Been there, done that

VW Bus Camp Out, Jerome Arizona
It feels so odd to be headed east...odd and pretty warm, to tell you the truth. We're going to stay the weekend at a VW bus rally held near Sedona, Arizona (at altitude in the reddest, twistiest part of the Arizona desert). Amazing event. Restored buses and bugs and things, oh my! Great people. Skip has attended one of these events before and is on the look-out for some friends who are from Flagstaff.

We drive all day (not an early start from Vegas). And drive and drive. Jerome isn't supposed to be THAT far from Vegas, but it's incredibly hilly, and then twisty, and then incredibly windy the way that, in the USA, only the West can be, tossing the van violently from side to side. Our arms and hands and necks ache from the fight. The head wind slows us and our gas mileage, and though we take turns driving I can't tell you how ready we are to let this bucking horse rest. By the time we get on the most amazing road to Jerome (hair-pin curves, cactus crossing) it's very, very dark and we have to drive pretty slowly. The wind starts to die as we head into these gorgeous mountains and, after passing all the way through the town and stopping for directions, we find the camp-out.

It's late Friday night and we've missed the dog show (too bad, cause you know our dogs are the very best), but we meet some new people, drink a glass of wine, and chat quite a bit. The rally is at an old gold mine, a kind of outdoor museum to this area's gold mining history, and we'll see how great it is in the morning. Old ore carts, covered wagons, and all kinds of rusty, mysterious machinery decorate the red dirt and rock lot we're camped in. We're high, high, high above the valley floor (forgot to tell you about the last part of last night's ride: tortuous accent in first gear, praying the van made it up) with an absolutely glorious view. Once again we ask: how can we pick a single place to live when we've seen so much splendor in this world?

On Saturday Skip's friends from Flagstaff show up, and they are cool as hell, mechanics and river raft guides, environmentalists and alternative power folks. They tell us about living in Flagstaff. Is it expensive, I ask. OH yes, they tell us, but it's poverty with a view. Everyone has dogs here, and the dogs run wild in a kind of crazy pack. One of the dogs, Goose, runs so much on Saturday that on Sunday he'll have raw paws, the poor pup. Our dogs don't play so well with others, so they spend most of their time on their leads in our company.

We have a glorious time, get a pin and a patch for our collection, talk vans the way we normally talk motorcycles, meet new friends. On the way out on Sunday we get to caravan! On the way out of Jerome we drive in a large group of VW's, mostly older than us (same engine, less weight). It's so fucking coooooool! We drive all the way to Flagstaff in a smaller caravan: three buses and us. What a great experience. Just another thing to help the Burn spirit continue in our everyday lives.

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