- Posted December 28, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
VW camper van memories
The Hippie Express: Yosemite to Alaska in a VW Bus
When I was in college, and a whole lot more interesting than I'd like my kids to be, I worked for a summer in Yosemite National Park. At lunch one day, my boyfriend asked "Would you like to work in the salmon canneries, in Homer, Alaska? I know some people who are driving...." Who could turn that down? So on July 4, 1981, I packed a guitar, some clothes, (including, inexplicably, white painters' pants) and we rolled out of Yosemite in an orange VW van.
The owner of the van was a feral man named Scott who had a thin and quiet girlfriend and a dog who picked up rocks in his teeth every time we stopped the van. I can still hear those rocks rolling along the floor, deep under the seats. The van walls were covered in floral carpet, and the seats were comfortable, but the ride was not - Scott bought little food, and expected his girlfriend to survive on sprout sandwiches. No wonder she was quiet, but the dog's rolling rocks filled any awkward silences.
We parted ways with Scott when he insisted that, to save money on ferry fares along the Inside Passage, the women hide under the seats, with the rocks and whatever else the dog dragged in. My boyfriend and I refused. We left Scott and his girlfriend in the middle of the night, on a dock where eagles perched on light poles that gave off a surreal yellow light.
We hitchhiked the rest of the way to Homer, and worked in the cannery twelve hours a day, seven days a week; it's not easy to keep painters' pants clean while hitchhiking and being splashed by iced and bloody salmon.
But that's another story.....