When I first saw this 1991 Westy about 10 days ago, I thought she was too good to be true. Beetle Auto owner and mechanic Robert gave this gleaming white dream machine a clean bill of health. And he should know, he’s been servicing the van for a dozen years: ‘She’s in mint condition. The owner brings her in to fix every little thing right away. ” I took her for a spin and I fell in love.
So I did my due diligence: I talked to every Westy owner I know and had her checked out by an independent mechanic. “This is a really nice van. I didn’t have a bad feeling about anything.” Neil at Ellice Auto had a glint in his eye. All he could find was a littel too much transmission oil and power wing mirrors that have to be adjusted manually. Seriously.
So I picked her up (and paid for her) on Saturday and, boy, am I a happy camper! I have always wanted a VW camper van!
I’m really a gypsy at heart. By the time I was eight years old, my family had lived in four countries on three continents, so I was exposed to the travelling life at an early age. When I was 11, the first thing I did with my pocket money was save up for a tent, which I pitched in the garden. I slept in it for months (until the spiders took over!).
Beyond my own life experience, there is family mythology about our wandering spirit. When I was 11, my eldest sister got married and my father’s brother Uncle Raymond made an epic speech about the Leith family, which I will never forget. He and my father were great storytellers and Raymond began in fairy tale style: “Once upon a time, there were two brothers…” He went on to describe how one brother stayed in Belfast to keep the home fires burning, spawning the Fortress Leith clan, while the other brother, my dad, set off to explore the world with the Nomad Leith clan. Well you can guess which side of the family I’m honouring by taking to the open road this summer!
It’s hard to express just how happy it makes me to sit in the driver’s seat and hear that distinct little VW engine purr. What a comfie ride!
So yesterday I drove her down to Clover Point, parked with an ocean view, popped up the top and fired up the laptop. I even got some work done! I have yet to fire up the propane stove and fridge and make a cup of coffee right there on the spot, but that’s next!
So, the big question is, what to call her….For now, ‘the Doc Bus’ is an obvious fit, but I’ll be looking for something more personal as well. Suggestions? How did your vehicle come by its name?