Looking for another special friend

Ever since I sold Dexter, my heart has had an important piece missing. At first I thought I would get over it, but that’s not the case. It’s like a light went out and with it a whole heap of love went away too.

All the fun we’d experienced on our travels wasn’t there anymore

And sadly many happy memories had been forgotten while I was ill

… like buying him in the first place

We three meet in Talent, Oregon in December 2009


Viewing the mountains ahead for our first day of driving from Ashland Oregon to Mt Shasta California


Arriving in Mt Shasta – DAY ONE of our drive on 19 Dec 2009


One of our first VW shows in California


A great photo that took ages to set up – us with Hollywood Sign!!!


Near the start of Route 66 at the Bagdad Cafe near Newbury Springs, CA


One of my favourite pics of the trip – A route 66 mural on Rte 66 in Tucumcari, New Mexico!!!

A write up on Dexter and our travels across the USA


Back in MA using Dexter to help when campaigning for a good cause

then continuing the cause by driving across USA in 2012 this time east to west

Looking rather well worn after several years and many miles …. back in California

Dexter at Canyon RV Park, Southern California, May 2014
– fun even without the drag race where it had all begun!

More than the great photos, were the people. If your heart needs warming, just read the THANK YOU page here ❤ 

. . . . . . .

Sadly I lost sight of the many wonderful experiences as I got really sick and it was in that state that I decided to sell Dexter. At the time I could not cope with organising to have him shipped to the UK, even though I had done all the research years before and knew how to do it. To make matters worse I sold him for a silly low price. I didn’t really need to sell him. I didn’t need the money. What I did need at the time was good mental and physical health and the fact that I didn’t have those meant I lost him, too.

So now I am on the hunt for another VW bus in which to travel and spread some cheer.

Will I find another like Dexter?
Will I find another wonderful VW bus that will add sunshine to my days and light up the faces of others who meet us on the yeswecanjourney?

Add your comments below if you see or hear of any great VW buses – thank you ❤

Another fun weekend camping near Guerneville, CA

Our third time camping with fellow VW CamperFamily friends at our annual May weekend event at Schoolhouse Canyon Park near Guerneville.
It was as lovely as ever. Will post more pictures soon, especially those taken around the camp fire!


Days 2-3: 16-17 December 2009 at Heart Song House, Ashland

Remembering this moment all those years ago in December 2009, as I read about Pamala Joy today after meeting online another Ashland lady and new Vintage VW friend 🙂
Life is made up of wonderful moments of synchronicity and sometimes we notice them !

The 'YesWeCan' Journey ... driving, exploring, making others smile and educating while we go!

Past two days have been resting at Earth Song House, enjoying Ashland and test driving the VW Westfalia.

Pamala Joy, my host, and I have discovered some areas of mutual interest and connection: we both care for the environment, reduce our use of water and electricity, and we also both trained with Chloe Wordsworth in holographic repatterning.

Pamala has won several awards for her volunteering work in feeding about 1000 people in need in Southern Oregon. She founded the Food Angels, an organization that now has 60 volunteers who pack and deliver food to homes in the area. I filmed Gretchen, a volunteer, talking about their work and the kinds of fresh foods that they provide.

In season were persimmons, a delicious fruit. The day before I had seen boxes of them delivered. To see the video of Gretchen go to our Facebook Fan Page for the YesWeCan…

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4 Bays, 4 Splittys and 1 Ghia

QUESTION: What happens when 4 Bays, 4 Splittys and 1 Ghia get together?

ANSWER: A great atmosphere and support for our cause!

Thanks to the Paintscrapers VW club who came out to the Island Gardens Park …

VWs in the Park, photographed by Sharon Read, edited by Carole Brown.

… and thanks to my green Brazilian splitty, too, here seen in close up …

For more about this wonderful photo shoot in London see http://vw4causes.org/2012/10/21/iod-photoshoot/

I am so thankful

I was just thinking back to a few days before the end of my drive in California. Shown here is my trusty 1971 Volkswagen Westfalia in Carpinteria, just south of Santa Barbara. The night before taking this photograph, I’d stayed with VW friend, Judith, whom I’d met two years before in March 2010 on my first VW road trip.

The YesWeCan CamperVan in Carpinteria, California, towards the end of phase 2 of the MG Awareness drive; start date 20 October 2011 from Provincetown, MA, end date 15 May 2012 in Corona, CA, total distance 7853 miles

On that first trip I soon realized that my VW was my new friend who would introduce me to many more new friends. I also realized that my precious VW gave me the opportunity to start conversations with strangers, and the question quickly became what was it that I wanted to start a conversation about? Was there something important that I could talk about and that would be of interest or benefit to others, I wondered.

At the end of 2010, one year after the start of that first road trip, I was sure I’d found the topic, and another year on as I set off on my second cross country drive, I was pleased I’d chosen MG (Myasthenia Gravis). It would be the focus of my communications on auto-immune diseases and neuro-muscular ones in particular.

Seven months and over 7,500 miles later, at the end of my day in Carpinteria pictured above, I’d felt very fortunate that my VW had transported me safely on another momentous journey. On this trip, unlike the first, we’d had three major repairs before finally a new engine was built and fitted in Los Angeles. However every single time, help was on hand. It was miraculous how I was supported and helped along the way.

In the first instance, when the clutch started slipping and it was apparent it needed replacing, the Full Moon Bus Club’s South Carolina Coastal Group offered to fit a new clutch at their Thanksgivin’ Misgivin’ weekend campout just north of Charleston. Not only did they work on this repair all weekend for free, but Wolfsburg West stepped up and sent a new clutch free of charge and by overnight courier all the way from California to the VW campout’s organiser before we even arrived.

Two weeks later in Alabaster, Alabama, the accelerator cable broke in the middle of a busy traffic intersection as I was driving behind Staci (an MG patient who had been my wonderful host and helper) to accompany her in a Christmas Parade. On that occasion, Bill and Carol from Sylacauga had answered the distress message sent out on the VW network by my ‘support man’ Ken (back in Massachusetts) and they then drove one hour from home to meet me and fix my VW (after which they insisted I have my motor checked and hosted me for a few days while it was).

Two and a half weeks after that, as I was driving one early morning in a remote part of Texas, the fan belt shredded!!!! No sooner had I stopped on the side of the highway, we were joined by the nicest state trooper I’ve ever met. It was a very cold morning and I already had a sore throat and temperature, so he had me keep warm in his car, offered me his phone to call Hagerty for my breakdown service (my mobile had no signal) and stayed with me until my VW was on the tow truck an hour later.

It occurred to me at times such as those mentioned above that my VW bus is a perfect metaphor for a person with a chronic disease like MG. For example, all of us classic VW owners know (and mostly have come to accept) that our vehicles do not move as fast as high performance models, that they lose their balance around sharp bends, and that they often fight to get up hills. We also know that on a good day or when there’s far less resistance, the engine can run much stronger and livelier … and that during those times we can let out a loud sigh of relief or maybe we smile gently to ourselves, knowing that our faith has been restored and the struggle to keep going was definitely worth it.

We also know that during those ups, we might go a little crazy and do too many miles, and that, while it’s good while it lasts, chances are we’ll be pretty tired and plain old worn out later on.

As time goes by, we also learn that life in the slow lane can have its merits, like being far more appreciative of the good times and the fleeting moments of running free without bounds. Most of all we learn that living in the present moment is all there is, and with that, comes a joy all of its own.

So driving an old VW with it’s foibles and surprises, can really be a pretty good metaphor for what it’s like to have a chronic disease and to be steering one’s body through all the challenges that get thrown up along the way.  And the thing is, VWs just keep going and going if they are looked after and treated gently. Also one good example seen out and about on the road can be an inspiration to another, and waves and toots indicate that we share a common language.

For me, my VW has also been the friend who helped me find the very best of friends: those with whom I have a special understanding and with whom I can laugh and cry; those who have similar values and who give without expecting anything in return; and those who realize that trust and loyalty are the most precious of gems.

Boy oh boy … when I look at my old VW campervan, I really do have a great deal to be thankful for, don’t I?  🙂

Appreciations …. on Valentine’s Day

I wish I could find a way to add a ‘subscribe button’ to my blog on the website ‘Vehicles Working for Causes’ but I’ve spent hours trying and failed … so please excuse me for copying today’s post here if you read both blogs …. but this message is too important to miss, especially on a day like today:

FROM http://vw4causes.org/2012/02/14/appreciations-on-valentines-day/

Many times on my drive for MG Awareness, I have met patients who have inspired me and made me wonder how they keep so positive in spite of all the health challenges they face each and every day.

So today, when I saw this post on an MG patients’ private Facebook group, I just had to share it with you right away …

“I have to laugh at my own illnesses. I have been diagnosed with very serious things, and if I didn’t find the humor, I’d be in the nut house. Pulmonary Hypertension, Stage 3 Kidney disease, MG, Raynauds, Narcolepsy, Prednisone induced diabetes, Dysautonomia, and I have a spinal cord injury. I’ve been through the mill, but The Lord has brought me through it all, one step at a time, and with lots of humor. I’m on O2, just about 24/7 as well. Have to have humor, and don’t sweat the small stuff. 🙂 “

So if you are HEALTHY and you find yourself thinking about how unfortunate you are, or how life is hard, or why on Valentine’s day you have no-one special in your life, or if you are thinking or feeling anything negative in any way , PLEASE STOP AND REALIZE HOW LUCKY YOU ARE.

And maybe you can also spare a thought for the lady who wrote the post above  …… and if you’d like to support our drive for MG Awareness to get patients noticed, their medical costs reimbursed, research funded and a cure found …. please write below or take a look under the Support our cause section of this website.


Medical terms:
MG = Myasthenia gravis is an autoimmune neuromuscular disease leading to fluctuating muscle weakness and fatiguability. It is an autoimmune disorder, in which weakness is caused by circulating antibodies that block acetylcholine receptors at the postsynaptic neuromuscular junction

Dysautonomia (autonomic dysfunction) is a broad term that describes any disease or malfunction of the autonomic nervous system.

Please comment below or on the original post at Vehicles Working for Causes if you would like to show your appreciation today.

Christmas Wish

From ‘The YesWeCan CamperVan’

“I’m a VW bus parked in El Paso snow
Wondering how my friends are growing so slow,
We wanna reach one thousand by Christmas day
But at this slow rate we’re never gonna pay
The bonus we said we’d give to the best
… Who brought us ten friends and beat the rest,
So get going now and drum up some support
To help MG patients and be a good sport,
For this is the season for bringing good cheer
And not just for eating and drinking great beer!”

From Carole Brown
Friends, would you please help my VW: just post this link on your Wall and then tell your friends that going to his page and ‘liking’ him will be the best Christmas Gift of all!
The link is … http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-YesWeCan-CamperVan/203679777444




Facebook updates

Later we’ll be updating the Thanks page at ‘Vehicles Working 4 Causes‘…………….. but before taking time to do that, here’s a quick update from Facebook for those of you who do not see posts there.

Yesterday, Laura Anne posted this photo she took of our two VW buses side by side, when we visited her early last week in her home town.

Lenny and Dexter (aka The YesWeCan CamperVan) in Aiken, South Carolina, on Monday 28 November, 2011

And then just a few minutes ago, The YesWeCan CamperVan posted this on his Facebook page  …

How am I going to reach 1000 Facebook friends to help me spread the word and PUT ‘MG’ ON THE MAP?

Let us know if you have any ideas by commenting in the reply box below.


Public education and promoting our cause

On Friday, October 14th, I was at the Methodist Church in my hometown of Provincetown, Cape Cod, talking to visitors during Women’s Week about MG (Myasthenia Gravis) and my cross country drive in The YesWeCan CamperVan. 

Then on Saturday, 15th, Marilyn from the Massachusetts chapter of the MG Foundation came down to help me and set up an information table at my local Stop & Shop supermarket in town.

Here you can also see my Hippo ‘MG’ who has the classic droopy eyelids seen in MG … 

We enjoyed many wonderful conversations and heard from visitors about three family members with MG on Cape Cod. That’s an amazingly high incidence of MG and much higher than is normally reported.

Thanks to Stop & Shop for the space and to our local newspaper, the Provincetown Banner, for the write up on MG and for announcing where we’d be located. One man on vacation from Connecticut saw the newspaper story about my Mum having MG for over 50 years and he came along to meet me because his mother has MG, too.

The outcome of the day was that four MG sufferers now know about the MGFA regional chapters and support groups, and hopefully can find support from connecting with others with MG.

Could this be our route for “MG Awareness” road trip?

CLICK HERE for larger map http://mapq.st/nKlW9W

I guessed that if I did a zigzag route it would be about 6000 miles to Portland, and this shows around 6200 (and there’s more places to add in California yet).

This is the first draft of my route, so there’s time to ask us to call into see you. And/or if you are close to any of these cities or anywhere close to the route and you would be happy to see me and The YesWeCan CamperVan, please comment below so I know!!
Thank you and Cheers!