“I have a van.”
-Steve’s reply in the film Slacker when asked if he had a car.
Happy New Year! This year’s goals are all over the board, sports wise. It was going to be the year of the jock or something silly. But then I got to thinking that it wasn’t very creative as I’ve been training concurrently for different sports for many years now. It would likely lead to a redundancy reaction as 2011’s “year of fitness”, which caused more than one friend to ask “isn’t that every year for you?” This year fitness be a given and we’ll focus on the means and the venue, because I have a van.
My 1985 Toyota was put out to pasture in 2009. Its engine (edging towards 400k) was still going strong but it was more or less falling off of the chassis. Sadly she wasn’t restored because she hadn’t been used properly in years as my travel had turned jet set-ish, meaning I’d done more climbing in Europe over the last decade than in adjacent states. When my Subi started showing her age I went into new car mode and was thinking along the same lines until Romney sent me an ad for an old Westy. Bingo.
The wheels started turning. Romney’s locked into an 8-5 gig for the foreseeable future. Weekend getaways are far more realistic than weeks abroad. And, as luck would have it, there’s a massive limestone belt ranging across the northern mountain states that weren’t developed back in my van years in the 90s (when I probably visited 99% of the established climbing areas in the Western US)—-a perfect distance away for short trips in a self-contained living space.
It’s no secret that the van years the pinnacle of my life in many respects. Even though nothing tangible to the Western mindset was accomplished (unless you count first ascents of obscure routes), those years were full of blissful, focused living. Every day had a purpose. Life was simple. It was good.
Things have drastically changed and there are merits. The upsides are easier to calculate as I, ya know, have a family and own an actual house and not just one the is mobile. The downside is that I’m also a cog in the machine. Daily activities acquiesce to others. To-do lists only gets longer.
The reality is that isn’t going to stop and I’m okay with that. I’m doing what I consider to be important work and am lucky to have the opportunity so I plan to ride it into the sunset. But the van will allow some respite. Even if it’s only for a couple of days here and there, this year there are going to be days with no cell reception, no computer, no outside influences at al. Just forests, deserts, mountains, trails, rock, and family and/or friends. And a van to call home.
pic: bob’s go westy calendar entry, featuring his gorgeous synchro and a eurovan that looks like ours.
Hope you all had a great holiday season. We will now get back to our regularly-scheduled programming…