January 14 2012

Burn Camp and Battle O’ the Bands 2010

Another duo of Awesomeness last year was the Walterdome High School Battle of Bands which supported Walter’s debut at Burn Camp.

On May 21st, The Battle of the Bands was an absolute blast with six high school bands competing for a Judge’s Prize as well as a People’s Choice Award.  Playing both originals and covers, the bands blew away the crowds with their skills and showmanship.  The vibe was brilliant and rocking as set after set of ambitious jamming took to the stage.  Ted Brown’s Mailbox took both awards but every band was a winner as far as Walter was concerned.

All the proceeds of the event went towards getting Walter to Burn Camp.  AZ Burn Camp is a retreat for kids who have suffered the trauma of a burn injury.  After cruising up to Prescott and taking a slooooow ride down 8 miles of dirt road into the woods, Walter arrived at the Burn Camp location.

Burn Camp occurred the week of June 13th in a secluded area of Prescott, Arizona.  Walter’s favorite musician Jeff Java jammed out some dulceth tunes around a campfire for the kids one evening and there were DJs on other evenings to help the group get funky.  During the days, Walter laid down a waterslide and propped up a dunk tank to help cool everyone down.  There were water gun sneak attacks (and full frontal assaults), Walter mister system running full throttle and of course the stereo was pumping pretty much constantly.

Big Kudos from Walter to the camp staff and fire fighters that donate their time to coordinating and running the amazing Burn Camp event

January 06 2012

A Year of Parades in Review, Walter Style

We fell off the wagon (the bus, perhaps?) regarding keeping you all apprised of what the Adventures of W(alter) including events from somewhere between December Aught ’10 to this very moment of your eyeballs crawling the digital sphere right…now!

We’re here now to recap some of what’s gone down, transpired, shone and inspired because we know you crave your W fix.  First:  WE LOVE A PARADE…

Let’s face it – 2010-11 was the year Walter cut loose and started showing his handsome face around the town and globe.  No, he’s no Kardashian media-tramp – our boy isn’t in it to be fawned at, although he doesn’t mind attention.  First came the Light Parade in December 2010 as an invitee of the Arizona Bus Club in this love affair with all things luminescent.  He’s not bragging, but Walter and the bus club drove off with the Mayor’s Award for burning up the darkness, cranking tunes, and forcing a smile onto the face of even the most devout Grinch.

Check out the AZ Bus Club Light Parade HERE.

Next we rolled onto the set of the Fiesta Bowl Parade 2011 (VIDEO) and turned the volume up to 11.  We were honored that Terry Ricketts, Chairman of the parade, decided to use Walter as his chariot for the parade and brought along his clan in full clown regalia.  Walter also carted along over 50 persons as the crowd waved and hooted.

Our final parade for the 2011 season was the Prada Del Sol, which historically is an animal/horse drawn parade.  In keeping with the spirit of being covered in hair, sweat, and a saddle, one of Walter’s dearest and oldest buddies – Naaaaattthhhhhhhaaaaaan WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRDDDDDDDDDD (said to the theme of Pigs In Space) – crafted some glory to don his crown: a GIANT set of horns.  Pug Bug took the lead in front, forecasting the braying of a bull through her speakers to announce the behemoth gently strutting behind.  And then our left horn kinda struck a tree…but without Malice, Mr. Lorax, so just chill out.  Luckily for the planet’s orbit the horn is hinged and swung free otherwise gravity was imperiled.  Nathan’s Horns O’ Plenty are a constant presence of pleasure to the W-Crew and will be mounted at the Dome.

More to come in a following post…Peace!

December 27 2011

Walter’s First Salon

For a long while we’ve been kicking around the peanut of having ongoing Salon sessions.  Salons are, historically, conversations sessions between a bunch thinkers/friends regarding a topic that is artistic, political, philosophical, et cetera.  Our time machine broke, so we’re just guessing on the et cetera part, but feel confident booze and stream of consciousness was involved throughout the centuries (Learn more about Salons); and the TedX Series of talks is relevant, although they’re not an immediate collaborative gathering.

So recently, Walter hosted the inaugural Salon session.  The gathering of super-duper persons convened to discuss a topic near and dear to our hearts…indeed, the conversation was about a heart – Walter’s heart.  If you guessed that Re-Powering Walter was the topic, then pat yourself on the back.  Now do it again.  Indeed, after Walter’s ‘heart-attack’ coming down the mountain in Jerome which blew a more than 7” inch hole in the side of his engine, the topic of re-powering our beloved bus has been the main concern of us all.  Even Obama called.  IMAGES ARE BELOW!

To this end, Walter gathered the following list of friends and thinkers that were quickly-become-friends to engage the topic and one another for a solution (funny hats were not worn in the making of this video.)

Kirk Strawn – self professed, yet easily agreed upon, luckiest boy in the world.

Rob Larsen – that guy who keeps bringing up “safety”.  And brilliant engineer.

Siggy Cordelier – resident Frenchmen, manager of Walter projects, and “body-man”.

Dave Roberson – Walter’s surgeon and Manager of Alternative Auto Care.

Jim[bo] Raines – Walter’s co-surgeon and mechanic at Alternative Auto Care.

Carol Roberson – Synergist and Walter Project Mama.

Martha Baker – Architect, dancer, artist, Halloween Fox.

Joel Dry – brings light into the darkness.  Co-owner of Optolum Lighting .

Clare Van Ausdale – the guy who asked the funny question and alternative energy mechanical genius with Stirling engines, solar, methane, and more.

Alex Kohli – Bassist and refuses to believe Jerry Garcia died, Emmy award-winning animator.

James Palazzolo – writer, Walter projects assistant and well-dressed pickle.

James Quaid – alternative energy guru, mechanic, and fool for the Nah‘rleans.

Mark Sanchez – videographer, tall tales and fire-faller-inner.

Ultimately, the Salon ended a bit early due to another engagement about beer.  However, we decided to go ahead with a transplant.  Walter’s new heart will consist of <here’s where I need the details from you>.

Keep an eye here for more Walter adventure stories and especially on Facebook where Big W posts lots of pictures and interesting news all the doo-dah-day.


January 18 2011

Walter’s Good Times at Buses By The Bridge, 2011

It was that time of year again this past weekend and Walter and the Tribe tore it down right proper with all the most excellent folk who attended Buses By the Bridge again.  We pulled into town on the redeye due to “Oversize Load” curfews that had us leaving Scottsdale at 530AM.  We set up camp with the few other Buses as the BBB staff set up their stage.  By Friday evening we were celebrating with the kids and kids-at-heart as the music jammed and dance party grooved.  For the most part the day was serene and full of great conversation with old friends as we tipped back a few on the blissful shores of Lake Havasu.

On Saturday the energy picked up as more buses arrived and wackiness kicked into gear.  For the morning, Walter chilled out as all the well wishers stopped by and chilled on his upper bamboo deck in the warming sun.  Music was played through Walter’s 50 speakers by DJ Stormy and the Light Boyz Brigade worked the lights to superb effect so that the dancers felt they were in a club by the bay.  Security Grrrlz kept all the visitors safe and generally looked after Walter’s well-being.  As Walter handed out 50 pounds of rare Chinese coins, the Tribe walked the grounds, chatting with all dynamite owners of the VW buses – we picked up some ultra-unique necklaces, some cool vintage VW bug toy cars, a few vintage postcards of VW’s in action, and just some undeniably great Karma from all the super-cool people.  Seeing some of you wearing your Walter shirts just blew our minds and made our cheeks ache with smiles that could not be stymied.

Around 9PM when the raffle ended, Darkness Dear Boy took the stage…or the ladders, and jammed for nearly two hours.  We received dozens of compliments from all the dancers and watchers who rocked out.  There are video and pictures, so we’ll work on getting links to those.  After that, it was chill time as Walter chilled by the fire for some great conversation into the wee hours of the evening.

Sunday morning saw us enjoying some amazing blueberry and banana pancakes a-la-Ricky, and then…THE BRIDGE KIDDO BUS TOUR!  We had a full load of over 50 (FIDDY!) of BBB’s younger campers that we took over the London Bridge as the town honked and waved (as did Walter).

It was such a great time, Walter wanted to thank you all for making him feel at home up in Havasu.  Next up, Prada Del Sol!  See all you great BBB folk next year.


October 18 2010

Walter is Making Headlines – Check Our New Article About Walter on AZCentral

Hey Walter Fans,  Just dropping a quick message that Walter is appearing in print on other sites than just this one.  On October 15th, freelance journalist Dolores Tropiano had an article about Walter placed on AZCentral.com.

It’s a cool piece describing what Walter’s like – inside and out, as well his overall spirit.  Thanks Dolores and AZCentral!

Check out Walter’s profile HERE.

Walter the World's Largest Volkswagen Bus

October 13 2010

All About Walter’s Journey to Burning Man 2010 – Yeah, It Ruled

Greetings to one and all. Since returning from Black Rock City, we’ve been at the Walter Dome vacuuming up the dust from the Playa, and now we’re ready to describe this year’s adventure at Burning Man. As always, the creative spirit of all the Burners was electrical (a wee bit more for Dr. Megavolt than most) and Walter had a blast breaking in his new lighting and sound system.

Walter the World's Largest Bus at Burning Man 2010

Walter loading onto trailer

Burning Man 2010 was Walter’s second year attending. He’s been through some significant transformational experiences since we went last, the most critical being his metamorphosis from a single cab to a 23 window bus! Kind of like human puberty, but with much more metal grinding. The new sound and light systems are extreme upgrades as well, but we’re going to get into details about both of those in some future posts. We did take the previous sound system and put it into PUG BUG, which you may have heard legends of panting and slobbering about.


Pug Bug (genus: Pugilicious) is a new addition to Tribe Walter. Give your applause to Charlotte, Jamie, Primo, Dave and his niece who all showered their love and creativity on Pug Bug to get her groomed and healthy for a romp on the playa. Her interior contains enough cozy room to seat 4 people and, as Pug Bug traveled around, she was exceptionally well received…especially from you pug fanatics out there. You people are wild about your dogs!


This year, Camp Walter hung with two other camps to form a triumvirate of joy, playfulness and co-habitation – the other camps were the world renowned VW Bus Camp and the charming Camp MiniMan. VW bus camp is the long standing established camp for all of us VW maniacs and we can’t give enough kudos to Gary Gibson for getting Camp Walter placed right next door. Camp Walter merged with another experienced camp, MiniMan, thanks to insiders, Ken and Charlie. Our three camps formed a fluid little village and Walter handed out plenty of sunset views, misting showers, and rides around the Playa.

Walter the Bus at Camp Walter Burning Man 2010

We had amazing neighbors including Doctor Megavolt with his enormous Tesla coil and the Skinny Kitty Tea House, the foundation of which is a mummified cat, replete with piano bar and aerialist shows.


So we drove Walter to something called the White Party one evening, turned off Walter’s sound system, and started to party. And much to our surprise so did Walter. Turns out that his crazy new light system has an ambient sound detector that not even the installer knew was there. As the music from the White Party thumped, Walter’s LEDs and lasers began to pulse, blink, flash, throb, quake, and some other wild behavior – all in rhythm with the music. At first we figured someone had spiked his drink, but he was just too damned coherent. We soon figured out what the scenario was and have learned that our dear boy has some wicked aural capabilities.

World's Largest Volkswagen Bus


Thankfully we never had expectations for just how much Walter could do, because at Burning Man he mutated into a Chapel. Now he has another first under his belt after Paige and Kurt from VW Bus Camp tied the knot up on top of Walter at sunset. Big Up to Annie for delivering the ministerial duties. After that, all enjoyed the fire dancing and then it was back to VW camp for the reception at the tiki lounge.


Walter and Pug Bug also took trips to the Kids Camp at Burning Man. All told, Walter ferried about 40 kids and parents from Kids Camp out to Center Camp. The kids took control of the misters to spray down all the Burners and an amazing dance party organically developed with Walter at the center.


We have to give a shout out to TinyTropolis just because it was such a cool part of Burning Man 2010. TinyTropolis was an art project where artists created dioramas inside of small boxes that were then placed out in the center of town for all the Burners to peek through peep holes to enjoy. They were all amazing and Tribe Walter kids, Emily, Madi, Charlotte, and Jasper created one of the best with the help of Rob.   The picture below shows the interior.


Patrick Moran www.morangallery.com started a painting at BM that includes Walter, so we’re providing the teaser trailer for it here. Soon enough the director’s cut will be unfurled and we’ll share it with all of you.

That’s it for now. Keep tuning in as we’ll be having updates on the Jerome Jamboree, sound system, and new lighting coming up in the next few weeks.

Burn baby, Burn…

May 28 2010

Walter Dome Doors

Have we mentioned yet that Walter has a home?  Don’t answer that, we already know – we have yet to blog about the Walter Dome, located at the historic ponderosa lumber in southwest Scottsdale.

Walter’s Dome just happens to have a pretty sweet entrance – and by pretty sweet we mean that the doors on Walter Dome are unlike anything else on the entire planet.  And so today’s post is a highlight about those doors and the amazing team of creative dudes that built them.  The team that built the doors for the Walter Dome includes: Rick Fawley, Brice Fawley (Weatherwize), Leland Fawley, Luis, Primo, Larry Greene of Coda Furniture Design & Fabrication, and Hogan.  Rick handled most of the finish work, Bryce designed the concept and oversaw the project, Leland put in the windows, Larry delivered a Herculean effort with the metal work, and Luis, Primo, and Hogan contributed to the wood work.

Bryce, Luis, Ricky, and Leland

Larry Greene at his workshop near Walter Dome

Larry Greene at his workshop near Walter Dome

With Walter being 13-foot 2-inches tall and 100 inches wide, he needs some serious clearance to come and go.  The story starts with some not-too-adequate roll up steel doors that neither fit with Walter’s unique personality, nor gave him the needed entry space.  So Bryce and Kirk talked about it and after trying to work with the existing doors, Bryce decided to take a tip from Walter and get creative.  What he came up with was the design of two 14-foot tall by 6 ½ inch wide doors made of Douglas Fir beams.  The absolute weight of the doors is a mystery for the ages, but Bryce safely guesses they’re at around 1 ton each.  In relation to the hinges (measuring 12 inches each), that is an amazing feat because each hinge is custom made, completely straight, and the pins slide in and out as if smothered in butter.  There is also a “Man Door” 8-foot high and 4-foot wide inside the left door for people to walk in and out

Walter Dome "Man Door"

Walter Dome "Man Door"

If you’re standing outside, you see two tremendous doors with beaded glass windows at about 9 foot up and two rather impressive door knobs.  The knobs are 5 inches in diameter, the plates are 3-foot high by 6-inches wide, and made from steel.  There is also a special key that Larry made with a W on the end. The plan for the doorknobs was to put them at the head level of an average adult male.  Why?  Because what age would you have been when a doorknob actually was at head level?  Somewhere around 3 to 5, right?  The point is that all things Walter related are supposed to bring out your inner child.  And the inside gear mechanisms get right to the point of making you feel young (that is, if you’re not already a kid, of course.)

Ricky inside the Walter Dome Doors

Ricky inside the Walter Dome Doors

If you’re inside the doors, you’ll see an inspiring and delightful display of metal working skill and playful genius, all courtesy of Larry.  Inside the Man Door you’ll locate a smoothly working locking mechanism made from bicycle gears for turning the mechanism and a knife used as a stopper, all of it tied together with a Rube Goldberg effect.  On the opposite side, Larry put in the world’s largest panic release button with a hot rod wheel attached for turning the top and bottom dead bolts.  The intricately crafted locking mechanism is an elaborate network of carved wood and steel pieces holding the spring assembly in place.

Walter Dome door with World's Largest Panic Release Button

Walter Dome door with World's Largest Panic Release Button

Walter Dome door with bicycle gear opening mechanism

Walter Dome door with bicycle gear opening mechanism

Finally, you need to protect all that glorious artisanship from the elements.  This is where Ricky came to the rescue and spent several weeks staining and glazing the doors in 4 separate passes to get just the right weathered look.  After that it was 3 coats of spar varnish, typically used on boats to help us get the look of giant doors on a barge…and Rick nailed it.

Overall, the doors took from late October 2009 to early January 2010 to completely finish.  You can come on down and check them out from the outside any day and when we’re inside partying or working, you can come and see the interior.  For now, you’ve got these pictures and we are gathering up all the construction photos we can find to throw onto the Flickr account for you to dig on.

May 21 2010

AZ Bus Club at Pavilions

Walter was at the Scottsdale Pavilions car show last weekend (near Indian Bend and 101) with the AZ Bus Club, representing the VW bus culture love.  We had an awesome time in the sun with all the great people who also share their cars and just generally chill out.

We also got to meet Bob Davidson who came the way from the west valley to join the fun.  Bob is an amazing photographer who takes lots and lots of pictures and that day he got a bunch of Walter basking by a palm tree – you can check them out below.  You can also check out more of Bob’s photos at Bobdavidsonphotography.com and Propellshops.com or check out his photostream at Flickr.com/oybay.  Thanks, Bob, for sending along these awesome photos of Walter – you definitely caught his spirit.

Walter at Pavilions car show

Walter at Pavilions car show

Walter at Pavilions car show #2

Walter at Pavilions car show #2

Walter at Pavilions car show #3

Walter at Pavilions car show #3

Walter at Pavilion car show #4

Walter at Pavilion car show #4

May 13 2010

Walter’s Interior Room

Just wanted to share this awesome cover from Popular Mechanics (also up on the Facebook page).  At least one of these campers was created in the 1970’s by Winnebago.  Walter has a very similar room, but much cozier right inside his beautiful boxy frame.  Just open the side doors, step up and in, and walk thru the door with articulate eyelid – voila!  The room used to be where the water tank sat (more details to come in a future post about that), but now it has a table, seats, and radio.  At night, the table pulls out and seats pull together for an restful nights sleep.

May 07 2010

Walter at Buses By the Bridge

Back in January we took Walter the World’s Largest Volkswagen Bus up the Busses by the Bridge extravaganza in Lake Havasu City. The Busses by the Bridge event was a great time with loads of friendly people celebrating the Volkswagen bus culture and generally chilling out. Walter made lots of friends – people were taking there picture with him, parking their Volkswagen busses next to him to compare, dancing up top, and climbing all over him asking questions…and we’d have it no other way. We want to give a big shout to Ronnie and the whole Busses on the Bridge crew who made us feel totally at home and gave Walter a spot up front.

While we were there in Lake Havasu City, we had a videographer with us who captured a bunch of footage of the Volkswagen bliss. Below is an video that splices together the days events. You can also check out the video on Walter’s very own YouTube channel.