View original topic: 8k+ miles of bussing and smiles - now with more of each! Page: 1, 2, 3 ... 32, 33, 34  Next
asiab3 Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:33 am

What an amazing journey. As I was about to pick up a $200 barely running project to work on with my uncle, I met my perfect match here in the classifieds (for a bit more money :wink: ). Boy I'm glad I went with this bus. 2800 miles later in 'Buddy' this summer, I think the last 8 weeks have been some of the best in my life. Out of the last two months, I have spent less than a week at home or sleeping inside.

After spending a few weeks getting to know him, (all maintenance posted in my other thread, I think,) I figure there would be no better time in my life to put my life on hold and enjoy what I have. I'm never going to be less busy, I'm never going to be in better shape, and I'm never going to graduate college again!

The first trip we made was up the California coast to Lake San Antonio, a family summer tradition since the late '50s. On the way up the 101, my girlfriend and I made every stop we could think of. This was where I really discovered that the scenic route is always the best route. First up was a local farm for fresh produce just north of L.A. After that we stopped by the Danish town Solvang for some œbleskivers (Danish pancake balls) and sausage. I'll skip the food pictures, but know that it tastes as nice as the town looks!

[Click on any pictures to see larger and more that didn't make it here!]

lake trip 2 by asiab3, on Flickr

(There was some obligatory oil adding before the Santa Suzana Pass, it was the first real hill I ever encountered, so I wanted to make sure Buddy was in tip-top shape!)

lake trip 3 by asiab3, on Flickr

Who could forget Ostrich Land, the only zoo in the world where people pay to do the zookeepers job! (If you're in this area, do feed the ostriches. You won't regret it!)

lake trip 4 by asiab3, on Flickr

Since the bus came with a McNally map from the early 70s, we thought it would be a fun idea to navigate using only that!


lake trip 6 by asiab3, on Flickr

We made friends with this EuroVan, who must have been having some heating issues. It was hitting the mid-90s by the time we got to the Cuesta grade, so we chilled in third gear in the truck lane. The kid in the passenger seat was wide-eyed as he passed us down the back side, waiving out the window on the way to their own adventure.

lake trip 7 by asiab3, on Flickr

11 hours later (I've done it in 4 with a truck/boat trailer, but never had this much fun…) and we made it! My family passed us with the Glamper, so we parked right in front of them.

lake trip 9 by asiab3, on Flickr

The lake was fun, but since Buddy wasn't about to go in the lake, there aren't any pictures of the bus from here. Again, I'll spare you all the food shots :wink:

Andersen's is another family staple… Who could resist the "travelers' special" of unlimited split-pea soup on the drive home?

lake trip 11 by asiab3, on Flickr

Another 11-hour drive, and we made it home without a hitch! Milage so far: 650/700 (GPS/odometer)

to be continued…

asiab3 Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:58 am

Next up was my adventure with Claudia, a French filmmaker who is doing a documentary for the BBC about the life of a 'Kombi'. We drove the Hollywood sign, Disney Concert Hall, Santa Monica Pier, and snap. Clutch cable went out.

Read all about it if you desire:

Earlier in the day:

bus 2 by asiab3, on Flickr

From there, a friend and I took a weekend to camp on the beach in San Onofre and go to Legoland California, where we used to have summer jobs. Since I couldn't really get any good shots of us picnicking in the parking lot, trust us that we were really there.

bus 3 by asiab3, on Flickr

Things I heard in the PARKING LOT at Legoland:
"Mommy that's a weird car!"
"What's up, Lennon!"
"Why are they camping here?"

Wasted youth Fri Aug 17, 2012 12:59 am

That kicks ass! I just spent three days with my son car camping around Truckee. I could not bring my new bus, (it's not been gone through yet), but all I could think about during our trip was how much more fun and easier it would be to camp with the bus.

I haven't had a bowl of split pea soup in years. Your sharing kicks my inspiration up a few clicks. Thanks!

I like the 1970's atlas problem, by the way 8)

asiab3 Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:21 am

Next up was a fishing trip to Mammoth/Lake Crowley/June Lake. As TomPowell (aloha!) knows, the Sherwin Grade can be a royal pain in a stock '69. I'm thankful that my PO had the foresight to put in a DP/doghouse cooler style block straight out of a '71. Cruising up the hill (8000') at about 40mph was no sweat for Buddy, but I did have to leave half an hour before my Dad (again in the Glamper) just so we could eat breakfast together at Tom's Place. The elevation power loss was more noticeable in the low RPM range, dipstick temps and overall power felt the same at around 3k rpm.

My family followed (patiently) behind for a few miles so they could get this shot. (Thanks dad, this is probably my favorite shot of Buddy ever.)

IMG_1213 - Version 2 by asiab3, on Flickr

This trip (for me) is what the bus is really about: Going hours without seeing another person, losing my breath to the views, and forgetting about the rest of life. There wasn't much that could have made me any happier this entire summer…

The next day my mom, Owen (9 month old labrador, yikes!) and I went in to Mammoth Village. Another 9000' summit with no trouble. Fun was had, and pictures were taken from my favorite spot as a child. (The elephant, DUH!)

IMG_1223 by asiab3, on Flickr

Feeling how well Buddy was doing, I was looking forward to the drive home. 7 more hours through the Mojave Desert would have been a walk in the park for Buddy, so I got this crazy idea to take 3 days and drive north, through Yosemite National Park, to my Aunt's, and back home. Three days later, after wrestling with some nice size trout in Lake Crowley, I convinced my mom to go with me to Yosemite. Sadly, Dad decided to take the dog, but we were still excited for the trip.

Going into the park from the east side, there is a Mobil station near the town of Lee Vining/Mono Lake. EAT AT THAT MOBIL STATION! Words can't describe the food there. Trust me on that one. Some sketchy second gear hills come soon after, and at this point it was too late to turn back. [If there is anywhere in the world that followers won't get mad for busses going an appropriate air-cooled speed, it's the National Parks.]

IMG_1258 by asiab3, on Flickr

Such a great decision to travel through the park! Highly recommended for those confident in their busses!

yosemitie valley overlook by asiab3, on Flickr

Spotted some oil coming out near the crank case breather hose, and I thought it was the intake boot clamp, since the EMPI clamps keep breaking on me. Again some more oil was added :)

obligatory oil adding by asiab3, on Flickr

Turns out I had a pin hole in the side of my oil bath air cleaner, which wasn't an issue until the tight mountain roads.

After hours at the visitors center, and many pictures later, my mom and I headed for Fresno to stay at my aunt's place. After begging my mom several times throughout the day to pick up a hitchhiker, she FINALLY let me pick up this single female with no luggage. Jessica turned out to be a biologist living in the park and gave us a GREAT (although short) tour of a few roads and waterfalls.

hitchhiker! by asiab3, on Flickr

I am a sucker for these pictures while killing time waiting for the perfect sunset shot over El Capitan!

busses only by asiab3, on Flickr

Got to my aunt's house, plastic welded the pin hole in the air cleaner, and took a great nap and had some great food! (perks of being on a farm, I guess!)

bus 4 by asiab3, on Flickr

Total milage so far: 2300, bus odometer. (about 2k)

Wasted youth Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:26 am

I think you mentioned temps stayed normal up over the hill from Lee Vining. What do you use to monitor air temp?

Your aunt farms peaches or nectarines?

asiab3 Fri Aug 17, 2012 1:40 am

I almost forgot the best part of the park! The video that my mom's camera does!

drober23 Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:01 am

Thank you for sharing! Things like this are a huge part of the payoff of the work we do on our busses.

curtis4085 Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:04 am

Thanks for sharing. Sounds like great memories are being made.

sped372 Fri Aug 17, 2012 6:21 am

2,800 in eight weeks? Sounds pretty leisurely! We did 3,750 in two weeks last year, I'd love to be able to take an eight week trip!

Thanks for sharing.

BumbleBus Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:30 am

Fun writeup dude thanks for sharing. Inspiring me to get my bay running healthier! My longest round trip to date is 102 miles. :lol:

sped372 Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:40 am

BumbleBus wrote: My longest round trip to date is 102 miles.
That's not a trip! A shakedown, maybe, but not a trip!

BumbleBus Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:01 am

sped372 wrote: That's not a trip! A shakedown, maybe, but not a trip!

:lol: Yeah, yeah... working on it believe me. My early '72 1.7 CB000076 needs a rebuild badly. Runs uber-hot, very poorly & not for very long at a stretch. And I'm broke. Standard bus pilot. 8)

asiab3 Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:19 pm

Wasted youth/adulthood wrote: I think you mentioned temps stayed normal up over the hill from Lee Vining. What do you use to monitor air temp?

Your aunt farms peaches or nectarines?

Air temp outside? My vent wings don't shut, so every couple of minutes I stick my hand out for 10 seconds. Same with the dipstick, when I got the bus I felt it every couple of miles. I don't know exact degrees, but I can feel trends and overall temp. I left Bishop at 6:30am when my dad's truck said it was 60F outside. I left Mammoth and got to Lee Vining when my phone said it was 80F in Lee Vining. Is that what you meant?

Peaches, plums and walnuts! Good eye!

asiab3 Fri Aug 17, 2012 3:21 pm

sped372 wrote: 2,800 in eight weeks? Sounds pretty leisurely! We did 3,750 in two weeks last year, I'd love to be able to take an eight week trip!

Thanks for sharing.

That sounds like quite the adventure! Most of my time spent this summer was camping or sight-seeing, so the emphasis wasn't on distance… I think there were a total of about 20 days where we drove more than around town, so 3 weeks. Not bad for the first time out :D

Wasted youth Fri Aug 17, 2012 11:04 pm

"Air temp..." More like Air Head on my part. I failed to notice you said you checked the dipstick temp.

I was curius because a month ago I read an interesting thread about opinions regarding an air temperature sender/guage set-up. Had something to do with the quality or reliability of the stated brand of instrument, and a minor disagreement about proper placement of the temp probe/thermocouple.

Glad you had a great time! THAT is what it's all about, right?!

Everytime I get pissed off at California and make plans to move, I stumble across threads like yours and am glad I live here. 8)

borninabus Sat Aug 18, 2012 8:25 am

so I assume I'll get a chance to meet buddy (& you) @ BBB in Havasu when january rolls around?

asiab3 Sat Aug 18, 2012 3:48 pm

borninabus wrote: so I assume I'll get a chance to meet buddy (& you) @ BBB in Havasu when january rolls around?

I'm 90% sure he'll be there. (and if he is, I'll be too!)

Trying to make a grand canyon/flag trip up from Phoenix in November if I can find a weekend to get him out of storage in Los Angeles soon. I'll definitely be stopping in Prescott for my favorite breakfast in the world, Lone Spur Cafe. I just moved back to Phoenix, and I can't do my 30+ mile daily commute in this weather. DesertBusMan, I salute you....

asiab3 Sun Aug 19, 2012 6:23 pm

Alright, so when I wrote the first parts of this I was tired to I didn't finish!

The last part of my trip was the Treffen 14 Cruise; I caught it in between Santa Barbara and Morro Bay, right before the meet-up at GoWesty.

Let's just say I can't find the pictures, but I did make this short video of the half of the cruise that I caught:

After living out of Buddy for 3 days, I showed up for the Channel Islands show reluctant to open my sliding door for all to see, but I did end up with some hardware in the Type2 class!

(I like this picture, because Buddy happens to be in the background of it, although I don't know how everyone else at the show felt about it being the background too…)

Desertbusman Mon Aug 20, 2012 2:13 am

Robbie, You mean you're back here and the bus is still over in Cali? Go get it, that's no place for the poor bus. :wink:
You missed a good one 3 weekends ago. The Flagstaff KOA VW High Altitude Kampout. Wads of buses in the cool pines.
Lot's of AZ Dub events coming up shortly.

asiab3 Wed Nov 14, 2012 7:42 pm

So I drove Buddy from Los Angeles to Phoenix a few weeks after my move here. Of course, no move would be complete without an inaugural road trip to a nearby tourist spot!

Off we went to Grand Canyon National Park!

We had NO idea how long it took to get there. Apart from forgetting my camping stove and stopping at Wally-World for a new cheapie, we made good time. Dinner in the dark was fun, thanks to my set of matching Lego headlamps!

It was DARK! (This is a 30 second exposure)

Being raised in the city, waking up to this is never a bad thing:

Before packing out for the Big Ditch!

I was utterly flabbergasted by the complexity of the park roads:

Being a tourist was ok, but too crowded for our taste. We hopped on our bikes and rode almost the whole South rim in a few hours. Since this is a bus forum, I'll skip to the next bus story. This guy snuck up on us, and my partner yelled "OH MY GOD KERMIT" (as she does at the sight of any green bus, mostly relating to the fantastic book by Ed Warrabow).

'Kermit' here seemed to have more motor than Buddy, but the hilly two-lane road got the best of both of us. A typical line of followers was formed in minutes. After watching 'Kermit' nearly blew off the road after some gusts, he pulled over, and we did too. The driver stepped out and we chatted, and it seemed like the wind died down, so we were both on our way. He said he lived in Flagstaff but was a park ranger 3-4 days a week and lived in his Westy on those days. Lucky!

After heading down the 89a into Sedona (in 2nd gear, no less) we let some 20+ cars get by us. On the opposite side was this split, who seemed to be tearing up the hill like it was nothing!

Our reservations at the canyon were only for the first night, so the second night was supposed to be spent in Sedona's Beaver Creek camping district. Ha. 7 campgrounds and all were full. With two parties meeting us for a campfire, we had to find somewhere. Luckily, my friend in his Pontiac was brave and drove a few fire roads at 35mph looking for spots. Finally finding a spot with a large enough clearing, we made a fire and leveled out for the night. When we woke up in the morning, we saw this:

Not exactly a lake, but still nice to wake up to the 'waterfront'!

Oh, and we also woke up to our 1-year anniversary!

My wonderful bike rack I made using only the finest dumpster-plywood failed on the washboard road, but luckily the bikes were crammed in by all our camping gear!

All in all an incredible trip. The 107* heat was no match for the drive up (and back down) the 17, and fun was had by all!

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