I’m pretty sure every kid dreams about owning a bus/van, or at least traveling the open road and living on the go. For me, that dream became a reality when I was 19. I knew I wanted an old VW. You know, the one with all the windows. I had never owned a classic car, but I really liked the idea of a VW because they’re easy to work on – I even bought the book “How to keep your Volkswagen alive” by the author, John Muir. So that summer, I began looking on the internet, near and far for something in good shape, yet in my budget. After searching for a few months, I came upon a 1967 VW Bus in Tampa Bay, Florida. It was perfect: Two-toned paint job, no rust, and everything was original! So I called up the lady, asked her a few questions, and booked a one-way ticket south. I was going to buy this thing!
I grabbed a cab from the airport and went straight to her house, where the Bus was parked and shining in the Florida sun. It really was beautiful. After making sure it was road worthy, we exchanged money for title and a few other tidbits. She even threw in 3 spare tires, which struck me as odd, but I went with it. I think she was pretty amazed that I had just flown all the way down from Michigan, just to turn around and drive back. Then again, I love the open road and a good adventure.
Getting out of town took a little navigating, but it also gave me a chance to get a feel for it’s handles, shimmies, and shakes. Other than having 34 year old brake technology, it ran like a dream. Soon enough, I was on the freeway and doing 60mph, windows down, with the wind blowing in my hair. I was really doing it! Then, fwap-fwap-fwap-fwap-fwap… “What the shit?!” I thought? I pulled over and inspected my rig, only to find I had a whopper of a flat. So much so, that the tread had ripped and was barely hanging on the wheel. Of the three spare tires in the back, one of them was mounted to a wheel and ready to go, but after looking around the bus, I couldn’t find a jack anywhere. Out of nowhere, a guy in a jeep pulls up behind me. “Need a jack?” he asks. “Uh, yeah. That’s exactly what I need.” Turns out he had a bus like this once, and knew how to change the tire in a jiffy. I thanked him for his help, threw the ripped tire in the back, and hit the road again – thankful that I had gotten any mishaps out of the way early. So, there I am again. Windows down, wind in my hair, making my way north and getting the occasional thumbs up from folks in other cars, when “POW!”
I couldn’t believe it. Was this really happening again? Still without a jack, I pulled over to the shoulder, took a deep breath, exhaled, and asked God what I was supposed to do now. Still in the car with engine hot, a police officer pulls up behind me. “Looks like a pretty nasty flat” he says. He asks me if I need any assistance, and I tell him I don’t have a spare mounted to a wheel, just tires. “Well, you couldn’t have broken down at a better spot. Just down the exit ramp is a little tire garage. I’m sure they’ll be able to mount one of those tires onto your wheel.”
I couldn’t believe it. God had my trip planned to the T. I rolled down the exit ramp, and sure enough, there was a tire garage. I explained my problem and the fellas at the garage threw on spare tire number two in no time. At this point, I was almost expecting to get a third flat. I mean, why else would the woman have given me 3 tires? Once on the road again, I phoned my mom. “Perk! I’ve got a God story!!!” and I told her all that had happened. We prayed that He’d get me home safely, and the rest of the trip was flawless.