Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hippie Buses Forever!

About 20 years ago I had an old school bus converted into a motorhome. It was a 1962 Dodge bus that was a little taller than the usual school buses of the day. I had it for a couple of years and lived in it for several months. This evening I was indulging in a little bit of bus nostalgia and browsed the web for hippie bus photos. I found quite a few.

Hippie buses began in the 1960's and the tradition never went away. There are still people out there decorating buses in the '60's hippie style. The most famous bus was Furthur, the bus that Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters drove across the country. This journey was made famous in Tom Wolfe's book, "Electric Kool-aid Acid Test." The original bus is rotting away in a swamp on Ken Kesey's ranch in Oregon. In the late '80's they got their hands on another bus and Further II went on the road.

I knew a couple of people, in the '70's when I lived in Fullerton, California, who were bus nomads. One guy, Silverbear, would come by most years on his annual migration from somewhere in Oregon or Washington down to the desert of Arizona. His bus, "Patchs", got its picture in a 1979 book called Rolling Homes by Jane Lidz.  The book has been out of print for awhile and it has become a collector's item. I understand Patchs might be still on the road. Another friend, Arthur, converted a step van into his home, and I visited another guy who owned a school bus with a couple of VW buses welded on top.

People are still converting buses to motor homes and some of them paint them wildly. I have seen several of them at the Burning Man Festival over the last ten years and they still regularly appear at Rainbow Gatherings. I found a few websites that have collected photos of these. One of them has about 40 photos of colorfully painted Volkswagen buses. Another one has pictures of various hippie buses.

My Gypsy Caravan project is an extension of the love affair I have had with buses and do-it-yourself mobile living for over 30 years.


1987/4/10 said...
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aeonsbeyond said...