Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Buses by the Depot 2011: Vanagons Turn Me On

Okay, it's been implied once or twice before on this blog but I thought I would come right out and give this post that full-on confessional headline. Of course there's a lot of appealing Volkswagen design on display in the multi-era bus panorama above but Vanagons ... ohhhhhh ... gimme a bunch of them parked all together and watch me get too squirmy and distracted to take my own pictures (this one swiped from BbtD 2010).

So I love displaying the e-Van at EV-specific shows, but I have to say that bringing it to Buses by the Depot 2011 this past weekend may have been my best idea ever.  Everyone there was a fellow fetishist.  Naturally, we had fun!

BbtD is an annual campout lovingly hosted by The Bus Depot in Green Lane, PA -- a nationally-known source for quality, affordable VW van parts.  Ron Salmon and his staff (good people all) have been organizing this campout in conjunction with a warehouse sale for several years now.  (I hit that sale & bought a shade canopy that clips onto any vehicle, EV display folks take note!)

Miraculously, the campout is held just 15 miles from North Montco Tech, so I was able to drive the e-Van there instead of being ignominiously (and fossil-fuelishly) towed.  It's the first time I've driven it to a show since 2007!  Must admit I was a little nervous en route; ever since we upgraded to 144 volts in 2009 our fuel gauge has not worked, so I had to have faith in Saint Bill when he reassured me that I would make it the distance.

I did, though not without some entertaining Little Miss Sunshine-esque moments, like the one early on where my 9-year-old daughter remarked from the back seat that the combination of my little moans of anxiety and the occasional grinding noise as I gradually got back into practice shifting gears without a clutch in actual traffic were making her a little nervous, and just at that moment I accelerated out of a stoplight and the side door slid all the way open with that solid Volkswagen thunk!  Eek!  "Don't worry sweetie, look, there's another red light coming up right here!  Hold on to all that camping gear okay?!!"

I hopped out, ran around to slam the door shut &  lock it, scrambled back into my seat in time for the light and we had no further really interesting adventures though my heartrate did not truly subside till I was parked at my campsite.

After that it was just straight up fun: talking to tons of people about the e-Van, ogling their buses in turn & sharing a delicious potluck dinner.  One of the best features of this campout is the communal meal on Saturday.  I was too busy eating to take pictures but Brendan did take one of me and his dad in front of the e-Van, which is basically my only documentation that it was there:


My friends Clark (red) & John (yellow) were there with their sweet pop-tops and unexpectedly I reunited with my long-lost pal Danno, who used to work on my first Vanagon and whom I haven't seen for years.  Danno's been living in his Vanno for the last year & it has some sweet mods that I wish I had taken pictures of, though of course they would have had nothing to do with electric vehicles.  

Next post I will return to EV-specific and very exciting news, I promise!  In the meantime here is a photo of the secret reason I am in Vanagon heaven right now:

 I own this silver Syncro everybody!  It doesn't run now but soon it will because St Clark is on the job!

Click on the photo to hear/see "Vanagon Song: Explicit Lyrics" on the Susquehanna Valley Vanagon Club website, a fabulous video but emphatically NSFW or Small Children's Ears unless you want your toddlers warbling "I drive a motherf***ing vanagon" in front of your inlaws  by Thanksgiving.

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