This past weekend me and my son traveled to the 25th Annual Jerome Jamboree. This is one of the largest gatherings of VW Bus enthusiasts in the country. From the moment we arrived we could feel an odd kinship with these strangers. This post contains a few short stories and about 40 of my favorite buses from the jamboree this year.
Our passion bound us together.
(Above) This is our bus. It’s a sealing wax red 1961 SO 23 Westfalia Camper bus that I now use as my mobile office. Her name is “Jetty.” As soon as we pulled up and parked three guys walk up to Jetty and wanted to climb inside. They asked about 41 questions that I could not answer about her and concluded their impromptu, self guided tour by just saying … “sick bus bro” … which was a huge compliment!
(Above) Jetty has super cool safari windows that allow a cool breeze while you are driving across the country.
(Below) The safari windows will do this to hair at 50 miles per hour!
(Above) This is the central gathering stage of the Jerome Jamboree and the signs list a number of sponsors and Arizona Bus Club members. This is an eclectic group from all over the United States that gather for three days because of their shared passion for air cooled cars!
(Below) A photo of Don Roberson captured by a fellow enthusiast. Don owns the space in Jerome where the buses come to play. It’s the grounds of the Gold King Mine Ghost Town. It’s a pretty incredible story – check it out here. Each year several hundred bus owners gather on the edge of Cleopatra Hill. It’s a flat, dusty area but the view is stunning and world famous with the mountains of Sedona as a backdrop.
(Above & Below) There is more than one way to camp in a VW Bus!
(Below) is the first bus that caught my eye when we pulled into camp. It’s not very shiny … but it’s unique! I think about all the places this bus has been and all the adventures it’s owners have had. If this bus could talk I am not even sure I would want to hear its stories!
(Above & Below) These are a couple of the most interesting color schemes I noticed. Whatcha think?
(Above) Each year the Arizona Bus Club picks an old rusty bus and spends the whole year restoring it as a team of volunteers. And then they auction off the bus each year at the Jamboree. Tickets for the bus auction are only .50 cents each so literally anyone has a chance to win the bus. From a child who buys one ticket to a family who saves all year and buys 1,000 tickets. I met both types this year. The way it works is they start reading the number on the winning ticket. Everyone who is still in the game as the numbers are read puts a hand on the bus. And as more numbers are read the number of hands on the bus slowly shrinks. This image shows the LAST THREE GUYS in the game. The eventual winner was, Justin Griffin, the fellow in the hat touching the very front of the 1958 panel bus that was restored this year.
(Above) This is Jetty parked across the street from The Haunted Hamburger restaurant in Jerome, Arizona.
(Above) Between 250 – 300 busses and their owners converged on Cleopatra Hill this year.
(Above) This one scared me!
(Above) A second or third cousin of Jetty with more windows.
(Below) Jetty resting after the climb up and over 7,000 feet.
(Above) As mentioned earlier the Arizona Bus Club restores a bus each year and then auctions it off at the Jerome Jamboree. This perfectly staged lineup is all busses that have been auctioned in years past. Super cool to see the hard work and now pride of ownership on display.
(Above & Below) This is Walter … the worlds largest VW Bus!
(Above & Below) I did not take these images but located them on the Arizona Bus Club Facebook page. At night many of the busses are lit up and the evening kicks it up a notch at the Jerome Jamboree.
My words to those trying to live curious lives would be … LIVE IN THE NOW!
Go ahead and be passionate about all kinds of silly as well as serious things. And realize when you make public your passions people will rally around you. They will become your curious tribe. You will not always understand them and they will not always understand you. You will not always agree with them and they will not always agree with you.
And that is OK.
Live Curious Friends.