In December 1995 I went camping in Baja, California with two guys. Well, really, it was with Steve, and we corralled another guy into going with us to be an official chaperone.* Anyway, one thing we had to do before embarking was procure a means of transport to get us from San Francisco allllll the way down to the tip: Cabo San Lucas.
Steve – who grew up on a farm fixing cars – settled on a 1975 Chevy Blazer, with great joy because he got to work on it a lot before we left. And a lot during our trip. This labor – and these images – will all help you grasp why it soon became lovingly known to us as The Beast: it was The Beast’s very ugliness and unwieldiness that made her so attractive and beloved to us.
Lest you think I exaggerate, you should know that we nearly died in The Beast on one climactic night when Steve and our chaperone got into an altercation. When the argument subsided, we continued down the dicey Mexican “highway” in quiet tension, leading us to nearly snap when an unruly truck careened at us in the opposite direction, leaving us no recourse but to veer off the road. The drama made us appreciate our hobbling, graceless Beast (which somehow kept us whole) on an entirely new level. When I was charged with driving Her home after Steve had to fly back for a business meeting, my love grew all the more as she yawed the entire way back up the 101 (I say this now, of course…15 years later and indelibly marked by Her image every time I in fact hear or use the word “yaw”).
To this day, the ugly, unwieldy and beastly still hold a crazy kind of pull for me. Is it because I so want to redeem the beauty that I insist simply *must* lie within…some sort of savior complex?
I dunno. But I still love beasts. Lord help me!
Just in from Scott, who was Steve's roommmate (and another engineer, I might note) – had to keep this for posterity (and: Go Chevy!):
"Good memories, Biz. I’ll never forget the night you arrived back piloting the Beast solo. I believe you were somewhat delirious from sleep deprivation and the extra level of concentration required to keep the Beast on the road. I remember taking it around back to its parking spot and realizing that it was hardly road-worthy and that it was a small miracle that you arrived home in one piece.
PS Believe it or not, a friend and co-worker of mine now owns the beast and has taken it on a cross-country trip with lots of off-roading along the way."
Awesome blog post as usual! That photo of the car was amazing. So the bondo and sanding was nothing too out of the ordinary, but the faded and taped newspaper over the windows? Looks like someone prepped the car for painting, but ran out of money and didn't bother to take the paper off.
I can see that car in a few months, all sparkley with metallic candy apple red paint!!
Comments are closed.