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  • Writer's pictureLee Eel Eisler

My Van Got Hit By A Snowplow While I Was Sleeping In It

Woof, woof, woof! I woke up to Wander The Doggy Barking and the van was moving! I jumped out of bed, heart racing, unsure of what was happening.

As sudden as it started it stopped. "WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED?!" I thought to myself. I shoved my door open to see a snowplow continuing on down the road.

I threw on some warmer clothes and boots and jumped out of the van. There was hole near the tail light of the van. I realized what had happened and I had no one to blame but myself. It was my own fault.

The van I was living in at the time was my first van. I got it for $1,500 and it was a 1978 Dodge Tradesman 200. That thing was always breaking down and hated me for bringing it to the snow.

Basically I was driving from the gym where I showered after a long day of work and it was a major snow storm. White out conditions and there van was sliding all over the road that I couldn't even see. I decided to just pull off to the side and wait it out for a bit. When I went to start the van again it wouldn't start. It was cold and I was tired from working all day so I just decided I would go to sleep for a little bit. Obviously that's when it happened. That's when my van got hit by the snowplow.

Anyways after getting hit by the snowplow and being wide awake with my heart racing I called triple a to get the van towed to the ski resort where I worked. Heavenly in Lake Tahoe, CA.

The tow truck driver that picked up my van must have been bored. He was there fairly quickly and drove with my van in tow rather quickly back to the resort. I had already called some friends I worked with and asked them if I could stay on their couch that evening. They met me before the tow truck driver and followed us back to the parking lot of Heavenly. They said it was hard to keep up in their Volvo station wagon!

After dropping off my van the tow truck driver did a few doughnuts in the parking lot of Heavenly (which was a popular thing for everyone to do) and then drove away.

For the next week or so I tried living in that van while it wasn't running in the parking lot of Heavenly. Snow walls were accumulating around the van as it kept snowing day after day. Finally the security guards told me I couldn't live in the parking lot. I told them I worked there and I explained what was happening. They didn't care. No compassion. The thing is when you work at a ski resort you are just a number. They don't even pay you enough to be able to pay rent even if you wanted! Most people had multiple jobs. Anyways I had to figure out what to do.

This couple I worked with ended up letting me stay on their couch a few weeks and I sold the van not running and with a hole in it for $500. Not bad since I bought it running for $1,500 and lived in it for a year and a half.

I chalked it up to the universe telling me to get a better more reliable van that got better gas mileage. That old van only got about 8 mpg.

After selling the van and couch surfing it for a month I got a ride back to Orange County from some friends who were visiting. I couch surfed it more down there ands got a job with Greenpeace USA where I was able to save up for a new van.

I ended up getting a 1996 Dodge Ram B2500 Primetime Conversion Van for $3,500. I named that van Freedom because that's how it made me feel and what it gave me. After not having a van which meant not having a home for a few months to having a new van home again it felt like I was able to go anywhere and do anything again.

Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn. Don't park on the sides of snowy roads. People said I was lucky that the damage was so minimal. There are stories of snowplows ripping cars in half!

Anyways maybe that's why I have a website called Vanning Ain't No Joke....I haven't heard anyone else tell me their van got hit by a snowplow but I've heard at least 3 stories of peoples vans getting hit by another car while they were sleeping in it and I'm sure there are more if that's how many I have heard.

Park carefully, remember that Vanning Ain't No Joke but it's also really fucking awesome! It's a roller coaster ride just like life. Enjoy the journey!



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