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Give Me Shelter

fawn under busI think it’s safe to assume that most people getting behind the wheel of a VW Bus have an eye for nature, after all, half of the people I run into refer to it as a “hippie van.”  Often, we’re pretty close to nature when we park the Westfalia to pop up the camper-top and enjoy time away from more civilized trappings.

Today, however, nature found my bus.  With it out of commission while waiting for my alternator to be rebuilt, it’s been in my driveway up on ramps.  As I pulled into the driveway in my car, I saw this little guy taking shade from the hot sun under my bus.  I zoomed in from ten feet or so behind my bus.  When I got right up to the bus, he took off into the woods.  I’m glad he has that sense because I’d hate to think that it was that tame.

fawn 48 hoursI think it’s the same fawn I saw just a few weeks back.  Then, it was easily the smallest guy I’d ever seen up close.  It couldn’t have been more than 48 hours old.  I say him coming through our back woods, still shorter than most of the undergrowth.  It took shelter under the roots of a fallen tree and I was able to get a picture.  I had not seen it since then, so part of me was happy the little guy was still around.

fawn MinnieWe have lots of deer around our house.  Last June we had a similar close encounter where our dog Minnie got curious with a week-old fawn.  As much as we hate the way they eat our shrubs, flowers, and even a few plastic plants, you can’t help but love the chance encounters with the fawns.

I don’t know if the green color of my bus made it seem more natural for it to take shelter under.  Part of me wants to think that it’s a providential sign and part of the good aura of such a vehicle.  Realistically, I drove up in a quiet car, at the right time, and in the right frame of mind that I looked around to happen into an experience worth writing about.

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A “Green” Sibling

I wasn’t old enough to know what drew people to buy a VW bus back in the 60’s and 70’s. It was a pretty unique vehicle until GM and Ford eventually brought van’s to market. I’d have to assume that it offered great space and flexibility for a reasonable price. I’ll have to discuss it with my Dad, who bought one in 1966. They didn’t have it too long, probably due to the low power that a former car-club guy would have hated.

We recently purchased our second Prius. Like the VW bus was in the 60’s, the Prius is still pretty unique now. Outstanding gas mileage with the convenient flexibility of a hatchback make it a hard vehicle to beat from out standpoint. I really wish there was a bus-like hybrid available, but nothing has made it beyond the concept stage.

Though roughly 50 years separate the technology of our bus and our Prius, I love the simplicity of each. They both take advantage of physics principles. Both are lightweight and offer better fuel economy than other vehicles in their market. While the VW bus is not as environmentally clean, it is very simple in design and maintenance aspects. While the Prius does not have the space and is complex technologically, it is relatively trouble-free and has a good deal more storage and flexibility than the sedan shape of many of its competitors.

It’s no Westfalia, but we’re happy so far with our new Prius and after nearly 140,000 miles, we’re happy with our old Prius as well.

Toyota Prius