Posted by: gatheringwater | 2009/05/18

The Romance of the Open Road

Truck Conversion

“There you are!” cried the Toad, straddling and expanding himself. “There’s real life for you, embodied in that little cart. The open road, the dusty highway, the heath, the common, the hedgerows, the rolling downs! Camps, villages, towns, cities! Here today, up and off somewhere else to-morrow! Travel, change, interest, excitement! The whole world before you and a horizon that’s always changing.”
from The Wind in the Willows

I spotted the most beautiful truck conversion in Port Townsend this week, no doubt built by someone associated with The Wooden Boat Foundation. (The WBF offers among its many programs a sea camp  called Messing about in Boats–a phrase familiar to readers of The Wind in the Willows.) I waited as long as I could to try and meet the owner and/or builder of the conversion, but I didn’t meet them this time. I’ve glimpsed this conversion once before when I wasn’t carrying my camera, so I’m hoping it is owned by someone on an extended visit and perhaps I’ll get to meet him or her in the future. I’d love to see what the inside looks like.



  1. Matty – check out
    This guy teaches at the Port Townsend woodworking School and specializes in gypsy wagons. Great, artistic work. I don’t think that’s his truck tho.

    • Thanks, Cheron! Not for the first time do I appreciate the appeal of a woman with her own power tools. Earlier this year, I got two books on vardos via ILL, but I had no idea that there were people in Port Townsend who were actually making them.

      I have mixed feelings about copying Romany caravans. The originals made beauty out of a necessity, while the recreations seem to me like an elaborate fantasy of homelessness by people who have homes. (It was Mr. Toad, after all, who was the best housed in The Wind and the Willows and yet he was the one with the caravan.) And Romany caravans are all about community, so a single caravan seems a little absurd. Still, I can’t help but admire the craftsmanship that went into the one featured on the site you sent.

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