The Coolest Van Ever · 30 September 2012

We saw the coolest van ever when we were on vacation last summer. It was so cool that my wife, The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi, made me pull into the parking lot to take pictures.

When we were in northern California for vacation, we went back and forth into Oregon several times. We saw the Volkswagen (VW) van on one trip into town, but were disappointed we did not see it on the way out. We looked for it each time we crossed the border. Then, on one of the last trips into town, we saw it just as we were about to leave forever. The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi practically jumped out of her seat as she pointed and demanded I go into the parking lot where it was sitting. Naturally, I complied enthusiastically.

The VW van was painted with all sorts of bright colors. It was a moving mural to a bygone era. It had a peace symbol, dolphins, and flowers. It was colorful in spirit and words. “Love not war” and “flower power” were painted along with all the other seventies symbols.

I am not sure the owner of this relic really meant it to be a backdrop for tourist photo ops, but he might have. After all, it was parked in a far corner of the parking lot away from the office building. It was near the street where everybody passing by could see it. And it was parked in the same place at least two of the times we were in town. Even if it was not meant to be a backdrop, I took pictures of the rest of the family in front of what The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi called “the coolest van ever.”

I am not necessarily a fan of the VW van, but I can see the draw. At least the coolest van ever was a relic from a time gone by. It was a piece of Americana. Other VW vans are cool too. As long as it is cool outside or all the windows are down when tooling down the freeway at a blinding 60 miles per hour. Still, I can understand that on some level those old vans are a symbol of freedom and independence.

I did more than just indulge my wife when I stopped to take pictures. I enjoyed the thought of living off the land just cruising everywhere with everybody I loved and everything I owned in the back of a VW van like that. I am not much of a hippy or even a wannabe, but the thought of living simply is intriguing.

I am not sure that is what The Mindboggling Mrs. Miyoshi or the boys were thinking as they looked at the old VW van, but I am sure we all had visions of something psychedelic when took our picture with the coolest van ever.

© 2012 Michael T. Miyoshi

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