutch.  All of the buttons you can push or pull to make co-existence harmonious. Figuring out just exactly what it takes to keep her humming at maximum energy and efficiency.

I’m up for the challenge, for no one said life-changing moments were easy.  And I’m trying to trust I’ll get there in one piece, for this too, is all part of the ride.  And as for my she-wolf’s butt, I’ve barely had a whiff.

But I think in the meantime, I might pick up some books on cars.



2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. risingontheroad
    Sep 16, 2013 @ 08:54:24

    Good luck! She sounds like quite a partner!


  2. Mary Lynn Muttart
    Sep 16, 2013 @ 19:43:38

    we will need constant updates on this journey please Jen! I know it will be a successful adventure! Sending love and angels!!!xo


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