Conspicuously missing at Buses by the Bridge this year was our Matron Saint of Vanagons, Bev. After retiring at the age of 62, Bev began traveling and camping in a station wagon. Before long, she discovered Vanagon Westfalia camping and her love affair with these vehicles and the lifestyle they provide began.
Bev’s first bus, Blue, took her on many adventures, and provided a freedom that she thrived on. After several years, Blue was getting a bit long in the tooth and needed major repairs. With assistance from friends, she was able to acquire Blue II, which was in great shape and gave her many more opportunities for travel. Bev faced many challenges during her travels, including a number of needed repairs as most Vanagon owners can understand. She even camped in a tent alongside a repair shop on at least one occasion.
More and more people came to know Bev, through both her association with the “Wet Westies – A Pacific Northwest Camping Society” and her travels to the Southwest. At Westy gatherings large and small, the topic of travel and particularly notable travelers would arise. Inevitably Bev’s name would enter the conversation and people would remark “I know Bev” and experiences regarding her would be shared. After several of these exchanges, Lar decided to create and distribute the “I Know Bev” sticker – free to anyone who knew Bev and requested one. Much to her chagrin, an “I Am Bev” sticker was applied to her bus. This was reapplied on more than one occasion as the stickers always managed to disappear.
Typically, during the winter months, Bev would head south through California, Arizona, Nevada and other warmer climes. Southern desert environments were her preference. She made the trip to Buses by the Bridge on many occasions and was considered a regular at that event. The “I Know Bev” contingent was well represented at this years BBB.
After last year’s BBB, Bev made the long drive back to her home in Oregon. Now in her late seventies, Bev came to the realization that, due to health issues, Westy camping and long drives were no longer practical. However, Bev’s presence will always be with so many of us around our campfires for as long as we travel in our Westys. Bev, we love you for the inspiration and motivation you have given to all of us who love these crazy vehicles.