The VWubster does an Eco Tour
I live in an odd part of Ontario and I mean that in the best way. It is probably the most populated rural area in all of Canada and lately its become a retirement area for city folk.
Yesterday there was an Eco tour which involved folks that had homes based on alternative methods such as straw bail, solar powered, living roofs, etc opening their homes up so strangers could wander though and observe their oddness first hand.
It was a stunning summer day, the 2nd such day we’ve had, and we decided to take the VWubster. This was our first extended trip in the Wubster and like all trips in a rat bus you feel like you are in a parade. People wave, honk and holler and you are kept so entertained that you don’t notice the VW bus smell, the shot muffler, hurricane level wind noise, the bad suspension or lousy seats. That turns out not to be the case if you head in to the deep boonies.
People still notice you, some smile, some wave, some cock their hat back and mutter under their breath, some reach for a big stick, but they all notice you.
Our first stop was the Indian reserve ( the rez ) and we stopped and grabbed a couple of cheeseburgers at a place called McDonuts. A little dent of a place squished into the end of a monolithic gas station, leather goods, cheap cigarettes, plastic bottled 4 day old whisky, we don’t need white men but your money is welcome places that have popped up all over the rez. (Personally I think all the power to them)
As we rolled up in the Wubster you could see all the heads in McDonuts swing our way. We got out and went inside and they all watched us intently from the corners of their eyes as we ordered our McBurgers with McCheese. We requested them to go please …..NOW!
Back on the road we were pleased to find the burgers were McFriggin amazing although there was a hair in mine and it didn’t look human …. off into the county we headed.
The county is a special part of the local rurals. We tease them up north that it is where the men are men and the sheep are nervous but in the county, well in the county everything is nervous.
As we pulled up to the first house I never said anything to the spousal unit but my ass was asleep. This home was off the grid completely relying on a combination of solar and wind. It had a sod roof, passive solar design, algae septic system and it was an example of how to do it if money wasn’t an object. I thought to my self that if I could afford that house I’d live in a Ferrari.
Driving back out their mile and half of driveway I felt impressed by the home as well as by the amount of feeling my ass had recovered.
I realized at that point that I had forgot to wire the heating vents closed when I was under the bus the previous day changing the oil.
It is odd how little heat a VW bus produces in the winter I thought as I watched a fly get too close to the heater vent go into a death spiral a second after its wings exploded into flames. The one thing that remains consistent summer or winter though is the volume of obnoxious fumes sucked from the engine compartment and conveniently sprayed into your face. I can see why those Germans are praised for their engineering prowess as this could not be accomplished without great effort. No wonder hippies loved these things. I hadn’t been this stoned since seeing Alice Cooper.
Forty minutes later we pulled off the road into the drive of the second home and I was greeted by two miles of meandering dirt road. It’s these moments that make you question the wisdom of lowering your bus 5 inches. After we parked and half slide, half fell out of the bus I was sure that the numbness in my ass was working it way towards my chest. If I’d had access to a computer I’d have googled the medical implications.
It was nice house and it had an amazing view from a bluff several hundred feet up that over looked the Bay of Quinte on Lake Ontario. They used a wind generator that was mounted on a tower that had to be at least 50 feet tall. There was a blind man on the tour and he suggested that being blind he had no fear of heights and that he would climb the tower. I told him it was great idea and started cleaning the lens on my camera but unfortunately the women glaring at me turned out to be his wife.
Off to the next home. We headed deep into the county now and I really couldn’t figure out where we were going. I pulled over after driving for 20 minutes and squinted at the map supplied by the tour organizers. What the hell is with people that photocopy photocopies that they then send in to someone to photocopy?
A breeze blew though the windows clearing the fumes long enough for my spousal unit to gain consciousness momentarily and she told me there was someone walking towards us. I’m 6 foot and the Wubster has had the roof chopped 5 inches so I have to lean down to see who and there is this slip of a young woman heading up a long driveway. She came over the passenger side and we smiled and said hi and she smiled and asked if we knew where to get any parts for her Beetle…. huh?
Turns out she had a broken VW Beetle. I really don’t think waiting for other VW’s to coast to a stop in front of your house is a good way to find parts but I refrained from saying so.
We explained who we were and what we were doing and she called her friend Peter over and he tells us he knows the people quite well and gives us directions.
The next house was pretty cool. It was a straw bail built by a young couple that raised bee’s, made organic soaps and candles and I’m sure grew their own herb …er herbs. It was my fav as it was something I could see me and the spousal unit doing, the house, not the herb … er herbs.
We spend some time with them and they gave us a tour and it was all very pleasant.
At this point it was getting late in the afternoon. The spousal unit had a headache from snorting fumes, I was having trouble breathing as the numbness spread into my lungs and we had no idea how much gas we had left so we decided to head home.
It was great day all in all but I have plans to drive the Wubster to Nova Scotia at some point which is 22 hours straight though so I’ve gotta makes some changes. We need some seats, suspension, door seals, window seals, and a new heating system. As soon as the spousal unit comes out of her coma and I recover from my ass transplant I’m gonna get right on it.
It’ good to be a hot rodder aint it?