When I think back to September 2011, I realize how close my wife Susan and I came to missing one of the most fun weekends we've ever had. Without the "gentle" urging of Louis Brooks, one of the founding members and organizers of 2011 Manx on the Banx event, I would have ignored the very first east coast Manx Club event and missed the opportunity to meet Bruce and Winnie Meyers. When I finally relented, if for no other reason just to get Louis off my back, the race was then on to renew my Manx Club membership, borrow a trailer from a good friend, and make hotel reservations. We were heading to the Outer Banks of North Carolina (aka, OBX).
Since Susan and I decided to travel to the OBX a day early, I contacted Louis along the way and volunteered to help with any organizing/logistic issues that may surface during the event. Just after we arrived in Nags Head, we met both Louis and Vince (the other half of the MOTB duo) face-to-face. It's always fun to see if your mental image matches the actual people when you meet them for the first time. Additionally, the extra time allowed us to have dinner with Louis, Vince, Bruce, Winnie, Peter Borne and his wife Michelle (who were traveling with the Meyers). The intimate setting gave me the first hint that this was going to be a very special weekend indeed. Having never actually met Bruce Meyers, Susan and I were treated to first-hand buggy experiences and stories from a legitimate American icon, who also happened to be one of the most humble people I've ever met. Made my Top 10 life events!
As the parking lot for the event's registration site began to fill up with dune buggies of all makes, shapes and colors, it finally dawned on everyone that Louis and Vince had hit on something that had been missing here on the east coast; a First Class, organized event just for that funny looking little fiberglass car called a dune buggy. People came from Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, Montreal (Canada), Illinois, Ohio, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and probably a few other places that escaped my notice. We introduced ourselves to other buggy nuts that I've communicated back and forth with for years on various forum boards and web sites. "Check mental image versus actual........nope, not the same". We met some buggy celebrities (Vincent and France) and a real-life wedding crasher named Farmer John (see the Gallery photos at www.manxonthebanx.com). Overall, we got a chance to hang out with some of the most friendly and "unique" people you would ever like to know; kind of like that family reunion with all those distant relatives that you never really knew but were related to in some way.
The planned events went off without a hitch, except for the first few turns the cruising caravan took using the "usher system". Seems that we (that would be me) couldn't follow simple directions. After a minor adjustment by the organizers, we were back on track. We stopped for a number of great photo ops (Wright Brothers Memorial, Bodie Island Lighthouse, etc) and then on to one of the highlights of the event; the beach cruise on Corolla Beach. In addition to the beautiful ocean scenery, there were many wild horses on the beach posing for our buggy pictures. "Oh, look, a wedding on the beach. They really need a picture with the bride and groom in a buggy". Enter Farmer John. A perfect day was capped off with a dinner and fellowship on the beach around a blazing campfire.
The last gathering before everyone departed for home was breakfast at a local restaurant. The parking lot served as the perfect place to collect email and mailing addresses for all the new friends we (and everyone) made over the weekend.
The Fates smiled down on the inaugural east coast Manx Club Manx on the Banx event with perfect weather, great organization, and a wonderful group of buggy enthusiasts. Both Susan and I were moved so much that we decided to take a more active role in the 2012 Manx on the Banx. We planned to stay an extra day in the OBX which allowed us to talk at length with Vince about next year's event. We started to lay the plans out for a bigger and longer event less than 24 hours after the conclusion of the 2011 MOTB. A Manx on the Banx web site (www.manxonthebanx.com) was born and will be used for advertising and reminiscing about this wonderful Manx Club gather on the east coast. Visit the site often as the content is ever changing to include event plans, local information, and discounts offered for all attendees.
There is no doubt where Susan and I will be in October of 2012; the second annual Manx on the Banx. We hope to see you there!
East Coast Dune Buggies/eastcoastdunebuggies.com is in no way representing or affiliated with Volkswagen of America, or Volkswagen of Germany. Volkswagen, VW, and the VW logo are Trademarks of and owned by Volkswagen of America and Volkswagen AG.