Tales of a 21st Century Gypsy

June 12, 2006. BusFusion

I left my sister’s to head into Canada, knowing I wouldn’t be back in the US for several months. Since my decision to move back to my house, work options had materialized, and I was heading to Mongolia right after BusFusion. I’d had dreams of getting to the Bay of Fundy, Newfoundland, St. Pierre et Miquelon, and Labrador for ages. So after Mongolia I had plans to head east across Canada, as far as I could go. Canada isn’t very different from the US, but still it felt strange to know I wouldn’t be in my own country – back home - for months.

BusFusion was good. The weather was awful, cold and raining. But the people were warm and welcoming. When it got too miserable we put on the heat in our vans and retired inside to chatter in crowded warmth.

Almonte, where BusFusion is held, is an old mill town on the other Mississippi River, a rushing torrent that once powered the manufacture of textiles. BusFusion is held in conjunction with another event, ArtsFusion. So the whole town was in a pleasant state of festival, despite the dripping trees and gleaming sidewalks.

And they were enthusiastic about us. Someone persuaded the shop owners throughout the “historic downtown” to let them paint VWs on their windows, and the colorful painted buses were dripping in the rain and running down the windows all along the main street. It was a nice small-town street – a bakery and sweet shop with good coffee, a book shop where I acquired yet more reading material to clutter my van, a health food store, tow “antique” stores selling mostly bits of junk, a gift shop with a display of paintings by young folks from the area, a bar with musicians playing as part of the arts festival. From the short boardwalk that ran along the river and under a bridge, the view of the river in the rain was dramatic.

The next week, the wetwesties listserv got off on a haiku tangent for no good reason. One of the list members, William Thompson, thought this wasn’t so good, so he opined,

senseless syllables
limiting conversation
curtailing camping

To which I replied,

Not at all! My van
Is happiest in haiku.
She has told me so.

When we were at Bus
Fusion, we both met many
Nice people and vans

Though it was very cold
And though rain fell all day long
The people were great.

Vanagonauts are
The best in any weather,
In Canada too.

Poor Greg, his red bus
Lost its clutch on the way in.
But he and his dad

Pushed it in the shed,
Out of the rain and the wind.
So they could fix it.

From his own workshop
Frank brought them tools and found them
Parts and some hardware.

Greg slid underneath
The bus - I have the photos
To prove it, in fact.

And in a few hours
It was working fine again
And they drove it out.

The shed was empty
In time for the big raffle
While we ate breakfast.

I didn't win much
But that was fine, there is no
Space in Matilda.

For Vanagon parts
Or even for new t-shirts.
I don't need a thing.

In town, in Almonte
Vanagons were painted on
All the shop windows.

In the rain they ran,
Weeping colors dripping down
From vans and buses.

Still, the townspeople
Were happy that we were there,
With our lovely vans.

The last afternoon
The sun came out of the clouds
As we all drove home.

p.s. Do you get the sense
I don't want to do the work
I should do today?

Continue to the next entry - Mongolia!

Return home.

Unless otherwise indicated, all text and photos
on this site © Joy E. Hecht.

I don't know who took my camera to snap this picture! That's me on the left, then Frank Condelli, then Benoit Huot, better known in the vanagon community as Benny Boy. He wasn't awake.