We have a little crew of strange passengers in the Squid Wagon. Those of you who have seen the van, packed almost to the ceiling with our personal belongings (and a few impersonal ones), are probably wondering where they find seats.
There’s Van Moose, a strange little metal Christmas creature who hangs from the rear view mirror. His name is a takeoff on “vamoose,” which means “let’s go.” I figure, if Van Moose says “let’s go,” then Squidley will do so. We have had no car trouble since we hung Van Moose on the rear view mirror in Altadena, California.
There’s Frankie the Bear, who rides between the front seats and guards the van when we’re not aboard. How could you possibly break into a vehicle that is guarded by a chubby little white bear with the face of a smiling Buddha?
Frankie has been riding shotgun with us for over 15 years, and his favorite thing is to blow the horn. He blew the horn on our last car so much, he wore it out. With this in mind, we knew we were taking a risk to let him blow the horn in the Squid Wagon. But when we crossed the border into our final state, North Carolina, we had to let him blow the horn for about a minute. Luckily, there were no other cars on the road, or Frankie might have gotten us into trouble.
There’s another bear, Scuppers, who rides wherever he damn well pleases. He’s the mischievous one, and when things go wrong, he’s usually the suspect. It took us a long time to get the van started in Asheville, and we think it was because Scuppers had met all the bears in Julie’s guest room and wanted to stay with them.
Scuppers wears a little blue sweater with a sailboat on it, but when it gets hot, he sunbathes nude on the dashboard. I’m surprised that the cops in the Bible Belt haven’t pulled us over for that.
And then there’s Michael: St. Michael the Archangel, whose picture is mounted on the dashboard, stomping on a demon. I was a little afraid of demons when we left, you know, car trouble demons, accident demons, flat tire demons, theft demons. But Michael kept them all at bay, through a trip that carried us over 5000 miles from Seattle to San Diego to Beaufort, North Carolina.
At noon today, we drove over the last bridge and into the boatyard. I parked the very blue Squid Wagon next to our very red boat, and I turned off the engine. The silence was deafening.
And now what? Which project do we start? Wait, I still have to write about Graceland!
It’s going to be a weird transition, but we have our critter friends to help. We sailors are a superstitious lot, so they’ll go from keeping us safe on the road to keeping us safe on the boat.
Thanks to everyone who helped us make it from there to here without getting lonely — Sharon and Dave, and Jim and Barbara and Abby, and Mike and Nita, and Michael, and Tom and Gudrun, and Julie and Ed, and Daisy, and Ellen and Gary, and Barbara and Joe, and Jeannie and Cliff and Jerry, and Todd, and Michael and Doeri and Eliza, and Brenda and John, and Aunt Jo, and Bonnie and Chuck, and Harley and Annabelle, and Della and Alex, and Robin-in-Little-Rock, and Julie E., and James, and Pat and Belinda, and Stevie. (deep breath) And thank you to everyone who has phoned and emailed and left comments on the blog, because without you, we’d just be a couple of boring American tourists.