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I’d like to introduce you to the third member of the Warcken family- our 2002 Ford Windstar.

Her previous owners named her Wendy and we didn’t want to try and teach an old dog new tricks, but mostly we refer to her as THE VAN. We bought her from Greg’s buddy who, along with his dad, had taken out all the back seats and custom built a bed to take their places. That buddy, Spencer, and his wife Sam moved to Kauai last year and mentioned to us they were selling their van a few months before they were set to leave. We took one look at her and knew “She will be ours. Oh yes, she will be ours.”

Last May we flew into Chicago Midway, rented a car and drove to Wilmington to pick her up. We drove both cars back to Midway to drop the rental off, hit up the nearest Giordano’s, then started our trip back to Montana. That first night we slept in a Walmart parking lot and I told Greg the next morning “I never thought I’d wake up in a Walmart parking lot in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, but I’ll be damned- here I am.” We needed an oil change and Greg told me he should’ve just left me asleep in the back while he got the oil changed. Then he proceeded to have an entire fake conversation with the Walmart lube guy:

Greg: Yeah, wondering if you could take a look at my old lady. THE VAN. Not my wife sleeping in the back.

Greg: She’s a stubborn, cranky old gal but I sure love her. THE VAN. Not my wife.

Greg: It takes awhile to get her juices flowing but then she really purrs. THE VAN. Still not my wife.

And on and on and on. I laughed until I cried, and THE VAN stuck. I’d been sleeping in the back of my Subaru for years before Greg came along, then after we were married of course we slept in the back of Sheila (THE SUBARU) together. While it is terribly convenient to be able to sleep in your vehicle, Sheila was always cramped and crowded and we had to rearrange everything we owned every time we pulled over for the night, which got real old. Our first road trip in Wendy we fell head over heels in love with her. It is so so so nice to be able to crawl into the back to sleep whenever you want. It’s like being a turtle; we’re always home. We knew we would love Wendy, but neither of us knew how much. Our plan is to drive her into the ground without putting any more money except for fuel and oil into her. We think of her as our ‘starter van’ and Greg is constantly looking for upgrade ideas (don’t listen to him, Wendy!) for when she breaks down. Mostly we’d like more seating, and back windows that open. And air conditioning that works. And maybe a CD player that ejects our CDs or at least lets us play the ones that are stuck in there. But all those things are luxuries, not necessities, and we won’t burn the upgrade bridge until we get there.

Without further ado, meet THE VAN:


Our pride and joy. We’re still learning and reorganizing along the way, but if we can keep her clean I think we can maintain our sanity.

Don’t you go falling in love with her now; we’re taking her with us when we leave here next month.


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