Smokey Goes To NirVANa

A while back, my old friend Cori put me in touch with her other old friend Mandy. She and her husband, Pete, were about to buy a van to build into their new home on wheels. Sound familiar? So we’ve been talking ever since, exchanging notes and such. Since then they’ve acquired their van, named NirVANa, and started making the first few tweaks to it, including the scary part of cutting holes into a brand new Ram Promaster for windows and a Maxxair roof vent like mine. They live in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and passing through for a visit was on my general route west, so that’s exactly what I did yesterday.

The drive was uneventful, just a couple of hours west of Buchanan State Park. It was mostly US 30, a.k.a. the Lincoln Highway, which might be a fun road trip to try at some point. I went by the Flight 93 Memorial again, but didn’t stop this time because I was just there. Eventually I diverted off my previous route east to meet them at Walmart in Delmont. We checked out each other’s vans and chatted for a while in the parking lot, since there isn’t much space for two vans to hang out at their house.

Then I followed them to Helltown Brewing. The Oktoberfest is excellent, and so is the vegan taco truck that shows up Tuesday nights. I like meat just fine, but I have nothing against vegan food that tastes good, which this does. The van talk continued, relocated to their house, and continued into the night. Once again, it was great to meet some like-minded people who understand this way of life. They may not be living it yet, but they totally get it. They’re going to do just fine.

Due to the lack of parking at their house, I went back to Walmart for a quiet night — at least, after 11:00 pm when the store closed.

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