View original topic: RMW Open House weekend Page: Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next
msinabottle Mon Sep 15, 2014 9:25 pm

Full post with interleaved pictures to follow, but the ones I took this year are all to be found at:

Hard proof of how lovely it was!


Gnarlodious Mon Sep 15, 2014 9:30 pm

It was cold as all gitout, but a lot of people, a lot of Vanagons, and everone was in a great mood!

highaltidude Tue Sep 16, 2014 8:11 pm

I tried RSVPing to this via the RMW site per the posted instructions.....
As this would be my first time, I asked for some sort of confirmation, and asked what time to arrive..... I never received any reply, and so didn't go....
Did I do something wrong????


Gnarlodious Tue Sep 16, 2014 9:31 pm

You could have just showed up. The RSVP was to guess how many meals to serve.

Birdcage Wed Sep 17, 2014 1:21 pm

highaltidude wrote: I tried RSVPing to this via the RMW site per the posted instructions.....
As this would be my first time, I asked for some sort of confirmation, and asked what time to arrive..... I never received any reply, and so didn't go....
Did I do something wrong????


You did nothing wrong, I did exactly the same and got the same response.

msinabottle Sat Oct 04, 2014 8:59 pm

Well, I would say it was as pleasant a gathering as we have yet had, and, yet again, I repeat my thanks to the Bros. LaBate for their hospitality and generosity to us all.

Having had a dreadful time getting out of Denver the year before, I left earlier Friday afternoon for Fort Collins and had a dreadful time.


I-25 Northbound has two horrid areas of construction and so I got into two absolutely ghastly traffic jams in which I got to experience, again and again, the delights of driving a manual fully-laden Westy in bumper-to-bumper traffic, uphill the second time. We made it. After an hour.

I got there early enough to do my usual ghastly job of parking Winston in the Mr. Mechanic/Rocky Mountain Westy lot, and they kept coming... and coming... and coming. I counted as many as 37 vans, and some would leave, and others would take their places.

Things were a bit more formal than they'd been--I at least had had no trouble in submitting an RSVanP and had gotten an answer--we received a can holder, a raffle ticket, and a meal ticket as each of us checked into the office upon arrival. Mike had hired a local catering company to give us, for free, our choice of meals.

No complaints about the generosity or the intent, but they took forever and I didn't find my pulled pork sandwich that good and I remained rather hungry, which was okay, as I'm trying to keep my weight down. They also took a REALLY long time. NOT complaining, but input is usually welcome when one reviews an event.

Gnarlodious was one of the more interesting guests, we chatted a bit, and a lot of the visitors--and there were a great many from the previous gatherings, it really is that delightful an experience--were frankly amazed at the neat layout of her air-cooled van and its beautiful two-tone paint job. It was fun to meet a Sambanista in the flesh, and she was very pleasant.

Another celebrity guest was a truly beautiful Syncro DOKA, that got a LOT of admiring attention that weekend. It was a truly beautiful machine, and we were all pretty impressed at the campground at the combination of the bed cover and tent in which its fortunate occupants kept us in our Wesfalias company.

I should mention that the weather was cold, cloudy, and threatening rain, we only got a little, but people stayed cheerful and friendly and admired everyone else's machines. As night fell, the staff held the lottery--I got skunked--and they served a very good RMW sheet cake that was a lovely end to activities in Fort Collins.

As I told Mike, who was glad to see me and the rest of us, I had slept three times in that Parking Lot and was ready for a change. Joe, the Shop Manager, was planning as they'd mentioned in the RSVP response to lead a convoy up into the Cache Le Poudre Canyon. I admit to being a bit nervous about that--I'd never driven that narrow, twisting road at night, and with age comes a certain loss of night vision.


The Convoy formed up--I found myself behind Gnarlodious, at first, whom I knew was heading down to Denver to visit her sister, so that wouldn't do, and then I was behind a van from way out of state, but finally I saw someone I knew was local, going to the campsite, and pulling out, and Winston and I stuck to his bumper like glue. That is sometimes a difficult task around Zeteks and Vanaru conversions, but Winston's stock 1.9 proved up to the task, as did those magnificent Hella H4s I'd installed into Winston's round eye sockets. Once my eyes had fully adjusted, the drive went quite well, even though we drove over unlined sections of asphalt where the fire from two years before and the flood of last year had required new pavement.


We were also twice treated to the delightful spectacle of a vehicle coming up from behind 'Tail-End Charlie' and rushing forward to pass the Vanagon... Only to find in front of it... Another Vanagon. And another. And another. And another. And another...


We made it up to the Mountain Park campground, the name of which I committed to memory, and that proved to be a good thing when the lead van in our bit of the convoy wasn't sure that was it and overshot the entrance. It IS a bit easy to miss!

Particularly in near total darkness. I was able to shout confirmation of our destination from Winston. Joe and Mike had thoughtfully strewn Rocky Mountain Westy paraphernalia all over the section of the campground they'd reserved for us, I found a place and we all doubled and tripled up as fast as we pulled in. The ability to do that in a campground because of the Westy's small footprint is an oft-overlooked plus.

It was getting colder. I tried to help the later arrivals by guiding them into spots still open, incidentally feeling vindicated in my decision to buy a 240 lumen pocket flashlight!


When they quite coming in, I hit the proverbial hay. On Friday night it got down to 35 degrees. I awoke for a bit in the comfort of Winston's lower berth to find my mustache encrusted with frost and not minding it at all. I love sleeping in cold weather and had come prepared with a wool watch cap and a quilt over my sleeping bag. That's the thing in a Vanagon--you can be windproof and waterproof in seconds and you've got a certain amount of extra defenses against the caprices of weather.

My Dometic had stayed lit all the way from Ft. Collins and in fact all the way back down to Denver, I credit the gasket compound, and I had to turn it down. What's not quite adequate in 100+ degrees works pretty darn well from 35 to 70!

Morning found the campground filled with Vanagons of all descriptions and many pleasant people emerging to make friends and admire the assorted incarnations of VWs scattered around. There were also 'bread loaves' among us, whom we Vanagonauts went to great lengths to make feel welcome.

I went around and saw old friends and made new ones, for a while I read under a tree, talked with the many fascinating people there, admired new Vans and the bread loaves, and kept my camera busy.

It was a tiring summer, and rest and seeing people I'd missed was a priority--and the new arrivals were very nice indeed.

Winston was the subject of some respectful notice and kind remarks... Two people from the other part of the campground walked through, marveling at all the VWs, and I overheard one ask, 'Are they still making those?' She pointed at Winston. "I mean, that one's brand new!"


People fished, hiked, played games with children, who were holding bike races in the lot, I explored the lower campground, which had a large rec hall and a big playground, as well as other sites with electrical hook-ups. People lit fires, you could buy wood at the campground, and the general consensus was that this was what owning a VW camper was all about.

I hiked the river from the bridge to a sign saying 'No Further Hiking' and kept the camera busy as I did. Just to repeat, ALL my photos are here:

I admit to by this time having a rather special place in my heart for the Cache Le Poudre canyon, and at times keep thinking I need to just take Winston and bolt up there for a few days when I just need a break from it all. I think Winston agrees with that!


Saturday evening Joe summoned quite a few of us to his campsite, which had a lovely fire going and a huge pot of very good Chili con Carne and cornbread for all comers, and the company as night fell was cheerful and pleasantly conversational. Saturday night wasn't as cold as the night before, and people were in no particular hurry to leave the next morning, although we did have to be gone by 12. That was when I left, hoping to dodge the traffic in Denver centered around the Bronco game that Sunday.

That worked fairly well--I paused at a very nice rest area in between Fort Collins and Denver for necessary business, a can of Cherry RC, and some pictures, such as this one of Winston:

and this one of a Eurovan Westy I found parked in the front lot. That was an interesting business. Plugged into an outlet next to the phone in front of the rest stop was a deep cycle battery, which the owner explained he needed for his CPAP machine. I don't think that was the fellow in the VW, but I found it an interesting thought as Winston and I both got rid of fluid neither of us would need for the rest of the journey. Just to be clear--I emptied his water tank to save gas, good clean water that ran into the grass around the parking lot.

I missed the traffic around the Broncos game, partly due to my perfect timing and partly due to yet another hour in bumper to bumper traffic on a much hotter day due to, again, the construction on I-25. The good part was that the Dometic stayed lit all the way down again, it previously would blow out if I moved the van at all. One other nice discovery--I had topped off Winston's tank and, traffic jams and all, found that I got 23.25 MPG on this run.

All in all, well might Mike Labate, our kind and thoughtful host, look smug and himself relaxed at the overall success of the Rocky Mountain Westy 2014 Gathering and Camp-out!


djkeev Sun Oct 05, 2014 4:48 am

As always, a most wonderful report making me wish that I could be there!



zipster48 Sun Oct 05, 2014 12:05 pm

Thanks for the usual nice write up Rob, and thanks to Mike, Greg, and all the great RMW folks who help make this event happen. I only wish I could have stayed the whole time, already looking forward to next year!

highaltidude Sun Oct 05, 2014 1:40 pm

It would still help me out (maybe for next year?) if people would say what time they showed up.....

highaltidude Sun Oct 05, 2014 1:40 pm

It would still help me out (maybe for next year?) if people would say what time they showed up.....

oldhuldy67 Sun Oct 05, 2014 3:12 pm

Thanks,Winston! And your owner, for all your great contributions to the Samba!
John in GA

msinabottle Mon Sep 14, 2015 3:47 pm

The pictures I took this year may all be found and downloaded... HERE:

I'll do the full write up later, but I didn't want to keep you all waiting! A very good time was had by all, I here repeat my thanks and appreciation to Mike and Greg LaBate and his staff for efficiency, courtesy, generosity, and a really wonderful weekend surrounded by marvelous machines and their kindly, interesting owners. It was wonderful to see you all, and some of you, again.


msinabottle Tue Sep 15, 2015 10:19 pm

It really was a very lovely weekend. Mike and Greg and Joe always work so hard to make it a lovely, memorable weekend. And they did a superb job on it this time.

I planned and prepared carefully, and forgot a washcloth...


...but adapted a hand towel. Denver... Despite an earlier departure, got me once again. I got stuck in traffic for yet another miserable hour in a VERY hot weekend for mid-September, but I kept a good eye on the coolant level and rejoiced that the Brothers Blazer had caught my about-to-disintegrate coolant cap. If one is grim and can cope with the speeds necessary, one CAN keep the temperatures down.

The new muffler--one of 10centlife's, installed at my destination by Rocky Mountain Westy--is a huge success and asset. It allows the engine to move the vehicle VERY slowly, and VERY quickly. The slow part came in handy as the traffic crept over an overpass-to-merge, upon which I kept Winston in 1st and 2nd, and managed to spare and cool the clutch thereby. When I got to the top of the overpass, I coasted down.

Once... FINALLY... the traffic broke loose... I was hot, and frustrated, and just let Winston do his new thing. One drives a tuned exhaust by the sound, and the hum is JUST right and unmistakable when you have it spooled out correctly... and the results were... Pretty stunning. For the highway run from Denver to Fort Collins, I could hold Winston at 4200 RPM, with no increase of engine heat--and get...


Believe me, I checked! He wasn't breathing hard... the needle stayed right where it settled once I got out of Denver... and I was... passing people.


I'm still not used to that.

Upon finally arriving in Fort Collins, I found the parking lot rather altered from the last visit:

and Winston was the first arrival. They had to remove the pylons warning off trucks from the new asphalt. I was welcomed with open arms and my presents of a K&N Flag, stickers, and a hat for Greg were graciously received. I had said something nice about K&N on a radio show and the company was appreciative.

I had made something of an issue out of the food last time, which was a lovely way to repay their generosity... This year we had Famous Dave's barbecue brisket, pulled chicken, jalapeno macaroni and cheese and banana pudding--and a lot of it--this time. There was nothing about which to complain. All was delicious and generously supplied.

Turnout was good, and some very lovely vehicles begin to appear:

including some very dear friends, such as Ken and his wife and son; Cathay and her husband; Dan and Joe from South Dakota, and other people who'd come in past years. I should have followed Dan's wise example and headed up the Cache le Poudre canyon road while there was daylight, but we formed no convoy this year and just went out by driblets. Thank God and my father for Winston's Hella H4s. All right, I made ONE minor mistake, but eventually found myself once more at the beautiful, comfortable, Mountain Park campground in a space at which I have camped three times! Mike and Joe (who couldn't join us, this year) had gone up earlier and reserved enough for the RSVPs.

It is wearying to be doing the limit in a twisty canyon road in total darkness... and being flashed to pull over. I didn't. But, anyway...

I slept reasonably well, and this year, since I have taken so many pictures of Vanagon EXTERIORS at this gathering, I sought to take more INTERIOR shots. They are all at the link on the last post, but some of them were VERY nice. Ecce:



and perhaps...

As those there would attest to me saying, a lot, one of the best things about such gatherings are the chances to steal... er, learn... good ideas from the other attendees. I can note that Winston was the source of much interest, as were his neighbors.

Mike was very enthused about the RMW Shop Van's LED light bar, which he promised to demonstrate. He MIGHT have, or there might have been a lightning strike or I might have imagined it. He said it could light up the whole canyon:

I needed some rest and spent most of my time reading or taking these pictures... But everyone was lovely, and there were some wonderful vehicles and people nestled together in a beautiful setting.

Mike wasn't satisfied with feeding us just the one time, either, he laid out the leftover barbecue, a pot of chili, and other people contributed delicious victuals to a communal dinner Saturday night.

Still more people pulled in as we ate, among them, Allen, who has led an interesting life and who gave me complicated, but quite good directions for an interesting drive back:

With the help of his own experiences and a map atlas, the following morning Allen suggested that instead of backtracking down I-25 and still MORE Denver traffic--it was the Broncos opening day--I instead go back to Stove Prairie, thence to Masonville, from there toward Carter Lake, at Loveland which meant I had to turn toward Estes Park but instead turn again and go toward Berthoud, but not to go to Berthoud but to turn aside and make for Boulder, then Golden, then home...


and that I should always...


Given that I ended up driving through two different bicycle races, that was VERY good advice. I had to drive VERY SLOWLY through those, but Vanagons are good at that. I didn't hit anyone. One nice thing about the stock Vanagon horn, people tend not to react badly to a very short little blat of it from a distance when you are asking the bicyclists to share the road and to please notice that there is a truck coming quickly up the other lane...


I had felt timid, but then decided to be brave and risk what proved to be a very beautiful climb up QUITE steep hills, down into lovely verdant valleys, and very dry not so verdant valleys, and along tree-lined two lane highways and wide stretches of hot dry prairie. Winston was VERY good, and the muffler kept him going just fine, if slowly in spots.

I got lost at the Loveland turn (take Highway 29 TOWARD but not TO Estes Park) and when Table Mesa drive in Boulder did NOT turn into Highway 93 (Broadway does) but I was very glad I took Allen's advice and route. I just wish that I could have found places to stop and rest and that the temperature wasn't in the high 90s.


One at times rejoices that the stock 1.9 Wasseboxer is over-cooled.

If I read my trip-meter right, the drive was MUCH slower (three hours vs. one and a half IF YOU DISCOUNT THE TRAFFIC) but only ONE mile longer, and really on the whole a delightful experience. When I do it again, it will be cooler, the mountains won't be hidden behind smoke from the PNW fires; I will stop to rest and... other things...

Why do you have that old jelly jar next to the driver's seat?


and it will be even nicer. Mike and Allen's promises that it was beautiful country and that Winston could manage it were completely accurate.

It was the longest drive since the installation of the new muffler, which I describe HERE:

Winston's modified drive train was flawless, and it got tested on a lot more than highway speeds on that complicated drive back, and it all held up beautifully.

I did have my only malfunction as I washed my breakfast dishes Sunday morning. The hose connector on Winston's P-trap failed and drained a quart of water through my Sharp microwave.


Fortunately it wasn't on or plugged in, and almost immediately thereafter had several hours exposure to intense dry heat. I'm hoping it will be fine. I have already ordered the right angle drain advocated HERE:

and I years ago bought a replacement for the broken drain fitting at the other end. The drain hose appears to be coolant line, and I bought a right-angle bend which will also convert the 1" hose of the new drain's line to the 3/4" hose of the new drain hose I'll probably pick up at West Marine. The new bend will give the microwave more room, too, and protect it more.

Annoying and messy as all that was, it wasn't enough to ruin a delightful weekend surrounded by delightful people and their beautiful, faithful machines. Thanks to Chris/10centlife for his exhaust; the LaBates for their tremendous generosity and time, and the great crowd who made this year as memorable as any of the others.


msinabottle Wed Sep 16, 2015 1:25 pm

More than one set of people admired Winston's heavy louvered and meshed passenger and driver side front window screens, although they were also, rightly, admiring the combination windshield and side window cover my 'Next Door' neighbor Chuck's lady had made:

Assuan Brown was in fashion, last weekend. Anyway, they asked where I'd gotten mine, and, here's where:

and they're on sale, just now, hence my haste in posting this additional note.


Gnarlodious Wed Sep 16, 2015 4:20 pm

Thanks, Rob and Winston for an exhaustive review of Assuan Braun. Wish I was there to add to the color!

Birdcage Thu Aug 04, 2016 6:48 pm

Sept. 9-11

highaltidude Thu Sep 15, 2016 2:04 pm

About 35 Vanagons there for the 2016 event. A little different this year as we were all together in the group area instead of being spread out across several campsites. It was a lot easier to see the other Vanagons and to meet new people. RMW brought in Saturday night's dinner, way too much food.... :-)

Thanks Mike!!!!

I'm hoping Rob will post up some of the pics he took.....


msinabottle Thu Sep 15, 2016 4:29 pm

I will post many of them here and all where you can all see them. It was another lovely weekend... and an avalanche of work hit me when I got home after it.



msinabottle Sat Sep 16, 2017 9:07 pm

It took a... LONG time to crawl out from under that avalanche!


Here are the pictures from the 2016 RMW Camp Out. I put them on Photobucket to drain their bandwidth. I highly suggest an Ad-Blocker, for THEM, at least. Ecce:

The ads are a little less galling in 'Slideshow' mode, I'm told.

Here's the write-up I did last year right after THAT wonderful weekend:

I took Winston up I-25 early Friday the 9th at around 1 PM to try and avoid Denver traffic. I had been busy getting him ready over the earlier days of the week and filling his water tank to have an easier time making that early break for it. That strategy had a 25% success compared to last year. I only got caught for 45 minutes instead of an hour!

There was a nasty cold headwind, it bent his side-view mirror back despite the washer fix, although that held in anything BUT that rotten headwind. He ran well, 74 mph at 4200 RPM. When I got to Fort Collins, I stopped at Rocky Mountain Westy. Nothing was going on there, this year, so after greeting the staff still there I used their bathroom and water cooler and shot up the Cache le Poudre river canyon in daylight.

That is beautiful, but a very twisty drive, Winston kept acquiring followers who would roar past above the speed limit when I obligingly pulled over. It didn't leave me free to look too much at the scenery, but I saw enough to be moved by the beauty, and by Winston's drive train. I used Co-Pilot on my phone to find the right campground, Mountain Park. It worked well, and the Rocky Mountain Westy people had reserved the overflow parking area near the playground and lodge--at the most there were 29 VW vans parked in its lot.

A cold front was moving in on that wind, and we were on our own for dinner, so I took a few pictures and walked down to see 3 other vans further down in the campground. I had a can of Wal-Mart roast beef and two old hamburger buns. I seasoned up the meat and heated it, and made some fairly good French Dip Sandwiches! Then I sat next to a communal fire for a bit. That night I went to bed at 9 and woke up at 11. I had NO ambition--too tired from a very heavy Summer's workload. I got my camera set up, read a book on how to get the most out of the camera, which I realize I've had for eight years! Then I went out, talked Vanagons, took pictures--91 survivors--and puttered about.

I got some questions I'd had answered--I need some kind of clips to hold down the lower lip of my outdoor window trim, and that bumper people are making and selling is under the middle combing for the sliding door. I saw some neat modifications people had one and renewed old acquaintances...

Then we had dinner, I got a nice fire going in the lodge and chatted there and at the outdoor fire pit about nice places to go and see in your Van. Dinner was catered by Famous Dave's, which sent one determined and resourceful server 36 miles up the canyon. I made myself a mug of tea and came back to the indoor and outdoor fires. Stayed up 'til 10, went to bed, and slept 'til 8:30. We had to be out of there at 11.

I took some final final pictures, had breakfast, said some fond goodbyes, handed out my bookmarks, and left the campground exactly at 11. I had a beautiful scenic route programmed into Co-Pilot and it MOSTLY worked, I misunderstood one turn and went through the heart of Longmont, which was interesting, really, then missed a turn onto Baseline and had a 6 mile detour up and down the Boulder turnpike before I got on the more scenic and interesting Colorado 93.

I did drive past a little drift of deer--a fawn ran from Winston, the others just looked at him calmly, they were very beautiful as was most of the scenic route's drive home. Winston took the hills bravely and resolutely--and slowly. It got REALLY hot and I kept having to pull over and... go.It got REALLY hot and I kept having to pull over and... go.

Also, in the campground I found that Winston's STARTER battery was at only 40%. When I got home I had it tested at O'Reilly's, where I had bought the battery. The kid with the digital tool said my voltage regulator was bad and the battery was fine.

I'm wondering if it could be a parasitic drain, but my wiring hasn't changed at all, as far as I know. On the advice of a very brilliant electrical engineer who's given me LOT of good advice on Winston, I've ordered a new 14.5 voltage regulator and brush set for the Bosch alternator from Dave Barton's for $30. I am running two batteries on that alternator, alternately, through the Yandina.

I got Winston parked and cleaned out. Total distance was 227 miles.

2017 narrative to follow.


msinabottle Sat Sep 16, 2017 10:43 pm

All right, first, here are the pictures I took of the 2017 RMW Camp Out/Open House Weekend:

The reason I'm putting them on Photobucket is SPITE.


They want to turn WHAT THEY OFFERED AS a FREE service into gouging, all right, but what I can still use of that I'll use, with some vengeful malice. Anyone is welcome to post any of the VW photographs there anywhere they wish.

As it has always been, it was a lovely weekend, my sincere thanks to Mike Labate and Joe and the rest of the RMW Staff that generously made it so pleasant an event. The story is much like the one right above, but I'll mention the differences, most of 'em happy.

As we had a mess of smoke from the PNW fires, for which far more pity and concern than resentment, I took only my small Canon camera, for, correctly, there wasn't enough visibility for shots of the wonderful landscape of the Cache le Poudre canyon and points in between. I took pictures of people and vans.

Now, after finding my starter battery low, as I noted immediately above, I did go ahead and get that 14.5 volt voltage regulator and installed it on Winston's alternator, which I had tested at the local NAPA for bad bearings, etc. The test said the alternator was healthy and putting out 14+ volts. See HERE:

I also upgraded Winston's alternator harness with heavier gauge wire, as I had the cable to his starter. I had had other repairs to make... a low branch had broken my antenna, Van Cafe sent me a new, shorter, stronger one that the various videos made easy to install. Since the restoration, the antenna is now on the right/passenger side of the vehicle, perhaps why I didn't see the fatal branch, but still a good change. I also, as noted HERE:

finally installed those Go Westy plastic radiator baffles, which came in handy when, packed and leaving early, I AGAIN got caught in Denver Friday afternoon traffic. It was hot, but maybe the baffles helped him from getting too hot. He didn't. I admit to acquired skill with a manual in traffic.

At the last minute I decided to come UP the way I usually came DOWN, using I-25 north for only the first leg, then veering West by assorted dog legs until I'd come up in the canyon. Nothing going on at RMW, and I wanted to take I-25 BACK and avoid all those bicycle races in Boulder.


A disagreement with Google Maps about road names led to a quarrel with the lady on Co-Pilot which led to a jaunt through downtown Loveland, which I didn't mind, since, sincerely, Loveland is loveLY. Fortunately, I recognized road names and routes and trusted my feelings and destroyed the Death Sta...


...found the right road, and had a truly beautiful drive up... and up... and into the camp site, waving fond farewells to assorted vehicles as they finally lost patience with us and ROARED past Winston as he grimly forged his way up and down some fairly formidable grades and precipices. Thank heavens I finished the run before dark, it would have been... tense... Winston's Hella H4s notwithstanding.

Same overflow lot as 2016, many of the same, wonderful vans and people, I again had tinned roast beef, this time with nan saved from an Indian restaurant's dinner Thursday night. Parked Winston next to Greg 'Mr. Gas's' Assuan Brown conversion, Joe came up early in his ongoing Dodge conversion with gumbo, but I was already cooking my own meal when I heard about it. Had tea, walked around, looked and counted up vans (the highest number was 22) and went to bed. It's been a very draining year and I needed the rest, and break.

My electrical work functioned QUITE well, I'm glad to say, BOTH the AGM 'house' battery and Winston's large Lead-Acid starter battery read 13.8 volts at rest when I checked them upon arriving at Mountain Park. They were a bit lower than that when I got home, but it was much hotter, and the house battery, at least, had had some draw from Friday night through Sunday noon when I headed home, and, in fact, afterwards, I'd accidentally left Winston's fridge exterior fans switched on.

Slept in, sleep mask and ear plugs aiding against many happy, playful, LOUD children, and I did not begrudge the children their play and volume, I just coped with it. A family nearby had left their cooler outside of their van, and a bear who is apparently a regular at the Mountain Park campground took full advantage the first night, incidentally making a great case for sleeping within a metal box made in Germany.


SEVEN dogs in the camp, and the ONE TIME they DIDN'T bark was when the BEAR came through. WHAT DO WE PAY THEM FOR? And that WAS an issue when the bear came back the NEXT NIGHT and I needed to go to the bathroom and wasn't sure if he was out there.


For a fact, he was.


But since I am writing this, there were no close encounters of the ursine kind. Lovely waning moon, though.

Chatted at length with the people I knew the most well, chatted quite a bit with others, saw and photographed some lovely vans and a beautiful bay bus. Assuan Brown vans either tied with white or outnumbered all other colors, we had some coming and going. Various other vehicles drove through the lot to look at us, I suggested an 'engine inspection' checkpoint for the Subarus. I walked around and later watched Mike Labate play horseshoes and then read a good novel about a B-26 crew in WWII:

I left Winston open for viewing, acquiring many escape-challenged flies whom I eventually shooed out through opened screens, and a befuddled bumblebee, whom I trapped in a jam jar and released--carefully--outside Winston. I know that some people admired Winston's mods, including the new Tencentlife/Vanistan louvered slider window.

About that, I did something of a test of it on the run up and down. I had it closed on the way up, and listened for rattles. Didn't hear any, but there was a low 'hiss' as air found its way in via the Venturi Effect through the shutters. A very small addition to Winston's usual road noise.

On the way down the canyon, I drove with the flaps OPEN, as wide as I could, and got a not-unpleasant whistling as air raced around their edges--I never drive with Winston's jalousies open--and air seemed to be getting pulled through the van. I didn't need the air or the noise, minor though it was, so I closed 'em after Fort Collins. The louvered insert will be staying on Winston for the foreseeable.

Chatted a bit with Greg/Mr. GAS about gearbox maintenance. He said, from a pretty darned informed perspective, THAT changing the gearbox oil, and fairly often, was more important than WHAT you changed it with. The late and indeed lamented Daryl from AA Transaxle had told me in 2011 to use Swepco 210 in Winston, I still need to find a local source for that. But I need to do it, or get it done by someone with a lift. Jim Blazer said they'd put in whatever I brought them when I paid a social call to Blazer Automotive. I love VW people.

The catered Famous Dave's dinner and company throughout all lovely, stayed up late chatting with interesting people around the fire. All day Saturday I rested, slept, read, chatted, admired vans, appreciated all things Rocky Mountain Westy--earnestly--and was the last to leave mid-Sunday afternoon, reading yet more before an approaching thunderstorm loomed up and chased me down the canyon and all the way home.

Drove past RMW, tooted a salute, Winston purred along with the tuned exhaust and ran VERY well. Rested for almost an hour at a nice rest stop just South of Fort Collins, avoided the bicycle races in Boulder and the Broncos traffic in Denver since, for a change, they were playing MONDAY night. I drank my Dr. Pepper shaded in Winston's 'parlor' and watched a man making stir-fry in an electric chafing dish plugged into a rest stop outlet.

Winston could hold 70 mph at about 5000 RPM, and when I got home he had about a quarter of a tank left after driving 216 miles.

It was a lovely weekend. Thank you, Mike and all there and involved at Rocky Mountain Westy.


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group