Growing up with a brother who was forever tinkering with VWs on the driveway must have had a lasting impact on me, because now I find myself snapping pictures of those Vanagon campers he loves every time I travel. And they’re proving to be rather popular here in Alaska — especially with travelers who are from outside the USA. It’s rather tacky of me, I know, but I’m always skulking around these vehicles looking for covert photo opps. The story of the couple in the white pop-top camper is a perfect example: I ambushed them in the parking lot of a Denali lookout about an hour south of the park, and when I approached what I thought was an empty camper to take a few pictures, the door slid open and I found myself face-to-face with its owners/inhabitants. Luckily, they were very nice and didn’t mind me taking pictures. The craziest part of this story is that the woman bears a striking resemblance — I’m for real: it’s downright uncanny — to my best friend from high school, Patti Neal. It took me a moment to register that she was not, in fact, Patti Neal. Of course, the Austrian accent helped. The couple said they had their camper shipped here from Germany so they could spend six months traveling through the USA. And, they emphasized, it has four-wheel drive and takes diesel gas. I don’t know if that means anything, but they acted like it was a big deal so I am dutifully including it in this post. To lend some legitimacy to my stalking, I showed them a picture my sister Julie had just sent me on my cell phone earlier that day: It showed my brother Stan working in his VW repair garage in Boston. They thought that was pretty cool: “Yah, yah, he’s got da Beetle!” Anyway, Stan, this post is for you. 🙂 I’ll add more Vanagon images if I see others during my travels, but just know that if I get arrested for harassing international travelers or tailgating hippies too closely, it will be all your fault.