Ready to Start

Prepping to hit the road again.

If you’re not excited about where you’re going, you’re going the wrong way.

Where you’re going may be challenging, difficult, a real pain in the ass even, but come what may, you should be excited about getting there—both the getting, and the there. That’s how you know you’re on the path.

I know people struggle with finding their path. It’s not easy. I lose my way sometimes too, but it’s still there, inside you.

I think the best way to find your path is to slow down, be quiet, and listen.

There’s a lot of noise in the world, a lot of people telling you what you should do. Some of them may mean well, but no one knows your path. There are no exceptions. No one knows your path. And you don’t know anyone else’s path.

I think that’s part of the reason some people read this site — they’re not happy with their path. Our path is appealing, if only, I think, because it’s very different. That doesn’t mean it’s right for you, but it’s an option. Most people I’ve met through luxagraf are looking for something that our culture didn’t offer them. If you think the grand dance of existence might involve more than working all your life for two TV sets and two Cadillac cars, as Lou Reed put it, this site is here to tell you you’re not alone.

I believe that we are here to give the gifts that we have built up inside us over millennia of our soul’s existence, that we are here to shepherd each other toward our gifts and give to the world those things that we have inside us. How you do that is for you to figure out, but I have found that letting go of the ideas that haven’t been working is a good place to start. You don’t have to follow the scripts you were handed. Those may not be your path. Sit down, quiet your mind, and listen. Be patient.

Toward the end of August I was starting to feel the pull of the road again. We love spending the summer up here, being anchored to a part of the world for a while, but we also get excited to get going again, to see new things. There’s always sadness in leaving, we’ll miss our friends, but we also know we’ll see them again.

Getting ready to go means getting busy too. I probably have less time to be sad about leaving because I end up running around like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to get everything done in the last couple of weeks. As always, there’s a balance to be found. I spent a good bit of time working on the vehicles, but we also found time to do some paddleboarding, pick blueberries, and put together a big sleepover for the kids and all their friends.

Our new exhaust pipe arrived one day toward the end of the August. Since the man who made it couldn’t actually be there to fit everything together, it came back to me as a bit of a jigsaw puzzle, with plenty of extra pipe on each piece, and even made a few extra pieces, so I’d have a better chance of getting it all to fit. That was a good call on his part, but it did mean I had to do a lot of cutting to get everything fitted properly.

The tough part was wrapping around the driver’s side, keeping the exhaust far enough from the oil pan, but not too close to the transmission cooler lines. There’s not much room down there and this took quite a bit of doing, but I was pretty sure I’d done a good job. Actually, I had done a good job if those where the only two factors to consider. Alas, they are not, but I did not realize that when I was installing the tailpipe so I was happily ignorant. That’s called foreshadowing.

Once I had it cut and fitted around the engine, fitting the rest was was easy since it’s mostly straight. The only hiccup is the bend over the rear axle, but the man who made the pipe did a great job and it fit perfect. We even have a muffler now. Fancy.

With the tailpipe in we were pretty close to being mobile again. We just needed seats. For about four weeks this summer we lived with no seats in the bus. No front seats, no couch, no table. Nothing. We slept on the ground, ate on the ground, worked on the ground. It wasn’t a ton of fun, but the seats really needed to be recovered.

The vinyl that was used in the initial job was probably dead stock. Or at least well past its ideal sell date. It turned brittle and began to fall apart last year, getting worse at an accelerating pace until we decided something had to be done. Coincidentally, this summer a new upholstery shop opened up in Washburn1 and we were able to get everything redone. Adam of Adam’s Upholstery did a fantastic job and the seats look and feel better than they ever have.

Somewhere in there we squeezed in a trip to a blueberry farm, and, after plenty of aborted attempts, we finally got to go sailing on our friend Bob’s boat. I don’t think the kids have ever talked so fondly about anything we’ve ever done.

The weekend before it was time to go we set up the tent and the kids invited over some friends from town and had a kids’ sleepover/camping trip. They somehow squeezed 8 people in our tent, and despite the rain, managed to stay dry and have a good time.

Meanwhile, a couple days before we were set to go, I came down with a pretty terrible head cold that left me lying down most of the day. I had a list of things that needed to get done, but by the time I was up and doing things again it just wasn’t possible. I had to pick one thing and I picked giving the bus a quick coat of wax. I only managed to get three sides done, but she looks good.

It might sound like an odd choice, but there weren’t any mechanical things that had to be done, and I have found that appearances matter. An old rig that’s dirty and beat up just looks old. Take that same rig though and make it shiny and clean, and all the sudden it’s vintage and everyone wants to say hi and talk about it. More than any mechanical fix, that good will, much of which comes from that clean first impression, is what gets us down the road.

This is part of our path I think. My experience has been that when you do find your path, and it’s not the path most people are familiar with, or want anything to do with, it’s best to make them comfortable by making your path at least relatable in the small things. Everyone appreciates a clean home. Everyone knows that when things are shiny, it’s because the people who own them care for them, and everyone cares for something.

I said earlier that no one can tell you your path, and you can go your own way, but you’re still part of the world and sometimes you need to make concessions to the rest of the world. You have to meet the world half way. For us that means keeping a tight ship, as it were. Other people might not want your path, they might not even like your path, but most of them will respect it if you give them a way to do that. So wax it was. And then, we were off.

  1. Technically not new, but relocated to a place we actually noticed it. 


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