The Marshmallow Sized Hole in My Heart: Goodbye to the Best Van Ever

It's so hard to say goodbye. We will love you, and your one half of a bug deflector, forever. Stickers from 5 months...

It's so hard to say goodbye.
We will love you, and your one half of a bug deflector, forever.

Stickers from 5 months adventuring with Marshmallow...

This is some beautiful, classy art that we intended to hang in Marshmallow but never got around to it...these went to the new owners.

I woke up today with a serious lump in my throat, and there is a cloud of general gloom hanging over the entire Moxie crew this morning.  Yesterday we sold our beloved van, Marshmallow, and silly as it may sound to you, we are all, really really sad.  Trav says it's like we adopted a stray puppy, fell in love with it,  and then sold it.  It feels like we're missing a limb.  A crucial member of our adventure team has left the gang, and it just feels wrong.

If you're coming aboard late to this, Marshmallow is (was) our 1995 Chevy van that we bought in CO last August to drive us to Maine and then Florida.  She was aptly named by Vivian.  At first, I doubted Travis' choice in buying her, I mean, we're not VAN PEOPLE.  At least we weren't before. But we are a different sort of family now, and  this scrappy beauty with a blue velvet interior, tape deck, VCR and "party lights" stole our hearts within the first few hundred miles.    

We drove her across the country and down the east coast, we explored the entire state of Maine in her, we brought her to my brother's wedding, we camped out in her by the side of the road, in cornfields, at truck stops in the middle of the night, near muddy rivers and beside the ocean in the chilly fall. She was a comfortable ride (those velvety seats!!), she drove like a dream, never broke down, and made us feel safe and happy.  We loved decorating her with stickers from places we explored on our travels.  She was a symbol of the new life we have chosen and the free spirited way we love to live. And she got lots of compliments, especially when we arrived in surfer-land. (Surfers love vans).  But when it got close to our time to set sail and Travis posted Marshmallow on Craigslist, we were not expecting the kind of attention or van-celebrity status that we were about to receive.  I'll explain what happened, but first read his amazing Craigslist post:
 Ladies and Gentleman,

I present Marshmallow. This van is the most prestigious used van of its kind. Its not only a looker but she goes the distance. We purchased this van back in Colorado specifically for a road trip (via Maine and now here in the Fort). No one wants to sell her...but when you are moving onto a sailboat you can't take a van with you. So this is where you and your dreams come in. This van wants to live at the beach, so buy this van and throw your boards on the sweet rack and quit your job (after you pay me cash) and park this delicious ride at the sweetest breaks and live out your dreams and the van's dreams.

The gist:
1995 Chevy G20 conversion van. 134,xxx miles, runs great. Lots of carpet and velvet, 4 captain's chairs and a couch that makes out into a bed (good for beach living). V8 engine, Am and FM stereo with cassette deck (yeah CASSETTE, you can have your pick 80's music at any thrift store in Florida for cheap), And speaking of entertaining, this regal vehicle boasts nothing but the finest TV/ VHS (Video Home System) player that any true player could ask for. Again, a quick stop at your favorite thrift shop and you're back at the beach watching "Father of the Bride 2" on the VHS for cheaper than you can rent it on Amazon.
Trucking in style with AC and power windows, just imagine how impressed the toll booth lady will be when you roll up and press the down button and let 12 volt electricity do it's magic!!!! This van is pre- internet so no need to worry about viruses with this baby, just some gas and love and it will be all right. Do you suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome? Not to worry this van has a fully functioning cruise control system that allows the driver to press a button, conveniently located on the blinker lever (yeah, I know, it has those too) and sit back and pop your RLS meds while letting your feet spasm or what ever they do, and you don't have to worry 'cause Marshmallow will carry on trucking down the road at the same speed!!!
Tires. Yeah, it's got those too, probably for another 15k or 20k, then you will have to buy some more or risk looking like a creepy van, the kind clowns drive (this vehicle is not available for sale to clowns).

Do you like windows and working shades? Well this van has them too. Art. You like art? Check out the Pegasus and Unicorn prints shellacked onto plywood (take a moment and check those close up photos out). That is right, this van is fully equipped. The bug deflector does and excellent job at deflecting half the the bugs and scaring off the the other half. Need a kid car seat? We got you covered. How about a lawn chair? Yup. And best of all it has a ladder on the back, which allows easy access to the roof. When was the last time you had some friends over to hang out on your automobile roof? Its about time, don't you think?
Now the price is listed at $2,600 but that's only because Kelly Blue Book does not understand about Art and sweet rides, both of which this van is rich on. If you prefer to negotiate your price, so be it. I offer the perspective buyer OBO. Cash works, Nigerian money orders not so much. Now, if you are looking to scam someone or try and sell some sort of unwanted service go away, all others call or text xxxxxxx Thank you for looking and thank you Craig for adding this lovely van to your famousmarshmallow, wanderlust,  list.

Ok, first of all, this is why I love Travis.  Isn't he hilarious?  And a great writer.
So, when he listed Marshmallow on Craigslist, he got a lot of complimentary messages from people who read the post.  And then we started getting comments around Ft. Pierce.  In a surf shop the other day, a random guy ran in from the parking lot with a wild look on his face and screamed, "Is the owner of Marshmallow in here?!?"  I identified myself and he went on to tell me how his son in Jacksonville had forwarded him and all of his friends the Craigslist post and that they were all obsessed with Marshmallow.  Two days later I was approached in a parking lot by a other complete stranger who asked, "Would you mind taking my picture with Marshmallow?"  I said sure, and asked if he wanted to pose by the front or by the iconic lawn chair back end.  Obviously, he chose the lawn chair side.  Many other people, from the dock master here at the marina to strangers in Baltimore, have expressed their appreciation for Marshmallow and what she stands for.  She is a crowd pleaser and a serious charmer, that old van.

If we could have strapped her to the sailboat we would have.  We contemplated leaving her in a storage place but we were afraid she'd mildew and rust.  It only made sense to sell her.  I took my last drive in her yesterday to the grocery store.  I told her how much I loved her and how much I appreciated that she had safely transported my family this far.  I told her that she is beautiful. When the new owners came last night to pick her up, the kids went to say goodbye.  It was heartbreaking.

You may be wondering why we're still in Florida...we're been working like dogs getting this boat ready to sail.  I won't bore you with the details, but it's been grueling, to say the least, with Trav tackling most of the projects single-handedly.  We've liked the marina just fine but it's super expensive to be here, plus we're in desperate need of new scenery.  The only problem is that we don't have a good weather window in the near future to cross the gulf stream and get to the Bahamas.  SO, we are headed south.  Tomorrow.  To the Keys, I think.  We'll take the intracoastal waterway (it's a big inland water highway) for most of it.  And then we'll wait for a good time to cross.  Christmas in Key West (or some other place with the "Key" in the name) sounds like a heck of a lot of fun.  And as we travel on, we'll keep our Marshmallow in our hearts.

Happy Holidays, and much love to you all!

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  1. You made me cry! Love this story and keeping up with your travels Julia Family. I can't wait to hear about your Christmas in the Keys. That sounds amazing!

  2. This is awesome! It's not goodbye, but till next time... Safe travels and Happy Holidays!

  3. Thinking of you and your fantastic travels as we wander the frozen earth on opposite ends of the U.S. We in the northwest. Someday we will try a warm Christmas holiday in the meantime we have you in our thoughts and are happy to hear you are setting sail!!

  4. I still miss our ford all in one truck camper! We got it from the Spencer's! It's name was Clyde.He travelled to Baja three times and this was his last resting place when we sold to an old Telluride Lande who made it his home! Lots of great Baja taco and cerveza parties. Works best dog Solo use to surf the counter raid tripping to fight off his car sick problem! Your adventure sounds grand! Happy Everything!

  5. I'm all filled with tears and laughs too!
    Amazing post, Trav.
    Amazing post, Jen.
    Lovely singing, Viv & Hud.
    Nice photo-poses, Sadie.
    Admirable character & stamina, Marshmallow.

    You all make a whole lot of sense together.

    Infinite love...

  6. This was wonderful and sad at the same time. I love my memories of being with Sadie in the back of that van. Love you guys

  7. Ahoy, Moxie Crew ! I just finished reading the whole story on your wonderful blog and can't wait to read more ... There is a hole on F dock where you docked, but so glad you got underway with next phase of your adventure. Hope you all had a Merry Christmas, please keep us posted, thinking about you all !!!


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