Now that I am back on the mainland I do not have anything at all planned until my flight out of Lima in Peru to Santiago in Chile at the end of May. To get to Lima I need a surf wagon of some desription and this picture on the box that my ukulele came in gives an impression of the carefree existence I am hoping for.
However anybody who knows me will tell you that I am blessed with a Leper’s touch as far as vehicles are concerned. In the same way that I have a talent for finding great surf lodges I can select the runt of the vehicle litter without even trying. These pictures show some of my more epic failures, but they are far from the whole story.
One shows the car which we got stuck and had to abandon in the Sahara Surf trip (a car after the original one that blew up before we had gone 20 miles in it on that trip) and the other shows the aftermath of my attempt at cornering the market for stunt milkmen back in the early 90s. I have also chased the surf bus ideal before with a 6 wheeled 3.5tonne truck which turned into a vast money pit, so am justifyably nervous about this shopping expedition.
I walk the length of San Francisco and back on one day trying to find second hand dealers. However almost all of them have been put out of business because the US, like the UK, operated a scheme through the credit crunch where decent old cars got scrapped by owners in favour of thousands of discount off their next car, which removed almost all the supply of saleable used cars from the market overnight. Consequently I walk for miles and miles without any joy of even finding more than one used car lot, but towards the end of the day I am directed over to Auto Row in Oakland, which is the nickname for a road of delerships who may have a bought old cars off buyers in order to sell a better vehicle to them, which they in turn may be willing to sell to me within my budget. It is on the other side of San Francisco Bay but accessible by the BART train so I head over there first thing this morning.
Another epic stroll up and down this road, ducking and diving, bobbin and weaving my way through just about every second hand car ruse known to man as I walk along and I realise I will have to spend a wee bit more that I wish if I want something half decent to be my lifeboat, my changing room, my hotel room, my shelter, my dining room, my safety deposit box and my board storage for the next five months.
I actually spot this beauty in the Mitsubishi dealership, which is the first one that I see on day two, but continue down the street and back to ensure I am not missing a different gem. However my scouting doesnt unearth anything worth shouting about, so I go back and haggle like a demon until this lovely VW Beetle is mine for the trip.
I’m not sure if it was the fact that ‘The Love Bug’ was filmed in San Francisco or if it was VW’s huge surfing pedigree but it felt right so I went for it and am now looking forward to kitting it out over the next few days. It looks much better from a distance than it does up close, but the chassis engine and wheels all seem good which is all I am bothered about for now.
Name suggestions would be very welcome, because I can’t think of anything straight away. Anybody?
A funky car for a funky trip. Wooo-hoooo!