After 4,500+ miles, Miss Hilda, the 1966 VW Bug, reaches Santa Barbara on her cross-country tour!




Video of Day 27 (Oct. 19):

Starting out in early morning, we began crossing the California section of the Mojave Desert. And what an exotic and evocative name: Mojave. Named for the Mohave tribe of Native Americans, this vast and stark desert covers well over 22,000 sq miles.

Yes, the Mojave has the raw, unique and jaw-dropping beauty that its name conjures. Canyons, painted rocks, bordering mountian ranges, etc. You'll want to have your camera ready at all times. But, because I was driving Miss Hilda, a 1966 VW Bug, we were most affected by the unrelenting and whistling wind! Wow!

We were getting battered and pushed around by the Majove wind, so we had to putt-putt across this desert with the windows CLOSED. Yep, you guessed it: no air conditioning. Not ideal. Miss Hilda quickly became my personal, rolling sweat lodge. But I was encouraged to see several large wind farms taking advantage of this incredible natural resource!

After a few intensely close calls with overly aggressive traffic on two California freeways -- what was I thinking?? -- Miss Hilda arrived in sunbathed and palm-lined Santa Barbara!

Surely, Santa Barbara is the Land of Oz for vintage VW Bugs. You see them all the time - still loved and running.

It was hard to believe we'd reached our final destination. We'd travelled over 4,500 miles to explore the natural wonders, local museums, history, regional traditions, eccentric characters and unique culinary tastes throughout this great country of ours. We'd explored the rich texture of our American roots - and got a brief glimpse of the future of this great country.

I'd driven Miss Hilda through snowstorms in numbing cold, thunderstorms, sleetstorms, blazing dessert heat, never-ending midwest wheat fields and up 10,000 ft mountains. Which we very slowly descended.

And now we'd reached our final destination. But Miss Hilda never let us down. She always started quickly and ran true. Incredible.

I couldn't have done it without Bob's constant support during the trip. He became the official navigator & photographer and his help was crucial. And thank you, dear family and friends for your love & support. You all were with me on this trip!

My final perspective: as Mr. Guthrie says, "This land is YOUR land, this land is my land." Now get out there and see it!

Go visit the museum in your hometown that you've never gotten around to see. Spend an afternoon at the state/national park. Do you have a local heritage center? How about an arts & crafts fair in your state? Why not explore the working farm museum, vineyard, or ethnic festival in your area?

It doesn't take much time or money. You can always start exploring your local destinations - then slowly expand your travelling horizons. And I promise you, you won't be disppointed as you discover more about yourself, your heritage, your community -- and what makes this country so special.

A few weeks ago we were in Eldon, Iowa at the iconic house featured in American Gothic. And, as you can see, we've created a NEW American Gothic.

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Miss Hilda 1966 VW Bug Cross-Country Tour Blog

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We’re going to take a slow ride across the USA to explore, learn and just experience. Beautiful.


Thanks for your love and support!!!!!!!!!!

"DON'T BE DENIED" - Neil Young

"Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,

Healthy, free, the world before me,

The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose."

---- from Song of the Open Road, Walt Whitman