Renegade Apostrophe V
A Hard Day; A Good Night

Home On The Road


When I was on the road with the circus, I lived in a van.

No, not under a bridge out by the airport.

My van was a 1973 Ford Super Van, which I named The Fool Bus. I really wanted to paint it school-bus yellow, but Earl Scheib charged more than I had for that little indulgence.

Instead, I spelled out "Fool Bus" on the side in shiny stick-on letters from the hardware store.

It was already customized, sort of, when I got it. It had only a driver and passenger seat. There was a partition built in toward the back. Behind that was a platform, which created a bed that was almost full-size wide. I got a two-inch thick foam pad for a mattress and made it up with regular sheets and blankets. Lots of pillows and an Indian print curtain added a touch of hippie ambiance.

Unfortunately, it wasn't quite as long as I was tall, but if I slept diagonally or in the fetal position I was fine. I hung a mirror on the wall and that was my dressing room.

The van also came with a big... dresser? Box with compartments? Anyway, it took up a lot of space, so I replaced it with a cedar chest that held my clothes and clown stuff.

I bought a great Coleman cooler at Kmart. This cooler stood on end, like a wee fridge, and held a 20-pound block of ice in a separate compartment. It kept my beer cold and fresh. On top of the cooler I had a nifty camping sink. You filled it with water, and the spigot was actually a little pump that pumped the water into the sink itself. When you were done with your washing up, you pulled the plug and the water drained out through a plastic pipe. I hooked up some tubing to the pipe so that I could drain the water right out through the door.

I hung curtains on bungee cords that I could hook up over the rear-view mirror. I put another on a tension rod across the double side doors, aka the entrance to the "living room".

Music was supplied by my trusty 8-track tape player. When I was driving, it slipped into a bracket in the dash; when I was parked, it slipped into a sort of docking station that ran on regular power.

If I could have installed a working toilet and shower, who knows? I might still be living in a van.

Nah. Now my idea of roughing it is no shampoo and conditioner in the bathroom of the suite.