Antique bus show rolls into Blytheville

BLYTHEVILLE, AR – A unique exhibition rolled into Downtown Blytheville Thursday.

The Ghosts of Highway 61 Dixie Tour is going on at the Greyhound Terminal Bus Station at 109 N. 5th St. The exhibit features 60 rare, antique coach buses and motor home conversions.

Event organizer Tom McNally said he chose the location because of its historical significance.  The station is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.

"It's organized primarily for antique coaches that were built in the 40's and 50's," he said. "This is probably the largest gathering of antique buses ever to take place."

About 200 people registered for the event, including bus owners who have restored or converted various makes and models of American buses, and family and friends in tow.

Cassie Nesheim made the eight-hour trip from Illinois with her father and five-year-old daughter.

"My dad used to drive for Greyhound back in the 60's, and they had some buses here that were exactly what he drove back when I was a baby and little girl."

Nesheim says she remembers what traveling by bus used to be like. "You dressed up nice and you were on your best behavior, especially when your dad was the bus driver."

Tourists braved the rain to see the work of people like Mark Renner, a former tour and charter bus company owner who drove from Washington after finishing a 3-year restoration project on a 1947 Silverside coach bus.

Renner says he found the bus in an Arizona desert. "It had been basically sitting for almost 30 years," he said. "Buses kind of get in your blood. I actually own three vintage buses. It's just a hobby, just an insane hobby,"

Some on the tour view their buses as homes away from home, and others say their bus is a primary residence.

Al Anderson, a British Columbian man who brought his 1947 converted Greyhound said he and his wife prefer living on the road. "Because we (do missionary work) between here and Central America, it's just an easier way. Where ever you are is home. Everything that you need and your personal belongings are in one place."

The Ghosts of Highway 61 Dixie Tour runs through Saturday, April 6. Click here for more information about the tour.

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