California dreaming: beach or bust?

The "bus," busted in Santa Barbara
The plan: fly to Los Angeles and spend 10 devil-may-care days haunting the shores and surf of the California coast

The plan: fly to Los Angeles and spend 10 devil-may-care days haunting the shores and surf of the California coast, camping in a 1973 Volkswagon van painted sunset orange and named after a surfing legend.

The reality: A serious of unfortunate breakdowns from the minute we hopped into the “bus” (four days late, thanks to the need for some unanticipated repairs) and hit the road singing along to oldies amplified through our iPod. In all, we only spent one night camping in the van, at Leo Carillo State Park, after having been turned away from a posh Malibu campground, despite its glowing “vacancy” sign.

This photo was taken in Santa Barbara, where we gave up on our beach-bound dream after the bus sputtered to a stop once again. Though the carefree days of lingering, toes in the sand, beer in hand, were a bust, we had the quintessential VW van experience, along with a hilarious tale to tell friends. Φ

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