A Bus Will Take You There
Remember the Splitwindow Volkswagen Microbus? Back in the sixties and seventies those things were all over the place. They adapted to any situation, from hauling a ton of cargo to carrying nine passengers to simply being driven serenely along for the pure freaken fun of it. The VW Bus was the original minivan, the original camper, and is still widely known as the “Hippy Van,” or -- if you fear the PC police -- the “Counterculture Condo.”

With all those uses and all those adaptations, no wonder the Volkswagen Microbus collected a reputation unrivaled by any other vehicle.

This is not a reputation acquired by accident. Its unique features insisted the driver have experiences way beyond the ordinary.

A Bus Will Take You There personally highlights some of the more pointed experiences -- experiences that would not have happened while driving any other vehicle. Written by one who has owned, operated, and has traveled the North American Continent in the same 1962 VW Microbus for 40 years, the book rolls out the miles to places where addition has little to do with the crunching of numbers. It takes you to the Yukon Territory where you’ll meet Differentman, a man on the edge of losing everything, yet so strong he seems to be made from parts of hydaulic jacks.

From the Yukon to Montana, the Bus takes you down the Alaska Highway on a trip fraught with problems -- a trip to meet the richest man in the world, a man who laughs at problems because “problems are only solutions in the formative stage.“ There’s a mysterious visit to a mountain graveyard too, where a conflict arises between the best way to live and the only way to stay alive. There’s more, as when the Bus takes you to a place where a father loathes what a son loves, and their differences lead to an understanding that all change starts with belief. In another story of a father and son, the Bus takes them to a place where both are in the crosshairs of someone intent on murder, and their miraculous escape gives them time to rise above feelings of hate and revenge.

Plus there’s a recounting of a rescue that leaves the one rescued teetering between absolute certainty and total confusion, and a multi-faceted story centered around a single Microbus accessory that turns out to be “slicker than bare feet on wet linoleum.”

Finally, since the subtitle is “partly about a Bus but mostly about drivers and how they are driven,” A Bus Will Take You There is likely to give you a more inclusive view of the one who looks back when we each stand alone in front of the mirror.

229 pages, by Johnny Bock. Lunchbreak Press. Drive alive.