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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MERRY CHRISTMAS from the VW world

MERRY CHRISTMAS from the VW world 

from VW christmas tree decorations ….

VW bauble for Xmas tree

Dr Pepper VW BEETLE Tree Gift

Pepsi Cola VW BEETLE Tree Gift

…. to VW Christmas cakes …

VW Bus Cake + Peeps

…. who knows what you might wish for ?

VW Bus Santas

…. after all, in VW world, anything is possible 🙂

VW with Reindeer - Xmas Wish


and from my VW bus

The YesWeCan CamperVan !

If you’d like to send us a special Christmas gift,                                 we’d love you to  click here on our highlighted                                    The YesWeCan CamperVan 

This link will take you to our VW Facebook page, and                  when you get there, please like our Page …….. then share            this request with your friends, too.

   We are trying to reach 2000 ‘Page Likes’ by year end, and we’ve a long way to go. If you could help us reach this target, it  would be a wonderful gift from you to us and many others, because you’ll be helping us reach more people with our educational messages through our work at VW4CAUSES 

Thank you!

Even Jesus agrees – see below 🙂

(thanks to VW enthusiast Ryan Bautista for this photo) 

VW Jesus Xmas Tree decoration

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?  🙂

Keeping us on the road

Carole and The YesWeCan CamperVan wish to thank these guys, especially for the time they donated, their hard work and their skill in repairing the VW’s 1971 engine to keep us on target for our cross country drive for MG Awareness.

Ronnie Pugh’s Bug Haus in Richmond, Virginia

Ronnie Pugh, owner of the Bug Haus, Richmond, VA, is seen here checking the oil leak and clutch. He also replaced the gear shift rod coupling. Ronnie worked beyond normal business hours on Friday 11th November so we could make it to the MGFA Carolinas Chapter Annual Meeting in Durham, NC, on time the next morning.

Full Moon Bus Club at their Thanksgiving Campout in Awendaw, South Carolina

Here you can see the ‘Full Moon Bus Club (FMBC)’ guys replacing the clutch; a tough job which took hours and hours of their time when they should have been relaxing at their South Carolina Coastal group’s Thanksgiving campout at Awendaw, during the weekend of 18-20 November 2011. The 1971 engine had not been taken out in many a year, and neither had the rear bumper been taken off. A few rusty bolts proved no match for these hardy southerners and their determination to help our cause!

Wolfsburg West

A special thanks to owner Carla Moore who sent us vital parts free of charge and also went to the added expense of sending them overnight all the way from their warehouse in California to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to make sure one of the FMBC members could bring them to the weekend meeting.
Check out their catalogue at even if you are not a VW owner, to see a fascinating array of parts and gain a glimpse of what keeps these wonderful classic vehicles humming along! 🙂


go to for an updated itinerary and to view a new route map at the bottom of the page (just before the comment section begins).

My Birthday Wish 31 January 2011

Thank you for so many happy birthday wishes. I’m having  a lovely day here in sunny California.

I’ve been writing this blog for over a year and sharing my travels with you, and I would so love it if you to write back to me today.

Saturday’s post was an especially important one as it’s about the year ahead, so it would be great if you could read that and add a comment at the end. If not, maybe you can add something at the end of this short birthday wish, in the comment box below.

I also posted a birthday wish on Wishes for Causes Click on the name if you’ve not been there yet. Thanks again for all your nice wishes today.


‘Buses by the Bridge XV’

It says number 14 (XIV) on the welcome entrance sign, but it definitely was the 15th (XV) time that Buses by the Bridge has been held in Lake Havasu, Arizona, by the London Bridge Bullis to raise money for local children.

BBB ... a vintage VW campout like no other

BBB ... a place for children and the child in all of us

BBB ... a place to meet friends


VW a distinctive badge of honor

The VW community …

is a wonderful example of the goodness in people, as this story tells.

Also a fabulous piece of film-making, isn’t it?

Comments, please …

The VW Family

Look at the tabs above the header and van picture and you will see a new page added today called Family. On it I write:

“This page is a later addition because before owning a VW and making this road trip, I would never have known the beauty and wonderment of the VW camper family. I include in the word family all those people with and without VW campers who love these magical vehicles.

And I use the word family because everyone I met shared the same values of simplicity, generosity, humor and respect for each other and our earth …. read all and see more photos here >>

I’m hoping this addition will encourage you to comment  ….. and subscribe to this blog, so you can receive automatic updates by email when I make changes.

P.S.  I wrote about Family values in an earlier post here: Family values – VW style

Many more photos taken by Carole Brown are shown on our FAMILY PAGE

Writing to say THANKS

I haven’t been blogging for ages, so this is a short note to let you know that the plan is to write more on these pages in the coming weeks and to finish the whole story before the end of the year.

I will complete the missing details on weeks 22-26 of our 30 week trip (on the ROUTE page) and add stories about the cross country run from California to Massachusetts which completed our trip (for 2010,that is) but right now I am more energized to say THANKS  to the very special people I met on the road.

So today I started to update the THANKS page that you can see in the tabs across the top.  I also tweeked the ROUTE and VW Van Pages, so if you’ve not checked them for a while, you might enjoy taking a look.

Later I hope to reflect on the highlights of the journey that had me and my little van driving 10,000 miles and spending 6 months on the road. I want to see if I can find the words to express what made the trip such a wonderful adventure and such a happy experience.  Til then …. take care and treat each moment as a precious gift.
Thank you for being out there.

They made it

[With a special dedication to my Dad ***]

Since I left the ‘Run for the Wall’ ride from LA to DC *, I have been thinking about the riders each day and praying for their safety. And whenever I could find a wi-fi connection, I’d follow virtually by reading the blog of one of the riders and road guides – Retired Sergeant Major Doug Lyvere.

Each day Doug wrote a piece about the day – about the riding, the road conditions, and the supporters who came out to cheer on the riders and pay their respects for those who served. He also wrote about his emotions as memories were brought back by specific events, such as the laying of wreaths at local Veteran memorials.

You can follow his route (the southern one of the two) and his day by day accounts at his blog

On day 11, he wrote about the group as they gathered in Arlington and the quietness that descended as they visited the Wall this past Saturday May 29th. It’s a particularly moving piece, so take out your tissues or handkerchief ahead of time, and read his writings at

What’s also remarkable about Doug’s blog is that a man named Bob Prater wrote up Doug’s relayed messages each day and put them on the internet, because he could not ride this year. Not remarkable really though, is it? It’s one more example in the line of hundreds, of the comradeship that shines through when you meet these guys, and of the bond that kept them going in times of war and keeps them going still today.

Please don’t go before reading Bob Prater’s piece at the end, A final message from your webmaster

Unfortunately, yet not surprisingly if you read Doug’s day by day accounts, I had to leave the Run for the Wall after day two. The heat and pace across Arizona and southern New Mexico were too much for my old 1971 VW engine.  After the gruelling ride of just two days I can see that major planning is required to make sure you have a vehicle up to the job. It would be worth every bit of the planning. To thank those that served is an honor  ….. and to commemorate those who were prisoners of war or missing in action is hugely important.

Hopefully next year I’ll join the 23rd RFTW and who knows, it might be on a bike (motorbike).

*** As I write this, it’s Memorial Day here in America and for the first time I would like to express my thanks to my late father, Frederick Lane (born Giannandrea), for his service in WWII and for my freedom today.
Thanks Dad.

If you’d like to thank someone special, please add your comments below.