Delivering mail, chasing ghosts and changing the world one smile at a time

Print Article

Charles H. Featherstone/Columbia Basin Herald Moses Lake-based rural mail carrier Andrew Arnold with ‘The Mystery Machine,’ a Ford van he customized and uses to deliver mail.

MOSES LAKE — You might have seen it out and about.

Bright blue and green, with orange letters all around that say “The Mystery Machine,” rambling down country roads, an arm sticking out occasionally, shoving mail into rural mailboxes.

“It started out as a safety thing,” said Andrew Arnold, a rural mail carrier who works out of the main post office in Moses Lake. “My biggest fear is getting creamed on the side of the road. The bright colors made it stand out.”

And stand out it does, this bright 1997 Ford Aerostar van, looking for all the world like Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and even Scooby — Arnold has a Scooby head he sometimes wears — are going to tumble out of the van and foil some villain’s attempt to haunt for fun or profit.

Arnold has only delivered mail for the last year or so. Before that, he was a professional chef and worked at The Gorge. However, being laid off during the winters didn’t help pay the mortgage or provide for his family, so a friend suggested Arnold look into the Postal Service.

But he’s always tinkered with cars, always seen what he can do with junked cars, spare parts and odds and ends.

The Mystery Machine isn’t his first project. Arnold has made “rat rods” — cars built from parts of other cars — before, including a Bat Mobile, a Joker “rat rod,” and a “Zombie Response Team” vehicle.

“I did an SUV for Grant County Animal Outreach, another beat-up SUV we made cool,” he said.

Arnold said he bought The Mystery Machine in 2017 — originally a postal delivery van — in an auction for $700. By then, it had been pretty well beaten up.

“It had been rear-ended, laid on its side,” he said. “So, I found ways to hide the ugliness, to make it cool.”

And that’s what he enjoys most about taking old cars or junked vehicles and turning them into art.

“Taking something that most people would find ugly, and reveal an inner beauty,” he said.

“Old cars have dents and rust,” Arnold continued. “I love playing with cars, and I’ve got cars stashed across the state.”

Arnold explained that he doesn’t impose his will on a car. He doesn’t have an idea first. Rather, he lets the car “speak” to him and let him know what it wants to be.

Still, he has a head full of ideas for future vehicles “that keep me up at night.”

Mostly, though, Arnold sees his custom cars as means to an end rather than as an end in and of themselves. It’s fun being out and about, he said, delivering the mail and meeting people who smile when they see his van.

“My kid says I’m changing the world one smile at a time, and in today’s times, people need a smile. They need a wave,” he said.

“I see a lot of people, turn a lot of heads,” Arnold added. “Let’s go make people smile.”

Charles H. Featherstone can be reached by email at cfeatherstone@columbiabasinherald.com.

Print Article

Read More Local News

The Iron Gates of the Columbia: A look at Trinidad’s old railroad track

September 19, 2019 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald TRINIDAD — Most people familiar with the railroad tracks in the Trinidad area know about the horseshoe railroad track curve in Lynch Coulee a few miles above Trinidad. What may not be as well known i...

Comments

Read More

Good August for Samaritan Healthcare

September 19, 2019 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald MOSES LAKE — The good financial news for 2019 continues for Samaritan Healthcare. Chief administrative officer Alex Town said August “happened to be a really good month,” which bucks the traditional...

Comments

Read More

Health & Wellness Expo set for Sept. 28

September 18, 2019 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald MOSES LAKE — People will have a chance to learn about all things health-related at the annual Central Washington Health & Wellness Expo, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 28 in the ATEC building at Big Bend...

Comments

Read More

Medical assistant charged with misconduct

September 18, 2019 at 5:00 am | Columbia Basin Herald OLYMPIA — An Adams County medical assistant has been charged with misconduct after she failed to comply with a monitoring program ordered by the Washington Department of Health. Lucia Gonzalez was r...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(509) 765-4561
PO Box 910
Moses Lake, WA 98837

©2019 Columbia Basin Herald Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X