Liberty Van - FALL 2009
The van has now been trimmed in fall
foliage and flowers. I already made a quick trip to MD with it in it's
fall glory. HERE ARE LOTS OF PICTURES. I made a 'quick trip' to Sacramento, CA from about Nov 3-9, and attended
the Continental Congress in St. Charles, IL from
Nov. 11-22. I had quite a bit of adventure, though. The Van turned a quarter million miles in Reno, on my way back from Sacramento, and about 1,800 miles later the engine died. I had to leave it at a Nissan dealership in MO. I attended the Continental Congress incognito, with a rented van. Read on for details and lots of pictures.
State PHOTO Pages - Statehouses
Visited end of October-November
In October, I made a quick trip to
Maryland. The first few pictures were
taken in West Virginia. The van
is trimmed for Fall, and there are close up photos showing some of the details.
Some of these pictures are linked to
ENLARGED versions which will open in NEW WINDOWS,
for more easily
reading the signs
On the following pictures, the
temporary sign (contact paper and marker) is to thank Clarksburg,
and Putnam County, WV for REPEALING their smoking ban! I've been buying gas
and shopping there again,
and very much enjoyed a lovely Mexican
restaurant which has a smoking area!
Most of the van is covered with fabrics, including lame', faux
velvets & faux satins, many with metallic thread, or sequins. Fabrics
attached with carpet tape, and colored fabrics and silk
flowers are treated with a UV protecting spray, to help prevent fading in the
and rain. Fabrics and silk flowers, as well as
wood and metal items are also sprayed with clear acrylic spray to
improve washability of
fabrics, and prevent rotting of wood, or rusting of
metals. This vehicle is driven many miles, and parked outside in all kinds
I've driven it through ice storms, blizzards, torrential
downpours, -3 degrees, 117 degrees, and for more than a quarter of a million
miles now. The Liberty Van is only 5 years old.
Some of the signs are hand painted. Others are
printed on my computer and laminated to protect them from weather.
I wash this thing either at home with my hose, or in the
quarter 'do it yourself' car washes.
PHOTOS of The Liberty Van at the West Virginia
STATEHOUSE ~ CLICK HERE
On October 21, I made a quick 'day trip' up to
Indianapolis, IN. Indy is about five hours from my home.
There was a city council meeting to make their
existing smoking ban (I've been boycotting Indy for a couple
of years now due to that ban) even MORE harsh. I
toured City Hall and the Statehouse, and handed out
'BAN the BANS' t-shirts and info to some of the
attendees at the meeting. The harsher ban was voted
down by a single vote. WE will CONTINUE
BOYCOTTING INDY until they REPEAL the unconstitutinal
smoking ban in PRIVATELY OWNED RESTAURANTS they STILL
HAVE. If they don't like our smoke,
November 3, I took off on a trip to Sacramento, CA (a
dog trip - dropped some off, and picked some up).
I had to make very good time, as I needed to be home
to drop off the dogs by Nov. 9, as I had to leave
and the Congress started on November 11.
Because of that time crunch, I drove many more miles/day than
I averaged about 800 miles/day to
Sacramento, CA and back.
On the way, I took some pictures in (CLICK THE
More Details - below is a temporary sign I used for
this trip, on the rear driver's side window.
Dr. Rand Paul,
Dr. Ron Paul's son, lives in Bowling Green, Kentucky.
He's running for
a seat in the US Senate in 2010!
On my way home with the dogs on November 9th, in
the middle of Missouri on I70, my little van began to miss.
It had turned 250,000
miles (a quarter of a million) two days before, when I came through Reno,
Nevada on my way
back from Sacramento,
at about 1:00 AM. I stopped in Blue Springs, MO and
had it checked out at a Nissan.
It had more than 251,700 miles on it then.
I hoped it was only a loose plug wire or something simple -
this engine had
never missed a beat before. But the
mechanic there suspected something worse, as he said the
number one cylinder
(of course the one you have to pull the whole
engine to change the plug) was bad. One theory was
perhaps the catalytic
converter had gone bad, and allowed debris to be
sucked into the cylinder. He thought it would need a
new engine. I did
not want to get it fixed there. I had two
dogs with me, which I had to get home that night (to S.
central KY, nearly another
500 miles), so that the next
day I could leave for St. Charles, IL for the Continental Congress, which started on the 11th.
It wasn't running all that
badly, just a bit of a miss, so I decided to try to take it more easy, and get
It went along pretty well for another 80 miles or
so, but then suddenly began to run very rough, and I could not get it up to a
decent speed. By now,
it had gotten dark. I was east of Columbia, MO, but still quite a distance
from St. Louis. I moved
over into the safety lane (shoulder),
put on my emergency flashers, and kept going as long as I
could, trying to get to an exit
where there was SOMETHING. The trucks were
not slowing down, nor even moving over. It was pretty
scary. I could hardly
get it up to 40 or so going down a hill, and not
even that fast going up one. I was constantly watching
my rear camera, and
the temp. gage, and there was
a funny smell. I just wanted to GET OFF that road! Finally, decided it was better to call for
a tow truck, so I pulled it into the area between
the road and an exit, where there should have been good
visibility for traffic
coming behind - and called, and WAITED - seemed
like forever. The van had 251 thousand eight hundred and something
miles on it then. The tow driver wanted to
take us back to Columbia, MO, but I said 'NO WAY', it's the wrong direction,
besides, I've been BOYCOTTING
Columbia, MO because of their SMOKING BAN. It cost extra, but since it was
in the RIGHT
DIRECTION, it was worth it. It was towed to the Nissan dealer in St. Charles, MO. We
got in there about midnight, and I had
to walk the two dogs I had with me. I put
my curtains up, and slept right there in the van.
First thing in the morning, I checked my van into
the shop. I told them it's only five years old, and I'm not done
with it yet.
Whatever it needs, DO IT,
ASAP. If it needs a new engine, OK do that. Then I had to rent
a van (a Dodge Grand Caravan,
from Enterprise), unload, and reload the dogs and a lot of stuff, and headed home. I got home about
the dogs and crates, loaded more clothes, and
turned right around about 9:30 PM, headed for St. Charles,
IL and the
In the morning, it was Veteran's Day, and I am SO
used now to having signs all over my van, and I felt so incognito without
my Liberty Van, I
stopped on the way to Continental Congress (early am), and
put my Veteran's Day signs on the rental. I
just edged them with duck
tape. I had thrown a whole stack of temporary signs I
use on the Liberty Van at different times into
the rental. During the Continental
Congress, I added a few more signs. It was not at all
like having my own van, but many
folks were waving and 'thumbs upping', and I
could tell they were appreciative.
I dubbed the rental the 'Honorary temporary
Liberty Van'. Also, for the eleven days of the Congress, it served the
function my Liberty Van does,
as a 'smoker's haven'. It was COLD in IL, and some days raining. We
had quite a few 'smoker's
caucuses' in the Honorary Liberty Van.
I came early each day, and parked as close as I could, and
all smokers were welcome
to come in out of the cold and rain to
smoke. I had several of my own ash trays in
there. Throughout the Congress, I kept hoping
they would get my van done, and I was planning to
go get it. But they didn't have it done yet when the
Congress was finished,
so I headed back up to St. Charles, MO. On
the way, I toured the IL Statehouse in Springfield, and took
some pictures of the
'Honorary' Liberty Van.
I very much enjoyed several nice meals
while in St. Charles, MO -
NO SMOKING BAN there - so I did all my shopping for Thanksgiving dinner there, while waiting for my
I had started working on the dressing,
tearing up several loaves of three different kinds of bread,
peeling the apples and onions, etc., in the
Honorary Liberty Van, while waiting in St. Charles, MO
for Nissan to finish
with my van.
I got my van back on the eve of
Thanksgiving, and managed to get home in time to cook a fabulous turkey
(dressing and home made
applesauce from scratch and all) for a houseful of kids
and grandkids on Thanksgiving.
PS: SMOKERS, watch out when you rent a vehicle.
Enterprise tried to do something sneaky. I DID READ the contract before I
and there was nothing there about 'no smoking in the vehicle',
although I was surprised about that. Also, I listened carefully to the
before and during the process. The fellow who came to get
me from the Nissan place, and brought the Caravan was VERY nice - even
helped me unload and load my crates. He never said
ANYTHING about not smoking in the rental, though I was smoking while unloading
my van. While at the Congress, I read the contract TWO
MORE times, very carefully, not only looking for anything about smoking, but
also to make sure there was nothing about putting SIGNS on
it. There was NOTHING about either on the copy they had given me.
Before I returned it, I carefully removed all the signs, and
used Goo Gone to make sure there was not so much as a smidgen of glue
from the tape. I had also removed all my stuff, including
the ash trays. SO, when I returned it, I was surprised when they told me
would be an extra $150 charge for 'detailing' because of SMOKING
(btw, this thing cost me almost $100/day anyway!). I pulled out my
copy of the contract, and told them that since I had
seen AND heard NOTHING about that, I was NOT going to pay it - and if they
like it they could argue with my ATTORNEY about it. THEIR
copy of the contract had a hand written note about this - however, on MY
copy, it happened to coincide with a cross hatched area -
was completely invisible on MY copy. GEESH - NO I DID NOT PAY
I told them to invest in a can of Febreeze. There was no
sign of ashes, nor ANY other thing due to smoking. We were VERY careful,
and used the ashtrays. FOR THE RECORD, neither my husband
NOR I ever got on another airplane when they banned smoking on
airlines - and there is NO WAY I WILL PAY TO RENT A VEHICLE I
CAN'T SMOKE IN. Had they told me I could not smoke in it, I
would NOT have rented it. For how much that thing
cost (two weeks at $100/day), I could have bought an old 'beater' van to
get my dogs home, and resold it after I got my own