Girl Scout, the Vintage “Adventure-Ready” Vehicle
Whether you’re working on a bouldering problem, fixing up your gear, or learning a new skill, having a project to work on is a supremely satisfying feeling. Recently, many of us have had more time to slow down and enjoy the quieter aspects of our lives as outdoor enthusiasts. For Gerben Gerritsen, he’s finally had the opportunity to put a little love into his family’s vintage “adventure-ready” vehicle and enjoy some local scenic drives behind its steering wheel with his family. We caught up with Gerben to get the story of his 1975 International Harvester, a precursor to modern SUVs.
Gerben Gerritsen was at home in the Netherlands when they got the call. The Portland, Oregon-based storage facility housing his family’s beloved 1975 International Harvester Scout was closing. Gerben and his wife, Stephanie, had purchased their 1975 Scout, nicknamed “Girl Scout,” in 1999, for her to use as a daily driver. The International Scout ran like a dream for years, but by the late 2000s, Girl Scout began to spend more and more time covered in the driveway. In 2012, Stephanie accepted a job opportunity that she couldn’t pass up, moving the Gerritsens to the Netherlands and Girl Scout to indefinite storage.
Stephanie hung up the phone. The storage facility gave them 24 hours to find a new home for their prized possession—no easy feat from 5,000 miles away. Through a stressful 24 hours, a new storage lot was chosen and Girl Scout was transported to her new home.
When the family finally returned to Portland in 2016, they saw that the elements had taken a toll on Girl Scout. The Gerritsens weighed their options and ultimately decided not to give up on her. When 2019 rolled around, a seemingly endless list of repairs stood between Girl Scout and “adventure-ready,” but Gerben was up for the challenge. After a year of troubleshooting ongoing technical issues, sprucing up the exterior, and cleaning out the interior, he took it into the garage to rebuild the engine. They got Girl Scout back on a Friday, and by Monday, the Gerritsens were under quarantine.
While the Gerritsens expected to be hitching up their vintage camping trailer, loading their 7-year-old and 10-year-old kids into Girl Scout’s back seat, and heading for the hills, the pandemic postponed their adventures.
Despite this change of plans, Girl Scout isn’t sitting under a cover in the driveway or at a storage facility anymore. Instead, Gerben fills Girl Scout’s time with backroad trips to pick up takeaway beer from his favorite local brewery or drives through the hills—always taking the long way home. He even built and installed a custom picnic box in Girl Scout for longer trips into nature.
As enjoyable as these reprieves from the house are, it’s not what Gerben expected to be doing with Girl Scout this spring. The silver lining? With social distancing guidelines governing our day-to-day lives, Gerben’s finally found the extra time he’s needed to slow down, appreciate the journey, and make small strides. As it turns out, labors of love can be just as rewarding as off-the-grid road trips or our bigger adventures.