Christine’s Green Island

Just a girl, a dog, a bike, and a bus…not a bad way to head into summer. This is my friend Christine’s new home away from home, parked briefly at our place the other day. Aside from the fact that I hate to drive, I find this whole set-up very appealing. There’s something so autonomous about having your own little island on wheels, with everything you need in a cozy space within.

Room with a view…there to the left, Chris’s sleeping quarters, lit by morning sunlight. It brings to mind our own bus-travelin’ days, back in the ’80s. Ours was a ’78 VW bus, white, no pop top, and compulsively clean and tidy, as most of Monte’s environments tend to be. The carpet was green, and we had hand-sewn linen curtains at the windows, just sheer enough to afford some privacy and still let in some light. The ceiling was a thin, fitted piece of warm-hued wood paneling, custom cut by Monte and pressed into place with my help.  There was a little storage/box seat, another of Monte’s designs, and all sorts of clever innovations to make our tiny rig more livable.

Many of our friends had VW buses in those days, and Chris was among them. There were lots of camping trips with bicycles, and in time a ragtag handful of small children…I remember Miranda referring to the bus as a “house-car” and playing in it happily for hours, opening drawers, sorting things, the little mop-haired lady of the mobile playhouse. I think the instinct for cozy self-containment runs deep. Who needs a sprawling house with excess square footage to be filled with excess stuff? For that matter, who even needs a big RV?

Chris’s bus is an ’83, and she admits that its purchase was propelled by a certain degree of nostalgia. She’s christened it Lizzy-Pickles, and she’s still tweaking it, and she sputters along slowly, VW-style…and she’s happy.

So’s her dog Scout.

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