Treffen nation

Vintage VWs drive from Canada, joined by others on trip to Mexican border

Treffen tour drivers and riders at the border
  • Treffen tour drivers and riders at the border
  • Image by Andre Toselli

A swarm of bugs and a bevy of buses — all air-cooled Volkswagens — pulled into Border Field State Park Sunday, August 10, to mark the end of the 2014 Treffen — a ten-day drive down State Route 1 from Canada to Mexico. It was the last stop for the trip that started in Blaine, Washington, on August 1.

"It was great, although I'm starting to lose track of the days," said Daryl Davis, a Campbell resident who drove his red VW bus up to Canada and then back down again. "Camping does that to you." As many as 200 and as few as 20 VWs drove stretches of the coastal highway on the trip.

"We had almost 40 cars with us when we met up with the San Diego Air Cooled VW Club folks, who invited other clubs to join in, in Oceanside," said driver and organizer Andre Toselli. “Eighty cars were waiting for us there in a Ralphs market parking lot! We all cruised down I-5 together, in a column that stretched out for several miles — our largest number of cruisers ever by far — to reach San Diego Air Cooled's annual BBQ, held this year at the J Street Marina."

Along the way, the wagen train stopped for barbecues, car shows, and get-togethers with air-cooled enthusiasts who weren't just along for the ride.

"We attended a car show in Portland, Oregon, and put on our own shows in Santa Cruz, Ventura, and Oxnard, before meeting up with the folks in San Diego," Toselli said. "Throughout our trip, we met and hung out with approximately 600 VWs….”

In Ventura, on August 8, the city blocked off downtown streets for a car show, with several hundred VWs in place. Dave Braun, of Airhead Parts, said that people came from all over — Indiana, Idaho, Texas, and Baja for the trip. One family came from New Zealand with their camper, he said. "Some people from San Diego drove all the way up to Canada and then all the way back."

The Treffen tour began 16 years ago, with a Karmann Ghia-only rally from San Francisco to Ventura, Braun said. It has grown to include all the air-cooled, from camper vans to Baja bugs.

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It all sounds like great fun. I learned to drive in a VW bug, and I owned three of them. In between there were a couple of those Type 3 VW's, a Squareback and a Fastback. My wife's first car was also a VW bug. It's been 35 years since I've driven one of those air-cooled, rear engined cars. And I wonder what it would be like to drive one again. Nah, nevahappen.

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