I go through phases. Some last longer than others, but all benders are intense. As a rug rat I played with Legos 24/7 and drooled over the latest offerings in the Lego catalog. From there, I graduated into archery. I lost hundreds of arrows in the woods behind my house. As a teenager, all I wanted to do was snowboard. At 16, I rode over 100 days on Mt. Hood. Most recently, I have been on a van binge (most of you probably know this already). I often slam on the breaks while cruising down the road and double back to take a second look at a van or camper parked on the shoulder. When the waves are flat, I default to exploring the area I am in for vans parked in their natural habitat.
My interest in them isn't a material fetish. They cost less than a new Honda and sure aren't glamorous. It's more philosophical. I am drawn to their embodiment of attainable adventure and self reliance. They have helped people travel to beautiful places for generations and served as base camps for countless activities. I gravitate towards this history and people continuing the same spirit today.
Visually, each van picks up dents, customizations and other anomalies on the road. No two are a like. They weren't designed to be works of art, but have developed into them. Call it industrial beauty.
A very rare BMW powered Vixen in Big Sur. These things have Turbo Diesels and get 30 MPG's. Some things were only schemed up in the 80's.
Down by the tracks is way more gnarly than down by the river. Bingen, Washington.
A VW T3 Syncro Dako in Hood River, Oregon. Some day...
A limo-sized van in Santa Barbara, California.
There are more VW vans in Arcata, California than pot heads. Well maybe not, but its a close one.
A short bus camper just south of Santa Cruz.
A purple color-changing paint job on a dually camper in Portland, Oregon. Not for the weak of heart.
This isn't uncharted territory. People have been into their vans for considerably longer than I have been around. All sorts of folks have spent time in vans and have photos of their experiences. To share these photos and my shots, I have been working recently on a new photo project called #vanlife. Check out the site and use the #vanlife tag on Instagram and Twitter. Bear with me, I think something good will come of this binge. It might even inspire someone to take a road trip.
Here are some more links,