Much like bus drivers, people who own Type II Volkswagens seem to have a certain kinship with one another while on the road. They do not just wave to one another: they make eye contact, smile, and wave happily. They are happy to see that someone else has their car; someone else is a member of the conspiracy.
Hey, you're over there. I'm here too.
Two summers ago, midday, passing a girl going 55 on the highway in Colorado, in an avocado green bus with all the classic stylings. She has her arm out the window, head thrown back, bandana holding back her hair. Bandanas seem to be de rigeur among van drivers; we are also wearing them. She is squinting into the sun, hand over her eyes, calm and patient and entirely happy with going 55, with getting there just as fast as the car wants to go. The boy beside her is smiling and squinty too.
On the same trip, a van entirely full of happy kids passes us, complete with loud conversations and enthusiastic gestures and laughter pouring out the windows. Of course, we are also a van full of happy kids. Everyone grins their teeth out at each other. You smile so hard your face hurts.
This year, coming home from the vintage store, a burgundy vanagon camper with a single driver. He is clearly middle-aged, and we are clearly college kids, and none of it matters, and we smile and wave. For the rest of the way home, we compare amounts of rust and body work needed on each car. We notice it's for sale. I could buy it; then there would be two vanagons in the driveway. Then we could wave to each other.