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Old 05-17-2015, 01:11 AM   #1
Scraping Paint
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Blast from the Past

When we pulled into the harbor parking lot today we found this two spaces away from us. It is the original model Chevy van or very close to it. The car industry was not too creative with names back then--- the nameplate on the side reads "Chevrolet Van."

In the late 1960s I spent a summer as a councillor trainee (CT) at a camp beside Lake Michigan near the town of Glen Arbor and the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes. I learned how to be a canoing instructor that summer.

At the end of every summer the twelve CTs and a couple of councillors always took a one week canoeing/camping trip. The year I was there the CT trip was to Isle Royale National Park on Lake Superior over near the Canadian shore. We towed our seven canoes to Copper Harbor on a trailer behind a flatbed and the rest of us rode in a van like this one, albeit white and in nicer shape. We took ourselves and our canoes over to Isle Royale on the mail boat. We camped for the week in jungle hammocks on a small island in a bay on the island and had all sorts of great adventures. it rained hard the last night we were there and several of us ended up with wet sleeping bags.

After taking the mail boat back to Copper Harbor on the mainland, we camped that night in a state park. Those of us with wet sleeping bags decided to spend the night sleeping on the seats in the van. The engine on these things is right between the front seats, and the van was nice and toasty when we arrived at the campground. It wasn't at 2:00 am. It was a clear and cold night and the inside of the van was a refrigerator. To this day it is the most miserable, uncomfortable night I've ever experienced in my life.

Seeing this thing in the parking lot today brought it all back.

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Old 05-17-2015, 07:50 PM   #2
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Funny how that glob of gray matter behind our eyeballs can recall with exasperating clarity pains from the past. I would suppose it is just asking that we don't do that again.

The very same thing happened to me, except it was a different vehicle, a different time, different state, different reason and maybe I wasn't as cold as you...but ya, I know what you're talking about.

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Old 05-17-2015, 08:00 PM   #3
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A friend of mine had one of them back in the early 70's. It got the paneling and shag carpet treatment before he went off to college. I believe the last it was seen was on the side of the highway somewhere between South Bend, IN and Spring Break in FL. It was left on the road for dead after one of the wheels came off and was bouncing down the highway.
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