Wednesday, March 2, 2016

10 Years of Oregon Volks Camps - 2006 and the Beginning

It all started with Colin and the Itinerant Air Cooled.

Colin Bob and Eva 2010

Well, it actually started with the Samba, a website famous to air cooled Volkswagen owners.

Likeminded Bus Pilots met and mingled on the Bay Window Bus forum, exchanging stories and helping with repairs.  That is until the Great Stinkfoot Rebellion of August, 2006,
 and the IAC was born, an equal part technical forum and VW community.
  It was also the voice of a particular travelling VW consultant.
Colin confuses Neal, who confuses Colin in return 2008

Colin began travelling the country, teaching VW owners to stand on their own two feet.
  His guidance has been invaluable over the years - giving many the confidence to make these air cooled cars part of life and the journey onward.

 Portland 2008, all I wanted was to check the oil

Eva Bob Colin 2010, always on the go

It also started with the Trail Advocates of the Clackamas.

Born from the mind of another mad genius, Donovan, who grew up in the Clackamas side of the Old Cascades.  No one knows the incredible history of the Mt. Hood National Forest like Donovan.  Without his guidance and willingness to share history, old maps, and trailcraft knowledge, many would not have the drive or instinct to seek these relics in the woods.
Donovan at Mill Creek Wilderness 2008

Of course, every journey has it's beginning - but often it's just a continuation of a previous one.
When does it begin?  When does that gestation of an idea start that takes over your life?

My 1973 Beetle "Prairie Rocket" camping in Galena, IL 1995

I came to the Northwest almost 20 years ago now, it's hard to believe.
  Chicago seems a dream, from long ago.  What was I doing there, a land without forests?
  I still miss it, but I did not belong.

So we got the hell out of there.

Eva's First Camp at 2 months old.  August 2004 Eva Bob Terian 
Middle Santiam Wilderness

Those first few years were like heaven.  Growing up on the asphalt, dreaming of the prairie where only the wind still blew, I fell deeply in love with the Oregon wild.  I got to know ancient forests, and clearcuts.

 Eric was in Chicago, driving a taxi and missing the wild.  Every few months he'd fly out and we would explore the wilderness somewhere.


Eric at Wychus AKA Squaw Creek 

 Portland stinky after a trip

 Eric at Rho Creek 2006 crabby with a bad back

Eric and Bill and lot of delicious beer May 2006 it was cheaper then

Bill 2006 Tumble Creek

Eric even sent me money to buy him a Bus.
  Eventually he came and picked it up a couple of years later.
As my first Portland Volks Folks customer before there even was such a thing, we got his Bus running well enough for the Oregon wilderness and his journey back to Illinois.  I didn't know it at the time, but our camping days together were over.

Eric 2005 Wygant St. Portland

 first drive summer 2006 at Estacada

Eric literally on the Abbot Road 2006
do you know this spot?

High Rock 2006

Terian and Eva, Eric's Bus and Mama Bus, Olallie Lake August 2006

Due to a madness of my own, I can never get enough wilderness.  It became clear that a VW camper was the perfect vehicle for these forays - durable, well built and easy to fix.  "Easy peezy".

 Bob at Badger Creek Wilderness, saved from a snowdrift by frayed tire chains March 2006
Ken at Badger Creek March 2006

Meanwhile, the IAC community began to grow.  Sharing an independent spirit, like-minded souls who love being out in nature with their vintage contraptions.
I asked Colin to begin a Camping Section of the Itinerant Air Cooled forum.
 10 years later, we are still at it, and many of the same people are involved, guys and women who have become best friends and family, mentors and even strangers who come and go never to be seen again.  Good friends come and go, and yet the mountains remain the same, the forest their only constant.  We see kids grow and sprout, and salt and pepper turn surely gray.

I wanted to do something special, to say thank you to all of the friends who have made these camps possible.  I want this series of 10 years to be a tribute to all of you.
I have spent many days going through dusty archives, sorting thousands of photographs to find the best of the past 10 years.  It hasn't been an easy task, but I hope you enjoy these photos - many that haven't been seen before.  Some are serious, others candid or will even make you laugh out loud.  A few are from the "reject" pile, underexposed or otherwise not perfect.  But through the lens of time and a life lived, these imperfections seem less important. 
Our camps have always been more than just beer in the woods - they represent an ideal of stewardship and bringing a sense of history and repair to many sacred yet often abused places.

And again, thanks to all of the Bus Pilots - you who make life worth living.

 Before the IAC, we met informally at the Lucky Lab Pub, to drink beer and talk greasy.
It wouldn't take long before Bus Camps were born.
 Troy and pooch
 Hal gestures madly to Mary
 Jasan Paige Marc

2006 was also the same year Mark began hosting the Deschutes River RendezVW Campout.
Who is this guy Mark?  Who are you crazy bearded people?
Do I dare going all the way to Maupin with you?  Oh geez.
 Hal in the window, Mary in the distance June 2006 on the way to Maupin

 Neal Hal and Bob's Buses 1st ever Deschutes VW 2006
Eva at 2 years old, first solo camp with Papa, Maupin 2006

We liked it.  Mark was OK and not too crazy.
Nice guys too, even that crazy Gypsie screaming in the dark, who I also meet by chance and turned out to be a lifelong friend.  I met Hal and Jasan and Neal, foxhole friends forever truly.

Terian at the first Hambone Camp, July 2006

By November, we were in the woods, camping in the rain and giant trees.  I was hooked and donefor.

 Jasan and Mike, Collawash River Camp - the very first IAC Oregon Volks Camp Nov 2006
 "Spiffy" Mike Nov 2006 Collawash Camp

Next: (wait for it......)
2007 the year it really began, again.  This time.


  1. Ooh this is going to be good...I remember this lotus in its bud form...way before the blossom it has become.

  2. Man I can't believe it's been 10 years. Great start so far. Is that Collawash area back open? Maybe we need to have a 10 year reunion.

    1. It must be...but lots of fires down there, would be interesting to see what is left of BOTW

  3. That was a trip down Memory Lane. Spied the Road Warrior up there at the Lucky Lab. I should try a camping weekend with you all if I have the NaranjaWesty with me in this fourteenth IAC lap of the country.

    1. 10th anniversary you better! We'll go someplace crazy in your honor and you can rebuild my transmission.

  4. Oh how can I forget, some of the best camp spots I ever had, except Rho Creek. Lol! I forgot to zip up the pup tent while chatting with Donovan, hence the sleeping bag got wet, in May.