Circle the Wegen
a buddy / roadtrip / docu-dramedy
Category: Comedy / Documentary
Runtime: 87 min.
Director: Ryan Steven Green
Producer: Charles Pecoraro, David Torstenson
Tired of being beat down, discouraged & scared by day-time talk shows & nightly news, the filmmakers of Circle the Wagen were fascinated & uplifted when they learned about the A.I.R.S. List; the Aircooled Interstate Rescue Squad. In addition to being the only way Dave could think of to save his 1972, baby blue Volkswagen bus, (stuck half-way cross the country after the first failed attempt); it was by FAR the most intriguing.
“You mean there’s an underground community of THOUSANDS around America that are willing to help perfect strangers get their VW bus back on the road? What is this, the 1950’s?!” Dave’s friend, Charlie, was flabbergasted/strangely caustic/exhilarated, & having little to nothing going on, immediately signed up for what would become the greatest roadtrip/social experiment of their lives.
Let’s back up. Dave, a native of rural Nevada, who had gone to college in Los Angeles (where he & Charlie became best friends), had since spent two post-college years in New York pursuing a career in Rock. And with Rock being the girlfriend who takes all day to text you back, Dave began to long for his pals back West. But he would need a car!
It was at this time that Dave decided to fulfill his dream of owning a vintage Volkswagen bus. And, being the young, foolish dreamer that he was, he spent his last $800 on a bus he’d never driven, from a man he’d never met, in a state he’d never been to; on eBay.
What follows in loving stop-motion animation, is a trip West that quickly went South. Leaving his bus in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with his girlfriend’s dad, Dave, tail between his legs, returned to California, sans bus, where not too long after, he discovered the A.I.R.S. list & sold Charlie on a plan that was equally as ridiculous as buying the bus in the first place. The viewers of Circle the Wagen are the benefactor’s of Dave’s complete disregard for reason.
It wasn’t long after picking up the bus (nicknamed the Croc) that Dave & Charlie had to start calling strangers. Literally, they picked a name on the list of someone who was in their area & asked if they would help. And they did. They did all the way back to Los Angeles. But Dave & Charlie wouldn’t make it all the way back to Los Angeles on the first try (Dave’s second attempt). Of course, it wouldn’t be an adventure if there weren’t a good dose of detours, breakdowns, & steak-eating contests.
After 500 long miles, imbibing Buds at biker bars & riding in stretch-limo Bugs, Dave & Charlie found themselves behind schedule, out of cash & on the edge of what they would learn to be a long lonely stretch of desert; the “black hole” of the A.I.R.S. list.
The stretch of Route 66 between Tucumcari, New Mexico & Los Angeles, that of which still exists, is a series of near-abandoned towns, tried up from the re-routing of 66 to the high-speed, cold ‘n concrete highway of Route 40. This last stretch to the golden coast is particularly barren & bereft of VW good Samaritans. But while staying overnight at the Blue Swallow, (the crown jewel of vintage Route 66 motor court motels) Dave & Charlie got an offer they simply couldn’t refuse.
Bill Kinder, who bought the Blue Swallow with his wife Terri as a sort of retirement project, offered to watch the Croc for Dave for as long as he needed, till he could come back & finish the rescue when funds, time & auto problems were less antagonistic. The kicker is that Bill had been a Volkswagen mechanic for 30yrs in Hawaii, so the Croc really would be in a good place while Dave got his ducks in order.
Dave & Charlie hated to say goodbye to the Croc but it would only be for a little till they could return & finish their journey.
NOTE: Synopsis are typically provided directly by the filmmaker themselves. Often English is not their first language. We ask reader’s understanding for less-than-perfect language and grammar