All Humans Are Welcome Here!

Category : My VW Westfalia

In October 2013 I bought a 1983.5 (water-cooled) Westfalia van and named him Chief Pete.

Chief Pete goes almost everywhere with me because he’s my home.

Concerned about the future of Chief Pete? Help him out with some GoBucks! GoWesty has quite a few parts we always want/need, but can never quite afford at the moment. Heck, nobody can afford this van.

french spring trail flowers

My Mini Spring Thru Hike

I aborted my big Spring thru hike because of weather and taxes. Meh.

Instead, I finished a solo tour of old mines in the Inyo mountain range of central California west of Death Valley. The “Lonesome Miner Trail” — what the late Wendell Moyer* called it — is 40-50 miles of rough, hard-to-follow disused trail involving somewhere near 17,000 vertical feet of elevation gain/loss.

Inside vanagon with bicycle and mess

Dead Battery

I recruited strange (but charitable) men all day yesterday to jump start my van four separate times (so I could stop for gas and to pee) 300 miles down I-5, thanks to a mystery short. I’ll be spending my cold morning at a rest stop, ass hanging out while I’m under my dash trying to find said mystery short. The starter battery is fine*. What was really fun was when my van almost took flight and the dash lit up like a UFO console when I simply tried to turn on my headlights yesterday evening, at 100km/hr (that’s a Vanagon’s best top speed). The engine literally cut out when I tried to turn on my lights. At speed. Damn rain…. continue reading

vanagon on north california blm


BLM. Here there was a roadside garden, planted in cooperation with the BLM to test restoration of native plants. Someone had shot the BLM sign to shit and then shot through the word “native” on another sign. Message received, loud and clear.

My friends schoolbus and my van

Hot Tub & Coincidence’s Magic Schoolbus

I mentioned my friends’ bus. They’ve built themselves quite an amazing home; it’s gorgeous inside with woodwork, really cool custom copper penny counter tops, and a wood stove and full kitchen and full bed, a goat trough shower/tub and composting toilet And! And! And! And it starts up and drives like a champ. Chief Pete is trying not to feel inferior or jealous!


Staying Cool

Trying to stay cool. DEQ (smog) ain’t easy with a Westy, and I drove all the way to Portland mostly for this. (((((((Passed with flying colors again!)))))))

3d scorpion postcard

Scorpion Scare

144 miles on my new 2.2L Wasserboxer engine – so far, so good! Stopped in the gas station in Independence on 395 and this really caught my eye. I call it immersion therapy for “scorpion-phobia.” (Arachnophobia to be precise, since scorpions are arachnids, but I’m not scared at all of spiders.) I made a tag for the “Scorpion incident:” puppys scorpion sting This 3D postcard calls this scorpion an Arizona bark scorpion but I know better. Of course I might be wrong, but of >1500 types of scorpion, I think this is a regular Arizona Desert Scorpion – the kind you HOPE you get stung by (instead of the awful, tiny Bark Scorpion) if you’re going to get stung at… continue reading


Hiding out on the Owens River, getting ready for a much-needed and super rare NAP. Chief Pete doesn’t know it yet but we’re about to do some off-roading (it went fairly well). I’m breaking in the engine carefully, and still have some minor issues to sort out, like how the **ck I’m supposed to fit the Gowesty exhaust into the van without body rattles or exhaust leaks. Those engineers are having a laugh… otherwise the new engine purrs and as soon as he has his checkup later this week he should be really humming! Hot damn!

california beach

Montaña de Oro

Keith surveys the surf at the bluffs of Montaña de Oro State Park from his bicycle. Keith is the Syncro (4WD Westfalia) owner who camped next to me last night. What a “wild” night it grew to be! I bailed on sleeping on the ground because of a huge pack of marauding raccoons. I lost count at around ten. At one point woke up with a cougar routing out rodents 50ft from the truck, where I was camped up on the bed. I shined my headlamp at him and he slinked away silently. Thanks to my friends telling me horror stories involving rabid raccoons (lately) in the Eastern Sierra, I feared for my toes hanging out the tailgate and my… continue reading

At Ziggy’s

I’m standing this close to my baby Chief Pete but it’s 108° and I’m scared he’s so pissed I abandoned him for a month that the door handle will burn my hand – or something like that. Or finding rat nests inside, or melted parts. But I know he’ll start, and we’ll head a little north in a few days together.

Little Package