TedFest was the brain child of a late night Chat room discussion. Teddy Bear is an old school cat who lives in Cincinnati Ohio, and has been around for a long time in the VW community. He’s been in the online community since the Type 2 List was all there was.
Online communities have taken on a different shape with Facebook, and blogs like this one. Time was that everyone would email each other questions about things, and 10 people would reply. This was how Type 2 List started, and Ted was a part of it. He still has a stack of email’s he printed out with good advice.
I met Ted on The Samba. Ted could always be found in the chat room, and he made idle time go faster. When I “Met” him at Everybus, we hit it off and hung out all weekend. Ted was selling Goldie, his mint 71 Westy, and was fairly somber about it. I had a good time having him show me around Everybus.
Last fall, I am on Samba Chat, and Ted starts tell me about the series of health problems he has coming. Heart surgery, possibly cancer, none of it good. He had also purchased a bug, and all these issues were complicating his hobby. Time passes…
Back to Chat in January, post surgery, Ted mentions he has a car load of old VW magazines he wants to get rid of. I have no interest, but one of the other online guys does. A weekend is established to drive from his home in Missouri to Cinci to get the magazines, and a moment of brilliance occurs.
“I need to come down too Ted”
“OK, everyone’s welcome” I don’t know if he really meant it or not, but it only takes one offer for most of us to drive hundreds of miles to sit on some guys couch for a weekend, so TedFest is born. I’d like to take credit for the name.
So my first road trip for 2009 is on…
The route includes one stop; Ed. Ed is a guy just about my age, who I met at Type 3 Invasion 2008. He is a career bachelor, and has an impressive collection of OG metal.
The plan for our trip is to take his newly acquired Porsche 911 Targa from Fort Wayne, Indiana, to Cincinnati.
This car is sweet in so many ways. I’m like Ferris Buhler in the passenger seat, except I am much older. 1973 Porsche’s were built for the sole purpose of creating money for Porsche’s racing operation. Way over built, they have a unique blend heavy quality construction, but light weight fast sports car feel to them. Everything about Porsche is logical. I am glad that Porsche logic can be found in VW’s.
I get to Ed’s place at about 2pm on Friday April 16. We had planned to get to Cinci by 4, so we are a little late. We take no time transferring my pack and tools to the small bonnet and we are off. Ed decides to take US 27 through the countryside of Indiana. On a day that breaks 80, it was a fabulous idea. The drive takes us through a series of innocent small towns in Mid-West America. A bank, a grocery store, an auto parts store, and an occasional Wal Mart. People milling about in each.
When we get into Ohio we are practically into Cincinnati. We call Ted at his office and he directs us in. The group of Fest attendees is really a collection of fringe type malcontents. Ted is a Jeweler, Russ is a retired engineer from Des Moines, Rob works on Point of Sale machines on Long Island, Dave is a Federal Employee in Missouri, then there is Ed (who makes drug test kits) and myself. After a tour of Ted’s shop we are all ready for dinner. Traveling long distances often become cause for a meal, and Ted suggests a buffet.
I am not a fan of the buffet concept. Your goal is to cram as much food in so that you feel you are getting your money’s worth. The restaurants goal is to keep you filled up with bread and cheap filler foods. Some where in the middle, you are done eating. It was a straight forward blue collar place. I had roast beef and water.
We head to Ted’s house. It’s a really nice place, in a quiet part of town. Ed and I are staying at a hotel, while the rest are shacking in various locations around the house (lord help his wife).
Friday night is a time for what we call “Live Chat”. See, every one of us talk numerous times a week. It’s like sitting at a bar without the alcohol or the tab. Tonight it is real time face to face, and pure bullshit. Ed’s pouring Jack and Cokes, Russ, Dave, Ted, and Rob no longer drink. I feel that I must keep Ed company to be polite.
I don’t recall getting to the hotel on Friday night, but the staff is less pleasant to me on Saturday morning, and Ed is wondering where the Porsche is. By 9:30, the Porsche arrives, followed by Dave in his Jetta arrive.
I, as a rule, eat healthy. I travel a lot, and don’t enjoy being fat, so I eat Oatmeal for breakfast as a general rule. The rest of this crew sees a road trip as a means to go “crazy”… This means one thing to them Cracker Barrel . Here is a chain that makes the portly feel right at home. All those filler foods I avoided at the buffet? That’s all they serve here. Pigs are contorted in so many ways in this place, I don’t think they can be called meat any longer. We wander through the gift shop of crap (who puts a gift shop in a comfort food restaurant?) to our table. Any time a career waitress sees 5 nit wits like us be seated in her section, experience tells her a couple of things; this isn’t a simple turn, and I will probably not enjoy myself. She proceeds with delivering a marginal experience. The disappointment comes when I go to order my staple at this place, and they are out of it. How can a restaurant with this much hick in it be out of oatmeal?! I get french toast, without fruit, or whipped cream or cheese or bacon or other unnecessary things. We mail a signed menu to our friend Jon as always, this time certified mail.
I enjoy taking advantage of hospitality as much as the next guy, but Ted has been recently sick. Unbeknownounced to him, the rest of us planned to help him get his project back on track. He needed his engine pulled, and some light body work completed. The one thing everyone there knows is VW’s. We push the bug out of the garage. The engine is out in 22 minutes and stripped down in another 15. The fenders, nerf bars and other things that need addressing come out in a matter of 45 minutes.
All and all a rather productive Saturday. The rest of the day was excellent. Ted pulls out steaks, I manage to find some Bell’s Brown Ale at a beer store and we sit around and shoot the bull some more and look at all of Ted’s stuff. Dave loads all his magazines (the real reason for this endeavor least we forget). Ed and I leave at 11pm with Russ asleep in a chair, Dave already in bed, and Rob playing with his laptop.
Sunday finds us in a nice Omelette Shop, and on to the road home to Fort Wayne and finally Traverse City (with a visit at Brian’s place, but that is another story).
This hobby is something I have enjoyed growing into. 4 years ago I knew how to change oil and fill the gas tank. Now I can do almost anything (not always perfectly). The people who own VW’s are a breed apart I am learning. There is a common glue. I like hanging out with the old guys like Russ and Ted. There is a mutual respect for a common passion. I know if these people lived in my town, I probably would have the privilege to get to know them like I do. As I journey on the death side of 40, this has become a pleasant escape for me away from the social politics and daily reminders and confinement that a small town offers. I can wait until I am on the road again, and next time I will be in my completed Westy 😉