How TV changed my life
Back in the 1950's travelogues were common shows on US television and I watched everyone I could find, learning that there were places and things outside the normal paths set out for young girls. Just about every travelogue that was filmed outside North America was shot from a Land Rover. The farther from civilization, the more apt the mode of transportation was a Land Rover. Then in the early 1960's naturalist Marlin Perkins drove a Land Rover in his show "The Wild Kingdom". When growing up I got it into my mind that if one were to travel off the map into the unknown, where the map legend warns "Here be dragons", the only vehicle that will get you there and back again was a Land Rover.
During my last year of college I saw my first Land Rover in person. I was renting a room in a large house with several other students near campus, one of whom worked on cars to gain rent and spending money. He took in a 109 station wagon to replace the inner hub seals. When I first saw it I was overawed. Before me was a charismatic legend out of my childhood. The vehicle that could take me to any place I could want to go.
A few years later, while I was living in Seattle and looking for a used car I saw an add for a 1968 Land Rover 88. My soul cried for freedom from the mundane and I took her home. I learned what the knobs did and started my first tentative ventures off road.
I soon moved down to California with the Land Rover loaded to the roof and a full trailer. On the way down I learned 2 things. One is that the generator could not keep up with having the headlamps, heater and windscreen wipers going all day. The other is that one should check fluids on a regular basis. The Gearbox ran low and I found myself needing a rebuild as I reached the Northern California border. Luckily a place called Atlantic British West was nearby in Lewiston. They rebuilt the gearbox for me while I camped at a nearby lake.
A couple years later I found myself keeping dairy goats and decided that I needed a vehicle that could haul more then 2 bales of hay at one time. That's when I discovered a broken down 109 in the front yard of a house I used to live in. It had been sitting for a couple years under some redwood trees and was slowly sinking into the forest humus. Kids had used her as a play house and she showed the abuse along with the years of neglect. US$350 changed hands and I towed it home behind my 88. That was in March or 1978.
I still have The Green Rover. She has shown me wonders that I otherwise would never have seen, taking me off the maps and safely back again. Well off the beaten paths that society had set out for me as a little girl. My Series II Land Rover has changed my life, opened new vistas, enriched my soul and left grease under my nails. Give me my Land Rover, my dog, camera, some good books and something to write on and I never willing quit the trail.
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