It was a weekend only somewhat jokingly fraught with peril . . . . but we not only survived, we enjoyed! I hope to add some pics to my next post as illustration of our weekend. Joseph took more than 200 of them. . . most of them of the exterior and interior of 70 various buses and no, I won't make you look at those. Frankly, they are only interesting to him and his other VW aficinados (yes, I had to stop and bring up Microsoft Word to make sure how to spell that one).
To encompass four days into the highlights. . . hmmmm. . . .let's go with my semi-traditional best and worst moments. In my dad's tradition, I will do worst first so as to end on a high note.
Worst: The WIND. The weather was warm, although WAY cooler than last year (70s instead of 90s) but the wind picked up each afternoon about 1:00 and stayed around all day until about 10:00. It blew away chairs, it made hot food impossible, it made you put on a jacket when it blew, take it off when it stopped and then repeat the process every few minutes all day. (On the other hand, it made the people who brought kites very, very happy.)
The PORT A POTTIES. We parked near them because I hate having to trek to the bathroom on a repeated basis. We were there last year and no problem. This year, thanks to that wind, we were treated to "Eau d'outhouse" constantly. (At first we tried to blame it all on the dog.) When I got home last night, I took a shower just to make sure I couldn't smell that smell on me anymore. Shudder, shudder.
The MECHANICS. We traveled to the resort with three others, Hal (and his wife), Barry and Adam. Hal is a VW master--just always know these tricks and tips for getting a VW to run. His bus was having issues and he actually spent the entire weekend working on trying to repair a major engine issue. When we left on Sunday, we barely made it to the gas station before his bus was in trouble again. Joseph and I then made the supreme error . . . we spoke out loud about how well our bus was running and the fates just had to screw with that smugness. So, as we pulled into the gas station, our bus died. Then, Barry yelled, "I see smoke, Joseph! Smoke in the engine!" J. jumped out and grabbed a fire entinguisher. I got out too, but without a sense of panic. Then, Barry yelled, "Flames! Fire!" That was when I wrenched the side door open in a nanosecond and got the kids out and away from the bus. Fortunately, it turned out to be a fried auxillary battery cable that was pulled out and the bus was fine. It ran perfectly from that moment on, which we were smart enough NOT to mention out loud. Hal's bus, however, was not as fortunate. By the time we had been on the road for about 30 minutes, he was pulling over. After working on it, with three other VW drivers standing around trying to look helpful, he gave up and went back into town to order a tow truck. All in all, we sat on the side of the road for 2 hours. At one point, I pulled out the cooler and we all snacked, plus I turned on the portable speakers for music. As waits went, it was actually not too bad.
J. GETTING SICK. The first night there, Joseph had just a few beers from the Pony Keg we brought and for some reason, they hit him wrong. He felt awful for most of the night and into the morning. That was lousy because if my guy isn't having fun, neither am I.
OKAY . . . . now . . . . THE BEST.
The SCENERY. Man, oh man, oh man, this place just takes the prize for gorgeous. It is surrounded by mountains, which are speckled with multi million dollar homes that make all of us ponder what the owners do to earn that much money and how hard it must have been to get construction equipment way up there. . . .The Deschutes River is right there and it rushes quickly past inviting white water rafters to explore. The sound of it is like white noise coming from another room. I adore it. The grass is so green it seems unreal. We are down in a valley and I even saw a deer roaming the edge of the field at one time.
The SOUNDS. Beside the rush of the river and the wind in the pines, this place is full of the most amazing sounds. There are bird calls of all kinds. There are children laughing and people talking and endless dogs barking. One woman brought an accordion and played it wonderfully. Another guy brought a tuba and entertained at random moments. Both nights had musical concerts with all types. . . one guy played a bongo drum and sang the King Louie song from "Jungle Book". Others played mandolins, guitars, saxaphones . . . it was so fabulous. Children from babes in arms through my own teens talked and wandered about. I cannot tell you how I loved crawling into the tent at night and just listening to the sounds around me as I went to sleep.
The PEOPLE. There are more than 70 buses this year--the biggest gathering to date. There were more than 200 people. It was amazing. Everyone there is friendly and chatty. It's like you belong to a club you didn't even knew you joined.
The TIME with my kids. While J. wandered around taking yet another picture of a bus interior or talking parts with drivers, I spent most of my time at the camp site with the kids. I realize that this is really our last year with it just being us. Either someone will join us next time or, more likely, one or more of the kids will not want to come back. They are, after all, becoming full fledged adults with their own agendas. So, I relished these moments. We all read copious amounts. We laughed A LOT. We made meals out of the cooler together. We took walks. For 4 days, no computers got in the way. No business or work for mom. No friends over. Just us. I loved it too. I have amazing children and I am lucky to get the chance to spend time with them. Actually, the TIME alone in the tent with my hubby was nice too. Usually, when we camp, we have a child close by . . . very close by . . . . and this time had the tent to ourselves while the kids slept in the bus. Even after 27 years together, we can still giggle in the dark and appreciate our togetherness.
So, that is the trip in a nutshell. It was a marvelous time and I loved it. Even the worst parts were so tempered by the good ones, that I know we will all look back with fond memories to all of it. We are already filling out the paperwork for next year's gathering and making lists of all the things we want to either do to the bus or buy before then . . . . a trailer, camping chairs, better cook stove, etc.
Film at 11, nah. But pictures will follow as soon as I download them to the computer. So stay tuned!