On a cloudy California morning like any other, with a certain feeling of Fall nostalgia in the air, the two of us got together to begin plotting the next destination for our photo project series, Midnight Riders, resuming early 2013. All the while losing sight of our hands through a mixture of cobwebs, electrical wiring, and engine grease. At ease in our simple surroundings, we were accompanied only by Jonathan’s ‘71 Volkswagen Beetle, Sonny The American Bulldog, and blues rock tunes freestyled by the great Jimi Hendrix.
[Jimi Hendrix - Easy Blues]
Jon’s 1971 Volkswagen Beetle, Wolfsburg Edition. Although not much to look at, it represents an era where beginning an adventure simply required a driver’s license and a destination. The ’71 Wolf does not have modern luxuries. There is no power steering nor air conditioning. There are no Anti-Lock Brakes. The paint is faded and their are parts missing. It has a loud engine and reeks of a drag-strip. Yet it remains in the family all these years as a respected heirloom and a definite builder of virtue.
California doesn’t feel so vast until you find yourself with a road map in hand and nothing but time. It’s quite easy to get lost between the lines of interstates, surface roads, and unmarked trails. Go North? Possibly. South? Maybe. East? Perhaps, West. The smell exuding from the cup of coffee, which was resting on the glovebox door, acted as an unwanted distraction as the morning went on. After considering even crossing borders to explore, our destination became clear. We knew where we wanted to go.
And then there’s Sonny, the American Bulldog. There’s one thing Sonny is, and that’s a hard worker. After all, yawning isn’t easy.
Still, Sonny manages to show us just how excited he is for the the road ahead. Good boy.
With our destination marked, we decided to explore the engine bay of the ’71 Wolf out of curiosity. Being an automotive enthusiast most of my life meant learning how to take apart a car as if constructed by Lego blocks. Reminding myself that each piece had it’s proper place as I went along. Little does another feeling rival one of building something from nothing, looking back at the end and saying, “I made this.” That is what working hands on with automobiles does for you. Although ‘clean’ for quite sometime, the Volkswagen did leave a subtle reminder on what it was like to work with such old vehicles. Nothing like leather jackets and grime in between your fingers. “This wont wash out for a while.”
Yet after all is said and done we’re reminded, “The future belongs to those of us willing to get our hands dirty.”