On the short bus from from. L.A. to Vancouver with Gabor

At some point in his life every man dreams of a motorhome. The smart ones rent, others buy. And the ones most detached from reality just buy and old school bus and convert it. I bought mine on Facebook last December.  The “Dreamcatcher” became my rolling man-cave by late April. I planed on taking kayaks and surfboards to not too distant shores and to sleep, cook and hang out in it with my kids.

Schlepping boats to British Columbia was never on the agenda until some over eager lady fell out of a rental kayak into the icy waters of Vancouver Island and nearly died. She did what most Americans do after coming back from the claws of death: sued the kayak rental company. Since then you have to bring your own kayak or sign up for a closely monitored, guided tour.

The plan was to drive up to Vancouver Island from Los Angeles with my old friend, Gabor and meet up with our third friend and Greenland kayak buddy, Norbi.

Gabor and I first met at my cousin’s birthday in the early 80s. From then on we had no contact for about 30 years. Those were some of the happiest 30 years of my life.

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He’s 100% short bus compliant.

Gabor is a software engineer from West Germany (he insists on using the West part). He can carve a drone out of wood, build an electric motor from a used USB cable and an Altoid box and carries a small arsenal of computer repair equipment in an oversized fanny pack. Gabor made a lasting impression on me when we got car stuck on a Mexican desert dirt road in 2016 and he hotwired an abandoned looking tractor for which we nearly got shot later.

Gabor is a fun travel companion. He has ample stories. He can spend 3-4 hours talking about aerodynamics and is never too afraid to steal farm equipment. Gabor’s problem is hoarding. Whether it’s pebbles, animal bones, leaves, flowers, rusting metal components or broken Palm Pilots, he collects ‘em all. But his worst habit is taking pictures. He takes 500-700 pictures on an average day. It’s not so much about the photography, but scanning his environment and saving every memory digitally. I call his camera, the scanner. He never looks at his pictures again. He just takes them. His hoarding habit can slow any road trip by 20%.

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Updating his Android operating system, reinstalling a couple of apps from Linux, and remotely re-configuring his Raspberry Pi III media server  while Alcatraz looms on the horizon.

On our first day together while kayaking to Alcatraz he got a severe panic attack. It was not because of the waves, the strong winds, rain or the forest fire smoke over the water. Oh, no. His cell phone ran out of memory and his anxiety nearly paralyzed him. While the waves were rocking the living daylights out of us, he unloaded his fanny pack and backed up his entire phone onto a pen-drive in the shark infested, stormy seas of San Francisco Bay.

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Cooking aboard the Dreamcatcher after paddling through San Francisco Bay.

 

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Gabor scanning Canadian asphalt patterns in British Columbia. It doesn’t get any weirder than this. Another 10 minutes we’ll never get back.

 

 

 

 

 

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