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Jun 10 2014

2014 BusFusion – Trip Report

After months of preparation, the 2014 edition of BusFusion is now a string of awesome memories.

It started on Thursday (June 5th) with cool weather however by Friday afternoon the sun was out and the warmth tempted a lot of people into going for a swim in the Mississippi River. And the wonderful weather lasted throughout the rest of the event… more than a few people got a little too much and went home with a sunburn.

I had hoped to get on the road Thursday but Andrea wasn’t able to and then there was the muffler repair that Babe needed. The weekend before the exhaust pipe broke (rusted through) and so I took her to the spa to get a replacement crafted. Dave and I agreed to fabricate one out of stainless steel, adding a mount for the pipe before the muffler and connecting the muffler with a clamp rather than welding it together since the pipe will outlast the next few mufflers. Turns out getting the right pipes wasn’t as simple as he expected it to be… but in the end he did get everything back together and nice and solid. It just took a little longer than expected and he didn’t get the job done until late Thursday afternoon.

Stainless… I expect it will last a while!

As part of the organizing committee, I was also in charge of getting a new edition of the fleece jackets & vests. I had arranged everything and the order was completed a week before the event but some of the jackets had oil on them and had to be redone. They were supposed to be done for Monday but the guy doing the embroidery ran into a series of problems including having his brother take his car (with the fleece in the trunk of course) on the Wednesday. I finally took delivery of them just before I was going to head up to pick up Babe… just-in-time delivery! They were a big hit though, everyone who got one loves it. And don’t for a moment think I am unhappy with the service… it just needs a little extra effort to make sure it happens right.

We tried to organized a bus caravan (known as a “carabus”, I personally like busavan though ๐Ÿ˜‰ for the Friday morning and we got close. We never did connect though, I think we were in between two other groups of buses and the closest we came to connecting was text messages. It was an uneventful drive though, the best kind. And I think we got there early afternoon. Just in time for a sourdough session, which Andrea quickly headed to. She had brought some of her rye sourdough that she’s been nurturing for a few years to give Nancy, who has been developing a white sourdough starter for a while with great success. A room full of bakers!

Meanwhile, I set about getting our camp spot organized over a beer with my friend Dake (from Maine). Followers of my blog might remember Dake and the ice cube tray and the story behind it. It was great to see him again and to have a little time getting caught up.

Home for the weekend

 Having missed this event last year and not having seen many of the extended family members for two years I had a lot of catching up to do. Any walk-about would take three times as long as expected, even sitting reading I was frequently setting my iPad aside to chat (inspired by my trip through the Four Corners I decided to go back and read some Tony Hillerman books that I haven’t read before). And I loved the interruptions as much as I’m loving having time to read. It’s been far too long since I last picked up a book to read.

There were probably around 100 buses (and a few “foreign” vehicles without a VW on the front… riff-raff!) on Friday and by Saturday that number swelled to 185. It’s really very cool to look across a field at sunset with that many tops popped.

Friday started cool (before we got there), and then it turned hot. And stayed hot… people would stop by just to spend a little time in the shade of an awning. As evening began to settle in, lots of us gathered in the fairground hall to watch Circle The Wagen… a playful tale about an impulse purchase. It was delightful and entertaining, yet I actually found it painful to watch at times. And the ending felt very disappointing to me as someone who’s gone down a similar path. I’ll stop at that, no spoiler!

 And as usual the campfire action was great. This event has a few things totally dialed in and a good supply of wood is one of them. At the start of the event a perfect load is dropped next to the campfire and it’s used generously so the fire is bright, warm and inviting. Surrounded by a ring of volks and featuring an ever changing band so you never know what to expect other than good company.

 Saturday was a delight. Andrea and I had talked about going for a nice ride together in the morning, in the end she felt the need to get a hardcore training ride in and wanted to get out early. I on the other hand enjoyed lingering in bed and then being treated to some of Nancy’s sourdough pancakes with blueberries and home-made maple syrup. Great way to start a day.

The sun continued to beat down on us all day, shade was a precious commodity and the beach was a popular destination. And it’s the perfect day for a tour of the fairground to look at all the buses and pick “the best of 2014”. Here are a few photos I took… unlike previous years I didn’t spend too much time trying to capture them all in pictures, you can check out the BusFusion FaceBook page or the website for lots more photos as they get published.

Classic beatuies

Most buses have a name. Some trailers too…

Yup

As much as I enjoy looking at the buses and seeing how everyone uses them, I’m actually much more interested in the people who drive them, live in them, travel with them. And I actually took more photos of people than buses this year… I expect I’ll do even more of that next year as it really interests me. I’m not a portrait photographer, I do love taking candid shots though. And I have some delightful shots from this year. Here’s a small selection (I don’t know what to do with the full set, it’s not something for my website and they won’t be for sale… perhaps a few will make it into a gallery display).

Guy (Vermont) & Brian (New Jersey)

Gord, Brent, Jim and Jerry

Frank, with Greg & Linda

The winner of the one-of-a-kind BusFusion quilt (Nelly)

Gord… a patriarch with an infectious laugh and inviting smile

Saturday wrapped up with a communal dinner, door prizes and live entertainment (BeatleJuice). It was still hot and it took a while before people were interested in coming back into the hall to dance after dinner. The band was great though, and they played well into the eve. In fact, for the first time ever at a VW campout I didn’t go to the Saturday evening camprfire. Instead I relaxed at home, and spent some time with the Potts clan. I think something good may come of that in the future! Stay tuned…

Bottom right… yes, that’s an airplane. Dropped in for a visit

All too soon it was Sunday. How did that happen?!?!?
But sure enough it was, and that meant breakfast burritos. Greg is in charge of that and he knows how to deliver (he’s the organizer of Buses of the Corn and has the breakfast dialed in). Great way to start any day!

And then it was time to make the rounds… there are a lot of people to say good bye to, I think it was over an hour before we actually left. And one friend (Charles, who had camped beside us the first year we came which was before we had a Westy) made a point of coming over while we were stopped to chat with someone else. We’d looked for him earlier in the weekend but struck out so this was awesome… brought smiles all around.

Eventually there was no avoiding it… time to head home. Jeff (a cycling buddy) opted to busavan back for much of the way. I’m glad, it gave us a little extra time to chat. He’s part of the group Andrea and I have cycled with in North Carolina, he’s one of the people around when I crashed last year and he helped big time in getting me out. Plus he’s a funny guy… glad to have him as a friend.

After all the blue skies and UV rays, when we got back to TO it started to rain. I’ll take full credit for the best weather BusFusion has had… it arrived with me and stayed until I left ๐Ÿ™‚

Seriously though… this was an exceptional campout and it sets the bar very high! So let’s see what 2015 has in store.

4 Comments

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  1. Guy Kennedy

    Thanks for sharing Peter! Nice photography.

  2. jerry baldwin

    Nice trip report Peter it was great to see you again

  3. Linda Alcock

    Wonderful summary. Nice perspective.

  4. CharliePecoraro

    Peter, thank you for taking such wonderful pictures of the Circle the Wagen screening. It looks like it was well attended & a nice time out of the heat. I agree a bit w/ the ending but I am still looking for a creamsicle bus for myself. So we’ll see where the adventure takes me:)

    Very warmest,
    -=Charlie
    exec producer
    circle the wagen
    circlethewagen.com

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