My 66 Bug

I've had 2 volkswagons in my life.  one was a 1958 Karmann ghia, the other was a 1966 bug. I traded a 10 speed bicycle for the Ghia to a girl at the beach ( a wonderful free spirit of course) and it was absolutely my favorite, but I suppose the 66 bug has the more interesting story. It was actually my sisters, and when she left the country to go to Oxford I got to use it during my first year of college. I met a girl ( Spring in the midwest, when the hormones on campus are raging and teenage boys will do anything a naked girl asks them to do) who said we should go to San Diego because she went there once on a family vacation at age 15, and education was free there. Of course I said OK ( did I mention she was naked?). so we loaded up the VW with 2 Afghan hounds and our stuff, including a stereo & 2 speakers, my platform shoes and a small crocheted lingerie collection, and headed for San Francisco. she said she had a sister in San Fran that we could stay with for awhile and then we would head for San Diego and I could go to school at San Diego State (and I eventually did). Fortunately I only remember parts of the journey. We stopped at an A&W rootbeer stand in Indiana, and when the bug wouldn't start i learned that if you you had a bad starter you could push the bug backward and it might catch on the next try. I know we slept in a motel shaped like a teepee somewhere. I think I got my cowboy hat stolen in Oklahoma when I left it on the front seat while we were camping, but when I look at the map today I can't figure out how we were in Oklahoma and Nebraska on the same trip. I know we went through Loveland Pass in Colorado ( not my only time thru there, but that is another story), and I remember driving thru Salt Lake City at night because they had these alien-looking sodium lights on the freeway. I remember the run thru the Bonneville Salt Flats, and how we planned to get thru there early in the morning so the desert heat would not destroy the bug. In Reno we saw young schoolchildren playing the penny slots in the local market before heading off to school - wonder how they turned out? In Lake Tahoe we splurged on a motel room, but then as we were leaving I misjudged the height of an overhanging 2nd story outside of the motel office, and the junk on the VW roof rack knocked a big chunk of stucco off the ceiling. I think that is where I first learned to lie on the spot when I told the manager that I couldn't pay for it, but I could go buy some stucco mix and fix it for him. He told me to get the hell out of there.

Most nights we slept in the bug, wrapped around a dog. We learned to spread out a pile of clothes to sleep on, becasue the back platform in the bug was uneven and uncomfortable. The dogs were surprisingly accommodating. When we got to San Francisco I found out that my girlfriend had not told her sister that we were coming. It all worked out OK, she was living in a flat in SF with 4 others, and she said she could sleep with Charlie while we took her room. The next morning I got an eye-opening introduction to san Fran as Charlie was walking down the hallway naked to the bathroom, singing " I seen the needle and the damage done". we were in san Fran for 5 months, and that 66 VW handled it like a champ. My first time on Lombard street I did OK, I could have done better, but the VW survived me grinding the gears no problem. It also handled a trip to Monterey, a trip up the winding 101 to Point Reyes, trips to the beach and trips to the Mission district, ferrying Dr Ben Spock ( & wife Jane - loved jane) on multiple campaign events for the Peace & Freedom party ( sworn to secrecy on the dirty tricks, but we were so happy to get the # of votes that would keep us on the next ballot - you know the best trick wasn't a trick at all, but just to run a candidate as an unemployed construction worker),   trips to the Treat Street food coop where I worked (unaware) next to Patty Hearst ( another parenthetical expression - the P&F party borrowed a trick from the black panther playbook, and that is to provide access to healthy food at exceptionally affordable prices thru bulk purchasing, centralized distribution, and volunteer labor). Enough parenthetical expressions -I was trying to say what a champ my 66 bug was - the 1300 engine was powerful and could whine all day.

By the time we left San Francisco for San Diego I was in love with 3 women - my girlfriend's sister, my girlfriend's sister's roommate, and my girlfriend, in that order. Cheryl, if you ever read this, give me a call. Obviously the relationship did not last as long as the bug, but my girlfriend did introduce me to the woman who I eventually married & who I never cheated on as long as she lived. The bug was sold in 1977.



mergelayers mergelayers
51-55, M
2 Responses Feb 28, 2010

And they say you can't get attached to a car! That car has a history that is part and parcel yours too! Do you think it would have been the same if it were a pinto????

Wow!.... Now that's an adventure!