Donnie the Van

Donny is a friend of mine who says yes to any adventure, especially those likely to run amuck. My last memory of him is following behind as he yodeled off the walls of the Grand Canyon, wearing half torn boxers and a T-shirt. It was 21 degrees that day. 

Most guys like Donny; the only girl that does is the one with him. I’ve come to believe Donny was banged together with equal parts crazy and compassion, two fine ingredients in this mixed up world. The van is not named after Donny, but it would be a lie to say he didn’t influence it.

Donnie (with an i-e) is his name.
Donnie is short for Donatello, the well-known Italian sculptor and Ninja Turtle. 
Donnie is built for turtle speed, but can make short sprints.
Donnie has been surviving for the past 31 years because he just keeps going at a reasonable pace.
Donnie listens to his instincts. 

It’s common for others to name their vehicles after a lady, but it didn’t feel right to me. Donnie doesn’t look like a lady or feel like one. I’ve only ever had room for one lady in my life.

Donnie's Vitals

  • 1986 Volkswagen Vanagon Westfalia Weekender (means it doesn’t have stove, refrig, etc., I get an extra seat instead!) 
  • 335,393 miles (as of 4.1.17)
  • 95 horsepower, 2.1L water-cooled engine
  • 4-speed
  • Pop-top (sleeps 4… somehow)
  • Top speed on flats, 63mph (101kmh)
  • Top speed on a mountain pass, 43 mph
  • Top speed on a steep mountain pass at 8,000 ft, 31mph
  • 4 previous owners that I know of, 2 ship captains

The previous owner, Mike, looked at me and said, “Just treat Blanca (her previous name) like your mother." "What does that mean?" "Well, would you wake up your 50-60-year-old mom and take her for a sprint?" 

Me sitting in my newly purchased '86 VW van in San Francisco. I named him Donnie.
The interior of my '86 Volkswagen Vanagon I named Donnie