The first annual VW Tortoise Run, an event celebrating the Volkswagen microbus, will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17, at the Rosaurs in Moscow, Idaho.
The event is being held by Glassphemy, the Pullman glassblowing and tobacco accessory shop, and will feature a nearly 70-mile caravan drive from Moscow, Idaho, to Elk River Campground. Overnight camping and a potluck featuring grilled sausages will follow.
Glassphemy owner Willow Falcon said the idea for the event came from Ronnie Chavez, a glassblower who rents studio space from the shop and owns a VW bus.
Falcon said VW rallies where people get together to enjoy each other’s experiences and company are fairly common, and after briefly discussing the idea with Chavez, they decided to try putting on their own rally.
“It’s called a tortoise run because of the nature of the bus,” Falcon said. “It’s a little bit slow, and it carries its home on its back, just like a tortoise” Falcon said.
Given her background and the nature of her store, Falcon said hosting a VW camp rally seemed appropriate.
“Our store is a really fun place with lots of art,” she said. “I grew up going to Grateful Dead concerts, and…I thought it would be cool to have a store that featured a lot of the stuff you’d get at festivals.”
Falcon also pointed out the connection between the Grateful Dead and VW tortoise runs, as the terrapin (a kind of turtle) is one of the band’s main symbols.
The van, which was first produced in 1950 by German auto-maker Volkswagen, became a symbol of the counterculture movement in the 1960s, causing some people to refer to the vehicle as a “hippie van.”
Falcon said she doesn’t know exactly why the microbus has become so iconic, but offered a few explanations.
“They’ve got a really charming image,” she said. “And, for a lot of people who are just a little bit mechanical, they’re pretty easy to keep going. And I think there’s a lot of charm in that—having something you can work on. And of course, if you can travel with your own lodging, there’s a romantic notion there.”
The caravan will meet at 11 a.m. the Moscow Rosauers located at 411 North Main Street and will depart at noon. Event participation is $30, and includes vehicle registration, camping fees and commemorative event t-shirt.
For more information, call Glassphemy at (509) 332-1971 or visit the shop located at 135 SE Kamiaken Street.