Back in 1973 when I was nineteen years old, I bought a 1969 Volkswagen Bus from a friend for $900.
It would be part of many adventures for the next couple of years.
The first thing a guy did back in those days was put curtains over the windows.
This ensured the privacy necessary for the adventures I referred to,
and of which I probably will never tell until I’m too old for it to matter anymore.
I will say this, it was less likely to be noticed that there was a van was full
long-haired crazy young men, with curtains on the windows.
Although sometimes the adventures may not seem crazy by its’ description.
For instance one fun and long party that was had in the bus was while waiting for over an hour in
a line for a gas station during the fuel crises of the early seventies.
We made the best of it.
Back in those days eight track recorders were the way you listened to your own music while driving.
They had attachment you could add to them so you could slide them out of your vehicle to avoid theft.
But this became annoying to have to do after a while.
So my solution to deter would be eight track thieves from spying my device,
was to carve a hole in the back of the glove compartment and install my eight track there.
Sort of a fancy cabinet.
For the next couple of years that bus went for long drives and saw a lot of miles.
As time went on, wear and tear began to take its toll on it.
But that didn’t slow me down. I adapted.
Eventually small holes appeared in the bus’ floorboards in front of the passenger seat.
It did give them something interesting to watch as we were driving.
Sure it’s nice to look out a window at scenery.
But it’s really interesting to watch the road fly by beneath your feet as you ride.
There were no control buttons to turn on heat.
For some strange reason the VW Bus was not designed to have a heater.
It had a vent that you could open that would let in heat from the motor.
Now the motor was in the rear of the vehicle so any heat that there was, (which wasn’t much by the way) would cool down
before it would trickle out of the dashboard vents.
This made for a cold ride in the winter.
So my solution was a propane heater that I placed between the seats.
Allow me to make you more comfortable.
This was a propane heater that had a flame in front when you lit it.
It may not have been safe but it did the job.
The old bus would warm up very well when it was on.
All of this made for interesting dating experiences.
I remember one time in particular when I took a young lady ice skating.
It was still daylight and not yet cold out when I picked her up.
But when we left the outdoor skating rink hours later the temperature had dropped quite a bit.
As she sat in the cold passenger seat of my bus I tried to be as smooth as possible.
“Excuse me my dear”, I said. “Allow me to make you more comfortable.” As I lit a match to the front of the heater
and turned on the hissing bottle of propane.
I suppose this ordinarily would have shocked someone. But she was already conditioned to the unexpected
from watching the highway roll by her feet as we drove.
There are many other stories to tell about my old VW Bus.
I think for now, I’ll leave them for another time.
But I do wonder, “Where did I get those curtains?”