Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Epic Remodeling Project Finally Ends

The top photo looks like a Tenderloin district bar where I used to pick up tranny hookers, the bottom photo looks like a Hipster bar in Denver.

I remember when I bought the van in 2008 I looked at the seats and figured I'd get them reupholstered in Mexico, then the timing chain gasket blew out and the tire tread unraveled and wrapped around the axle and I noticed water poured into the windows seals when it rained and I also experienced how hot it was in the day and also a gallon of gas was priced at $4.89 and the 8 cylinders were engineered for $1.89/gallon so sort of concluded A) the van would never last, or B) I would never last. Either way, replacing the upholstery should be low on my priorities. But the van rode well back north and I failed to sell the van in San Francisco...and it survived the entire trip across the country, survived being buried in snow for two years, an epic trip around the northern horn of New Foundland and Labrador where gas costs $6 a gallon, then made it all the way to Texas before I had to rebuild the whole transmission...and then rebuilt all the brake system and replaced the window butyl tape gaskets, and bought new tires, and plunged into Mexico where I rebuilt the carburetor and finally everything major had been rebuilt. And I needed a place to park and the parqueo was also an upholstery shop. So I didn't need to do any extra labor or driving. That was the final piece of the puzzle. The stars had aligned for the first time in 46 years and the seats, engine cover, and dashboard all got attention with some special Oggy custom touches here and there.

If I had to do it all over again, I'd do the same thing. I never minded the seats being torn to shreds or the deteriorating dashboard, or the decrepit engine cover. I didn't really care about them as the priorities were the components that keep the van running and also my own fate and mental health. I didn't think an van repairs would make me a better person and I still don't think that. Now I've filled the holes in the exterior of my ego and the interior of the van. The windows don't leak. The opportunity finally presented itself and I seized it. For the past 6 weeks I've been focused on restoring the driver's cabin to something that looks not only newer, but customized, with character, and in keeping with the man in the van spirit: simple, human, inviting. This was also important because the van is my house and I can't hang pictures, so the actual van is my decor.

The punch pin embroidery was the least of the work. It's sewn into the material with a piece of clear vinyl covering it for protection.

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.