Another beautiful bus lane

The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers never went electric, but they sure as shit knew their buses. Freak Bros. © forever by Gilbert Shelton

Mired in what could only be termed a Central Avenue clusterfuck as I took the scenic route home from the airport this afternoon, gazing longingly at the bus lanes unoccupied by electric buses, or anything else, and at one point being passed by a kid nonchalantly kicking a skateboard, I found my spirits lifted considerably when KUNM-FM played “Bike Lane” by Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks.

Naturally, the lyrics rearranged themselves in my head thusly: “Another beautiful bus lane … another beautiful bus lane. …”

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19 Responses to “Another beautiful bus lane”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    Another case of idealistic government planning vs reality. Sigh.

  2. Hurben Says:

    I had one of those, split screen, air cooled, flat four, Kombi, hacked into a very DYI camper. I returned home after a combat tour to discover that my father had got pissed off with it in his driveway & had sold it as spares.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Oh, man. I expect you were the one who was pissed off then.

      My mom had a habit of doing stuff like that. She was ruthless and brutally efficient. She sold a beautiful 1962 Mercedes-Benz 220S to a mechanic who told her it needed “expensive repairs” to pass its emissions inspection and bought herself (wait for it) a Ford Pinto. Yes, the fabled barbecue grill on the hoof.

      She also sold her stepfather’s pristine Cadillac Coupe de Ville, just because she hated him. Can’t recall the vintage, but it was maroon, before the things got insanely long and ridiculously finned, and with absurdly low mileage because he hardly ever drove it. He croaked, she sold it, boom, end of story.

      Those were two cars I really, really, really wanted for myself. Now I just look at the things as transportation, which explains the Subaru Forester.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        I had a 1993 VW Eurovan Westfalia, pop top, camper. First of the front wheel drive, 5 cylinder Audi engine powered, VW vans imported into the US. What a beauty. I also had a 1962 VW Westfalia camper while I lived in Georgia. It climbed mountain roads at about the same speed I do.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Forester is a nice bit of transportation. For giggles, I preferred the WRX but it got way worse gas milage and tended to get me the unintended attention of the law. The 944 Turbo was a blast but took huge chunks out of my wallet.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I always heard the VeeWees were electrical nightmares. Didn’t stop me from eyeing them, which as a faux hippie was practically a requirement.

        A friend in college back in 1972 had one of the old VW buses. The heater was not a match for the Alamosa winters.

        Another bro’ had a 1960 Chevy Apache panel van. Now that was a manly stonermobile. He built storage/benches along the sides that covered the wheel wells and with several friends we passed many an enjoyable hour back there acquiring the reefer madness.

        There are a couple outfits like Pop Top Heaven doing full-on, high-priced restorations of the Eurovans and Vanagons. I checked out one of them up in Denver, drove a couple, and chickened out. Too many fussy bits to go sideways in those beasties, I thought.

        Then I bought the ’78 Toyota Chinook pop-top. Hijo, madre. Talk about bits going sideways. Onliest Toyota I ever owned that hated me.

        The Forester is functional, minimal transportation. The most disco item? Heated seats. Booyah. I’ve stuffed something like four bikes inside and two more on the roof, loaded it with landscaping rock for the yard in Bibleburg, and herded it from Maine to Spokane, Austin to Boston. I hope to get another 130K out of it before it croaks.

        • JD Dallager Says:

          Our 1990 Toyota 4Runner is still going strong — went thru two kids in high school and college, 12 military moves, hauling bikes/rocks, and fertilizer — and only has 173,000 miles on it. Weighs about 4500 lbs, sports a 140hp (??) V6, can’t accelerate for beans when going uphill, but we love Bert (named after Bert and Ernie when we bought it). Actually had a guy offer to buy it when I was at COSTCO a few months ago getting gas (low test of course!).

        • khal spencer Says:

          The newer Foresters are far from minimalist, and the damn pricetag, verging on 30k, reflects that upscale trend. I choked one down when I had a broken foot and torn rotator cuff in quick succession and my spouse was tired of me borrowing her car, since the walking cast and arm brace meant no stick shifting for something like eight months. The good news is the Subies seem to run a long time with minimal breakage.

          Our ’02 Impreza (same engine and drive train as the older Foresters) had a collapsed timing belt tensioner that was replaced under warranty and then it collapsed again a few years later on our dime. The 07 was, and 09’s has been, knock on plastic, running flawlessly. I worried a bit about getting another turbo after my 944 debacle but the WRX was as much fun and never broke down.

          The ’96 Tacoma V6 is chugging along with 330k on the odometer. Amazing. If I wasn’t commuting back and forth to Bombtown, I’d dump the Subie and just keep the other rice burner.

    • Carl Duellman Says:

      i had a 1970 vw camper that my gf and i bought at a yard sale while we were high on cold medicine and had to push it home. the engine had a hole in it but i replaced the engine and finally got it running after having it sit in the garage for a few years. i drove it a few times but then my gf bought a cool 1959 mercedes-benz 220s so we sold the van. the benz sat in the garage for a few years until the gf decided to have it restored which ended up her giving it away for parts after the guy restoring it died in a motorcycle crash. now i’m looking for a minivan to make into a camper.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Good morning Carl. These have caught my eye the last 2 years. Would be a good base for a camper. But, both my vehicles are almost new, and camping doesn’t seem a high priority anymore. The tent is good enough for camping 2 or 3 times a year. Cheaper too!

      • Carl Duellman Says:

        i was just looking at those yesterday when i should’ve been working. i’m 6’5″ and i think the cargo length is under 6′. i did see a nissan recon that looks pretty neat.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I keep meaning to drive both of those vehicles and keep not doing it for some reason.

        There’s a passenger version of the Transit Connect in the neighborhood, a subtle gray. Good-looking rig. If my 1996 F-150 hadn’t been such a nightmare I’d be sorely tempted. That sucker sent me straight back to Japan, where I have been ever since.

        The Nissan NV200 that Recon refurbs looks very interesting. I’ve seen a lot of the cargo models around town and a couple passenger models. I wonder about them on the long, lonesome highway, though.

        Don’t forget the Mercedes-Benz Metris. Also available in cargo and passenger models. But you still can’t get the Marco Polo on this side of The Big Ditch. Scheiss!

  3. JD Dallager Says:

    Speaking of cool outdoor vehicles: check these out!

  4. Hurben Says:

    I’ve still got my copy of “How to keep your VolksWagen alive” by John Muir. It’s the best manual of procedures ever written, I used it as an example when dealing with my Software developers.

  5. Dale Says:

    I bought a 1974 Fiat 128 wagon in 1974, the first new car I ever bought, and the worse new car I ever bought. It had a manual choke (that’s OK with me),a warped cylinder head, and a totally incompetent service staff.

    Now this was in that small window of time when you could not start your car when the seat belt was not buckled. I went to pick it up one afternoon after the so called mechanic had glued a second valve cover gasket on top of the failed one. Oh, they also replaced the wing window on the driver side (waited 7 months for that).

    The car would not start. I went to the service manager and asked if he repaired Volvos (they were a dealer for both) as well as Fiats. He came out and reconnected a wiring harness under the seat.

    The (mechanics?) must have disconnected the harness to avoid listening to the alarm and pushed it out of the repair bay.

    I promptly drove to the VW dealer and traded for an older VW bus.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Don’t get me started on my 1972 MG Midget. Lucas electrics (total nightmare) and a hydraulic clutch whose master cylinder leaked more than my prostate does now.

      • JD Dallager Says:

        Lucas: “Prince of Darkness”! ‘Nuff said!

        On the broader topic of the above: Please never forget that free enterprise/competition produces efficiency and drives quality performance; Adam Smith’s “invisible hand” will regulate the market for everyone’s benefit; and humans are like every other species (what’s in it for me!?)

        Oops……sorry about that last one! 🙂

  6. Esteban O’ Says:

    Speaking of special lanes for special critters:

    Q: Doesn’t riding in the bike lane annoy cyclists?
    A: Yes, of course. Cyclists are annoyed by most stimuli

  7. Libby Says:

    Enjoy la Ruta Pendejo this weekend!

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