Thursday, January 22, 2009

Slice of Lime-Magic Bus

Here is another retro style Slice of Lime. After an exchange with Cooper discussing the merits of old VWs I decided this would make for an easy post today.

Prior to entering into the blissful bonds of matrimony, Mr. Lime owned a 1969 VW bus. When we were in college together we were also both members of a small comedy/drama group. The bus became our official vehicle for traveling gigs, mainly because it was the only thing that could carry all of us as well as our equipment...not because of any reliability in the service it provided.

Regardless of reliability it was a fun buggy with lots of personality. Here's our little group getting ready to strain the limits of our beloved bus' functionality. In January of 1987 we took a trip from central Pennsylvania to Kentucky. The goal was to go do some shows and in between to provide service for a local charitable organization in rural Appalachia. We all look so excited and hopeful don't we? Please excuse the Pepto-Bismol sweater I am wearing. Mr. Lime loved that sweater. He was also fond of a pair of camo pants I was given to wearing. I wore both frequently but never at the same time.


The trip should have taken about 11 hours. It took 15. Did I mention the bus lacked heat exchangers? And it was January? And the transmission was kind of touchy? And this vehicle was not known for its get up and go? Yeah, it was a looooong, cold trip, hence the many blankets and sleeping bags. At one point we were passed by a tandem tractor trailer...going uphill...on a steep mountain. There were 3 drivers who could operate a stick shift but only Mr. Lime had mastered the peculiarities of this particular transmission. We were a little worried about getting to Kentucky at all. In fact, we all prayed rather desperately that we would indeed make it that far. We learned specificity in prayer is advisable because upon crossing the border into Kentucky we decided to try to thaw out at the first local eatery we found. When we came back out of the restaurant the bus would not start at all.

Thus, we found ourselves stranded in Kentucky a few hours away from our final destination. Through a relay of phone calls made to the one person we knew in the state we found a place who could fix the bus and some very gracious folks willing to put up a gang of near frozen college students who had not planned on hotel fees since they had free housing arranged for where they were ultimately headed. When we finally got where we intended to be we were more than a bit off kilter from the long, cold ride, the unexpected delay, and the cramped quarters. Ok, so what we were really doing there was playing Funny Bones, which is sort of a standing up version of Twister where you have to sandwich big playing cards between assigned body parts without dropping previously placed cards.


The girls mostly worked at a childcare center and the guys were doing home repairs for some fairly impoverished folks. During their travels the guys found a VW graveyard. Mr. Lime stopped to ask if the owner had a set of heat exchangers he'd be willing to part with so we could be just a teensy bit warmer on the return trip. Fortunately, he did and so we had them installed. Here I am employing my superhuman strength to jack the bus up so they could be installed.
We made it home without incident and continued to enjoy the bus for another year or so before it finally let Mr. Lime sit one too many times and he decided to sell it.

20 comments:

Balou said...

Oh how fun! Great memories. I still have a longing to own a VW bus to pull a retro airstream camper. They would both have to be aqua marine and white.

Cocotte said...

How can that be over 20 years ago? Love the photos and the stories behind them. What fun!

Desmond Jones said...

Oh, man. . . the VW bus. . .

Sometimes I forget how young you are; you've got the soul of an old hippie. . .

furiousBall said...

that is so cool. i always wanted a microbus

S said...

That's something one doesnt see often, someone smiling while their car is in the shop.
But, whew! I am really glad you were there to help that mechanic lift the bus. Clearly, your muscles were needed.

You know, when Mr R and I drove to Alaska in 1987 in our Dodge 2 ton Van, we saw many many, too many broken down "V dubyas" on the road.

I want to run over to photoshop to see if we can give that bus a tie dye skin!

citizen of the world said...

I learned to drive in a red & white VW bus. And earlier in my childhood we moved from Boston to California in one, probably about a '65?

Craver Vii said...

Beep beep. Tie-dye, VW Bus... I think I see what's happening here, you bunch of granola smokers, you! Lemme ask one question: PC or Mac?

Cooper said...

Made my first trip to SU in a blue VW bus....along with many trips to the beach...my friend had one...we we're driving on rt 80 at night when the generator went...driving route 80...at night...with no lights....

mssolitaire said...

Awesome VW bus!!!! Hahahahaha!!! What fun memories as well! :) Wondrful Slice of Lime!

Hilary said...

Oh yes, that was reminiscent of the 60's for sure. But you're a young pup with a hippie heart.

lecram said...

My Iranian roommates had both a bug and a bus. I'll leave it up to your imagination what kind of adventures (or trouble) 5 (college) guys and those vehicles could get up to. LOL!

BTExpress said...

I love your stories. You know, you were a real cutie.

~Tim said...

The good news, of course, is that you got to visit Kentucky! You should see it in the spring though....

G-Man said...

BUS....Magic Bus...........

Palm Springs Savant said...

its hard to beat a VW bus...practical and sooo much fun

The Zombieslayer said...

I'm no hippie (not that there's anything wrong with that), but I fully understand the merits of a VW bus. They break down and you can practically fix them with a hairpin. I like that. Simplicity.

I used to live with some Native Americans who had one and a special tent that attached straight to it. they were a blast, but were too lazy to get that thing working again. They had like five cars in their driveway and at any time, only had two of them working.

Bummer Mr. Lime decided to sell yours. Would be a great post-apocalypse vehicle because no matter how bad things get, you can probably get that thing to work.

Daniel said...

Reading your VW story was fun.

Dealing with a van that would not function properly, was overcrowded and cold, sounds like a blast.

I think memories like these are so precious partially because of the difficulties that you had to endure along the way. You look back and laugh at the past.

My family took a trip to Idaho and our van broke down. It is because the van broke down that I remember many things about that trip.

barman said...

Never set foot in a VW bus, a bug yes but not a bus. I did see tons of them however. They always looked wonderful. Maybe it is VW bus envy why I drive a mini van now.

Great story and I am glad you made it in one piece.

My heat has been out all winter but it has not been to bad most of the time. I am finally taking it in on Monday. I might have heat again soon... yes!

Most impressive muscles you have there Lime. :)

misticblu said...

A great story!!

i uploaded a new pic just for you at picasa.

misticblu said...

uploaded it again, making it public... sorry. i did not have to dig deep to find my funny bonz.