What its all about

What its all about

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Beach trip!

Early this week the bus and I made a mad dash down to the coast for a check of the boat. She still floats...

The bus ran great most of the way down, until the drivers side rear axle nut started backing off. Generally I keep this monster 1 13/16ths socket in my tool bag, but forgot it this trip... murphys law. Ended up pulling in to a parking lot outside Clayton, NC to jack her up and diagnose the squeeking noise right as she started rolling. When I set her down to hunt for a socket, I noticed that both Sears and Fastenal were a few doors down! (Neither had the tool, but how often do you break down that close to potential...)

I ended up pulling into Car Quest back tracking a mile or so and the fellow behind the counter was a fellow VW nut, lending me the socket and 3/4 inch ratchet to tighten her up. Thanks Peter!

It was windy... the high top is not much different from the pop top until the wind is on the nose. One big gust slowed me down a few miles an hour! I might be going nuts, but the big trucks seem not to knock her around as bad... who knows!

New seats are a topic of discussion, at the moment I'm thinking about going with a set of Vanagon seats... though since mine is a '71 it will require welding in new tracks. The stock well worn seats leave a lot to be desired, leaving some waffle print cheeks. The splash pan under the pedals that I bought down in Georgia will be installed this week. Currently she lacks the little belows around the clutch and brake pedal as well, so on the drive home when the temp dropped from the 60's to the 30's I made a mental note to remove the "Crotch A/C."

The ancient Sasanyo radio continues to amaze. It picked up 100.7 "The River" just out side of Newbern and carried the signal all the way to Raleigh... and 101.1, the best Jazz in North Carolina from Raleigh to Greensboro. I've got it hooked up to a cheap "hideaway" type antenna thats tucked up under the dash. When she gets repainted the outside antenna is getting frenched along with the shore power hooked.

The VW Bus

The VW bus as a daily driver.
Forget... forever onward what you consider the definition of transportation.

You are about to journey down the path of enlightenment, and learn the curious nature and language of a mechanical being. The Volkswagen is a peculiar beast, fed a steady diet of oil and gasoline it will move slowly from place to place.

Buses mark their spot. They pee on you when you least expect it. Like a foreign customs agent, it takes time to figure out where they want the grease. They take a little tweak here and there, when something not quite right they tell you if you listen.

When you hop behind the wheel of a bus you've got the best seat, as you'll soon experience she's a low flying slow air plane. Flying high enough off the ground to do an oil change, swap master cylinders, and cv joints without jack stands. Head and tail winds effect speed over ground, your steering wheel at speed is more for yaw, in the end she goes where she wants, or doesn't.

Buy her quality parts, or she'll spit them back at you. Your bus is half truck and half home; sometimes a magic carpet to distant places… other times a squatter. Wandering down the road with a smile on her face, the grins and thumbs up from those on the same path make her day. If you wish to show off your wrenching skills, she'll humble you. Trust her, lover her... and she'll be one happy camper.

You've got to love her deep down or she'll leave you stranded, half the battle is the will to keep her on the road. If you don't think she will, she'll know it... scratch her rattles, lube her squeaks. Never forget she’s an aging mistress; her joints aren't what they once were... if its cold it takes a little bit longer to get motivated. One day you will too.

You've had your fair warning. Spend your time cuddling and she'll fire up when you need her, but if you've got other projects you've got to give an offering. When she humbles you, give a prayer to the gods of speed and give the bus in question a shot of oil. Mostly problems come from not driving her, buses get sad… some more than others, and if you don’t drive them they question your love. Miles are the VW anti-depressant.

Give her a pat on the dash and thank her for the trip at the end of the day.