1998 Mid-Atlantic Holiday Bus Fest
The early morning weather was ominous on this December day, with heavy rain falling for several hours. However, the good karma that is generated by VW owners helped abate the rains before the afternoon event. Once again, Tom and Michelle Forhan opened their home in Takoma Park, Maryland for fellow VW Bus and Vanagon owners. This is the 4th year in a row thay have hosted this event, and with the repeat visitors it gets better every year!
Note:Click on thumbnails for expanded images!
Our host, Tom Forhan, has added another Vanagon to his stable with the purchase of a 9-passenger model. It was recently repainted the original colors, and looks really sharp. What makes the 9-passenger model different from the usual 7-passenger model is the full-width bench seats in the front and the middle. With the end of the middle seat tilted forward, there is plenty of room for easy access to the rear seat. Looking at the picture to the right, you can also see the divider between the front and middle bench seats.
Of course, Tom's clean Westy Syncro was there, parked next to his *huge* garage. One of the reasons Tom bought the 9-passenger Vanagon was to avoid racking up daily commuting miles on the Syncro.
Michelle Forhan was a wonderful hostess and all-around good sport, letting us VW owners and enthusiasts track muddy footprints all over her home. Michelle baked up a batch of famous "splittie" cookies, which disappeared quickly. The 1998 model splittie cookie has evolved a bit since the 1996 splittie cookie, with both of them being quite delicious! It's not often that you can eat several busses in a single day without feeling too full! ;)
Larry and Avery Johnson were in attendance again this year with their Westy Syncro, after missing the 1997 event. I guess we shouldn't be too hard on them for missing last year, since they have to drive all the way down from Ontario, Canada! We spent some time checking out all of their VW and camping accessories. Did I mention the VW pajama bag?
Bob Brusick drove his 1969 Westy, leaving his 1971 Crew Cab at home. Bob started a juicy rumor this year, mentioning that he may want to sell his super-clean Crew Cab soon. I saw his Crew last year, and it is in excellent condition, with no rust! Be sure to check out the 1997 Mid-Atlantic Holiday Bus Fest to see some pictures!
Ron Salmon, owner of The Bus Depot, attended again this year with his wife Evon and young daughter Haley. Look closely and you may be able to read Ron's personalized license plate - " BUS DEPO ".
This is Doug Bensen's tan Westy. Last year, Doug's wife went into labor after the party, and their daughter was born the next day. This year, there were 3 Bensens at the party - the whole family. Glad you guys made it!
Here's a picture of Sonny and his Vanagon. Last year, Sonny enthralled us with his tales of replacing head gaskets. Another year has passed, with no leaks! This year, Sonny had his eye on a South African grille package for his van.
Speaking of front grilles, Karl Mullendore drove his Westy that is sporting a South African grille hidden under a bra. I was hoping for an clear shot of the grille, but Karl's Westy is not a very good nudist - the bra stayed on! Here's a closer shot so you can get an idea of the headlamp and driving light layout.
There was a pair of green bay window Westies on the street out front. The picture on the left includes the owner, Jeff. I'm not sure who owned the Westy shown in the picture to the right.
There was also a 1999 model Eurovan camper with a VR-6 engine. Alex picked it up just a few weeks back. The camper conversion was done by Winnebago, but is quite similar to the Westy conversions we are all used to. Looks like Winnebago hired a bunch of the Westfalia engineers to design this setup. Definitely worth a look if your local dealership gets one on the lot!
There were several other Vanagons and Busses at the Mid-Atlantic Holiday Bus Fest, but either escaped my camera or the pictures did not turn out well enough to post. Repeat attendees Rick Koeller, Steve Dolan and Pat Horrick were there, but are not pictured above. Sorry guys! Also, if you see you bus here and I misspelled or forgot your name, please E-mail me!
A new Bus-Fest tradition was born this year with the addition of an awards ceremony. Steve Dolan won the "Oldest Bus" prize, a model 1999 New Beetle Cabriolet. Alex won the "Newest Bus" prize, and received a model split-window Bus. Tom's neighbors won "Shortest Distance Traveled", for which they were awarded a 6" ruler. Larry and Avery Johnson had a chance at "Longest Distance Traveled" with a 800+ mile drive down from Ontario, but were disqualified when Tom Forhan learned that they had spent the previous night 40 miles away at Pat Horrick's. In light of the controversy that was brewing over that decision, the "Longest Distance Traveled" award was postponed until next year's event. Hopefully, the official "Mid-Atlantic Holiday Bus Fest Rules" book will be out before next year's event! ;)
Once again, Tom and Michelle, thanks so much for your hospitality!
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