The first time Keizerite Jessica Fletcher took The Adventure Machine out for a spin, it was more than a little nerve-wracking.
“I felt really naked. There was no way to fit in anywhere, but then I realized I never really wanted to fit in anyway,” Fletcher said.
The Adventure Machine takes its name and design from The Mystery Machine made famous on innumerable Scooby-Doo adventures. It’s adorned in bright blue and lime green with large orange-petaled flowers and lettering.
The van is a 2018 Dodge Ram ProMaster with extended cab and extended roof. The décor is a wrap created especially for Fletcher at Salem’s Gorilla Graphix. It looks as authentic as anyone could hope for, and it’s turned every one of Fletcher’s trips in it into something else.
“Everyday errands are not simple trips anymore, they are events,” she said.
While The Adventure Machine attracts a fair number of oohs and aahs from not-so-meddling kids, it’s the adults who tend to have the most over-the-top reactions.
“Adults go screaming crazy. I was at the coast a few weeks ago and there was a guy who just screamed out, ‘Yeah, Scooby-Doo,’” Fletcher said. “It was so awesome, it made me smile. It’s so unserious and who doesn’t love Scooby Doo?”
The Adventure Machine’s purpose is spreading smiles, but that wasn’t precisely what Fletcher intended. She bought the van intending for it to be a way to travel to shows with her screen-printing business, Planet 9 Co. She then discovered that some of similar vans turned into rentals for camping trips. The more successful ones had themes and that is where the homage to The Mystery Machine began.
“I thought the Mystery Machine was fun and colorful and people would love to go camping in it,” Fletcher said.
A hiccup in the path to making that a reality gave her time to reconsider the investment, and she opted to keep it for mostly business use.
“There are things about it that wouldn’t work well for camping. The seats are too high and there are no windows in the rear,” she said.
She’s recently traveled to Hempfest in Seattle with The Adventure Machine as her booth.
“My vision is to, eventually, have a place to mail out online orders and travel as much as I can,” Fletcher said.
In the meantime, Fletcher said there are as many drawbacks as there are benefits to cruising around in such a unique vehicle.
“It encourages me to ride my bike to the grocery store a little more often,” she said. “On the other hand, if I ever disappear, people will know whether or not they’ve seen my car.”
Fletcher brought The Adventure Machine into the world as much for herself as anyone else – she needed it after retiring from a job where she felt miserable most days – but it’s become a physical manifestation of the way she’s approaching her life now.
“I wanted to do something completely unlike what I was doing, and I wanted to do something without a lot of rules that made people happy. I’m not done with the joy that I want to put in the world,” she said.