January 3, 2012 posted by

The Year of the Van

The Year of the Van

“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…


  • So I want to know more about the Westy. What year, etc….we need a van here in France and are going back and forth on what to get.

  • Europe has great van options! I don't know what they are exactly but I've seen heaps that are way cooler than our options. The Rodellar parking lot was filled with 'em. Check out the Pou brothers' rig. You can find it searching them on this site if nowhere else.We got a 97 Eurovan camper. V6 engine seemed important for us given we'll be mainly weekend warriors. Almost went with an 85 with a converted engine but the friend who checked it our didn't think it had been restored well. There is a ton to learn. I read almost everything at and spent a lot of time on the forums at My friend Bob (the synchro in the pic) was a big help too as he's "a daily Samba reader". Have you seen Paul's conversion? It's pretty sweet.

  • I'll have my '69 up and running by summer, ready to run between Logan and Jackson…

  • Sweet. Post pics.

  • Damn. I'm jealous.

  • "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."I'm in.Fuckin A.J

  • When I was in my tween and early teen years we had a pop up van – what a great time for it! Camping, travelling dirt roads of Vermont. Good times. Wish I had one for being a ski bum but desire to do that came at a much older stage of my life 😉

  • Your WIFE suggested the Westy? She sounds awesome!

  • Josh, we already have some plans for that, no? Lisa, you are correct. my wife is AWESOME!

  • Well done. Once my 84 westy became more work than play I gave it up. TOok two years to find a eurovan in my area for a decent price. Picked it up in the spring. Best decision I've ever made. Well… I've made some poor decisions. Anyway good luck.

  • Awesome, congrats, vans rule! Kelley lamented for years when I sold my last VW pop top, the second it drove away, she said you shouldn't have sold it… Recently at her insistence we got another van, this time a Sportsmobile.Man I would have killed for this rig in the day. It's been great, I'd post a pic but can't in a reply… So, shall we meet up for a little mtn biking… Gooseberry, Sedona, Moab…Troy

  • Sportsmobile! I'm jealous. Couldn't find one for any sort of reasonable amount of money. Someday, perhaps. Yeah, let's ride. Something epic in one of those places will work.

  • I like Troy's idea of meeting up for some mountain biking somewhere in Utah. Do I have to have a van to join you guys this time?

  • Guys,Shoot me an e-mail and we can make a plan. Would be great to re-connect with you both and put in some miles!Reed where are you now-a-days… Anyway e-mail me and we'll catch

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