We rolled in to East Ridge, Tennessee pretty late at night. It wasn’t hard to find the collection of VW’s, even in the dark. They were gathered in a gritty parking lot, camped in all manner of chaos. All of the campers awaiting the opening of Bug-A-Paluza 17 the next morning. We joined ranks and spent the night.
At sun-up we entered the show grounds and registered for the event. With 1800 miles between us and home, we figured we would win “furthest distance.”. As there were only a handful of Vanagons we thought we might win our category. We set up our show camp-site and talked to people all day long. A steady steam of curious folks came by to look at our rig and tell us about theirs.
We learned that this show typically has over 300 cars. This time the weather held it to 200. We learned that in nearby Knoxville there is a VW assembly plant that makes Passats and employees a large number of people. The VW plant will be sponsoring this show next year. We met good, kind people from all the states around there. We handed out cards and stickers and chatted until we were exhausted. Then we left for a campground at nearby Raccoon Mountain.
Later we learned that we did not win “furthest distance”. Someone came from Hawaii. We did not win in our class/category, Vanagon. Someone had a beautiful, original, pristine Vanagon that earned it. We did win first place for “Best Camp Site”. The trophy is in the mail.