I met this bad boy roughly 2 years ago when I decided to leave my life in Los Angeles to move to Washington State and help my daughter adjust to college. I bought this van, a Dodge Ram 3500 extended cab V8 van, 99K miles, for roughly $2500, which included a trade-in of a little convertible Saab. I had the tires changed, oil lube and filter, had the brakes fixed, added a tow package and a motorcycle carrier for my Blackbird, then drove it all the way up to PNW.
This van and I have been through an incredible adventure together. Moved in and out of several homes, a handful of cities, and at one point I built the interior with a bed, shelving and such, and lived in it for roughly 2 months, while on a farm, building another, larger, wheeled structure, a mobile mult-level art studio…. Then, after 10 months up north, daughter settled, I drove it back to Los Angeles. Overall, roughly 12,000 miles I put on this van, in a period of a year.
When I moved back, I moved to West Hollywood area in a motel for a month and a half while deciding where was best to live. I moved back downtown for a period of 5 or so months and mainly kept my van at the Joe’s Parking at 3rd street and Main, DTLA.
For the first six months, the van was PACKED FULL of several thousands of dollars in computers, electronics, musical instruments and tons of other shit. Nobody had broken in, it wasn’t stolen, but the graffiti began. Then, after 6 months or so, I moved to my current home in Hollywood, while leaving my van downtown.
Roughly 6 months ago, while it was cold, I noticed someone, likely homeless people, broke the passenger window, so to keep warm. Fine. I understand. Then a couple months later, I noticed this roughly 70 yr old homeless man had moved in. He spoke like an immigrant and seemed to really be having a bad life, so, I respectfully asked him to simply keep the van clean, and I will continue to pay for the monthly parking. Then, a couple months later, another homeless guy moved in. Lived in it for the past few months.
Joe’s Parking had notified me that I either need to fix the window and keep the van locked up or that I had to remove it from their premise, due to the liability of homeless people living in it. A few weeks ago, I asked the dude to clean out, cause I had to get rid of it. He blew it off. So, I returned, cleaned out the van.
It was, flat out disgusting. Mounds of decomposing, moldy food. Condoms. Underwear, piles of clothing. All sorts of wretched shit. I cleaned it out. Removed everything. Locked it up as best I could, trying to also cover the window. Took the battery home and had it recharged. Returned to try and start it, but somehow, the engine wouldn’t turn over. So, not much I could do.
Spoke with the manager of the lot and he gave me the month to figure it out. Ultimately, due to the additional obstacles that made way toward me this month, I was unable. I let him know Friday that he would either have to have it towed away, or dispose of it, somehow. He replied and said his son is a musician with a band. Doesn’t have much money but happy to take it off my hands.
So, today, I returned downtown to give Javier, the manager, my keys and the title / pink slip. Turns out the same homeless dude, just moved all the shit that I had moved out, back into the van. Apparently, they even had him arrested, he spent 3 days in jail, but still returned. He was there when I arrived to meet Javier. I let the homeless dude know that I was giving the van to the manager, so he grabbed some boxes and started filling them up. I gave the keys and title to Javier, shook his hand, told him I trust him, and now the van is in his care.
Long live my van. Peace.