Category: Patty Wagon Trips

1974 VW Patty Wagon Camper Visits Family in Maine

At a time when the country feels so politically divided, borderline hostile, the panacea was a trip in the classic VW Patty wagon to Maine to be with my youngest sister, my niece, and her sons; the perfect adventure for Columbus Day weekend. Typically a 3.5 hour trip ended up as a 5 hour trip, and that was sooooo ok. In this vehicle it really is about the journey almost more than, or in this case, just as valuable, as the destination. The first stop for gas brought an enthusiastic employee running outside with a real camera asking permission to photograph. Patty Wagon commands the paparazzi; its part of being in a league of her own, smile. VW campers are so much more than a cool car, they are a reminder of how life was and how life should be. My sister Carolyn works at the Portland Regency PW had to make an appearance in Portland; it is also classic. Barely exiting the VW when a baby boomer guy approached me eager to share his VW memories as a kid living in a camper in Germany with his family; his dad was in the Navy serving in Germany. Another couple from South Carolina approached the camper with the same eagerness; its a common denominator to us owners. They shared their 1982 VW stories; that’s our high. And if the VW camper high wasn’t enough, being with my sister, her husband Mike, my niece Nicolle, and holding and playing my great nephews, Harrison and Roman, made the fall leaves feel even brighter. Priceless!


VW Patty Wagon overnight trip to MA family gathering part 2

After the bridal shower in Hingham, MA, our family headed to Framingham, MA, for my Aunt Elise’s 88th birthday celebration at St Patrick’s. Music mends minds; it is the panacea for the elderly challenged with memory issues. My mother, the consummate enthusiastic singer, is so dedicated to her sister; she sees her almost every weekend and immediately breaks into song to lift her spirits. It’s special. My sisters and I would do the same for each other. Aunt Elise is the eldest of 5 kids from an Irish family; my mother is the youngest with 3 brothers between them. Elise dedicated her life to raising 5 amazing children on her own while working as a full-time nurse and part-time realtor in the 1960′, 70’s and 80’s. From as far back as I can recall, she always had a glisten in her eye, she never spoke ill of people and was always positive. So it was fitting that we, my sister Lisa, named Elise after my aunt, escorted her to the Patty Wagon for a little shot of comforter, as she references, aka southern comfort. Smile. These are priceless times. Happy Birthday my dear Aunt Elise. After leaving St Patrick’s, the patty wagon headed back to New Haven with my mother and two aunts. I could tell they were white knuckled with no seat belts in the rear and a 42 year old car that may, or may not, make it back. With no AC we had the windows open and couldn’t hear anything from the backseats; we texted instead ha ha. Randomly, my sister Lisa drives past us on route 90 holding up a red umbrella with a look on her face that alerted us, it was not her umbrella. Determined, Lisa was focused on getting the umbrella to the proper owner so she could cross that off her to do list. Lisa called to inquire about the umbrella; my mother couldn’t hear her on the phone; it was too loud in the VW. Figuring we would deal with it at another time and that Lisa was long gone on Route 90, at least I thought, with her luxury AC and Bruce Springsteen blaring. Suddenly, my drivers side windshield wiper breaks; and it is now raining. As my mother alerted my two aunts from my dad’s side of the family, Judy and Sue, of our dilemma, I pulled off to the side to assess; No go. It was dangling like a wounded arm. What to do. I don’t mind being alone, but now I am responsible for my precious cargo passengers. So I crawled forward, and, like a mirage, I saw a stopped car ahead pulled off the side. IT WAS LISA!!!! Unbelievable. She had NO idea of our situation. She was so determined to hand off that damn red umbrella, and thank Goodness she did. As I approached her car she has a slick smile with red umbrella in hand. I told her, not only is she keeping that red umbrella, she is adding my three passengers and bringing them back to New Haven, safely. Out of patty wagon comes their luggage in the rain with 18 wheelers whipping past us. I reassured my mom, sister and aunts I would be fine. I found respite from the rain under a bridge, but knew I couldn’t stay there long. Too vulnerable. So now I white-knuckled it 3 miles in the break down lane at 10 mph in monsoon conditions to the next rest stop. Figured I have wine, a bed, and ipad to hunker down for the night; revisit the trip and the weather in the morning. Then of course it hit me, a truck stop; for sure there had to be a driver who would fix the wiper. First guy I came upon was Spanish, and mucho gusto and bano didn’t get me far; I resorted to sign language charades. This wonderful man called his Spanish-English speaking amigo and asked if I had plyers. I did. Still with tags on, he fixed the wiper in five minutes and I was on my happy camper way. Something about this patty wagon that just brings out the best in everyone. Peace on. Join the journey at


VW Patty Wagon overnight trip to MA for family gathering part 1

Quality family time; priceless. My nephew Taylor is getting married to Emily in September, both Hamilton College grads, so this was his fiancé’s bridal shower in her hometown in Hingham, MA. My sister Lynne rented an Airbnb for the family while my accommodations were in the VW patty wagon. The patty wagon also made for an extended outdoor living room for happy hour as my mom and two aunts thoroughly enjoyed the comfort of the living room while being outdoors. While my nieces Leah and Kelly, along with my nephew Taylor threw the frisbee around (of course the camper comes equipped with a frisbee), my sister Lynne, because she is 59 and has many more years of frisbee throwing experience, represented in that event. My mother sang a song at the shower to the tune of Hey! Look Me Over by Lucille Ball. For 50 years she has been rewriting the words to parallel the event, whether a birthday, wedding, shower, retirement party, whatever, my mom, a former Sweet Adeline’s Director, has the song to sing; we have all come to expect it. An event wouldn’t be the same without it. We all had beads on and couldn’t say the word WEDDING or we would lose our beads, so my niece offered to say that word during her Nana’s song to her grandson to spare her beads from being taken. Side note, Emily and Taylor asked my mom to be the flower girl in their wedding, yes, at 79 years old, the flower girl. After the shower, off to celebrate my moms sister’s 88th birthday. See part 2 of patty wagon adventures with Aunt Elise, patty wagon, and the comforter aka soco southern comfort. Love my Irish family.