Friday, September 21, 2012

Meet Chinook

Fish Camp, California
Written by Karen.

Last week, we were standing on the driveway talking with one of the guys who was putting a new roof on our house.  He was asking about our '84 VW Vanagon - our beater named Chinook.  So named because whenever we went on a road trip, like the massive salmon that is DNA-programmed to swim upstream to return home, he somehow always got us home again. Whatever adventures, breakdowns, or mechanical issues that we experienced out on the road, we still got home safely and usually with a tale or two!  

We have been on the fence about what to do with Chinook: give him away, sell him, or fix him up and take an extended road trip around the US of A?  We've driven up and down the Western and Southwestern parts of the US and Canada several times, but haven't ventured past the Rockies - never had the time.  But we do now.  Maybe Chinook would be the perfect companion to travel with us on unscheduled time.  He always performed admirably doing exactly what he did best: going slow and steady around 50 mph exploring the roadways off the beaten path. And now here we are considering a road trip that would be at his pace - we won't have to struggle to push him past his capabilities. 

So, back and forth we went. We finally figured that we would just make our decision closer to the time we were ready to go....well, right around now.  

Chinook has taken up residence on our driveway over the past seven years since our last road trip.  He literally has roots and branches straining to keep him permanently immobile.  His blue paint is fading to a silver-grey and he is full of dust and cobwebs.  He looks shabby and forgotten - a husk of his former self.  However, Chinook still possesses something intangible that is completely irresistible and shouts out for our attention again - something that reminds us of our past, but still draws us into the mystery of tomorrow.  This is the reason why we have never been able to give him away or sell him.  And so he has been parked for so long - waiting for that day when we woke up and began to hear his siren song again.

Well, this roofer recommended a local auto paint business that could bring back some of Chinook's former glory, and at that moment Adam and I looked at each other and grinned.  Of course Chinook should stay!  How else would we go explore the rest of this country? We don't know when we will add him to our travel itinerary, but rehabbing Chinook has been added to our list of things to do before we leave for South America next month. 

Maybe after South America? Just thinking....

Next week, Adam will go to the DMV and get the paperwork to get Chinook out of driveway and back on the road - legally - and up to our mechanic in Redwood City, a sixty mile road trip. Let's see how the past seven years of inaction and inattention has affected Chinook's mechanical capabilities. It's one more thing to do, and one more possible set of unknown costs that are in store for us, but we can feel the timeless allure of the open road calling strongly. In our minds, there is no one better to take us on those travels than our old friend, Chinook. 

North Rim, Grand Canyon

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