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TOURING: A PERSONAL MEMOIR
You Are What You Drive
Because right now, we travel by van. Oh sure, it was fun for a while. Our first van -- a used Dodge we dubbed "The Silver Bullet" -- was basically a tin can on wheels: two seats up front and that's it. No benches, no windows, no A/C, no insulation to keep heat in or cold out. And we loved it. We laid the amps down flat (not good for tubes, by the way), put an old mattress over them, and sat on that. No seatbelts, no fear, no brains, no worries. One of the last trips we took in that van was to Davis and Elkins College in West Virginia for an outdoor festival. Somebody needed to relieve himself, so we pulled over on this two-lane country road, got out and did our thing, when one of us notices these bones in the tall grass. It's the skeleton of a dog -- a pretty big dog, skull and everything, completely clean like it had been through a hundred rain storms. So we take the skull and slide the antenna up through the eye socket and let the damn thing ride shotgun through the mountains. But that's not the best part: We take the two-foot spine with the ribs still attached and lodge it in the back door so that it's dragging behind us. "Poor little fella probably kept up for a mile or two." (Chevy Chase fans will get the reference). Our second van was a red Dodge with red interior that was put on this earth to be crashed on the Ohio turnpike. The van was totaled, but our first trailer came out of it without so much as a scratch. The trailer hitch pushed the rear bumper in and came within a pick's width of puncturing the gas tank. Not to get all heavy or anything, but traveling on America's highways is dangerous, and it's the part of this whole experience that I like the least. Don't get me wrong -- the destinations are usually worth it, but I still bolt upright anytime someone hits the brakes hard. Our current ride is a '97 Ford mega-passenger V-10. You heard right, diesel boy, V-10. You wanna drag? It's got A/C, EFI, a VCR, and ICU but you don't see me windows. We've put about ninety thousand miles on it in three years. The transmission has been over-hauled once. I seem to recall a lube job outside Green Bay as well. The van is nice and all, but what really gets the babes behind the counter at the travel plaza is our trailer. They tell us the wheel wells are the prettiest shade of rust they've ever seen on a double-axle.
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