My first air cooled VW I graduated college with a double major and a job already lined up. My life as it were was shortly ending. I needed an escape plan. Enter the concept: A Bus. The search began. I had some cash burning a hole in my pocket, and I already had all the suits I would need.

My girlfriend, now wife has a sixth sense about buying cars. It has seemed when ever she finds a car, it’s A) What we want, B) it runs, and C) it’s affordable. The only 3 lemons I have ever owned were aquried by be for less than 400 dollars. I pride my ability to never buy expensive cars, (excepting the daily drivers). To date (prior to buying my heap) I have owned 24 cars. VW, Audi, Subaru, Toyota, GMC, and One big assed dodge van I used to paint houses during college.

So Lynda and I are in a resort commuity west of Grand Rapids MI. She knows I am looking for a bus. She spies an ad at a grocery store. “VW MICROBUS CAMPER, 1977. Needs muffler and brakes, $2500 OBO. We call. He’s home. After a day of fun on the beach we drive the 30 miles to his house. There is the driveway is a Sage green bus with decent paint and fiberglass. The interior is imacculate, and everything works. It even has a gas heater and A/C. I drive it around a little (I have no idea what I am expecting to determine, because in my head, it’s already bought). I get back to the guy’s driveway, and we start to talk.

“Those brakes sure need replacing”

“Yeah they do”

“That muffler is really loud”


“I’d pay you the asking price minus the cost of those repairs”
He starts thinking about it. Finally we debate and agree on $2100 (a cost I would later double in a rebuild and paint job). I head to the ATM and leave him with $250 and a bill of sale. The rest of the money I will have to fork out when I can get to my bank the next week.

I return the following Friday with a certified check. He tells me how many people have offered him his asking price while I was away, but he honored my deal. Then he gives me the tour. As he shows me every detail, I can tell this guy has a relationship with this bus. Like the need I have for the freedom it represents, his selling of this bus is the surrendering of his freedom. I ask the question I wish I hadn’t.

“Why are you selling it anyway?”

“My wife has cancer and we need the money. You know, we lived in that bus for two years. They were the best two years of our lives.”

What do you say to that.

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