If you ever come to Tucson and decide to take in a local car gathering, chances are you will see Britt and his insanely clean 1954 Right-Hand Drive Oval window Bug. Britt pretty much makes it to everything! I asked him one day if he ever takes a show off and he told me “This car sat for over 2 decades! I got time to make up for!” We thought it would be cool to give a little cyber shout out to Britt and honor the work he put in to make this car a staple in our local scene.
They Call Me Sam
Actually locals might refer to it as “The Poop Bug” because of the sticker on the rear window, but the car’s given name is Sam, and she’s about as far from “Poop” as you can get. Sam is a 1954 RHD Euro Oval. According to Britt he paid about $3,000 for this car some 20 years ago. It was painted but other than that it was just a shell.
After spending years denying the local car hawkers Britt found his motivation. It came in the form of his young daughter Brooke. I don’t know exactly how the conversation went, but I imagine it was something like this:
Brooke: Ga-ga goo-goo I’m a baby that can barely talk. Why come you not drive Sam daddy? Britt: Well…Daddy is kinda acting like a bump on a log when it comes to the car sweetie. Brooke: Well, me think you need to get off your hinder! Me want you to take me to first day of kindergarten in it! Britt: Did you just say “hinder”??
So Britt promised Brooke he would drive her to her first day of school in Sam and the rest is Tucson legend.
Britt put in countless hours. Finding vw parts was difficult at times but fortunately he lives very close to Chirco so we saw him quite regularly.
I happen to know Britt personally so I can tell you what a hard working focused individual he is. I’ve never shared that I think he’d make a great Barney Rubble for Halloween…oh wait…I guess I just did. Regardless Britt is always willing to lend a hand whether it be here at Chirco for any of our events or if you’re a local and you need help with your car. Having done most of the work on his car by himself he has become quite skilled at everything from engine building (like his 1776cc) to wiring and all the good stuff in-between.
I mentioned that he did 98% of the work because I wanted to make sure Buford got credit for his 2%. Never known a guy with a pet pig before, much less a pet pig that can sync carbs and bleed brakes, but Buford is as unique a creature as there is.
Fastforwarding through all the blood, sweat, tears, and pig chow…Britt accomplished his goal! Here’s a pic of the smart beyond her years Brooke on the first day of school.
I get to see Brooke who is a bit older now every once in a while. There will be a little teasing about that picture, just sayin.
Since Britt got the car “sea worthy” he is constantly improving it. Future plans call for a new paint job as this car is an actual driver. If you attend the Jerome Jamboree you’re likely to see a RHD Oval there with a tent and a guy that looks not too unlike Barney Rubble swinging a sword to keep those Jerome crazies from turning Buford into Breakfast! OK, ok…Buford doesn’t ride up to Jerome. I made that up. He has family in Camp Verde, AZ so he stays there while Britt and Brooke go to Jerome.
Chirco is honored to feature Britt, Sam, Brooke, Buford and we really need to say something about Britt’s much better half, Heidi. She’s another community staple and Chirco really appreciates all their help and participation over the years.
Great car, greater people.
Chirco Customer Cars: Britt’s 54 RHD Oval was last modified: November 21st, 2015 by Administrator
Once again, the following list is absolute fact!!… with several intentional un-truths and exaggerations thrown in for peaceful purposes only, ok?
Here we go.
5: The “No I don’t really need to see your license or registration, I just pulled you over to look at your car” deal.
I like police officers…don’t get me wrong. I respect the job they have to do and I appreciate the fact that they do it. However, you need to understand that there will come a time, and depending on what your car looks like, maybe several times when you are going to be heading somewhere and all of a sudden you see those lights in your rear view. The panic courses through your veins like a surging European soccer crowd. You can’t think of a thing that you did wrong.
You pull over and the officer literally skips to your window and he just smiles as you finally give up on trying to roll down the window cause your regulator decided it needed a smoke break and you open the door. Officer Happy-McHapperson asks you for your license, registration and proof of insurance, WHICH YOU HAVE. He pretends to glance at your paperwork but you notice he’s checkin out your wheels. He asks “So do you know the square root of the coffee cup button wood laminate shell toe?” as he’s gently caressing the roofline of your bug. Then he mumbles “ooo yeah…I love these babies”. Still ignoring you. This can go on for an hour or more. Then he’s going to shake himself out of his stupor of amazement and give you your stuff back then say ”Try to keep keeping it under the limit.” ??? As you drive off you see him waving gently.
When this happens, just go with it. He can’t help it. He had to see your car…HE HAD TO! He also had the means to make you stop so he could take a big steamy gawk at it. You just let it go. Someday you may need his assistance and he will remember..trust me, it’s happened. Plus, all things considered it was kinda cool.
4. The sell me your car for “dollar amount” situation.
So…this can happen anywhere! On the freeway, in a hospital parking lot, outside a restaurant, at your family BBQ or at every gas station you ever stop at!
Some person is going to walk up to you, look you square in the eye and say “I got $10,000 cash right now. Sell me your car.” If you’re me you scoff and pffft and say “naw man…she’s not for sale.” The guy deepens his eyelid-less stare and says “$20,000.”
Now here’s what I do.
First I ask him if he has the $20,000 all in nickels. I understand that is a lot of nickels but I’m curious to see the pockets that can hold that many. Mine can hold like 9. I don’t know…that’s just me I guess. Then I think to myself. Who has $20,000 in cash on them? I’ve seen shows on TV where a fella has that kinda money, but he’s usually unsavory and unless he’s a super slick fine art theif he’s probably a bad guy. (I know I know art thieves are bad too, but I did say “super slick” so that’s different. ) I have also heard of people walking up to others at shows like the VW Classic with a suitcase full of money (non-nickels) and buying cars on the spot. Now unless I am in fact at the VW Classic the best move is to repectfully decline and laugh while desperately looking for my cop buddy Happy McHapperson. In most cases the guy with the $20,000 justs wants to see what you say. He may be interested in your car, but beware of Greeks bearing nickels.
Know what I’m sayin?
3: The, Hello I’m city traffic and a different person would like to have a meaningful conversation with you at every stoplight even though you really need to get home cause you have to pee situation.
Pretty much explains it all. Every single light, if you look over someone is smiling. If you hold that look for more than 3 nanoseconds they start motioning wildly for you to roll down your window if it’s not already down. You hope with all the hope in your being that your regulator is taking another smoke break, but nope…your window will glide down smoother than it ever has since you’ve owned the car. (Note: Window regulators are kinda like the acquaintance that you have that really really likes to give you a hard time because he’s pi__ed that he has to live behind a door panel.)
Once your window is down the person is going to be like #6 on this list, or for that matter any number on this list! You only have like 60 seconds at the light, you don’t have time to hear a life story, plus….you have to pee!
The light turns green and you are finally free!! You make it to the next light and your previous light pal is gone, but you, even though you know better, look to the other side and sure enough there’s smiling, a 3 nanosecond wait and then the arms start flailing wildly….stupid regulator works again and now you’re hearing about a 336 Hemi again!
Here’s how to handle it:
Buy a hat…a big giant straw hat. You pull it down to almost the kid on Fat Albert level and you just drive!! Your bladder needs you to do this. Don’t look around at lights! Don’t take that kind of chance. If they really want to talk to you and they have the means, they’re gonna pull you over anyway…right?
That was an easy one.
2: The I’m not smart enough to realize that you have a 4 cylinder car and this gigantic wing of over compensation on my “insert brand of tuner car” is compelling me to want to race you really really bad.
Technically your car can be running on half a cylinder, spewing smoke and shaking like a paint can at Ace Hardware, and some tuner person is going to roll up next to you with a DOHC 80 bajillion valve, crazy whiney zipper sounding muffler, and a wing so big it looks like they took it off a stealth fighter jet or something. Your big hat and not looking trick won’t work. He’s doing his zipper revving inch worming move….he wants to race…bad.
Here’s what you do.
Remember Marty McFly. Light turns green. Let him go. It’s not worth it. No matter how fast, he’s nowhere near as cool, plus why risk it. This is a lesson I’ve learned, through experience and through things that have happened to others in our hobby. Your cop friend won’t be nice if he sees you do this. Plus some of that wing glue might get on your car and then it’s like an infection. Let him go. You have better things to do.
1: The “You love your car more than me” Situation.
Ok….this is real right here. Your significant other may say something like that to you one day. Your kid(s) may say something like that to you one day. No need for an illustration.
Here’s what you do.
Option 1: You can look him/her/them right in the eye like you have $20,000 in nickels in your pocket and say “Yep” then walk away.
Now…if you have eyes in the back of your head and can see shoes and kitchen utensils flying at you, this is a pretty good option. If you don’t you might want to try Option 2.
Option 2: You do your best Bugs Bunny sad eye look and you say something like “Family member…I’m shocked that you would think that. You know how much you mean to me. I mean yeah, I forget your name on occasion and yeah I give the car presents and stuff but that doesn’t mean I love it more.” Then quickly pop the emergency alka-seltzer you keep in your back pocket into your mouth! Fall to the ground and start flopping around and foaming. (Note: If you are a natural foamer just do it!) Distracting your almost as much as you love your car loved one is a sound tactic and it’ll work!
It’s a lot better than telling them truth.
OK…I guess that’s it. I know there are many other common things that will happen to you and I encourage you all to discuss them. Thanks for reading and sharing.
Keep driving your VW…it’s the best vehicle on any road, anywhere.
10 things every air cooled VW Bug owner will encounter at some point, and how to deal with them. Part 2. was last modified: March 6th, 2015 by Administrator
First we should qualify our title and make sure you understand that the following list is absolute fact!!… with several intentional un-truths and exaggerations thrown in for peaceful purposes only, ok?….OK.
In just a few months I will be 14 years in my 1958 Type 1. It took some doing but she is dialed in pretty good and is a semi-reliable daily driver. (note: word “reliable” used with extreme trepidation). Over the course of nearly 5,110 days of driving her I like many of you have had my share of encounters, or situations, or “oh snap!” moments. I wrote down a few of them off the top of my head and once my list got to 37 items I thought it would be cool to just pull out 10 to talk about, so…here goes.
10: The “I had a (something ridiculous)” statement.
There’s gonna come a day when you’re going to be at a car show for example and some fella is gonna come up to take a look at your car. He’s gonna ask you what you got “under the hood” (your first indicator) and then he’s gonna proceed to tell you that he had an “all original 1972 oval window bug with a Porsche triple barrel Hemi 336 in it.” He will say it as a matter of fact and then pause so you can reply.
Here’s what you do:
First look at what he’s wearing. If he has on anything VW, he’s probably pulling your leg and he’s just not good at cynicism or dry wit. Not his fault, it happens. If that’s the case, laugh. You’ll realize you’re talking to a family member and you guys can shoot the poop and have a nice day.
If he appears to be serious about his 336 Hemi, you should nod, and say something like, “Wow man. Sounds awesome.” Then fake a phone call to your barber or cry. There’s not much else you’re gonna be able to do with this guy….sorry.
9: The infamous “clutch cable decides to break and everyone and their momma knows how to drive a bug home without a cable in it.” talk.
So inevitably you’re gonna be driving down the road listening to the All Good Funk Alliance or some other insanely cool music and you go to drop your road rocket into 4th. You hear a pop and your clutch pedal hits the floor. Broke. Crap. *!$!*. OK, now starts the “I read the Idiot Book and I know I can limp my car to Chirco or wherever to get it fixed fun time.” I’ll skip the details, but it’s horrible. You suck at no clutching. You live in a town with no crosstown freeway so you herky jerky buck-jump light to light for 3 miles which takes 7 hours. You get to your destination where every air cooled VW owner you have ever known is just hanging out eating little smokies or whatever, and they ALL gotta tell you how they drove a bug with no clutch cable over the Himalayas once because they had a friend that flunked outta Batman school or whatever.
Yes this situation can be annoying, here’s how to handle it:
You just smile and agree. You know deep down that it sucks for all of us. I like to mentally start working on the fish-tale I’m gonna spin when I’m not the broken clutcher. There’s comfort in that. It’s part of being a VW person…own it.
8: The kid(s) wants to look at your car moment.
At some point you will be with your car. Maybe at a gas station, or a plant nursery, or outside your foot massagers house and someone is going to pull up next to your car and say something like “My kid(s) wanted to see your car.”
There’s really only one reply:
No matter what you are doing, or have going on, no matter what emergency (aside from medical or Arizona basketball of course) you let them kids look at your car! You act nice about it and even when the little girl sticks her pineapple dum-dum sticky saliva covered hands on your decklid, you say “oh…hey hey sweetie…it’s too “insert mild mannered adjective” to touch.”
Now…you do this because one of the kids you come across is you when you were that age, and that little crusty nosed flesh bag of destruction may in fact be a member of the next VW generation. This moment with your car could be the moment that puts them on the path. Remember that. Be polite and tell them you gotta go. Rev your engine lightly or toot your horn when you leave. Enjoy your melted heart. This is a good thing.
7: The MYCAH (My Car Ain’t Herbie!) anger management situation.
This is a little tricky and kind of goes hand in hand with #8 sometimes.
My car is named Mistie because I enjoyed MST3K and fans were known as Misties (sometimes spelled with a Y). She’s my pride and joy and I love her. Many of you have named your car(s) and we all know that air cooled VWs more than any other car on the road really ooze personality. So, it’s common to feel a tinge of GRRRR when someone says “LOOK IT’S HERBIE!!” when your car is Orange with a white stripe and lifted and etc. etc.
Here’s how you handle it:
If it’s a kid or parent with kids and you are in the midst of situation #7, you gotta let it go. (please do not sing that song….I’m serious…don’t. ) You gotta realize that to many people Herbie is the only name they know for a VW. It’s a connection strengthener. It’s a bond builder. You just nod and smile.
If you actually have a Herbie replica you have many options here. You can spin on your back, eat a fish sandwich, or you can chuckle and rub your soft underbelly. It’s cool to see their eyes light up when they see and recognize an actual Herbie. Soak it in…enjoy the moment.
If it’s your friends that are messing with you, and giving you a hard time about your car again, it’s appropriate to punch them in the nose or rapidly accelerate your extended booted leg, and create a blunt force situation in their nether-regions. Just sayin.
6: The horrific “I’m 276 and I gotta tell you in surprisingly vivid detail about an intimate tryst or 7 I had in the back of a VW 256 years ago…and ironically last week!!” situation.
Ok, look people. These cars have been around for a long loooong time. These cars are a culturally significant part of every ummm…lets call them “revolutions” since the 40′s. There’s not a lot of room in the back seat, but ummm….passion is a foundation of creativity and well…you get the gist. All that means is at some point you’re gonna be walking out of the post office, or mowing the rocks in your yard, or heck you might be just standing there wondering why your knees don’t bend the other way and some person is gonna walk up to you and ask you if this is your car. You’re gonna say yes because you can never…NEVER deny it. Once you do that the person is going to proceed to tell you a story about something they did in the back of a bug that is unrepeatable. You’re gonna be tamping down the urge to vomit like there’s no tomorrow, and halfway through their story (the 40 minute mark) you’re gonna be trying to grow new muscles in your inner ear so you can just shut them from the inside without the person seeing. You’re going to wonder why they aren’t embarrassed, but you know it’s about the car so you can understand. Finally you hear them say “…and after the paramedics got there and found that by removing the glove box I could move my leg again so we were able to get out, and that’s why we named our triplets “Throw-Out Bearing, Gland Nut, and Mike.”!
How do you reply?
The old “Hey what’s that?!! point in a random direction so they will look and you can un-tamp” won’t work…trust me. You’ll end up with a messy shirt and some explainin to do.
Your best course is to just say “Wow! I didn’t know that was possible. Hey I think the earth is about to stop rotating. I need to get home and feed my cat before I’m hurled into space. Great story!” get in your car, do not look in the back seat as that will cause immediate recall and go somewhere….anywhere. When you get there. Sob gently. There is no cure my friend. It’s part of the car.
That’s a good stopping point for part 1. We’ll get after part 2 soon. Hopefully you found something in this article that will help you manage those situations as you come across them.
10 things every air cooled VW Bug owner will encounter at some point, and how to deal with them. Part 1. was last modified: February 24th, 2015 by Administrator
So, I was sitting in my bug at a traffic light, listening to some Yacht or some other insanely cool music that I routinely listen too and I heard a horn honking. I looked around, and didn’t see anybody. When I turned forward I saw a pretty sweet red and white bay window bus go through the intersection. I thought it was my friend Sean, but I wasn’t quite sure because I heard that stupid horn again. I looked around….nothin.
The light turned green and I took off. I saw a real nice looking slammed GTI, and a really clean Eurovan within like 2 blocks of each other!
I got to Chirco and my phone started buzzing. Cool! It’s my Mom! The call went like this:
Me: Sup Mom? Mom: BOY!! WHAT IN THE WORLD IS WRONG WITH YOU?!?! Me: (Blink-blink) ummm…what? Mom: You didn’t see me?!?!!! I was right behind you honking my horn and waving like I was crazy and you didn’t even notice! Me: Well….were you in a Volkswagen? Mom:No!!!! Me: Well that’s why I didn’t see you. Mom: You’re a knucklebutt!! (Yes, she actually calls me that sometimes)
That story brings us to the point of this blog post. Is it wrong to not notice other vehicles if they aren’t VWs? Clearly I am of the opinion that though I see these other cars, they’re just kinda look like boxes with wheels, or more like Wonder Woman’s plane which wasn’t really invisible so much as just a vague semi clear shape with a truth rope wielding amazon chick wearing boots in it….right?
It’s not that other cars aren’t cool. They definitely are, I love cars, but for some reason when I’m driving I get Dub-goggles. I don’t play “Slug Bug” (no fun punching your own shoulder I found out.) and I’m not anti any brands really so maybe my Mom’s question was valid. What in the world is wrong with me?
My last eye test chart.
What traffic looks like to me.
How the grocery store lot looks to me.
Naturally I did a little research and I have come to the conclusion that I have a rare form of Inattentional blindness. According to Wikipedia, Inattentional blindness, also known as perceptual blindness, is a psychological lack of attention and is not associated with any vision defects or deficits. It may be further defined as the event in which an individual fails to recognize an unexpected stimulus that is in plain sight.
Sounds about right to me. I’d change it to: Inattentional Vehicular Blindness (IVB), also known as non- perceptual of cars not like mine blindness. It is a psychological lack of attention and is not associated with any vision defects or deficits. It may be further defined as the event in which an individual fails to recognize an uninteresting vehicle because on some level it fails to stimulate even if it is in plain sight. Note: Parents of individuals that suffer from this condition may refer to them as “Knucklebutts”.
Now I understand a bit more about what is going on with me so I feel pretty good right? Well….something happened. I bought a Hyundai Santa Fe. Stop laughing. Anyway…all of a sudden I saw VWs and Santa Fe’s for like 2 weeks!! I was baffled. The “Santa Fe Effect” wore off but it occurred to me that perhaps IVB is more common than folks realize. Maybe it’s a cultural thing. Maybe I’m not alone here. Do people who buy Camry’s have this? I mean I suppose I could ask a Camry owner, but if they have IVB they won’t see me so I’m right back here…cursed with Paralysis of Analysis.If I think about it though, I could have much worse conditions. I could like Taylor Swift for example. I could be addicted to crab apples, or camo print sleeveless hunting vests right??
Now…I don’t know where you stand on this very important and highly controversial issue, but chances are you wouldn’t be reading this article if you didn’t own a VW and didn’t agree with me….knucklebutt.
Inattentional Vehicular Blindness (IVB): Do you have it? was last modified: January 12th, 2015 by Administrator
I just transferred some money from my Paypal to my bank account so I could get ready to go shopping for my family. It’s nice to have a tiny side gig that adds a little extra cheese to the household platter. I thought “OK…maybe I’ll buy like a big family gift…a TV…maybe a new table and chairs for the deck with one of those big umbrellas that you have to fight to close on the one day it’s windy here. OH! wait! I got it! I’ll buy one of those automatic vacuum cleaner things so we can teach the cats to ride on it and then we can make Obi-wan Kenobi gliding jokes and laugh!” Perfect!!
Then, I glanced out the window…my eyes got all (very manly) weepy looking at my VW Bug. I thought..”Well…what do I get her?”
That brings me to the point of this blog post. Is it ok to buy a gift for your car? Let’s examine this. (Because clearly it’s totally necessary. :) )
What is a gift?
According to The Free Dictionary a Gift is:
A voluntary transfer of property or of a property interest from one individual to another, made gratuitously to the recipient. The individual who makes the gift is known as the donor, and the individual to whom the gift is made is called the donee.
If a gratuitous transfer of property is to be effective at some future date, it constitutes a mere promise to make a gift that is unenforceable due to lack of consideration. A present gift of a future interest is, however, valid.
Hmm…ok, so now I guess the follow up question would be: Is my car an individual? I mean if I give my car a Chirco Gift Certificate, did I just give a gift to myself? In the eyes of the non-VW owner, maybe I did, but I don’t live in that world so their rules don’t apply! Sweet!!!!
Anyone who owns one of these cars knows the answer to this question…YES MY CAR IS AN INDIVIDUAL!!! Now that we have established that point with completely sound and irrefutable proof we can move on to the next question.
Does my car “feel” good when I give it a gift?
We really don’t need to consult any third party to answer this question. EveryVW owner is aware that their car is an “emotional being” trapped inside an inanimate shell. Why else would we talk to our cars if they didn’t “feel”? I know for a fact that when I put my new wheels on my car, she felt frekkin fantabulous! She transferred her happiness and confidence into me psychosematically and it manifested itself as an increased swagger within my gait. So…Duh! You bet my car feels good when I give it a gift!
That makes two undeniably correct answers firmly established in cohesive thought and backed up by clear scientific data. Let’s move on.
If I take advantage of a sale or coupon code am I decreasing the value of the gift I give my car?
Look…when I use a Chirco coupon code, or buy from the Smokin Deals category I’m actually showing my car that I value her more. She understands that like most of us VW folk, I’m not made of money…heck I’m not even made of loose change. Understand this, your vehicle can in fact read your mind. (note: This is why I wear a mind-wave blocking protective straw hat.) Your VW wouldn’t have “picked you” if it didn’t understand your financial well being or lack thereof to begin with. That being the case your VW wants you to save money….if only to buy more stuff for it…right?
Ok, last question.
What impact does a gift for my car have on the community?
Man…this is easy.
It’s pretty much like magically changing a bag of black jelly beans into RED ONES!! or it’s like getting tattoos in every box of Cracker Jacks you ever open! It’s like eating yellow snow and finding out it tastes like…oh wait…scratch that last one.
Truth be told, though we are all individuals with individual vehicles, our relationship is symbiotic. We influence each other in more positive ways than we realize and really…what’s more positive than gift giving? Giving a gift to your car isn’t selfish, it’s not even shell fish. It’s just a cool thing you can share with your community. Now…we haven’t discussed prioitization, so don’t think I’m tellin you to not get the Barbie Dreamhouse for your little one so you can buy a new distributor for your car. What I’m saying is take some time, explore our site. If you have a couple leaves left on your holiday money tree and you know how to use a coupon code or take advantage of a sale. Get that gift for your VW! The more all of us do this, the more air cooled VWs there will be on the road, and that brings a TON OF HAPPY to the community.
There..ROCK SOLID LOGIC!
Happy shopping and Happy Holidays!
Air Cooled Gift Giving: The Justification was last modified: December 9th, 2014 by Administrator
If you’ve never been to the Chirco.com Bugtoberfest Aircooled Automotive Showcase weekend well….I feel sorry for you.
I don’t mean that as an insult, it’s pure unadulterated pity on your poor person for never having had the opportunity to experience what is one of the most unique air cooled enthusiasts weekends in this part of the country. Hmm…I just read that back and it’s kinda insulty, but I’m gonna go with it.
The purpose of this blog post is to share the weekend that was Bugtoberfest 19 and also to get you motivated to get down here and have some fun with us next year. Now, if you don’t know what Bugtoberfest (Bfest) is, let me learn you bout it.
Bfest started out as a small local gathering about 20 years ago. At the time there wasn’t any real air cooled VW show of note in Tucson so Joe Chirco and his staff at the time decided to see what would happen if they made an event. I think that first show had about 45 cars and the grand prize was a handshake or wedgie, I think the winner got to choose. I think he chose both. :)
Fast forward 20 years and now Bfest is a multi-day VW extravaganza! There’s a Bus campout that goes for 3 or more days. There’s a massive VW cruise that snakes through some of the most beautiful desert you’ll ever see. There’s a massive BBQ at a park WITH GRASS (note: Grass is a big deal here), and of course there is the actual Bugtoberfest show which sees hundreds of cars, thousands of spectators and more fun than you can shake a dip stick at.
Let’s recap this years’ festivities.
The Red Barn Round Up Campout. October 17 – 20
Location: The land just east of Chirco Performance and Restoration:
For years VW buses have come to Bugtoberfest and camped next door. It wasn’t until 5 years ago that a guy named Morganflash and his friend named Harris put their heads together and through some semi-disgusting yet pleasantly smelling form of osmosis, the name Red Barn Round Up was born. There actually is a Red Barn on the property and everybody knows if you give something a cool name, folks will dig it. (see X-Games).
The sky gave us an extra treat
The Red Barn Roundup is a blast
This year was a little bit smaller than years past. Maybe only 20 buses on night 1 and maybe 40 on night 2, but the amount of fun was probably double years past. First thing many noticed was the new gate hung between the properties. This meant that Red Barners wouldn’t have to walk around through “Rattle Snake” alley to get next door. It also opened up the Red Barn to foot traffic from the Bfest show. It’s a great addition. The number 2 new thing was the fire pit. A couple Chirco guys spent a couple days digging an 8 foot wide 1 foot deep pit. They gathered big rocks from the wash and then back-filled the entire thing. “It’s pretty spectacular.” said one of the guys. The other guy just groaned a lot and mumbled something about a dislocated spine. He was hard to hear bein all face down and what not. Anyway….it was a cool fire pit.
The Red Barn crowd is always a joy to be around. There were the familiar faces and then there were quite a few new faces. It was nice to see so many people deciding to do this event for the first time. As folks set up camp I made note of the great job the Tucson Bus Mob does with this event. They are seasoned campers and they just make everybody feel welcome. They did so much work on the grounds this year, it was super cool. It was cleaner when they left than when they got there. No joke. The Tucson Bus Mob has a cool Facebook group here. Look them up.
There was a lot of hugging and laughing and smiling and more hugging. As night fell the spirits emerged and a good time was had by all. They had a great band named “Top Dead Center” play, and they had kid activities and more. Many of the locals came down just to hang out and enjoy the company.
The infamous Red Barn!
My favorite Red Barn moment from this year was getting to sit down with my good friend Brian and the love of his life Melodee and hearing the story of how they met. They are both kind spirited people so it was very fun to hear her tell the story and him correct her and her correct him and everybody laugh over and over again. It was a great story. Friends bonding through sharing the things that bond them….That’s Red Barn right there. The Red Barn Round Up is one of those intimate feel good events that you just hate to see end. Your cheeks hurt from laughing. Can’t wait to do it again.
The fire pit was great!
Big thanks to the Tucson Bus Mob for all they do. Great group.
The Bugtoberfest Cross-town Cruise:
I guess “cross-town” doesn’t really apply anymore as we have changed the route from what it was 7 years ago. It’s more like the “Velvety Vail Cruise”, or the “Eastside Euphoria Cruise”. Last year we cruised from Speedway and Houghton (How-ton) to Purple Heart Park in Rita Ranch. It was fun…kinda long…about 29 miles and there were some 4 way stops right near the beginning…not good. This year we moved our starting spot about 4 miles south. We actually began the cruise on the road we would spend 20 miles on! There wasn’t a traffic signal for 17 miles! So…
The lining up is always hectic. I came up on the starting point and there was already 60 somethin cars there. I made my way to the front and began the first of 3 trips up and down the line. Now…you may not know but I have a thing for Golden Oreos so walking nearly half a mile 3 times really burns into my cookie fat surplus. It’s cool to great everybody individually and it’s also cool to lose your voice trying to holler instructions. By the time the cruise takes off I’m sounding like the decomposed castle guide in HellBoy 1.
I set my camera near the front of the line and checked with my 3 other videographers to make sure they were in their locations. Once confirmed I did the whirly bird arm motion which is universal for “Get in your car! We’re gonna do this!!”. One of our locals led the group in her 58 vert. The cars piled into the line and whizzed by me. There was swearving towards my camera and lots of honking and some booty shaking….the people in the VWs did silly stuff too…so it was fun.
Birdseye view of the cruise
Cruise making its way through Vail, AZ
After the cars passed me I hopped in my car and raced back the opposite way to get to the park and film their arrival. My film crew handled the rest. They got great footage along Old Spanish trail by the monument and some elevated footed out by Colossoal Cave road. It’s hard to describe but you can see it in the video below. Just about everybody told me it was a blast.
I got to the park and my Mom came over to witness the arrival. When the cars turned the corner onto the street near the park, my Mom gasped. She said “There they are!”….after 30 minutes she was still saying the same thing. The line of cars along the street was terribly impressive. Many of the local residents came out to see what all the blappy blap commotion was. I took notice of all the youth at the skate park stopping in their tracks to check out all the VWs.
How to park a 100 car cruise
Pretty cool Sandrails
Over 100 cars again this year. Not our biggest, but may very well have been our best to date.
Joe’s World Fammous BBQ
Purple Heart Park sits on the far Southeast side of town. It’s not a huge Park but there’s trees and playground stuff and GRASS!!!! (Once again…that’s a big deal here.) We were smart and booked the park for the entire day. That meant our cook could get there early and start grilling before the cruise crowd arrived. We wanted to avoid a long line but it wasn’t possible. However, there’s a big difference between waiting to put a burger on a bun and waiting for a burger to be cooked. The line moved really fast and people were pleased. Funny how something as simple as burgers and dogs always seems to bring out smiles. As folks got their grub they settled into little pockets. I walked around and greeted as many as I could. I made jokes about relishing “relish” and being happy to “Ketchup”…they weren’t funny jokes but the groans and polite laughter was pretty satisfying.
Beautiful day at the park
There were about 300 people there which isn’t bad at all. Joe Chirco spent time serving the customers like we try to do on our site and he shared some Bfest memories. The BBQ used to be held in the Chirco parking lot so he was always the grill master and the cleanup crew. He really likes it at the park now.
Havin some food….learnin bout Cuba
I was fortunate to have my Mom there. She over shared childhood stories that included words like “knuckleheaded”, “bubble butt”, and “Shag-bandit”. Many spectators came through asking about all the cars and wondering what was going on as it was clearly the largest gathering at the park. The food ran low and I ended up getting a cheeseburger cut in half in a hotdog bun. I went with mustard and relish and you know….it was pretty good. If I can think up a name for it, I’m sure it’ll be cool just like the X-games and just like the BBQ was again this year.
Tara makes a stink face at Joe…not uncommon
We need to take a second to thank Chris W. and his crew from Jerry Bobs Restaurant for coming down and cooking for us. It’s nice to have friends in the biz. We are thankful for all the support we get from Chris. They made a good BBQ a GREAT BBQ.
The 19th Annual Chirco.com Bugtoberfest Aircooled Automotive Showcase.
I rolled up on Chirco about 5:40am for a show that is supposed to start at 8am and what do I see?!?! Man….there was like 20 cars in the parking lot, the swap meet had wrapped around the building already….no less than 7 people were walking around the lot with cans of food looking like lost zombies with creamed corn! I started to yell, but then I thought, maybe this is good.
Maybe the 20 cars were volunteers to help. Maybe the swappers had dispensed with the pre-requisite posturing and just got to buying and selling. Maybe the zombies were….ok, they were just zombies but 2 out 3 aint bad, right?
The whole scene was very cool actually. So many of the locals have done this event year in and year out, things just fall into place. I actually got to spend time greeting folks and just chillin out. The Others (a local VW club) had agreed to do the show parking and they were there bright and early. I gave them quick and unneeded instructions and went to talk to our sponsor Chapman VW of Tucson. They had like 4 or 5 new VWs there and they were just getting into position. I did one of those stand in the middle of the lot and think to myself things…I thought “Dang, this coffee is pretty good!”…I know, profound.
The store was closed and plenty of people were rolling in. We changed the registration to being inside this year so cars had to park and then wait to register later. No biggie. It was such a mellow vibe, I didn’t think it would be an issue. By the time the store opened the lot was almost full. Peoria VW showed up with their awesome show trailer. Steve, the Kettle Corn King was set up and ready to go and just like that, the show began. Joe Chirco opened the store and all I saw was this huge rush of arms, legs, creamed corn and something that looked like a Polar Bear. The ladies at the registration counter did an excellent job implementing our new icon based registration system. They explained to everybody how it worked and they did a fantastic job getting the crowd calmed and registered. It went very smooth.
The show grew rapidly and by 9am we were already putting cars in the spill over row. The crowd of spectators was a steady stream all day long. It was nice to have an explanation of all the classes so folks who didn’t know what they were looking at could understand a bit better. The sandrail area was packed!! The big rails were back and that was a sic sight.
Not a grocery getter
I’ll take all 3 please
I spent time walking around putting out small fires and greeting people. Outside of me forgetting little golf pencils everything went pretty good. Our vendors provided sweet raffle prizes so the raffles went smooth. I saw lots and lots of smiles, including my own. One thing I notice every year is how much mingling there is. It’s a very very friendly event. Very very cool.
Different strokes, very cool
Front row goodness
Iron Man made an apperance
Super cool ride!
The engine blow did have some issues. Not that it didn’t run and blow up like it was supposed to. I tried for a second year in a row to add a chemical I got from DOW that is supposed to change the color of smoke. I saw it in aerobatic planes….anyway….the secret red smoke juice went in the oil like it was supposed to, but the engine blew a seal early and it just kinda looked like it was bleeding to death. The stain that remains in the parking lot is now serving as a daily reminder to me.
The big winner was Joe Wilson. He’s a local product and he owns a beautiful Notchback. He took first in his class and Best of Show! Congrats to Joe!!
Here’s the other winners:
Best Type 1 pre-67 – Britt Rosenberg
Best Type 1 68 – 79 – Jane Cananza
Best Type 2 pre-67 – Juan Pablo
Best Type 2 68-79 – David Morganflash
Best Daily Driver – Hector Noriega
Best Type 3 – Joe Wilson
Best Ghia – Jeff Stewart
Best Baja – Pete Gannon
Best Fiberglass Buggy – Jeremy Cravey
Best Sandrail – Paul Doherty
Best Thing – Brian Green
Best Watercooled – Shawn Maslowsky
Best Special Interest – Chris Buffington
Best Paint – Will Jones
Best Interior – Joe McDermott
Best Engine – Chris Hughes
Best in Show – Joe Wilson
Best in Show, Joe Wilson. Great car!!
In addition to the amazingness that the show already is, Joe’s nephew Lorenzo brought his GoPro Drone and flew all over the show area! Getting that footage really helped make the video below something special.
All in all the Bugtoberfest was fantastic again. We can’t thank the people that came to the show enough. We look forward to the show every year. We’ve already started planning for BFest 20. Thanks again to all the people that had a role and helped put the show on and thanks again to Chapman VW of Tucson. We’ll see all of you next year!
Here’s our video of the weekend:
Bugtoberfest 19: The Re-cap was last modified: October 23rd, 2014 by Administrator
Gravy Train!! That’s what is was! I remember that dude on the Chuck Wagon zippin cross the kitchen floor and those dogs sliding to a stop as the Chuck Wagon guy disappeared into the cabinet. Then the lovely Vanna White hand would open the cabinet door and there in all its majestic glory was a gleaming bowl of dog food nuggets. An almost human smile stretched across the faces of the dogs as they eagerly began to inhale their Gravy-ish reward.
Now, I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about Chuck Wagons, or Gravy Train for that matter, but me and my teammates at Chirco spend a measurable amount of time talking about how much we love dogs. That being the case, when I recently met this super cool lady named Tera at a free dog wash at Starbucks a few months back, and we got to talking about maybe combining two of the greatest forces known to man (VWs and Dogs) into one mega event of epic coolness/cuteness proportions…inevitably, “DUBS AND DOGS” was born.
Clearly enjoying being washed.
The idea was pretty simple. Hold an event in the Chirco Parking Lot. Free Dog wash on one side. Free car wash on the other side. Allow people who attended the event to make donations and give it to the Desert Labrador Retriever Rescue (DLRR). Cake. Well, we continued talking and thought it would be cool to get some food trucks to show up, and maybe have some music, and chainsaw jugglers, and high flying stunt kite exhibitionist, and a Griffin, and a…..ok…just the trucks and some music and maybe some other vendor/exhibitors related to the rescue. Turns out that was another good idea!
So…I gotta tell ya…The morning of the event I was worried. Not about what happened to the Chuck Wagon driver as I’m pretty sure they just used “movie magic” to make him disappear like that….(Please note how little I think about Chuck Wagon.) I was more worried about the weather. It was a predicted scorcher again in Tucson and I thought the heat would keep folks at home. The event started at 9 a.m., but still it was already 85 degrees by then. Next we had to set up. I rolled in about 7:30 and a few DLRR people were already there! Good sign! We started setting up easy-ups and fiddling around and man truck loads of DLRR people showed up. It was like an army! They were all agreeable and coordinated and highly efficient. Set up was a breeze and after that it was show time!!
Bright and early
This puppy, Shyla needs a home….unbelievable.
The DLRR Army
The Cowboy Kettle Corn truck arrived. His name is Steve. He’s was cool and he drives a Baja Ghia to boot. He put one of his nifty mechanical mannequin signs out by the street with an arrow pointing in to the event (smart move). Next the insanely delicious Pin-Up Pastries Truck showed up. These ladies are da bomb! Make no mistake…maybe the best cupcakes EVER! Next the BBQ Rush Truck showed up and the smell of brisket almost made me forget the Chuck Wagon wheels….almost.
Next thing I hear is the unmistakable raspy-clackyclack-purr of aircooled VWs. I looked to the West and saw The Tucson Aircooled VW Club known as “The OTHERS” rolling in. I don’t ever think I’ve seen them in a pack smaller than 5. Their like vehicular lemmings or maybe they’re just stuck together, I don’t know. I do know they are awesome. They agreed to be the car washers for the event. Chirco sends a big big thank you to them for coming out on a hot Saturday to work for nothing. VW people are the best…period. We owe you guys.
At this point I had a moment like the townspeople of Rock Ridge did in the movie Blazing Saddles. I looked around and saw we had all the elements. Car Wash, check. Dog wash, check. Food Trucks, check…..but where are the people?!?!?!
Nothing will kill an event faster than not having people at it. That’s kind of a rule. Well it wasn’t long before that moment of panic faded. Man…people started arriving in bunches. It was like a dog lover apocalypse.
The OTHERS…always down. Great club.
The lot filled up quick!
Cowboy Kettle Cork….more please.
Bentley’s ecstatic and sad look are pretty much the same…he’s ecstatic here.
Dog shaped Dog treats.
The Tucson Bus mob rolled in with buses, an easy-up, banners, and some of the coolest folk there is. They always bring a sense of family to every event. If you haven’t met them, your next chance in Tucson is at the Red Barn Round-up which is the camping event that happens during Chirco’s annual Bugtoberfest aircooled car show starting on October 18th this year. Sometimes weak segues and shameless plugs find their way into the stuff I write, it’s weird.
Edit: I would have deleted it, but I already posted this.
The DLRR was fantastic! They had volunteers of all ages washing dogs. The turnout was bigger than expected due to all the hard work Tera and all the DLRR people did to get the word out. The event also took on a bit of a spectacle aspect and started to draw in folks just walking or driving by. It was a very festive environment. We found ourselves saying “wow….ummm…WOW!” a lot.
Some of the Dog Lovers
Eric and Bullet. Bullets’ first ride in a VW was to this event.
Diesel….most appropriate name of the day.
Looking for the radiator. Sigh. :)
The food trucks stayed busy and people really seemed to enjoy the selection. The BBQ Rush brisket was to die for. The Pin-up Pastries use the slogan “Sinfully Delicious” that is a tremendous understatement. Soooo good. Not to mention Cowboy Kettle Corn almost selling out and being largely responsible for pulling in looky-loos with his mechanical mannequin, plus the popcorn is beyond tasty.
Hanging out in Chirco Performance
More Dog Lovers
Jenna and Keith <3
Mr. Chirco had fun too.
Some of the Tucson Bus Mob
All in all it was a fabulous event. The dogs were so happy. The crowd was tremendous, and the volunteer army was outstanding. The official donation total was in the $1200 range which is awesome for a first time gig. We can promise you this, it won’t be our last. When we do it again next April, hop in your Chuck Wagon and zip on down here. It’s the kind of thing that makes you feel good because you’re doing good.
10/18 Crosstown Cruise 10/18 Joe’s World Famous BBQ 10/19 19th Annual Chirco.com Bugtoberfest
Register day of show!
Oct. 18 – Scenic VW Cruise 12pm
This year we will cruise through picturesque Vail, AZ. The 25 mile trek will show you some of the most beautiful and rugged areas in the Sonoran Desert.The cruise will end at Purple Heart Park in Rita Ranch where the BBQ will begin.
Cost is FREE
Oct. 18 – Joe’s World Famous pre-show BBQ 1pm – 5pm
The BBQ will be held at Purple Heart Park in Rita Ranch There is plenty of parking on the West side in the lot and down the street. Join us for more fun, food and FOOD! Plus…lots of cool people.
Cost is FREE
Oct. 17 – 19 – The Red Barn Roundup
All you Type 2 folk can camp on the property next door to Chirco. Last year’s events included live music, raffles, prizes and an extreme amount of fun The Tucson Bus Mob helps run this get together and they always do it right. The Red Barn Roundup has become a “must-do” event for many campers
Cost is FREE.
Oct. 19 – The 19th Annual Chirco.com Bugtoberfest at Chirco 8am – 2pm
The show as always promises to be one of the most fun times you can have with your air-cooled car in Arizona. People’s choice awards, club awards, engine blow, awesome raffle prizes, Big Swap Meet, Music, big in-store savings, t-shirts, posters, and a few surprises.
ALL FREE!! REPEAT…FREE!!
This show does benefit the Foodbank of Tucson. A donation of non-perishable food items is appreciated. Our record is 1680 pounds of food collected at the show. Help us get a “Ton of Food” for people who really do need it..
Register day of show!
Bugtoberfest 19 Time!! October 18-19 2014 was last modified: September 2nd, 2014 by Administrator
People be like “Yo, do you camp?” and I be like “PFFT!…do I camp?”
Before July 25th, I couldn’t say any of that. Before July 25th…I’d be like “no.” :) Here’s how that changed:
You’d think that a guy that grew up in Alaska (19 years) of all places would have went camping or fishing or hunting while he was there right? Not this guy. I was busy at the gym or the park. I didn’t miss the great outdoors because I didn’t know them. Ignorance is bliss.
When I went through Havasu City a couple months ago my good friends talked about going to the High Altitude Kampout in Flagstaff, AZ and how much fun it was. I determined then that I was going to go, but I wanted it to be a surprise. I called my buddy Cory and asked if he could help me make this happen. He was super stoked and agreed instantly. He said he’d bring a tent and everything I would need including a hug and a sippy cup if I wanted.
Tucson to Flagstaff is about 5-6 hours in a bug. I have a tendency to goof off at stops and give in to my attraction to distraction so it takes me longer to get where I’m going. I see cool stuff…I think. In any case me and my wife Carole loaded up the car and we headed out bright and early Friday morning. The guys in the Chirco shop gave my car the once over so the valves were adjusted, oil change, carb sync, and checked all the vitals. It’s nice to have a shop with expert mechanics on hand. I appreciate all they do to keep my car on the road.
Woke up to a fire on the mountain.
The drive from Tucson to Phoenix is one of those trips folks who live here make often. You get desensitized to the amazingness. You find yourself sayin things like “Stupid awe inspiring random rock formation.”, “Dumb old historic civil war site.’, “Lame a_s area that the nationally covered haboobs start in.” So I’ll just skip that part.
When we got to Phoenix is was 93 degrees at 9am! I think their low was 91! It’s a hot place in July that’s all there is to it. Coming out the other side though, you start to climb a little and things get better. None of the hills were challenging for my 1904cc so it was a nice easy cruise.
Coming into Camp Verde we saw some buses on the road finally. Turned out one of them was my good friend Mike Jordan…yeah yeah I know…get it out your system, I’ll wait……anyway he was with a group of Arizona Bus Club buses and we all ended up taking a break at a Camp Verde, AZ gas station. It was cool to chat and make introductions. We were only about 50 miles from Flagstaff so we took off. The next stretch is beautiful! Nice climbs, trees, cool air, just gorgeous. It seemed to go faster than I wanted, but I was so excited to get there!!
Me and Michael Jordan discussing underwear…go figure.
Some AZ Bus Club folks
I pulled into the camp area and saw photographer Eric Arnold. He waved and took a pic and then I saw my buddy Jim Share!! He’s one hairy mofo these days and he was thrilled to see me. We hugged a good hug and laughed. He’s one of the founding members of The Tucson Bus Mob and we miss him in Tucson bad. We kinda kept hugging which wasn’t odd at all. This is why I was there. Good people. Jim pointed us to our camp area where all my Havasu friends were. Cory kept my secret so everyone was very very surprised. There was more hugging and some jumping up and down and someone threw some panties….ok it was me, but still it was awesome. The VW legend John Howard was there. Art, Bob, Mona, Launa, Denise, Bustoration Ronnie, Josh, Dave, Joe, and so many more, and that was just our camp (…you like that “our” camp??…yeah…I camp). After all the greetings we set up our tent and settled into the fun.
My spot at the Flagstaff KOA
My car, My tent, My Zen
Eric Arnold Photography Bus…I call him Richey. :)
Folks set up for fun
Cory’s world famous Screamin’ Eagle Bus
First of all, the Flagstaff KOA was amazing, and Jim and Janyel Share spared no accommodation to all what seemed like 600 of their guests. It was one of the best run shows I have been to. The facilities were very very nice and the people, well what can you say?…outstanding. There were camps everywhere! many folks came up in groups so it was almost regional. I would hang out in the Havasu City camp where I was staying but then get up and go visit “Tucson” often. Many of my Bus Mob buddies were there so it was fun to go and hang out there too. Peoria VW came up with their insane schwag trailer and Keith and his wife Suzanne camped as well. Its always fun hanging out with them. Great dealership btw. Look them up.
Lundes Peoria VW is awesome!!
So cool to see so many camping…like me.
High Altitude…7000ft, yikes!
Juergen and I discussing his coolness.
One of 2 things happened here. :)
I semi-swiped this GLI and drove around with the owner…loved it!!!
One of the things I enjoyed most was just randomly walking into a camp, introducing myself and joining in conversation. Bus people are some of, if not the best people in this hobby. My cheeks hurt from laughing after a while. The entire scene was as hip as it gets. As the night went on there was additional festivities and VW bonding over a brew or two and yeah…even more laughter.
Cory and Art and gold antenna ball gifts.
THE John Howard…Co-creator of the Jerome Jamboree and Buses By the Bridge…Legend
ahhhhh….camping….I do that.
Nothing says camping like a giant demon dog stealing hearts. :)
That is pretty much how it went for two solid days!
Here’s my list of observations.
If it were possible for me to get even closer to my Havasu friends…it happened.
The showers were so nice I wanted to roll in dirt after I was done so I could take another shower.
I knew I was really “roughing it” when the pizza guy got there.
Crying myself to sleep is a normal camping experience.
Solving the worlds problems with people you truly care for is priceless, and
Spending a weekend with 600 of your new best friends is about as good as it gets.
I can’t wait to do it again.
Here’s a little vid I made of the event. Enjoy.
To Camp or not to Camp….there’s really no question! was last modified: August 14th, 2014 by Administrator
The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
The more I read that quote the more I see into it. Maybe travel means more than the academically accepted definition. I don’t think Augustine was just talking about going from one place to another. I think he may be talking about going places outside your comfort zone and gaining those experiences that add to you as a person. Maybe we’re the World and our “pages” help make us who we are. Hmmmm…maybe I should lay off the cough syrup and Tarantino films and just finish this thing up.
OK! OK!!!!…dude, I get it. You have this apnea or somethin and you can’t sleep. So your only recourse is to try to wake up EVERYTHING else?!?! Who does that?! Roosters in Grass Valley do that on the day you’re heading back to Tucson. That’s who.
I imagine him to look like this.
It was another beautiful NorCal morning and after some coffee, muffins, and morning news conversation I set about packing up for my trip back. Brock had to leave so he gave me a hug. My body disappeared into his 6′ 9″ 240 pound future San Francisco Giant frame. It was like a hugging a coliseum pillar! He turned to walk away, dragging his feet, clearly sad. I said “Hey man….Orange.” He turned to me and said “Salad.” (sniff…it’s a thing.) I thanked the Griningers for their graciousness, hospitality and friendship. Then I topped my car off with oil, (plot point!) waved one last wave and headed out.
I was excited because I was going places I had been for the most part. I was travelling alone but really I had zero concerns. I didn’t think I was going to get lost and my car’s only issue so far had been me running out gas. (Note: That running out of gas thing really isn’t uncommon for me. I know, It’s a skill) I ripped the first chunk off in no time. A lot of people were looking and smiling at the car. It’s soooooo nice up there. I waved at the Miner statue in Auburn, and I waved at the Roseville sign, and I started to wave at the Sacramento sign but then traffic happened. Remembering the fact that I had gotten disoriented more than once on the way up, I tightend my grip and made a steely grimace face to indicate a higher level of determination to not get lost again. Then I pulled off the freeway and asked a guy at the gas station if I was going the right way. He laughed because I explained that I couldn’t see the mountains in Tucson, and I was lost even though I had only been on one road the whole time!!
Auburn Miner Statue
I got back on the freeway and continued on to my first stop of the day….Elk Grove VW!!
Mistie at Elk Grove.
Now for those that don’t know, in addition to whatever it is I do here at Chirco.com, I’m also an automotive illustrator. I’m fortunate enough to get the opportunity to do work for a number of VW dealerships and other VW related entities.
One of my shirt designs. Great show BTW!
I had pre-arranged a visit to Elk Grove VW which is one of, if not the most established VW dealership in California. They have a rich history and they are also very much into the aircooled community, so I was a little geeked about getting a tour and stuff. I walked in and met with my point of contact. We sat in his office and laughed a bit, looked at some of my pictures, agreed to never, NEVER leg wrestle, and then we started the tour.
The dealership isn’t the largest I’ve been to but they have a very cool showroom and like most modern dealerships the shop was immaculate. The shop guys were bustin my chops about not having AC, which was cool. (pun) I was introduced to a “higher up” and he led me on the rest of the tour. Turns out they own the Audi dealership next door too, so we went in their to see one of only 92 Iron Man R8s in the USA. All I could think when I saw it was ”damn…that thing is worth like 1 million nickels!!” I was a little embarrassed when I realized I actually said that outloud. I explained to them that I have inner monologue issues so they laughed and we were all good. The visit was top notch. I established contacts within the media group and hopefully down the road I will get an chance to do some work with them. I was very pleased.
Elk Grove VW Showroom
Chop Busting Mechanic Friend
1 Million Nickels!!!
As I pulled out and started to drive away, I noticed a spot of oil where I had been parked. Hmmm….maybe it was already there I thought to myself. (Queue the impending doom tonal change to the soundtrack.) I called my friend Greg who is a great mechanic in the area to see what he thought. He was a down the road a piece so I decided to keep going and check in with him later if there was an issue. He didn’t think it was a big deal so I felt better. Thanks for that man.
The next stretch was pretty uneventful. My anticipation was building like a 6 year old on Halloween day. I was heading to CB Performance for a visit and tour!!! The traffic wasn’t an issue, highway 99 wasn’t scary anymore. If I could have climed out of my car while flying down the freeway and stood on the hood yelling “I’M THE KING OF THE WOOOOORRRRRLLLLD!!!!” I would have. It was that magical. It was a hot day and I wanted the dealership to see the Thermador so it was on the car. I was zipping through Stockon and hit a pretty hard bump as the road was transitioning onto a bridge. I heard a pinging whizzing noise and looked in my rear-view mirror just in time to see what appeared to be the bracing pole for the Thermador falling non-gracefully to the ground. The Thermador was still on the window, but now it wasn’t as stable so I had to pull over and take it off. My trip just got hotter, but at least it was saved. I’m not gonna lie….I wasn’t happy. I used some colorful language then hit the road again.
I decided to stop just outside Merced to get a coffee. I ran into Starbucks, came out and saw some people drooling over my car. I talked to the strangers cause that’s what I do, then I checked under the car to see if my oil issue was still and issue an OH YEAH…it was an issue!! Now…You may not know this about me but I have the ability to skip intermediate emotional stages where things like logic and introspection live. That means I can go from calmly talking to strangers to full blown hysteria over a cap full of oil. No middle man. (note: I learned this at that moment.) I was past where Greg was so I called Chirco. Frank answered the phone, our call went like this.
Frank: Thank you for calling Chirco, this is Frank how can I help you?
So…here’s what happened in case you haven’t figured it out. Earlier while saying goodbyes and chatting with the Griningers’ I absentminded-ly waaaaaaaay overfilled my oil. You know how oil is. A cap full spreads and it looks like a gallon on the ground. Bob in the Chirco shop thought that was the case, Greg mentioned it earlier and the point when I could have logically come to that conclusion myself was one of those intermediate emotional steps I raced past on my way to catch the Panic Train. After the oil “non-issue” was solved I got instantly happy again. (see how I do?)
The next stretch was great! Oil temp was fine, car was purring, and I managed to get a turkey pita down my gullet so everybody was happy. I flew through Fresno (sorry I couldn’t stop James and Pammie) and got off on the Visilia exit. Heading East towards Farmersville I began to notice that I may be in the most aptly named place ever! In my neighborhood it’s gun store, liquor store, gun store, liquor store (D. Chappelle)….in Farmersville it’s tractor, hay bale thingy, tractor, some guy in an Edgar suit, tractor, CB PERFORMANCE!!! wait….wha??? Seriously. Bam! There I was! I got my camera out and pulled into their parking lot all smiles and chocolate happiness and then I saw their door sign….Closed on Monday.
The montage of bitter disappointment in my mind went like this:
Price Is Right Failure Music, colicky baby crying, Sasquatch and a Yeti pointing and laughing at me, John Candy saying “Sorry folks,parks closed, the moose out front shoulda told you.”, and the Ohio Players Love RollerCoaster repeating the “say what?” part over and over.. .I was devastated.
There were a couple of guys painting the outside of the building. I asked if they worked there or if they were just painter guys. They said they were just painter guys so I walked like sad Brock back to my car….then I heard the door jiggling and the sound of frantic key rustling and the door flew open and a lady’s voice shouted “Lemorris!!!! Hey!!! We’re all in here putting stuff away from The Classic. Come on in!!”
Man…CB Performance is so frekkin cool! Great showroom including a doublecab that was a VW trends cover bus back in the day. Tons of plaques and schwag. Memoribilia for
days!!! Dave the CB counter guy was all mic’d up doin his thing. It was awesome to meet him in person. My man Marcus came up to meet me and do the tour. I got to see my designs hanging up on the wall. I got to see their shop areas, their offices, their human head borer, their manifold mountain and I got to meet “The Pat”. That’s right. One of the best aircooled VW engine builders out there. I always thought he was a myth like a Centaur or Grandmas with soft candy, but no….he was real! We all chatted for a while and Pat looked at my car. He came to the conclusion that I was silly and the car was fine. Marcus and I talked about work as I am doing some things with them and then they gave me a crap ton of stickers!! On my way out I said I feel like a beer. It was the end of their day so I got joined for a brew at a local pizza joint. We talked shop and ecommerce goofiness and in general had a really great time. Chirco.com carries CB Products so it’s nice to have a professional peer to peer business relationship with them as well as a personal business relationship with them. I can’t say enough good about CB Performance from the standpoint of their products which my car is full of, or their people. Outstanding, best client visit I have ever had, hands down. (Thanks for the beer too.)
Borer-er Pretty Cool
After leaving CB I was pretty tired. I went to Bakersfield to stay in a hotel. I was out like a light. I didn’t get a ton of sleep because I was up at 4am and ready to hit the road again. It was going to be significantly hotter than my trip up and I wanted to beat as much heat as possible. Leaving Bakersfield I slid up the hill from the dog poo to the grassy lands of Tehachapi and then realized another issue. I can understand now why Vampires hate sunrise. :) The sunlight coming over the hills was so intense I saw spots…sparkly spots I tell ya. I had to slow way down to make it through. It was pretty but it wasn’t pretty pleasant. By the time I got to Edwards Air Force base things were good again. My carbs were singin to me and my car was cruisin. The temp was still under 100 so I decided to tear off a bigger piece. I went past Barstow and stopped at a little gas station in Newberry Springs. Usually this would be insignificant if not for the fact that it is right on old historic Route 66 and the station was right against a tall rock formation….anybody else seein this? It looked like the rundown version of Radiator Springs from the Pixar movie “Cars”! I saw a couple old trucks, a beat up Chevy sedan and definitely a few local characters. It was a feel cool moment for real. I’m glad I stopped there.
Now I was in full driving mode. Me and my car were like one. Like one big sweaty bag of skin meat in a tin can in the scorching desert. On top of that I was STARVING! I tore off another 120 miles and pulled into Needles, Ca. I got some gas and some water and a 44oz cup of ice. (this would prove to be pivotal) and then I saw a Taco Bell across the street. Score!!! I went to Taco Bell and decided to be real bad…I mean it’s already bad enough but I went for it…why not right? I ordered the horrible for you in every way Chalupa meal! That’s 2 Chalupas and a regular taco aka heaven. The fella doin the fixin took a while, like a long while but finally I got my food. I hopped in my car and thought “That poor little taco…he needs to be free of this mortal coil.” I unwrapped it and bit into it and all I got was a loud crunch, some bits of cheese and some lettuce fell out! I’m like what?!?! No meat? Was the meat not on sale?? I go back into Taco Bell and politely let them know. (Note:I never treat people who are preparing my food badly. I don’t like the taste of spit.) Anyway the guy makes me a new taco and I’m on my way. I totally scarfed the taco in the car…jut because he was Gen2 didn’t mean his fate would be any different. Then I hit the road. About 5 miles later I said “It’s Chalupa-thirty baby!” I unwrapped it and bit into it…..yep….you got it….no meat. My co-worker Pat laughed at this tale because he recalls when the same thing happened to me with 2 cheeseburgers from McDonalds one day in the office. He says it’s a sign that the universe wants me to be vegan. oh, and yeah…I ate the chalupas!!
The next 5 and half hours was pretty much the same thing. Hot…blistering, stinking hot. When I stopped I got another bottle of water and a full 44oz cup of ice. I drank the water for the first 30 minutes and then the ice water was melted to perfection so it was very refreshing. By the time I got to Buckeye I had to up my game. I soaked my shirt in the ice cold cooler water and put it
on. It was soooooooo nice. It was like the Thermador was my torso and the wind whipping through the car made me a human swamp cooler. The next town, Gila Bend was 37 miles away. When I got there, my shirt was bone dry. I was mad, but happy because I was an hour or so from home.
For the next 80 miles to my Tucson freeway exit I thought about all the fun I had. I felt lucky to have had an opportunity to even try something like this. I felt lucky to have such great friends and clients in the VW community. I felt lucky to have gotten a chance to make even more friends in the VW community. I looked down and my oil temp was 215 and it was 109 outside. I smiled…it was pretty damn hot, but both me and my car were still pretty damn cool because of what we did.
Back at Chirco
Mistie Back at Home
Whew…ok Augustine….there ya have it. Three more pages in my “World”. :)
I want to thank Chirco for sponsoring me and building my engine and caring about my car as much as I do, it’s the Chirco way. I also want to thank Chirco for letting me have a job where I get paid to do cool stuff like drive 2000 miles for fun.
More thanks to all my friends who helped me along the way. All you Havasu guys are next level to me now. I will see you again. Cory, Bob, Mona….Thank you Thank you Thank you for everything.
The Griningers, Bruce, Jill, Brock, (Sup D?!), Hapa, Stella, Millie, Bullfrogs, Chickens, Pigs, ramp, pond, and t-shirt shop, Thank you so much for just being. You guys are great great…great friends. Thank you for having me.
Thanks to the SR49 peeps and the NorCalians in general. Your show is off the chain and your local VW community is one the rest of the country is envious of. Thanks for all your help too. Knowing folks had my back made all this possible. (I’m siphoning tears over here.)
Mateo…I’ve never rubbed noses Eskimo style with another man while driving on steep mountain roads, but I sure hope it’s not the last time I get to with you…..You are my friend. I wish we had met sooner too.
…and finally thanks to all the people that took the time to read this series. If you have any questions you can shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or my personal email, email@example.com. Please visitChirco.com and buy somethin so I can get a trip next year!
See ya next time.
2014 Summer Cruise: Tucson to Tahoe in an Air Cooled VW – Part 3 was last modified: July 23rd, 2014 by Administrator
The World is a book, and those who do not travel (insert the words “to Tahoe”) read only a page.
Saint Augustine…and me.
I think the thing that is most striking about Lake Tahoeis the color. It almost looks like it’s not real. Like it’s a Frazetta painting or something that you could imagine being in the magical land of Xanth but it is in fact frekkin real!! To be sitting on a beach with about 60 other hardcore VW enthusiasts watching paddle boarders glide by and listening to the gentle waves rolling ashore is pretty amazing. (Pause so that scene can soak in. Ahhhhhhhhh). Now…let’s talk about how I got here.
First of all the Dubs Around The Lake Cruise has been around for 4 years. The State Route 49 VW group of NorCal organizes and hosts this event. My great friends Jill, Mateo, Sarah, Jefe, Tart, Sandy and more spend countless hours working on this thing. You should stand up and clap…I’ll wait……………………cool thanks.
This is no “baby” cruise. It’s a solid 175-200 mile trip through some of the most beautiful land this country has to offer. You gotta make sure your car is sound if you want to do this. You know….get your brakeschecked, valves adjusted, heads torqued, cables inspected, belt tightened, plugs and wires, you know…all that. Doesn’t hurt to have good tires, working indicators, gas (more on that later), and some good quality super funky music. Essentials.
Fortunately I had all of those things (‘cept indicators) so my car was ready to get after it. The drive up to Grass Valley, CA from Tucson, AZ was pretty good. No oil leaks, no real issues of note so my comfort level was high. The morning of the cruise started out with a little coffee and some bagels. I sat with Jill’s son Brock and I watched as the 6’7″ base stealing machine put a bagel out of it’s misery in one bite. He didn’t even get the uncomfortable corner of the mouth cheese deposit. Impressive. We laughed a lot. It was a good start.
Next we all caravaned to the KMart meeting place. Now, I have been on this cruise a couple times before but I knew this was going to be next level big when I got to the KMart. There were already 20 cars there! That’s more than last years total and we knew more were on the way. The gathering is always fun but this year especially for me. I know many people there now. It was so cool to greet people as friends you haven’t seen in a year and get that hug. You see the excitement on faces and feel the energy that you feel when you know you’re around something good. The other side of that is meeting the people that are new to you that will be added to the “friends you’ve missed” list the next year, and there was a bunch of them too!
There was a brief “drivers meeting” where Orchestrator Jill explained the route and gave everyone the low down, and then we mounted up. Now, I was clearly the most lucky as my passenger was my friend and target of my bromance, Mateo. His actual name is Matthew Collins and to explain our relationship…know that I spoke to him every Tuesday for a year because of “Agents of Shield” and old “Bugs Bunny” references. At one point on the cruise Mateo turned to me and said “I wish we had met earlier in life. We coulda had more friend time.” That’s a feel good moment right there. :)
The Kmart was rockin!!
Lita made it on the GrinsGraphics shirt!
The line of cars stretched out pretty quickly as we made our way to the first stop. The Grass Valley, Nevada City area is so pretty. The trees reach high into the sky and the groves hug the curves as you snake your way over the countryside. Mateo and I spent the first few miles man-hugging because I gave him an original drawing of his car I did a while back. It was cool. He lit up like a lit up Mateo, or glow worm. After about 25 miles we got to the Highway 20 Overlook.
The Highway 20 Overlook is the first stop on the cruise. There’s plenty of parking, there’s restrooms, there’s a chance to check your car’s vitals and oh yeah….there’s the Overlook! It’s a pretty big platform that we seem to be testing the “foundational” integrity of every year. From the platform you can see out over this huge valley. It’s nothing but trees and trees and trees! For someone from the Arizona desert, this is spectacular….I think it is for people who aren’t from the desert too. Insane. We all packed on to the platform for a group shot. There were jokes about needing mustard sauce and saltines but actually there was still a some room, so you should consider joining us next year. It’s an awesome stop.
Highway 20 Overlook
Highway 20 Overlook
My man Chuck!
The Overlook “Us-ie” Cool Group
The next leg of the cruise was outstanding. I always laugh because if I’m not in Tucson, I’m lost. I have no sense of direction unless I can see the Catalina mountains. On this leg of the Tahoe trip we took 2 turns and I was blissfully lost. Mateo and I had good tunes and we just twisted and turned our way towards a spot called Soda Springs. On the way you go through these areas that feature old structures that look like you could still go in with a bag of gold dust or painted yellow rocks (Bugs Bunny) and buy yourself some carrot juice or a belt of whiskey and then fight with some guy named Bart over cheating at poker. There’s a small river (listen to the desert guy talking about small rivers) that runs alongside the road at times. The whole thing looks untouched by time or technology. I can imagine panhandlers seeing the exact scene….of course they’d be wondering what the he_l 25 weird sounding horseless carriages were doing there, but still…it’s cool. This year they did not schedule a stop at Soda Springs. The cruise did pick up a couple more vehicles there though so our train grew.
So…here’s what comes next. The historically significant, amazingly awesome, spectacularly spectaculousness of The Donner Pass. For those that don’t know,
Long story short:
To reach California from the East, pioneer emigrants had to get their wagons over the Sierra Nevada mountain range. In 1844 the Stephens-Townsend-Murphy Party followed the Truckee River into the mountains. At the head of what is now called Donner Lake, they found a low notch in the mountains and became the first overland emigrants to use the pass.
The pass was named after a later group of California-bound emigrants. In early November 1846 the Donner Party found the route blocked by snow and was forced to spend the winter on the east side of the mountains. Of the 81 emigrants, only 45 survived to reach California; some of them resorted to cannibalism to survive.
I saw it on the History channel and I think Richard Roundtree (Grass Valley resident) was in it. Naturally everybody makes cannibal jokes cause it’s easy. Me: Hey Mateo…I think I’m gonna feed you mayo all the way to Donner Pass. Mateo: Why Le-momo? Me: So when we get there I can just eat your leg and cut out the middle man.
As you can see…none of the jokes are funny, but they still get made. This part I can tell you in all seriousness. The Donner Pass Overlook is one of the most outrageously beautiful sights I have ever seen. The bridge you cross to approach the overlook curves viciously around a formation and BAM!! There it is. You can see Donner Lake and down towards the Truckee area from up there and it is breath taking. Almost more breath taking was seeing 11 more VWs there!!! That’s right. The super cool VWs from the Reno area made the drive up to join the cruise. Not only did they have sic rides, they turned a decent sized cruise into a “BIG A_S!” cruise. The overlook and the area across from it were filled with VWs, it was a spectacle. The mandatory group shot got taken and then we mounted up for the next leg.
Reno VWs at the Donner Pass Overlook
Group shot!!! Wow!
Leaving the Donner overlook you make your way down a couple steep grades and roll beside Donner Lake into the town of Truckee, CA. Here you really get your first hint of the tourism and recreation level of this entire area. People are renting boating stuff, getting food, lined up beside all kinds of shops and whatnot and waving like mad at all the VWs cruising past. So many thumbs up and peace signs. Lots of pointing and arms being punched. It’s a fun moment on the cruise. Next my sense of direction got obliterated again because there was a couple stop signs and I didn’t know what I was doin, then I saw the Olympic sign for Squaw Valley and I knew where I was. Host site of the Winter Olympics in 1960. Its just another example of the unique things you see on this cruise. My level of excitement increased because I knew what was next…Lake Tahoe!
Now, it’s important that you understand another reason I’m so found of this area. My Dad was a big fan of Westerns and Western TV shows. He would have me sit with him and we’d watch stuff like Bonanza, The Rifleman, Big Valley, Spaghetti Westerns, whatever, for hours and just laugh. Little Joe getting shot in the butt was a national holiday in our home. I really really wanted a Hop Sing sleeping bag….We bought Alpo and didn’t even have a dog!! :) Coming into Tahoe reminds me of my Dad (R.I.P)…
There’s a little river to the left as you come into the Lake Tahoe area that folks tube down. I always look over there because it’s before you see the lake, but it’s your first look at the color of the water. It looks like their tubing down a Bob Ross painting, and yeah they actually are surrounded by “happy trees!”. As you continue into the area you see cabins and people and little shops but it’s not really crowded, then you see it on the left. It reminds me of the first glimpse of the Grand Canyon on the South side. You see somethin magnificent just for a second and its gone and you’re like “WTF was that?!?!” Then you turn a corner and the Lake opens up to you. It’s a big Lake…not Lake Superior big, but remember I come from a place where the biggest Lake in town is so small you can’t even skip a rock on it. I mean after the first kiss on the surface of the water your rock lands on the other side. Kinda sad actually, so to me Lake Tahoe is pretty frekkin massive. You can see the other side but you can tell it’s pretty far away. The temperature was about 77 so yeah….perfect. For the next 45 minutes or so we just cruised around one side of the Lake. Music was good, laughing, pointing, remembering…fun.
Now…last year on the cruise around the lake there was 18 VWs. That’s a pretty decent number for a 200 mile cruise. We felt pretty good about the vastness of our group until we saw the Shelby Mustang club pass us goin the opposite way. After 10 minutes we knew we needed to step it up to match those guys this year. Turns out they are pretty cool and so this year we had our 38 cars ready to go…then we saw the Shelbys….I think there was 80 of them this year! LOLOL…they are so awesome! Old, New, stock, modified…just gorgeous. It was killer because they were all waving at us waving at them, like they were as happy to see us as we were to see them! Gotta love a group that loves their cars. Gotta love common ground.
On the way to the next stop you climb this hill and you see what is maybe the signature spot at Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay. It was too crowded for us all to pull over but I have seen it before and if you go on this cruise, this is a must see! This is the spot that best illustrates the rich colors I mentioned earlier. This is a spot that makes you feel insignificant. It’s that awe inspiring.
The next stop for the VWs is Pope Beach. I looked up the history of the beach so I could tell you why it’s named that but it was kinda boring so I’m not gonna mention it. Oops. Just know that this is THE STOP! We all parked and grabbed our picinick baskets and found a great spot to just sit and eat and talk. There’s plenty of room and folks set up their respective camps so to speak. The aforementioned sound of the gentle waves rolling onto shore fill the air. The sweet sweet sound of Mateo eating potato salad like a cow wafted like a dump truck on the breeze. Looking around you know it’s a special scene. It’s probably why the cruise waits here for like 2 hours. My buddy Bob napping right by the shorline was a favorite for me this year. You’ll see it at the end of the video below. At this point the cruise actually picked up one more car. We passed a Ghia goin the opposite way and he whipped around and came to join us. Turns out he may play a role in making the event even greater in the future. I’m gonna leave that as a teaser. At this point the official total number of cars went to 39! So…big ups to the SR49 guys. Great job!
Pope Beach South Lake Tahoe
Jen modeling the event shirt…with flair!
Love this bus!
Just plain cool.
After a great meal at Pope Beach we rolled ourselves back to our cars and continued on. Leaving the beach you go through the area know as South Lake Tahoe. There’s more businesses and a few more people and there’s traffic. For bits you are going light to light so the line of VWs got broken up but for the most part, not bad. Once again you see people waving, pointing and punching, and it is a lot of fun. Mateo talked a lot about Caldwell Banker which I didn’t understand, but I nodded like I did cause he has long eye lashes. (Don’t ask).
The cruise continued around the lake and really I’m running out of adjectives to describe it. Once we got to the area named Incline, I got a little more happy. The trees on this side of the lake change in color as well as shape, and there’s a different layout to the landscape. The first time approaching this area I knew exactly what it was. Near Incline is the actual Ponderosa Ranch from the TV show Bonanza. Now if you know me, you know I stopped there 2 years ago and I got to do a tribute pony ride/dance thing for my Dad at the Ponderosa Ranch road sign. The ranch itself is closed these days, but still I got to give a knowing nod and tip of the hat to my Dad. Another very very cool thing that you see on this cruise.
The next leg is unreal. The views of the lake are CRAZY. The color…I mean man….THE COLOR. Wow!! We headed through the more crowded side and left Lake Tahoe behind. The final cruise stop is the Dairy Queen in Truckee. They have Dilly Bars, so life was good. The Reno guys had peeled off and went back their way, but still there were plenty of folks at DQ. It was fun to talk and chill for a minute. Gotta send some more Reno VW love. You guys repped. Very cool.
Last but not least there was a massive bbq and party at Jill’s place back in Grass Valley. On the way there I did run out of gas about 10 miles outside Nevada City. Mateo couldn’t believe it, but I have 11 gas cans for a reason. I know I know….it’s a thing. Anyway the rescue effort was phenomenal. Jimmy K stopped in his Ghia first. He sprung into action like Chuck Norris. George Loveday pulled over in his chase truck, he hopped out like Jean Claude, but the man of all mans was Dann. Dann drives a Herbie replica so he pulled over and took charge. It was like a vanilla Mr. T with less hair and feathers. He had some gas in a can, Jimmy K had some fuel hose. George has a cute wife so that was nice, but Dann was incredible. He siphoned the gas through the fuel hose in one suck!!! He didn’t even spit out any gas! He was like the siphon whisperer! His wife did make a joke about him swallowing which made us all laugh heartily. In any case I was back up and running in 6 minutes and got to witness an amazing feat at the same time. Thanks to all you guys for the rescue. Other than that operator error issue, my Chirco built 1904 was flawless. Another shout out to the mechs in the Chirco shop. You boys rock.
Dann can suck. Pun intended. :)
Anyway…I made it to the party and had a beer and recounted the days fun all night long. Best cruise in the country. Period. Now if you want information on this cruise you can visit the cruise event page on Facebook, or you can find them on places like The Samba too. Look them up, get info and bucket list this event.
Great day….great day
In the “book” that is my World, this event is a page I read over and over again.
Here’s the little vid I made of the event. Watch that kid recover in the beginning…he’s awesome.
OK…that’s part 2 Augustine. Next part will be the trip home with a couple special guests ta boot. Stay tuned
2014 Summer Cruise: Tucson to Tahoe in an Air Cooled VW – Part 2 was last modified: July 15th, 2014 by Administrator
“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”
How true is that?!?!
The Second Annual Chirco.com Summer Cruise took me through more “pages” than even the 2000 miles suggested it would. Looking back, I do kinda feel like that astronaut gal a few years back that drove all those miles wearing Depends Under Garments and tossing back energy drinks like there was no tomorrow. :) I’m not gonna admit or deny the whole under garment part as I believe how a person chooses to travel is their business and perhaps I find the padded rear cushion to be comfortable and somewhat reassuring.
You know, It seems like I read 3 whole “books” on this trip St. Augustine, so…I think I’ll post about it in 3 parts.
The 2014 Summer Cruise was laid out like this:
Tucson, Az to Lake Tahoe, CA/ NV and back in my 1958 Type 1 VW.
~970 miles each way with a 200 mile air cooled VW cruise thrown in for good measure.
Stop in Lake Havasu City to hang out with some friends.
Stop at Elk Grove VW to hang out with some cool dealership cats.
Stop at CB Performance, cause that’s just cool period.
Here’s how it went down. (Queue the ambient background music. Get popcorn.)
Mistie purred across town. She loves that cooler morning air. I don’t usually make note of everything that happens but on my way out of town I did come across a fatal accident scene. Peace and love to the motorcycle rider and his family. I was just about to enter the freeway and the scene stayed with me as a reminder that I needed to make sure I was careful and sensible on this trip. If you know me, that second item can be a challenge. I did good though.
About to get on I-10 and do this!
Making my way up I-10 was sweet. Oil temp was about 180, perfect! I stopped at a little place named Toltec about 45 miles outside Tucson to get a little breakfast and just check stuff. My super cool friend Jon P. Wood texted me…“DUDE! WHERE ARE YOU?!?!” I told him I was in Toltec. He said he lived a mile and a half away and he wanted a Man-Hug!!!
(VW people are amazing.) I prepared to wait but it was like an episode of Bewitched or somethin! POOF!! Jon was there! We laughed and hugged, hugged and laughed (see video of the drive up below) and then I hit the road…feeling loved. Thanks for that Jon.
Picacho Peak. Furthest West Civil War Battle Site
Jon P. Wood is the Man!!
I shot up I-10 doing the speed limit about 75 or so and I took the Phoenix bypass route. You avoid the city of Phoenix but you are out in the middle of nowhere for about 80 miles until you get to Buckeye, AZ. There is a mountain that looks like afro-puffs to me but other than that, there’s not much to see. I ripped this chunk off with no issues. The car was in tip-top shape and it was still under 100 degrees out so I was pretty comfortable. My buddy Ed loaned me his thermador swamp cooler for the trip and I was itchin to use it, but I decided to wait a bit.
Phoenix bypass route. Yay?
The next stretch was about 90 miles to the town of Quartzite, Az. I don’t know what Quartzite is supposed to be known for but I think it’s chief export is sweaty back and crotch. By the time I got there, I was ready for the cooler. I bought a bag of ice and just filled the cooler up. I poured some water in the top, gassed up and was out of there. Oh…I did meet a cool family that had a lot of cool stuff to say about my car. The young son was an artist too and he showed me an eagle he drew that he won the school art contest with. His work was pretty good! He better not try to take my job though. I fight dirty.
Stop in Quartzite, Cooler time!
The next piece of road was really beautiful. The cool cool air from the thermador was whipping through my bald locks. The soft subtle sounds of thick funk and hard pounding sub-woofer driven bass filled my cars’ interior as well as my soul. I mentally started planning the video I was going to make and just cruised. There’s a certain beauty in the ruggedness of the desert landscape. The variations in the browns and the sharp edges of the rock formations are always fun to look through. Before I knew it, I was rolling into Lake Havasu City, AZ.
Stop just outside Lake Havasu City. That blue stuff is called “water”.
Now…at first I couldn’t find the London Bridge, but eventually I managed to drive over it and get to a brewery. (Oh yeah….make no mistake. It was noon somewhere. ) I called my great friend Cory, famed owner of The Screamin Eagle Bus, and he said he was on his way! I carried the thermador into the brewery because it’s valuable and I wouldn’t want it to get stolen…plus somewhere around Parker, AZ I think I asked it to marry me. It was easy to just stick my forearm in it and carry it by a crosspiece on the inside. Admittedly it looked a little weird. It reminded me of the leg-gun Rose McGowan had in Planet Terror, or maybe like “Edward Thermador Hands”…anyway…as soon as I walked in a female customer at the bar yelled “OH MY GAWD!!! IS THAT A BOMB!!!” Now everyone in the brewery is staring at me like I’m EF Hutton, anxiously waiting for an answer to her exclamation. I paused and in a very calm voice I said, “Noooo. It’s an old style swamp cooler for a car, don’t worry. However I do have to go out there to use the restroom, do you mind watching this thing for me?…I’ll be right back….I promise.” I set the thermador down on the floor by her. I gave the bartender a wink, and walked away gingerly. The look on the lady’s face was priceless.
Me, Cory and the “OMG is that a bomb?!?!” lady.
It was real nice chillin there for a while. Lake Havasu City is hot but there are a lot of VW people there. The famous event Buses By The Bridge is held just up from where we sat. The cutest couple in the world, Bob and his amazing wife Mona joined us. We had a blast! Bob and Mona would prove to be even more special than I thought as the trip unfolded. Later I got to stay in Corey’s fifth wheel and pretend to drive his boat and see the drawing I did of his bus and go see a funk band and laugh and dance with even more Havasu friends! It was a special day.
Mona and Bob. <3
Cory hatted and reppin with Mistie
The Cory toon I did.
How I look when I drive a boat apparently.
Lake Havasu City Funk Band
Day 2: Lake Havasu City, AZ to Grass Valley, CA ~a bajillion hours (14 hours)
The next morning I was up at 5. The night before Bob and Mona decided they would spend their 39th anniversary on the Tahoe Cruise, so they brought over their Dodge truck w/camper shell and said they would follow me all the way up! There is a big difference in traveling alone on the freeway in an old VW, and having more cars with you. If you have more than 1 VW, you’re something to look at, traffic slows to see how awesome your candy-cane colored hotness is. When you’re the only air cooled VW on the freeway, you’re just the “slow guy”.
I am eternally grateful to Bob and Mona for that act. I did have people along the way on standby, but knowing they would be with me all the way up made me feel so much better.
<3 You guys.
Early morning in Havasu City, Ready to roll.
We hit the road and immediately I start humming “East Bound and Down” by Jerry Reed. I was totally like the Bandit and Bob didn’t know it until I told him 18,000 times that they were like The Snowman! I think my enthusiasm for Smokey and the Bandit gave Bob some concern, but he’s a smart man so he just let me “play through.”
Our first stop was Needles, CA for some breakfast. We had eggs, my phone broke, I cried, then we set out across the Mojave Desert. My oil temp was a little higher, up to 190 but the car was very smooth. I drive with the top open, windows down but even over the groovy Slapbak tunes and my Smokey and the Bandit humming I could hear the engine running like a red and white road rocket…or Zola Budd….I can’t decide. It was 2 hours to Barstow, CA but still too early for the cooler. The Mojave looks like a place things go to die. There are long long stretches of nothing but rock and hot. It occurred to me that this is probably the place all the lost socks end up. I had time to reflect, it was good.
I think that’s a sock!! Mojave Desert.
We stopped at Barstow to gas up and though it was only 10am…it was flippin hot!! Once again, cooler to the rescue! I checked my oil levels and cleaned my windshield and I talked to random strangers because I do that. I think me and this one guy are BFFs now. I’m not sure but I know we love each other. :) Anyway…
Barstow. That puddle is my BFFs tears.
The next piece was another 2 hour drive to Bakersfield, CA. This was actually pretty fun. You get to drive past Edwards Air Force Base which I call the home of plausible deniability because there’s no reason that base should be there unless they got aliens and wild haired doctors walking around with overly eager NASA rejected fighter pilots and Jeff Goldblum. Just sayin.
The other cool part of this piece was the Tehachapi (Tuh- hatch-uh-pee) Pass. All of a sudden you go from this desolate place of lost socks to this big hills with grass and trains snaking in and out of storybook tunnels built through the mountains place! It was tremendous! Some of the grades were pretty steep but I have a freeway flyer tranny and my engine is pretty tourquey so I was able to pull the hills easily. Bob and Mona commented that following me was a lot different than following VW buses like they are used to. I was able to maintain speed and just cruise. Chirco built.
Tehachpi pass looks like this…my phone broke. :(
Coming out of the pass you slope down into Bakersfield, CA. Now Bakersfield is kinda industrial. It was a little like sliding down a beautiful grassy hill on your tummy and landing in dog poo. I’m just kidding. I know there’s much more to Bakersfield than what I saw. It was busy though and the harsh reality that I was on a freeway smacked me right in the face. Hands at 10 and 2!Signal, change lanes! Watch your mirros! Watch your spacing! Is that my throw out bearing?! (mama) It was kinda like that. We had thought to stop there but instead we pushed past, made a quick gas stop then we stopped in Delano, Ca for a bite to eat.
By now me and the Snowman had it goin on. When I needed to pass someone, Bob would move over and block traffic so I could get in. I was still humming at this point and all was good. We stopped in Merced, CA to gas up and really the drive was perfect. Bob and Mona split off around Stockton, CA to go and see our friend Don. I was in a driving zone at the time so I looked up and realized they were no longer behind me. It was all good though. They had helped instill confidence. No fears.
Heading through Elk Grove, CA just outside Sacramento, CA I saw the VW dealership I was going to visit from the freeway so I exited, got lost, got re-lost then found them. I had a quick visit with the sales manager and we scheduled the big visit for the following week. Great guy btw…his name is Sammy…we hugged. :)
Sammy! Elk Grove VW. Super cool cats!
The final leg was pretty cool. I have been to the area before so I was semi-familiar but for some reason it was waaaaaaaaay better in my car! The temp had dropped to about 77 degrees outside and my car was still perfect. I got on Highway 80 in Sacramento and drove a few miles then all of a sudden the road signs started saying I was on I-5 and all these other numbers and hieroglyphics and stuff! I felt like Pee-wee looking at all the curvy direction signs so I pulled off the freeway and went into a restaurant to ask directions. Turns out I wasn’t lost at all, just needed to stay the course.
Here’s the directions the guy gave me:
“Whatcha wanna do is leave here and Turn Left. Go that way 1 block, then turn Left. Go 1 more block, then Turn Left. Then Get back on the freeway.”
…I felt a little stupid, but I was still grateful.
After one more getting lost looking for gas episode and getting directions to my friend Jill’s place in Grass Valley, CA with literally only 1% juice left on my phone, I made it!
Jill’s 17 year old son Brock was waiting for me at the door. He’s like 6’5″ and he’s this big baseball crushing musclely thing so it was cute to see him jumping up and down like a 12 year old Bieber fan all clapping and shouting my name….we hugged too…twice. It felt good to make it up there.
Mistie at the Grass Valley Fairgrounds
The car stats? My gas mileage was lower than last year, it got better as the day went on and I ended up about 22mpg. The oil temp never got above 190 at any point on the trip up. The thermador was incredible!! No weird noises, no broken cables, no randomly falling off door handles or bumpers. It was perfect. I need to thank the Chirco mechanics Bob and Joe for making sure Mistie was ready. There’s a lot of kidding around that goes on here at Chirco, but when it’s time to get work done, these guys really step up. I felt proud for them. Great job fellas.
So…here’s the video I made of my trip up and back. I filmed bits and pieces and just strung them together real quick. This is just the driving part.
The service department at Chirco sees a ton of projects go through it every year. It’s not uncommon for the shop guys to do 2 or 3 engine builds, 19 “make my car pass emissions”, 7 tune-ups, 6 or 7 carb rebuilds, 20 or so fix my broken cables and still put time into the resto projects we have every week!
I’m not trying to brag, but are shop guys can fly….like literally fly….and their knowledge of air cooled VWs is right up there near the tippy top.
Kevins 66 Type 1…Before
That being the case it’s not suprising that Kevin brought his 66 type 1 here to have it transformed into a cool 66 Baja! Ken said the car got hit, or hit something and the front end was damaged so he thought it would be cool to turn his street car, all lowered and what-not, into a Baja. Kevins’ son Collin was hangin out with him. I asked if it would be Collins’ car and before he could answer, Kevin said “….ummmmm no.” We’ll see.
The car has been here for a few days so I went to take a few pics.
7 Piece Baja Kit by Chirco.com
Bob and Joe Butler are the mechs assigned to this build. Chirco had the 7 piece baja kit in stock so they went ahead and removed the fenders, hood and pretty much everything except the doors and install the new kit.
Nice shot of Kevins car…AFTER
Careful attention was paid to the fit and the cut. The 7 piece kit does come with a little extra room on the pieces so measuring and trimming is important. Naturally the Chirco Super Soldier Shop Freaks are meticulous. The cut to line up the fenders was absolutely perfect! I suppose a person could do this kind of thing all on their own, but it helps to have an extra set of eyes, not to mention, hands, legs, spleens and elbows.
Bob thinks it’ll be a pretty sweet power-plant for this car.
A Hose on your Throttle Tube is a good thing.
Joe Butler, “Junior Mint Mechanic” and all around cool guy pointed out a little somethin to me. He said they use a little piece of hose with a slit in it to help hold the throttle tube in place. It stops it from rattling around and from ending up in places you wouldn’t want it to end up.
Rear Baja Baby Buggy Bumper :)
We also had the Bumpers in house. The guys sent it out for paint so it has a nice clean look. The front bumper got the same treatment. You can also see the other parts of the 7 piece baja kit. Now if you’re thinking you don’t want or need all 7 pieces, you can order them individually. Note: The fenders are sold in pairs though.
Great job on the interior by Kevin’s Wife.
The interior wasn’t actually done by us. Kevin’s wife did it. I don’t know if she used one of our interior kits or what. I do know that it’s a very very nice job and worth showing you. I was told she went on YouTube and found headliner videos and everything she needed. Really a nice job….impressive.
That’s gonna be it for part 1. I’m told a tire and wheel choice has been made and the raised spindles should go on soon and then we’ll have a roller!
It’s pretty bada_s to get a chance to see builds like this happening every week around here. We’ll go get some more shots and get part 2 up here as soon as we can.
Thanks for reading.
The 66 Baja Transmorphification of Coolness: Part 1 was last modified: July 3rd, 2014 by Administrator
This is one of those we wish we would have kinda things. We wish we would have taken pics a few weeks ago. We wish we would have shot video of seat construction. We wish we would have taken a few pics before it left and made a quick blog post about what happe….oh…wait….we can do that one. :)
So…when this car came in to the shop a little bit ago, it was just a shell. I believe the wife wanted to finish the car for her late husband, It wasn’t a full paint and body resto, just a build an engine, interior, lights, make it run kinda thing. Senior Mechanic John did the majority of the work and though his giant thumbs prevent him from tying proper knots sometimes, he really did a great job. Fast, clean, professional and affordable..The Chirco way. We call it a Save-storation…from brink to built.
1964 Type 1 at Chirco
Really a clean little car. Body was pretty straight. Fortunately we had every part needed for this air cooled VW in house at Chirco.
Naturally, Chirco.com ships air cooled VW Parts Internationally. It’s not uncommon for us to get orders from 5 out of 7 continents a week. There was this one time a Penguin from the North Pole tried to order an Air cooled VW Engine re-Build Kit, but our amazing shipper, Hoyt knew that there were no Penguins on the North Pole.
In any case we got a great surprise this past week. We had a customer come in and he brought his 68 Baja with him. That in and of itself is not a unusual, but what was unusual was the fact that he shipped his car to the US from Austrailia so he could take the vacation of a lifetime!
Marc Calwell’s 68 Baja Bug
Cool 68 Baja from Austrailia
A Chirco.com customer since the build began..5 years!
This guy’s name is Marc Calwell and I gotta tell you, he was an absolute blast. It was so cool for us here to see a customer from outside the US and to get to see his car in person. Speaking of his car…it was pretty sic. It’s a 68 Baja with a turbo charged 1915cc engine in it. Marc explained to us that he bought the car with the intention of putting a 64 Baja body on the frame, but the 64 kinda fell apart after he lifted it off its body so he went with the 68. As you can see the engine compartment is largely covered. We were told that was a law so people and “roos” don’t get their fingers caught up in engines. It may be a pain if you break down and you gotta get back there and roll up your sleeves to fix something, but we can see the safety points. Marc was running Ethanol but switched to pump gas for his trip across America. The fact that the car is right-hand drive was a big hit here in the Chirco Parking Lot too. I forget the name of the rims, but I know I never seen them before and it was pretty cool lookin on his car.
Right-Hand Drive…mate. :)
Don’t remember this wheel name, but I like it!
Engine cage 68 Baja Bug
Nice interior 68 Baja Bug
Marc was in town for a day so we all went to lunch. He hadn’t had any Mexican food so Tucson had to represent before he got to New Mexico. We had a great lunch with many laughs. Air cooled VW people are the best….IN THE WORLD! The common bond we share through the vehicle was evident. It was great to share stories and chips and salsa!
Marc took off and continued on his way. His trip will take many months to complete, and he gave us permission to post updates and follow along as he does what many of us wish we could do. It was an absolute honor to meet a long time customer from a distant land, and it was awesome making a new friend.
Joe Chirco with Marc Calwell in the Chirco Parking Lot
Chirco wishes Marc the best. Thank you for making us a small part of your amazing journey. You have our number if you need anything.
p.s. Here’s a windy video we made of Marc and his Baja in the Chirco Parking Lot. Enjoy!!
Vege-Mighty Baja Visits Chirco.com was last modified: May 19th, 2014 by Administrator
Arizona is fortunate to have so many active aircooled VW clubs in our state. The great climate and great people combine to make great VW enthusiasts.
Jon P. Wood was first to arrive…because he drove like Jon P Andretti.
One of our states most active and happening clubs is named German Toyz. Now, I will admit…I have a few amazing friends within this group so while I may appear to be non-bias…..I’m not (Sup Jon?!! Sup Kris and Sonja?!!) see?
Doug and Faith have a pretty clean car. First meeting. Fun Folk!
Local Legend “John Clevenger Insurance” greets Michelle. He knows when to hold’em and when to fold’em….just sayin. :)
Anyway the German Toyz Club had about 8 members drive down to Tucson to attend a benefit show for a little girl that is suffering the effects of leukemia. (There’s some of that god people I was talkin bout earlier.) The show was fun and I got a chance t go and just hang out with them. After the show they all rolled a few miles up the road to pay Chirco a personal visit.
Fortunately Chirco is open till 4pm on Saturdays and there was a break in our normal super busy Saturday aircooled vw parts selling action.
Gah!!! This is our new Facebook cover pic. Awesome!
There was much talking and shopping.
3 cool cats right there
We had a great time giving the club a tour of the whole place while teasing Joe Chirco about a few things, and also spending some time in the shop. It occurred to me that we are actually pretty lucky to have things like this happen on a regular basis. Our doors are always open to everybody, and especially open to cool groups like German Toyz.
Great visit from some great people.
Thank you guys for coming and down and letting Chirco be a part of your air-cooled weekend.
German Toyz Visits Chirco was last modified: February 27th, 2014 by Administrator
According to one my high school teachers, if being distracted was paid in gold…I’d be Midas. :)
I only say that because it really is amazing to think that the students of the AC3 class at Cienega High School in Vail, AZ, spent nearly 6 years putting together one of the nicest Ghias we have seen around these VW parts in a while.
One of our local enthusiasts is named Mike Keck. He’s kinda like a Swiss Army Knife of badassery. Great guy, coach, friend, and teacher. He started the AC3 program at the school. The idea was that the students would put together a VW every year. I’m talkin body off, if need be, and highly detailed vehicles. The initial projects were able to maintain that pace, but times change, and so do school district time requirements…so the AC3 Ghia project became a true test of will, and perseverance. These kids brought their “A” game though, and the result is this beautiful 1968 Karmann Ghia that made it’s debut at Chirco on January 11, 2014.
Naturally my first thought when I saw the Baja in the Chirco service center and the one piece Baja front-end was “Doddy-o-doe No Nose Job!”.
While the reference may escape some, the opportunity to snap a few quick pics and talk about what was going to take place was quite present.
Now…the one piece VW Baja Front End we carry sells for about $365. It is an oversized item so there is a handling fee applied. The one piece front end is one of those off road vw parts that can really make a difference in how your Baja looks…“tough”, “aggressive”, “slick”, “machismo”, and “unicorn” are words that come to mind. If you combine it with the Baja Bug double tube front bumper we carry, you will get looks and double looks everywhere you take your Baja.
The piece itself is well constructed fiberglass, but the installation does require a little finesse. Having some skill with a sawzall, jigsaw, a sander, and at least 4 – 10 fingers is helpful…oh..and as always proper safety equipment along with a buddy or 2 is a good thing. :)
The piece is made larger than what you need as we all know how over the years our air cooled VWs may not have perfect body lines as they have lived…I mean really lived. The fitment of the one piece front end requires you to mark and measure and cut it down to fit properly. I’m told if you just take your time and measure twice, cut once, you can do it. To be honest the 7 piece kit may be easier to fit, but the look you are after is a matter of opinion really. Chirco.com also carries a huge number of Baja accessories and other items to help enhance your car and take your cool to the next level.
If you have detailed questions about how to do this, give our shop guys a call, 1-800-955-9795, they are always willing to give advice. They aren’t big on hugs, but they really are very knowledgeable and they will point you in the right direction for sure.
VW Baja Bug One Piece Front-End Chirco.com Nose Job was last modified: January 9th, 2014 by Administrator
Kids shows of the 70s hooked me on Buggys. Speed Buggy, Wonder Bug, The Banana Split Show etc… Now I literally get to see and hang out with Dune Buggies every day!
Chirco.com seems to have a constant stream of aircooled Sand Rails as well as Buggies and Baja Bugs rolling through here. We thought it would be cool to start sharing a little more about what we work on all the time.
Now…this 2 seat Sand Rail is up first because it is actually owned by Joe Chirco. It is for sale and you can get it for a song. (Call 800-955-9795 speak to Joe.)
This Sand Rail is powered by a 2180cc Aircooled VW engine. It’s a bit larger than the engine kits we have listed on our site, but if you wanted us to build you one of these, we could easy peasy.