The Buses

The Buses

By Pati Egan

You’re riding on the interstate and a large red & silver bus passes you.  Written on the side of the bus is Golden Frontier and on front of the bus is Ondessonk Frontier.  If you’re under 50 you are probably thinking “Camp owns buses?”

Photo by Nick Petz

If you are over 50, you’re probably thinking “I remember going to Camp (or a Frontier Trip) on that bus!  You were probably a Chicago or Springfield camper or staff member; or you were about to embark on a Frontier Trip to the Bahama’s, the Rockies, or River Rafting in Utah.

Ondessonk The Buses 7
Frontier Campers

I have a feeling this is an end of summer picture.  Notice there are 3 busses.  Two went to Chicago and one went from Fairview Heights, Ill., to Springfield and a few places in between Camp & Springfield. 

Silver Frontier was a program for adults during the non-camping months. The program branched off from Camp Ondessonk in the mid 80s to become Catholic Shrine Pilgrimages. Camp sold the buses to this group. 

The buses turn up in the most unusual places.  You can usually spot them around the Metro East area. 

Or at inspection in the early 80″s

One of the more famous buses – Chicken Lettuce.  When the buses arrived at or departed from Camp, all traffic on the camp road had to be cleared out.  The road couldn’t handle the bus and other traffic.

Photo by Nick Petz

The buses are now gone, but every once in a while, you’ll see one in passing.  If you do see one yell “Hey Chicken Lettuce.”  The bus just might give you a Howdie back.  Howdie was another bus that has entered into Ondessonk’s legend and lore.

Click here to learn more about Camp Ondessonk’s History.


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