A year ago, I blew the motor in my 1974 Volkswagen while trying to make it from Sacramento to New York City. I made it as far as Arkansas, where my car has sat ever since. Now, finally, I am flying down to retrieve it and finish the cross-country journey I started.
There were days when I would walk out to my car, key in hand, filled with joy and anticipation for the drive to come. There were also days when I wished I would walk out and find that my car had been crushed by a meteor and I’d never have to deal with its bullshit again.
There I was, happily chugging up I-40 on a clear Arkansas night when—cough cough sputter clunk—my car decided to die. Was I filled with shame? Was I filled with terror? No. I was prepared.
The good news is that my Baja Bug is up and running again. The bad news is that it shoots fireballs.
I glanced down at my phone to double check the directions Google was giving me and I looked up, at highway speed, and the road in front of me disappeared. I didn’t even have time to shit myself.
You know your road trip is a shit show when crossing the highest mountain range in the lower 48 on three cylinders counts as a good day.
I don’t have a lot to contextualize just how horribly my cross country drive in my new 1974 Volkswagen Beetle started. Hell, I don’t think anyone has ever driven to their own tow truck before.
It didn’t occur to me at the time quite how ridiculous it was. I was staring at my new car, its engine out and sitting on the driveway, and I planned on driving it across the country to New York City the next day.
Maybe this is how it always is; just as you get your engine running right, the throttle cable snaps.
In two days, two feet of snow will fall on my place of residence. I will be out in my weedy little rear-drive car, making the most of it. But driving in the winter isn’t always a powerslider’s paradise.
Everyone who told you that you never use math when you grow up was lying. I used math just the other day to figure out some awesome shit: if it makes sense for me to rent a shipping container as a garage for my crappy ass old car.
Well, the Baja’s broke again. But after so many breakdowns, this one doesn’t even bother me. Let me tell you why.
It was supposed to be an easy fix.
What are you doing reading this website! There’s car repair you should be doing!
As a person who has crashed a number of cars in a number of situations, let me tell you that I have never found a better way to wreck than in the snow.
It all started with a bent pushrod tube a few months back.
You can tell it's going to be a cold winter here in Nebraska. The wind is thick with it, sweeping across the cornfields. It all matches pace with the dotted white clouds, running way out to the horizon line. And I'm sitting in a stripped and caged Super Beetle, two carburetors about to roar away behind me.
I have long been a proponent of owning old and classic cars, that life isn't so bad driving what the rest of the world might think of as a clunker or an old jalopy. I was wrong.
It's hard to describe what it was at first. A cough? A hiccup? A stutter? The engine misses a beat on the highway back from the Lime Rock Historics and I shut the engine straight off and coast to the shoulder. A few hours earlier, an old man had died at the wheel. Now, why am I here?
It all started with a long drive from New York City to West Virginia.