What its all about

What its all about

Monday, February 11, 2008

Road Trip



Greensboro - Savannah - Greensboro... in two days.
Drove down and the bus did great, kept the speedo between 55 and 63 depending on the hills. Hummed along in the right lane and only got bogged down with traffic when I got onto 77 in Charlotte. Left around 2 and got to my camp site around 9, Skidaway Island State park.

Spent a few minutes staring up at the stars, as back home they are hidden behind all the light pollution. Savannah's night sky is better than Greensboro. Unfolded the bed, unrolled a sleeping bag and passed out.

I woke up, sat up and looked out the window to see a palm tree. It was still pretty chilly, and I was looking forward to a hot shower... no such luck. After breakfast I headed out, exploring around 8... some other campers unzipped the fly on tents and gave signs of the disapproval of my rumbling about at early hours. Never did make it down to the water front!

Pulled up to the gate and deposited my 23 dollars... and went on to get lost! Pulled out and made a left taking the Spur 204 to the western end. I soon realized this wasn't a place for a bus with a piece of cardboard duct taped over the roof... and turned tail in search of Bill Todd's stash of Volkswagens. Soon enough I rolled down a little two lane road barely above sea level, with hanging moss and viney wild flowers on both sides. After a few passes I found the driveway and met Bill.

Great guy! He parts out VW's and has for years and years. The type that has forgotten more about cars than most of us will ever know. Back in the back was an orange baywindow with a fiberglass hightop... walking back was pretty cool. Old buses, bugs, ghias and square backs... fiberglass bodies, wheels and stacks of parts... its a places thats a little like heaven amongst the trees and pine needles.

Walking back and checking out how the top was attached was a little disheartening. It was attached with sheet metal screws that once had hex heads. They were rusted and no socket fit their heads... vice grips crumbled them. I started running extension cords and getting a drill ready, when Bill said, "hold on let me try something." Off he went and came back with a chisel and a hammer. With a quick rap of the hammer on each, the top was loose in minutes. Wow!

I had to make a run to go grab some ratchet straps, and found Home Depot in Savannah on that particular Saturday morning to be quite the place to be. I think everyone from the surrounding zip codes had the same idea!

Once back to the bus, I wasn't the only one standing around. Two guys from Ohio were there parts hunting and one from Washington state picking up a Vanagon... and me from North Carolina! Who knew the continental proportions of this place!

After sliding the top across to my bus, and strapping down the top it was time to go. Down the road I went, picking up I95 and crossing in to South Carolina in short order. It took some time to get used to the different road handling with the top, but the throttle position was about the same for highway cruising!

Left around noon and got back at 8. Determined that the bus needs new seat cushions and heat! Cruise control may be in the cards as well... my right leg was set to 55 till the next day! Grin.

2 comments:

r said...

I'm diggin' the the high top. Have you checked the standing head room yet?

static said...

Maupin beckons.

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.