Breakdowns and getting unstuck

Breaking down is demoralizing for a lot of reasons—mostly that you are stuck. The trip of a lifetime, the open road, adventures awaiting and suddenly you’re stagnant. Then the news comes: that engine you had rebuilt is a stinker. It’s a goner. The money you spent? Also gone.

It’s easy to imagine all the naysayers, all the people who slow blinked at you when you said, “I’m gonna quit my job and make a go out of writing and podcasting”—it’s easy to believe they are smiling to themselves and clucking out their told-you-sos. 

It’s easy for me to throw in the towel, give up and decide that maybe this whole idea was a bit crazy and maybe we should live a more convetional life with an apartment and heat and air-conditioning, a couch and floor lamps, art on the walls and no risk of being run off by the police for sleeping. But then, I realize, I would be stuck. 

We wheeled our way back to Ohio, leaving our bus in Minnesota, in the capable hands of Sam at Dune Buggy Supply to have a new motor installed. It was the harder thing to do, for sure. Now we’re back in our hometown of Dayton visiting friends and family. And it’s nice. I drove by my old workplace and I saw the office lights on there around 6 p.m. and I felt sorry for them. I didn’t cluck out an I-told-you-so or smile to myself. I simply felt relief. To be unstuck from that. To know I will be driving away again and that there will be adventures and open road, that the trip of a lifetime could, if I will it, last the rest of this lifetime. 

Within the week we will be back out there powered by a freshly rebuilt 2L from Dune Buggy Supply (and a tuned up transmission, smoothly sliding side door, greased wheel bearings, and a stock shifter to replace the disappointment of the Scat shifter). It’s money well spent. Mostly, though, it’s time well-spent. 

5 thoughts on “Breakdowns and getting unstuck

  1. that sucks, sorry to hear the bus is down for a little bit. It’ll eat your $, but you’ll be back on the road before you know it! I’ve had 4 or 5 motors in my bus for various reasons, and the one in it now has outlasted its original 94 subaru, and an 88 vanagon.

    today my bus is down because my transaxle to axle flange sheared a couple bolts and they wouldn’t come out. its been a week now waiting for parts to arrive.

    being broken is part of bus ownership, its all about how you approach it. I know mine will break down periodically no matter how much attention i put into it, new parts don’t mean good parts, and that bites us all in the ass.

    seems like you got the bus zen, be good, enjoy the break in your hometown, feeling grounded once in a while is a good thing on these long trips.


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