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Goodbye old Friend: Farewell to my Truck

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My beloved truck in Alaska in 2004.

I’m sitting on my bed contemplating my day tomorrow, and much to my surprise, I began weeping. Tomorrow I take the old truck to the junk yard and sell it for scrap. Just the thought of it sitting in a junk yard being stripped for parts upsets me. It must have an overwhelming feeling of rejection. I know how ridiculous that sounds, of course it is an old beater of a pickup and it doesn’t have feelings, but I can’t help the way I feel.
My feelings probably have very little to do with the truck and everything to do with the loss I have gone through in the last year, but that doesn’t make it feel any less painful to me. After I went home to Alaska in September, and wrote about it here, I have been feeling remarkably better. But somehow losing my faithful old metal friend has brought it all back to the surface and it is like I am starting all over again. In my reading about depression, one thing that stood out was that once you have gone through a major bout with it, your brain becomes wired to fall back into it much easier. That must be true when getting rid of an old truck can throw me into a tailspin of depression.
When dealing with the death of loved ones, our spiritual beliefs become very important. I hope you will forgive me if I talk about my spiritual beliefs. I know there are many of you who will totally disagree with me, in fact my beliefs may be in total opposition to yours. I want you to know that I mean no disrespect for your beliefs and I have no expectation that any of you will follow my beliefs. Live and let live really is part of my motto of life.
I owe most of my spiritual beliefs to two main religious traditions: Taoism and Native American (specifically Lakota). Both are nature religions meaning that they see everything as animate, alive with spirit or “God” (although that word wouldn’t apply to Taoism). Most mainstream religions would think of me as a Pagan because I believe God is in Nature, and Nature is in God; that all things have the presence and spirit of God in them in a way that I can’t even begin to understand. I like to explain it all by saying that 14 Billion years ago everything was One, but that the One wanted there to be Many, so the One exploded itself into a bazillion million pieces (the Big Bang) and now there is still the One, but he is composed of the Many. The entire Universe composes his body and the higher forms of life act as the neural network of his mind. That makes our thoughts, words and behavior very, very important because collectively we are the mind of God. Unfortunately, while we are each a part of the One, most of us have lost sight of it and become obsessed with the Many and see ourselves as alone and separate. We behave as if our actions have no effect on anyone but ourselves, but the truth is that collectively we create the world as we know it.
These beliefs are the foundation of everything I do and write. I have organized my life around living in and being connected to nature. Everything I write will have one ultimate goal, that the reader will become more connected to nature. For most people that is a difficult thing to do, unless they are vandwelling. The ultimate way to live cheaply in a van is to boondock on public land, which puts you into a deep connection with nature.

One thing I firmly believe is that whatever God is, he communicates to us through nature. Unlike oral or written traditions, the lessons of nature transcend time, culture or location. Those lessons are self-evident to every human who ever lived; from the jungles of the Amazon to the ice of the Arctic; from the earliest cavemen, to the wisest modern human, all can learn the same lessons from the cycles and rhythms of Mother Earth. Not just pagans learn from nature, every major world religion uses the lessons of nature to teach its truths, whether it be ants, eagles or the lilies of the fields. Why? Because their truths are timeless and self-evident.
When I look at nature, one of the main lessons I see is the cycle of life, death and rebirth. Without exception, everything in nature lives, dies and is born again. Sometimes the cycle is fast and obvious, other times it is slow and takes huge, incomprehensible amounts of time. But it always happens. Because of that I am a very firm believer in reincarnation. I see all life (and all existence) as a circle, and not as a line with a beginning or an end. I have no idea of the details of how it works, and frankly I think it is probably beyond our understanding. But I find great comfort in knowing it is true. My lost loved ones are not gone, they are simply in a different place, time and form. Of course I miss them just as much, and having them gone still hurts me tremendously, but it helps me to know they are okay.
So I know that my truck is an inanimate object; it doesn’t think or feel in any way that I can understand or relate to. But at some level I believe it has sentience and a spirit. I comfort myself with the knowledge that this particular part of its circle has come to an end. Some of its parts will begin a new cycle and go on in another vehicle. At some point it will “die” and be crushed and melted down and come back as a whole new thing to begin the cycle again. Or it will sit and rust and rot away for an enormous length of time and return to the earth from which it came, only to come back as something else. Writing these words still hurt me, but even through the pain there remains a hope for what is to come. Bob

We are stardust
Billion year old carbon
We are golden….
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden
— Joni Mitchell Lyrics


  1. Kim

    Oh, Bob, how sad. That truck was a big part of your life for a long time. I was rereading your book the other day; when I got to the passage about your truck, I wondered if letting it go would be painful for you.

    • Bob

      Kim, thanks for your kind words! As I get older I am afraid I am turning into an old softee!! It makes me think of the old saying “Still waters run deep” I think I am down to the Marianas Trench!! It doesn’t take much to bring out my feelings, although like all good males I try hard not to show them.
      I am very surprised by the depth of my feelings by the truck. I’m pretty sure it is less about the truck and more about the loss of my relative last year. Bob

  2. Wayne (Wirs)

    Hey Bob.
    I’m right there with you on the spiritual thing, I blog about just that all the time. I call it “Mystical Oneness”.
    FYI, and maybe it’s me, but I tried to click on your book to the right and got some unexpected results:
    When you say, “Click on the link below” the only link I see takes you to where you can get the Kindle APP, not your book. I couldn’t find a link to your book (the image takes you to a larger image).
    Am I missing something?

    • Bob

      Hi Wayne, I checked out your blog and liked it so I subscribed. I’m looking forward to learning more!
      On the ad for the book, you may have software that prevents pop-ups. Directly below the sentence that says “Click on the link below” is an ad for the book that is a live link. But your malware software may be preventing it from popping up. Go to this page for a direct link:

      • Wayne (Wirs)

        Thanks Bob. Ad blocking software was the issue. Just purchased your book and look forward to reading it.

  3. Steve & Zeke the Mountain Dog

    Well the more I get to know you, the more I want to know you… Thanks for being in Zeke’s and my life… You are the water that makes us grow…
    BTW helluva a write up…

    • Bob

      Thanks Steve! Bob

    • Shelly

      Well said Steve, I totally agree

      • Bob

        Thanks Shelly! Bob

  4. Carl

    What a wonderful way of expressing yourself.You say it in such a great way,and saying it so it makes a lot of sense to me.At this time when I am facing the possibility of having lung cancer,you have helped me to understand.I must meet you someday.Thanks so much. Carl

    • Bob

      Carl, I am very humbled that my musings may have been helpful in this time of your life. I can’t even imagine the turmoil you must be feeling at the thought of cancer. I so wish I had some magic words that would make it better for you somehow but of course there are none. If there is anything I can do to be helpful, feel free to ask. Bob


    hey bob, no where you are come from. cry like a baby, when i junk the old vw bus. grew up in her, my home for twelve year!! still think about that old bus thirty year’s later had some good time’s in that vw bus!!. i will lay in my casita trailer an think i’m back in my old vw bus. kinded tear up just talking about the old gal.bob, i don’t know what happen with steve, an at this point a don’t really care!! it is his biz to work out, hope it won’t effect are friendship.i was thinking maybe starting old guy’s room for us old bachelor.but i thought i would check with you frist? your bub an fellow traveler, gary

    • Bob

      Hi Gary, us old farts can get mighty sentimental about our rigs can’t we! No, our friendship is in no danger! I’m looking forward to seeing you again in Quartzsite! Bob

  6. John Lamb

    I know how you feel about letting the old Ford go….my old 95 F150 had 298,000 miles on it when I sold it recently, and it was the last thing I had that came from my late wife….she had bought it for me in the fall of 94 as a 20th anniversary present… was tough to sell it! But oh my…I do love this big Suburban!!

    • Bob

      John, we men are strange in many ways. Society seems to prevent us from forming normal bonds of affection with other people so we make them with our vehicles and our dogs instead. Very strange, Bob

      • Ted

        Not that strange Bob!

        • Bob

          Ted, I think you are right, I am amazed at how many of us feel the same way about our old vehicles. But then you could say that since you are all reading a blog about living in vans and RVs we all all must be a little bit strange. But I think it is a wonderful kind of strange! Bob

  7. cyndi

    It’s been a long time since I allowedmyself to get emotionally attached to my vehicle. Freedom, my 76 VW bus, went up in flames in 1986. I still get homesick when I see a bus.
    Rally, my 86 E150 van, helped me to raise my son. She took me places I never had the courage to even dream of going(physically and emotionally)She was a huuuge piece in the puzzle that is recovery. At 250,000 miles and still runnng strong it was time to let her go. I looked at it like an organ donation. Pieces and parts of her would live on in someone elses ride. Perhaps, she would take someone someplace they needed to be in life.
    I’ve driven some great vehicles since then, but nothing can compare to the journeys those two took me on.

    • Bob

      Cyndi, we need to spend more time together, I just realized how little I know about you. We both stay so busy at the RTR that we don’t get to really spend time together. If possible, let’s make that happen this year. Your new knees should help!!

  8. Cedric

    I have never felt such compassion for my departed vehicles. I am soooo frustrated with there breaking down that I just kick them to the curb and run as fast as I can! 🙂

    • Bob

      Cedric, I can relate to that!! I have a love-hate relationship with them, most of the time I love them, but sometimes I hate them with a red-hot passion! But, right now all I can think about is the many great times we had together. Its sad to me to see her go. Bob

  9. Joy

    Very heartfelt post….good to get all that out. Time now to release it for rebirth and start falling in love with your new ‘home sweet home’.

    • Bob

      Very good point joy, it’s valid and important to mourn for the past, but life can only be lived happily in the present. Unfortunately, I tend to be a procrastinator and let things drag out. I’ve done that with the truck so it has hurt for even longer than it should. TODAY it goes to the boneyard. Bob

  10. Calvin R

    Bob, this may sound odd, but I’m glad you’re doing your grieving. That’s the only way to go on, even though it’s painful. I wish you the least pain that will do the job.
    Also, even if your truck doesn’t have feelings that we recognize, you’re entitled to your feelings about it. You put a great deal of yourself into that truck, and it took you on a great deal of your life’s journey. Part of your spirit rests in that vehicle.
    I thank you for sharing your beliefs. I have the same ideas pretty much down the line and you have done a fine job of writing them. I will come back to this posting because you speak your truth so clearly.

    • Bob

      Calvin, thanks for this comment, it touched me. You are quite right, i have put part of my spirit into it, I wish it all the best. Bob

  11. Twokniveskatie

    I have such fond memories of waking up in my van and seeing that truck parked near me in the desert, but not half so fond as of your beautiful smiling face. I am gonna be so happy to see you again. Take good care of you, my friend.

    • Bob

      Thanks, Katie! Get out here as soon as you possibly can! Bob

  12. Klbexplores

    I have often been accused of ‘seeing’ life in objects and celebrating (and yes grieving) the loss or impending loss of objects. They are indeed a gift that bring much to our lives and thus worthy of such respect. I wish you well as you say farewell to your trusty friend.

    • Bob

      Klbexplores, I think your choice of words is very important, we are “accused” of seeing life in objects like we are crazy. But modern physics is constantly changing the way we view the world and giving credence to many mystical ideas that primitive peoples have held for thousands of years. Albert Einstein said that:

      “There are two ways to live: you can live as if nothing is a miracle; you can live as if everything is a miracle.”

      We have chosen to live like the objects in our lives are miracles. It sounds like that choice has brought you as much joy as it has brought me! Bob

  13. Izaak Diggs

    Great blog, Bob.

  14. Linda D.

    Bob, what a wonderful way you have of explaining your spirituality. I feel pretty much the same way. And I love a man that is not afraid to care enough to cry! Shows a lot of soul to me. I do hope that our paths cross one of these days!

    • Bob

      Hi Linda, thank you for your kind words, I appreciate them. There have been way too many tears this last year, I’m looking forward to putting it behind me. But it takes what it takes, nothing to do but go through it. Thanks again. Bob

  15. Sayward

    I totally relate to how you feel…I love my old ’88 toyota pickup and cannot let it go…keep rebuilding the engine and doing whatever it takes to keep it going. It’s my best friend, we’ve been through so many adventures together, and it’s pulled me out of so many amazing situations where even a bigger truck would have not made it! For 10 years it was mine, for 11 years I called it “The dog truck”, and for the last 3.5 years it’s been mine alone again. We’ve been through so much together that if I ask it to perform a miracle, it almost always does 🙂 If and when I have to ‘put it down’ I will take it on one last adventure and some kind of honorary ceremony – it’s as much alive in many ways as anything else in the world.

    • Bob

      Hi Sayward, I love Toyota trucks! I don’t know why, I’ve never owned one, but somehow it has come to me that Toyota pickups (the Tacoma in particular) are some of the very best vehicles ever made. I’ve given a lot of thought to how I could live in one, but I just can’t get my minimum amount of stuff down to a level that will fit in one. My ideal would be to tow one as a daily driver, but that will have to wait for the future.
      Yes, I agree, they have their own unique life to them, a life that should be honored. Bob

  16. Don McKee

    Hi Bob,I sure enjoy reading your blog,I know what you mean about your old truck!I have had a few that i hated to give up myself.Reading your blog makes me want to get busy and talk my other half into getting on the road and get away from Indiana weather this winter.Maby Imay be out your way some time this winter. Hoping Don

    • Bob

      Don, having lived all my life in dreary and cold winter weather I think the best thing I did was get away from it. My only regret is not changing earlier. If you haven’t tried RVing yet, maybe she would be interested in renting one in Arizona this winter as a way to learn about it. Some people love it and others hate it, but you will never know till you try! Bob

  17. Gary Stern

    Good for you. Never deny how you feel. We need to own our feelings as we came by them through our life experience. Understanding where they come from and finding a way to make use of them is the key. Emotions have an energy that intellectual ideas don’t. I often feel rage (an earmark of trauma) at what would seem to someone else – an inappropriate moment. But until you’ve walked that proverbial mile in someone else’s shoes, you can’t stand in judgment of how someone feels. I’ve lost everything at least twice in my life and my wife kidnapped my son (who I didn’t see for almost a decade). Somehow, the loss of anything tangible, doesn’t move me much. I am a softee for unanticipated acts of kindness and loyalty. My sweetheart once backed my new car into a rock and I just laughed while she cried. I said, it’s a car, it can be fixed, it’s just not worth any angst. She thought I was crazy and she was probably right.

    • Bob

      Gary, nature and nurture combine to give us each such unique paths. You and I handle emotions totally differently, and yet deep down I am sure we are very much alike. You are quite right, you can never judge someone else’s emotions. As I have grown older and evolved, I suddenly find myself full of empathy for other peoples feelings, something I never had in my past. It has changed me and opened my heart to others in ways I never experienced before. And it seems like it has opened me to even inanimate objects.
      Life’s path can be very strange! Bob

  18. Kitty Alone

    Every morning when I wake up in my truck with my warm purring kitties lying around me, I know I am as happy as I could ever be. Tears are good, they wash our souls. Just don’t dwell on them to much. Love the sunrises, rainfall, heat and cold. Love the beautiful rocks, the trees and plants.Love the animals and your sences. It will be all right. Hugs to you and those you love.

    • Bob

      Thanks Kitty, those are very wise words!! Like you, my pet gives my life so much joy! May you always be happy! Bob

  19. Sam (squire)

    Check out the utility trailer I wrote about today.

    • Bob

      Pretty amazing, Sam! That kind of work is beyond my ability. I actually have fairly limited mechanical abilities, somehow I managed to learn how to do a few things. You, on the other hand, I bet you could do that pretty easily though, are you busy right now? Just kidding!! I’m pretty happy with my simple cargo trailer conversion. It looks like you had a really wonderful summer, hope to see you again soon! Bob

  20. Hinoki Jeff

    Bob,I’d like to tell you the story of my Avion tk camper.When I first layed eyes on her she was a pityful site.40 years old and sunk in the mud,she was covered in tree sap and slowly rotting away.I thought of just leaving but something caused me to stay.I looked her all over then went in to talk to the owner,Mrs. Mcclroy.She invited me to sit and share a cup of coffee.I mentioned the stickers that covered her rig and said,”Wow,nice,you’ve been out West!” She replied,”Yes indeed! My late husband and I would go every summer,from Texas to Alaska and many places in between.Oh,the wonderful times we had.” As we chatted away about the things that had been,I quietly wondered could it happen again? Later,after I loaded the camper,I went back in to say goodbye to Mrs.Mcclroy.She wished me the best,through a tear covered face,and as I drove away it slowly sank in,the Spirit of Life in a simple metal box.It’s been 4 years,many hours of work and thousands of dollars,but soon once again,Mrs.Mcclroy will see the West! Peace.

    • Bob

      Jeff, what a wonderful, heartwarming story! it was the love and joy of the McColroys that spoke to you from that trailer that day. So many of us wouldn’t have heard/felt it but you did, you are fortunate to have that kind of sensitivity and the willingness to follow it.
      I have no idea what happens on the other side of deaths door, but I am certain that somehow Mr. McClroy is smiling to see what you have done. I hope our paths cross one of these days, I’d love to see and ‘feel” that trailer. Bob

  21. Linda (ravensroads)

    Hi Bob,
    Heartfelt and understood. I have a hard time parting with vehicles. When I left the UK to move Stateside, I sold my beloved Katie-bike (Yamaha Virago 535) back to the store. Some friends brought me home and I had to go in the other room and cry for a while. They’re just metal, but they bring us to amazing places and people. As the dealer had become a friend–not too many girl bikers in the UK–he let me know that Katie went on to another female rider. I also remember being very sad when I went to take my long-ago boyfriend’s first car to the junkyard. I understand the mourning and sense of attachment very well.
    Comfort yourself with this–the parts that are still good in your truck will make other truck drivers happy because their trucks will be on the road again. Energy gets passed along, never lost. 🙂

    • Bob

      Linda, I guess it doesn’t matter what country you are from, we are all the same underneath. We all become attached to something, even inanimate objects. Often getting rid of a vehicle coincides with the end of an era (like you leaving the UK) so we are already primed to be emotional. Endings tend to be upsetting, even when you know a new and wonderful beginning is just around the corner.
      I’m very glad to see you on the blog! Where are you guys at, I am in Quartzsite now if you are in the area. Bob

  22. Linda

    Bob, we’ve been hanging out in the Mojave and were not far behind you when you were in Victorville. We’re on the home straight now and should be in the LTVA just after Thanksgiving. Just dancing between the raindrops…we find somewhere to park and wait out each weather system.
    I think you’re right about the endings. DH always says “new chapter time” when something comes to an end. I like that, because it means the story continues.

    • Bob

      Looking forward to see you guys again! Did you know that the northern edge of the LTVA comes right up to E. Kuehn RD? You would be 5 minutes from town and 10 minutes from where we are. There are a few people there now and I am sure it will increase. To be honest, I am not exactly sure how to pronounce or spell this area, I kind of slur it when I say it so my ignorance isn’t too obvious.
      We don’t want to run into problems with the 14 day rule, so we are going somewhere else in December. Probably Blythe, then we will come back in January. Hopefully we will see you before we move. Bob

      • Linda

        There is free camping north of the Blythe LTVA in the old Midland townsite. I don’t know where else around there is free camping.
        I’d still rather camp at the RTR than commute in from the LTVA though. 🙂
        I’m subscribed to your blog so I can follow you now. I’ve decided the theme for RTRers is “We’ll meet again, don’t know where don’t know when…” 🙂

        • Bob

          Thanks for that info Linda. There is lots of free BLM land around here, but Steve has his heart on camping on the Colorado river, so we are trying to find that in the area. There is LTVA camping within about 3 miles of where I expect the RTR to be this year, so you could be on LTVA land and still have a very short commute. Or, you could just come over and camp with us! Bob

          • Linda

            For us part of the fun is having neighbors we want to have and joining in the group meals, so we’d prefer to camp with you. 🙂

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