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VW Bug

Bug Tales: The Great 4 Wheel Drive Adventure!

I had a “sort of” request for another “bug tale” – I haven’t posted one of those in ages.

Alas, I no longer own my 1973 VW beetle. It died a dramatic death last year, the engine giving out at the corner of a very busy intersection. I had the choice of replacing the engine, again, or getting something newer. And while I had had ambitions of having a drivable 40 year old car, I figured 37 years was a more than respectable time for my beloved Bug.

Way back in the day, when my car was very very young, I was living in the middle-of-nowhere Arizona. One year I took a “just for the fun of it” geology class at the local community college.

One of the things we did was go on a field trip, which involved driving another 60+ miles further into the middle of nowhere, then following a dirt road out past the back of beyond. The instructor told the students that four wheel drive vehicles were required, but I figured that, after living in Flagstaff for awhile, and driving my Bug through all that damn snow without ever using snow tires or chains, and over all kinds of mountain roads, that that requirement didn't apply to me.

So a friend and I showed up in my car, and all the guys (it was mostly men in that class) laughed their asses off. The instructor said OK, we'd try it. He took the lead, and they had me follow directly behind him, so there would be plenty of people behind me to help me when I got stuck.

We made it along the unimproved dirt road without any incident, though I must admit when we went down a pretty steep hill I began to worry about getting back up again. Besides being steep, the road curved quite a bit at that point.

We went past a picturesque ghost town, and reached our destination. It was a good place to dig for geodes, and my friend and I found quite a nice big one, plus a lot of smaller fragments.

When it came time to go back, the instructor told me to go first. All the guys *knew* I'd never make it back up that hill, and so they were already figuring out who was going to help push me up that incline.

So my friend and I headed back, and we reached The Hill. Now, I was a bit nervous at this point, but I didn't tell her that. My car, though, took the hill handily, and before much more time had passed we reached the campground.

So we broke out our sunshade and our lawn chairs and our cooler and had sandwiches and beer, and talked, and talked… and waited and waited… And 45 minutes later the guys finally showed up.

Yes, one of their four wheel drive vehicles had gotten stuck, and they had spent all that time digging it out…!

(I have to admit that if I’d known I was going to keep that car as long as I did I would never have treated it like a 4 wheel drive vehicle! A few years later I had to have the entire front axle of that car replaced!)


Great story. :)

I'm from Arlington, Virginia, but for the last fourteen years, I've lived in Prescott, AZ.

I drive a 20 year old Jeep Cherokee. One of the funniest moments I've had was when driving the Jeep back from Phoenix one day, on the way up the Mesa (switchback highway with a 6% grade) above Black Canyon City, our aging Jeep tooled right by one of those ginormous Hummers crapped out on the side of the road. Not too long after that I saw a Toyota SUV on the Courthouse Square in Prescott with a decal in the back window that said "Hummer Rescue Vehicle". Hee!
Wow, Virginia to AZ - now that's quite a contrast!

*Love* your Hummer story. :-D Particularly the Toyota's decal.

I've driven from Jerome to Prescott (in my Bug) - quite an excellent drive.
Wow, Virginia to AZ - now that's quite a contrast!

Politically they're not that different. Unfortunately.
Agreed about the politics. Arizona has always been uber-conservative, and a lot of the state is saturated with political conspiracy theories. I certainly heard plenty of all of that when I lived there.

I read recently about the death threats some leaders of the Maricopa County Republican party received from people further to the right who thought they were too liberal because they'd worked for John McCain.

I remember when La Paz County split from Yuma County because Yuma County was such "big government". Of course, when they split off they wound up not having enough tax revenue to support any type of public safety services and wound up having to rely on state money for awhile.
I meant to say on the way up the mesa on I17.
i hope your bug rest in peace!

it is remembered because it was brave and have a unic personality!

i find amazing that your car have all that travel! good for it!

i would love to hear another history of your noble car :)
Thanks! My bug, I believe, has been given a new lease on life as I sold it to my mechanic who intended to install a new engine and fix it up and resell it. So it may well be rolling on the road right now, with another owner.

When I think of more Bug Tales, I'll post them. Glad you enjoyed this one! :-)
Aww, wonderful story! Put a smile on my face. May the bug rest in peace and glory.
I think the Bug isn't resting at all but that it came back to life fairly quickly. I sold it to my mechanic, a VW expert. He planned on installing a new engine and otherwise refurbishing it and then he planned to resell it. I'd like to think it's out there right now, rolling on the road, heading toward its 40th year.
Oh, that bug! Truly unkaputtbar. *g*

Figured the guys' cars would be the ones to conk out, not your Bug! You had a good run with it. :)
>>>You had a good run with it. :)

I sure did! Those Bugs keep going on and on and on.

Those guys sure didn't look all that smug after they came back to the campsite and found us sitting there, all set up and relaxing.
Loki riding

May 2019

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