Camping in the Redwoods – Part 2 – enjoying Bus City 2014

Remember that start mileage from Part 1 of this story?

Here’s the arrival reading, showing we drove only 112 miles to Schoolhouse Canyon Campground. A tiny trip for The YesWeCan CamperVan

Why then did it seem longer? Probably all those stops (Petaluma for Tillamook buses, Sebastopol for Citibank, Bodega & Bodega Bay to see where Hitchcock filmed his thriller “The Birds”, the Russian River view and Guerneville, peaking at the women’s festival, Community Church and Radio station, stopping at ATM Bank of America for camping fees, and shopping at Safeway for beer and early morning coffee).

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We knew we were in for a treat in Guerneville, when we met the Safeway store security guard at 5.30am Saturday and she told us if we needed any help at the checkout, we just had to oink the pig. “It’s the best way to get attention from the people filling the shelves”, she said. Okay!!!!  Oink, Oink!!

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Gotta say, this reminded us of the other pig in a store way back in 2009, some 25,000 miles ago, at the very start of our travels in The YesWeCan CamperVan (read that story here – photo caption ‘Pigs do fly in California’).

Anyhow, back to Guerneville ….. after a short drive out of town, past Korbel, we eventually arrive at the Schoolhouse Canyon Campground.  The VW Camper Family’s 6th Annual “Bus City” is in full swing. VW’s camped all over under huge redwood trees. Which spot to choose, we wonder?

And then a friendly wave beckons, and we move into this welcoming space, with two beautiful vanagons and a Toyota Forerunner (just like the one Carole drove in 2000 on her first ever coast to coast drive across America).

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Three very nice women, Ginny, Connie and Barbara, welcome us.

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And then we notice other members of their VW family … these little chihuahuas…..

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with a VW bus all of their own, which they happily share with a couple of bigger dogs, too …

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The next door neighbour, Thom, is from the same area as us. His recently acquired canoe made his bay window look quite the adventure wagon 🙂

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Thom’s wife, Amy, created a banner for “Bus City 2014” which she asked us all to sign …. I think many forgot!

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Carole left me to chill out and rest in the shade of the redwood trees ….

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while she went over to the picnic table ….

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to see if she could help with breakfast preparation.

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She brought strong cheddar cheese, a great addition to eggs.

 

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Had not quite imagined frozen eggs though.
Dang, those vanagon fridges must be powerful!
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Nothing beats VW camping gals! After a little thaw, the scramble is looking pretty good and the end result is yummy!

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After this proteinaceous breakfast and warm company, Carole toddled off to look for the creator of this event (now in it’s 6th year). She’d met Big Blue online in 2010 and couldn’t wait to meet him in person.

“Big Blue” was easy to spot

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What a great plate !!!

Also love that riviera pop top ….

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Quite a few more pop-tops around in the Redwoods ….

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and other ways to keep cool inside one’s VW camper …..

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Our favourite one, though, is the dormobile roof from GB (sorry for the bias). Look at that little vent – isn’t it sweet?

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Lots of bay window buses and vanagons, here, yet only two split windows – a little different to the events in southern california where splitties often prevail.

This split window has a hippy paint job ….

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and this green and white one ….

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had been newly painted the owner told us.

Well, after all that bus spotting and photo taking, it’s off  to the river for a dip …

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A welcome space to enjoy the redwoods, birds, butterflies, and river … and time to play

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a welcome chance to cool down

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and enjoy one’s VW family the old fashioned way 🙂

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After that adventure, tea back at camp … (happy sigh….)

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… more time to visit ….

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and play

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and swap tips on better ways to camp.

A battery operated fan – great for a bay window with no fan of its own 🙂

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a mini portable grill/BBQ

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and ingenious methods for attaching awnings to VWs; it’s all in the spirit of the wonderful VW family 🙂

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Time also for Carole to hand out our VW4Causes sticker ….

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One here on the Toyota. Thank you Connie 🙂 (don’t you just love that reflection of our campervan in your rear window too!)

Then Barbara with the lovely vanagon …

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let us put one of our stickers on her colourful rear window (thank you :)) ..

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… just before she got packed up and ready to go (you see, the doggie house has gone)

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Going around to say bye bye is never easy  – campouts always seem too too short …

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All gone!

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Nothing left to do now except move The YesWeCan CamperVan to a shady spot ….

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get out the tea tray ….

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put on the kettle …..

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make some tea and think about England 🙂 🙂 (just joking)

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Here’s to Bus City number 7 !!!!!!!

To get more info on this event, simply join VW Camper Family by clicking the link on this website. Go back to top of this article, scroll down left column, look for VW blogs header and you’ll find VW Camper Family listed there.

If you enjoyed reading this story, please would you help us with our cause by helping us reach 2000 page likes on facebook. We’re up to 1,796 at the present time. Just click here and once on our VW’s page, click like or join. THANKS 🙂 

 

Camping in the Redwoods – Part 1 – getting there

We’ve not been to a campout in Northern California before, so decided to start by taking our leaving mileage – 186, 476.

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From Walnut Creek, we’re going over the Benicia bridge, northwest towards Napa, then veering west towards Petaluma, to take 101 north to Guerneville as the route shows here …

Route to Bus City Campout

The planner says 1 hour and 36 minutes – ha! obviously not VW time.

Well, it’s always the journey that’s the adventure, right?  Getting to the destination ….. ho, hum ……

So do you remember those Tillamook buses we wrote about way back? Well, now they have ice cream buses (not only the orange cheese buses) and we found out that they were due to be in Petaluma the very day we are passing through.

So we just had to stop there, of course!! Ready to taste some vanilla? …

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… and then say hello to Yum Bus 3 ….

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pictured here next to the Tillamook ice cream vendor …

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Dexter had to say hello as well. He looks pretty handsome next to Yum 3, doesn’t he?

Well, it was hot out, so Dexter and Carole had to head off north …. towards the Bus City Campout near Guerneville …. bye bye ice cream 🙂

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……………… more miles …………… more miles ………………..

…………… more miles ………………..

From Petaluma it gets busy on the road so we get off 101, and instead take 116 to Sebastopol.

Petaluma to Guerneville

In California there’s so many different terrains and types of vegetation to photograph, and Carole loves seeing the vines, so we stopped along the way for a quick break ….

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 Is that Mt Konocti in the distance – we are looking northeast, so it could be.

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And does anyone know this bush? Look at its glorious colour.

It was down a smaller road outside of Sebastopol opposite a vineyard. Simply beautiful.

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Looking at the map again, Carole decides we could take a little detour, from Sebastopol to Guerneville via Bodega Bay, since that’s the village made famous by Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller “The Birds” …

via Bodega Bay

and on the way, in Bodega, Carole spots a house for sale, so we make a 180 degree turn in order to take a photo of this sweet little abode (looks like a house back east more than a house in California, don’t you think?) …

Dexter at Bodego Church (Hitchcock)

Imagine Carole’s surprise later when she found out that this is THE church that was filmed by Hitchcock !!

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The church is actually in the village of Bodega on the way to Bodega Bay. The drive to Bodega Bay was tough, because it got very windy as we headed out to the coast. You’d never know it was still blowing from this serene looking picture of the bay though, would you?

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This one shows some sea mist in the air though, with a suggestion of windy weather.

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After that it was another windy drive, north up the coast on scary California Highway 1.

Highway 1 to Guerneville, with Russian River

and just after Highway 1 turns inland before it intersects with 116, there was this great view …

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… of the Russian River, heading east to Guerneville.

No more photos taken after this: too many hairpin bends, and can’t drive and take pictures on roads like this.

Tomorrow we’ll post photos from our time at the VW campout “Bus City 2014” – or maybe it’ll be a day or two later :).  For now, here’s a satellite photo of Schoolhouse Canyon Campground to the right of a big business. Any ideas what it is?

School house campsite nr Korbel Champagne

To save you looking it up, it’s the Korbel Champagne operation 🙂 Will there be time for a visit and a tasting, we wonder?

Part 2 of this weekend adventure coming next …..

Please click below if you like any parts of our story so far. Thank you. And to support our efforts to spread awareness for MG and other auto-immune diseases, please click here and like our VW’s page on facebook. Thank you.

Joining the Sacramento VW community for Ranch Run 2013

What a time we had in Sacramento the first weekend of May – VWs, nice people, having fun and doing good. There’s no better combination.

Ranch Run poster

For more information see the Ranch Run website … http://www.theranchrun.com/

Ranch Run 2013 website

The Ranch Run website describing the VW community’s support for the 2013 event in aid of local charity ‘Ride to Walk’

 

It was a hot day! I managed to find my old hat buried inside my VW and our T shirt from last year’s cross country drive for MG Awareness and VW4Causes …..

Doing my bit as one of several VW drivers in "The Ranch Run 2013" for Sacramento charity "Ride to Walk"

Doing my bit as one of several VW drivers in “The Ranch Run 2013″ for Sacramento charity ”   Ride to Walk”

 

What kind of events and charities have you and your VW club supported?

Let us know by commenting below and inspiring us with your stories. Thanks.

A reminder to WRITE

Today I had a trip down memory lane, reading a post I’d written during the two week drive from California to Massachusetts over two years ago.

Reading Day 3 ‘Road to MA’ (Sun 20 June 2010) Bakersfield > Needles, CA and re-living the adventure was wonderful. But it also reminded me that I’d only gotten as far as writing about Day 4 on the Road to MA before the driving had taken over.

I keep thinking that one day I’ll have the time to catch up and complete the stories of those days on the road. I am also reminded of the book of the journey that others have asked me to write. But I’ll never find the time, I know that. I must make the time if I really intend to write a book.

Therefore, may I ask you a question or two?

  • would you really read a book about the cross country road trips mentioned in the posts on this blog?

  • if yes, what kind of a book would you like: a coffee table one with lots of photos or a paperback containing some photos in the centrefold?

Some of the photos originally posted on facebook with the Day 3 story are shown below. I’m hoping you can answer the two questions above and give me some feedback. Also please can you let me know if you like any of these photographs enough to see them in a book?

Thank you …

Day 3 ‘Road to MA’ (Sun 20 June 2010) Bakersfield > Needles, CA

as I leave Bakersfield this sign was way too tempting a poster not to photograph

Just imagine over 3 million square miles!!!!

So out I go, south east of Bakersfield, towards Barstow …

and then up over the hills ….

and into Tehachapi for a quick ice-cream stop …

where I see trains, in the town and outside, where carriages are
stationery and look abandoned …

 Time to get back on the road again and out into the desert …

I continue towards Barstow. After a brief stop to cool down, I carry on
into the desert and many miles later, I find this poor little ‘ghost’ town

and ask at the Desert Market in Daggett, if I’m on
the right road to find the Bagdad Cafe (named after the movie)

All I could see was the little market (store) and no sign of any habitation in any of the other buildings! But I am on the right road and to my surprise the railway line beside me is still operable; here’s a running train!!!

Finally I come to the Bagdad Cafe, just in time as the sun sets 

As I go inside, I can see other famous people have been here before me 🙂

I didn’t know we’d be on Route 66 – what a bonus that is!

Back into The YesWeCan CamperVan, even though it’s pretty dark now ..

and shortly after I leave the Bagdad Cafe, I see another train (yippee).
I follow it east into the desert for as long as I can …
listening to the clackety clack of the wheels (listen here)

… and finally when I look down and see the gas tank on empty, I stop.

For a full account of the day, read the original post at this link to
Day 3 ‘Road to MA’ (Sun 20 June) Bakersfield > Needles, CA

your COMMENTS below … thank you!! 

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Isle of Dogs Event – 20th Oct 2012

Be the first to spot our Green Split Window bus  (ABW xxxL) around Canary Wharf and Island Gardens, London E14 midday-ish today (Saturday 20 October 2012) and then tweet our full number plate and post a photo on our Facebook page to win a car sticker of ‘The YesWeCan CamperVan no.1

Bumper sticker

If you tell us what MG stands for, we’ll enter you for a bumper prize !!! 🙂

One from the road

Saw this one a moment ago on our facebook page and thought it would be nice to share with you.

It was taken on New Year’s Eve 2011 at Chirco VW in Tucson, where a flock of VW owners had met for the drawing of a raffle ticket to win a Karmann Ghia.

Doesn’t The YesWeCan CamperVan look great? By this time we had completed around 4500  miles and two months on the road!

Photo opp: German Metal VW Club in Tucson showing their support for vw4causes and The YesWeCan CamperVan, which, by this point, seriously needed a new engine! Earlier the raffle prize drawing had taken place for a Karmann and all proceeds had benefited one of their own

I am so thankful

I was just thinking back to a few days before the end of my drive in California. Shown here is my trusty 1971 Volkswagen Westfalia in Carpinteria, just south of Santa Barbara. The night before taking this photograph, I’d stayed with VW friend, Judith, whom I’d met two years before in March 2010 on my first VW road trip.

The YesWeCan CamperVan in Carpinteria, California, towards the end of phase 2 of the MG Awareness drive; start date 20 October 2011 from Provincetown, MA, end date 15 May 2012 in Corona, CA, total distance 7853 miles

On that first trip I soon realized that my VW was my new friend who would introduce me to many more new friends. I also realized that my precious VW gave me the opportunity to start conversations with strangers, and the question quickly became what was it that I wanted to start a conversation about? Was there something important that I could talk about and that would be of interest or benefit to others, I wondered.

At the end of 2010, one year after the start of that first road trip, I was sure I’d found the topic, and another year on as I set off on my second cross country drive, I was pleased I’d chosen MG (Myasthenia Gravis). It would be the focus of my communications on auto-immune diseases and neuro-muscular ones in particular.

Seven months and over 7,500 miles later, at the end of my day in Carpinteria pictured above, I’d felt very fortunate that my VW had transported me safely on another momentous journey. On this trip, unlike the first, we’d had three major repairs before finally a new engine was built and fitted in Los Angeles. However every single time, help was on hand. It was miraculous how I was supported and helped along the way.

In the first instance, when the clutch started slipping and it was apparent it needed replacing, the Full Moon Bus Club’s South Carolina Coastal Group offered to fit a new clutch at their Thanksgivin’ Misgivin’ weekend campout just north of Charleston. Not only did they work on this repair all weekend for free, but Wolfsburg West stepped up and sent a new clutch free of charge and by overnight courier all the way from California to the VW campout’s organiser before we even arrived.

Two weeks later in Alabaster, Alabama, the accelerator cable broke in the middle of a busy traffic intersection as I was driving behind Staci (an MG patient who had been my wonderful host and helper) to accompany her in a Christmas Parade. On that occasion, Bill and Carol from Sylacauga had answered the distress message sent out on the VW network by my ‘support man’ Ken (back in Massachusetts) and they then drove one hour from home to meet me and fix my VW (after which they insisted I have my motor checked and hosted me for a few days while it was).

Two and a half weeks after that, as I was driving one early morning in a remote part of Texas, the fan belt shredded!!!! No sooner had I stopped on the side of the highway, we were joined by the nicest state trooper I’ve ever met. It was a very cold morning and I already had a sore throat and temperature, so he had me keep warm in his car, offered me his phone to call Hagerty for my breakdown service (my mobile had no signal) and stayed with me until my VW was on the tow truck an hour later.

It occurred to me at times such as those mentioned above that my VW bus is a perfect metaphor for a person with a chronic disease like MG. For example, all of us classic VW owners know (and mostly have come to accept) that our vehicles do not move as fast as high performance models, that they lose their balance around sharp bends, and that they often fight to get up hills. We also know that on a good day or when there’s far less resistance, the engine can run much stronger and livelier … and that during those times we can let out a loud sigh of relief or maybe we smile gently to ourselves, knowing that our faith has been restored and the struggle to keep going was definitely worth it.

We also know that during those ups, we might go a little crazy and do too many miles, and that, while it’s good while it lasts, chances are we’ll be pretty tired and plain old worn out later on.

As time goes by, we also learn that life in the slow lane can have its merits, like being far more appreciative of the good times and the fleeting moments of running free without bounds. Most of all we learn that living in the present moment is all there is, and with that, comes a joy all of its own.

So driving an old VW with it’s foibles and surprises, can really be a pretty good metaphor for what it’s like to have a chronic disease and to be steering one’s body through all the challenges that get thrown up along the way.  And the thing is, VWs just keep going and going if they are looked after and treated gently. Also one good example seen out and about on the road can be an inspiration to another, and waves and toots indicate that we share a common language.

For me, my VW has also been the friend who helped me find the very best of friends: those with whom I have a special understanding and with whom I can laugh and cry; those who have similar values and who give without expecting anything in return; and those who realize that trust and loyalty are the most precious of gems.

Boy oh boy … when I look at my old VW campervan, I really do have a great deal to be thankful for, don’t I?  🙂

When two working VWs meet

Two VW women working on different projects, yet both using their vintage 1971 VW buses to tell stories, met at San Jose State University on 23 April 2012.

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Copyright by Julia Weber 2012. Thanks for permission to re-post this photograph.

Here you can see Julia Weber’s ‘Mr Orange der Story-Bus’ and Carole Brown’s ‘The YesWeCan CamperVan’ getting close and sharing some thoughts on future possibilities!  Maybe they’re talking about where to drive together …. if the ladies agree that is ..

 

The birth of the VW Bus

The Birth Of The VW Bus: From First Sketch To Production

‘s article on how the VW was born was published on April 13, 2010 at http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/04/the-birth-of-the-vw-bus-from-first-sketch-to-production/

The photos below are taken from his article … with Thanks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which one is your favorite? Tell us below …..

 

My new friend

Carole bought me a new friend, so I’d have company when she goes to her hometown of London this summer to watch the Olympic Games!

And what’s more, it’s my elder . We need a name for this lovely 1956 oval window VW beetle. Send us your suggestion below!!