Loudenville, OH – July 2016 – Flxible Bus Gathering

As mentioned in a previous posting when we went to Loudenville for the melting ice sculpture festival, Flxible buses had been built there for a number of years. Many people have bought old buses and transformed them into RVs, the most famous being used in the Robin William movie RV. Once every two years a large group of them gather in Loudenville for a reunion.

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After a brief stop at Mohican State Park, we arrived in ‘downtown’ Loudenville, where we found a nice spot in the shade and waited the 30 minutes or so for the parade to start. The parade was lead off with a local police car, followed by a 1960s Hearse – then you saw them – 15 somewhat smelly, somewhat noisy, but beautiful, lumbering giants coming down the hill.

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Some of the exteriors were restored to look original to the 1950s or 1960s, but most had very decorative paint jobs. One, clearly a Texan, had an outline of the state painted like the flag with a comet sailing down the side to a porthole for the bathroom outlined with another large star. A field of stars adorned the bottom half of the bus. Most had unique named, like a purple bus called Plum Crazy, another was Ruthie.

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We sat next to some of the family members who had come in from all over the United States. They told us there was an open house immediately following the parade at the campgrounds just south of town where everyone was staying. So after the 15 minute parade we moved to the campgrounds where we enjoyed an hour of checking out the variety of interior finishes, as well as the very proud owners talking about their effort in their restorations. Most of the interiors appears to have been restored in the 1980s.

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Our return trip focused on staying on small township or state highways, resulting in a pleasing hour drive back to town. If you find yourself in Loudenville, Ohio in July of even numbered years, a visit to the Flxible Bus Gathering is recommended.

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Loudonville, OH – January 2016 – Winter Ice Carving Festival

The first full weekend of the year found us in the small town of Loudonville in northeastern Ohio. This small town is a popular tourist spot in the summer with canoeing, as well as a full service Ohio State Park Resort, Mohican.

For winter they now have a festival to pull in some tourist trade. This winter ice carving festival was to feature nearly 20 ice carvings but as I checked the weather forecast it called for unusually high temperatures in the mid 50s, so I thought if we were going to go we should go early since they might melt. How true that thought became.

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We arrived in town mid morning and did find a number of ice sculptures along Main Street along with a shed in the middle of their park where someone was still carving. It was disappointing that they were melting so fast, but it did add a surreal abstract effect to them.

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Having seen all of the sculptures we made our way to the town museum that highlighted two things; Charles Kettering and Flxible Buses. Kettering, a Loudonville native who was an engineer (186 patents) and businessman. He founded Delco and was in charge of GM research for 27 years, developing among other things the electric starter, leaded gasoline and Freon. Flxible built buses in Loudonville from 1913 to 1996, but they still have a loyal following who come to town once every two years for a gathering, including plans for summer 2016 – we will be there.

Overall a nice day but had the weather cooperated it could’ve been better. C’est la’vie.