Category Archives: Adventures Close to Home

Memorial Day

Memorial Day is the one weekend a year I make fried chicken and potato salad.

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The Best Vacation I Ever Had

When my ex-wife and I were expecting our first child, I was interested in acquiring a VW camper. I’d driven a VW bug for years, then bought a tiny truck which I’d owned for about five years. Found a likely candidate for only $1200.

It had a few minor issues. The main thing was learning how to maintain the “Type IV” Porsche-style engine. VW people called it a Porsche engine and Porsche people called it a VW engine. Anyway. The Campmobile (VW’s name for this model) was pampered and rather nicely improved. I added things like an RV-type deep-cycle auxiliary battery and a marine circuit block for fans and lights. I talked my ex-wife into sewing red checked curtains like I’d seen back in 1971 on an instructor’s old Toyota Land Cruiser. Found a Thetford chemical toilet.

In 1996 on the Type II mailing list for aircooled Volkswagen bus drivers a trip was proposed for summer of 1997 to Baja California. I was interested and began making plans. And taking camping trips to see what worked and what didn’t. The one thing I needed was a CB radio. I asked around, figuring that someone I knew would have one tucked away somewhere. No luck. Then I was visiting my parents and remembered that back in 1975 my father had bought a 19-channel CB radio at a Sear’s outlet store. PERFECT. I found an adapter/mount at Radio Shack and clamped a folding CB antenna onto the drip rail. Excellent performance! The CB radio could slide out of the bracket when I wasn’t using it and/or when I was tired of smashing my hand into the radio as I shifted into first gear.

I found some fiberglas mosquito type screen material at Home Depot and used a hot glue gun to mount magnets along the edges — I cut the screen to fit the windows on the Campmobile. I should have just hot glued the screen stuff to the frame on the doors.

I bought a used Powerbook 140 — a heavy, slow, simple Mac laptop to read QWK packets on. QWK packets were a popular mail-tossing solution before the Internet ramped up, back in BBS days. I saved up a bunch of mail packets to read on the trip.

July 12 1997: We Depart

July 13, 1997: Catavina

July 15, 1997: Guerrero Negro