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Dave's Honeymoon Road Trip (Trip Report Thread)
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vwwestyman
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 6:03 am    Post subject: Dave's Honeymoon Road Trip (Trip Report Thread) Reply with quote

Wow, I can't believe this trip was almost a month ago! As soon as we got back, I started up the summer semester of grad school and I am taking 15 of 9 allowed (I had to put in a special request to take extra hours in the summer) and still working full time. So I haven't had much time for much of anything else since. But at the moment I'm currently (temporarily!) caught up with homework so I thought I'd put up a thread.

[As I'm starting this, I am realizing that I'm going to have to do a day or two at a time over the course of a few days rather than one giant post. What is your favorite place to host pics that don't have a VW in them, to include in Samba threads?]

One perk of having been at my job for 10 years (even if I don't love it all that much) is I get a generous amount of PTO, so I was able to take off a couple extra days before leaving to pack and prep the Bus. I used that time to do a couple little projects I'd been thinking about for a while.

Finally made some replacement kick panels out of some kind of black plastic sheeting I picked up at Menards (the local big box home store). Of my two buses, the only panel I had to trace from that is in good shape is the passenger side from my '73, so there was a little bit of improvising, but it certainly looks better. I also finally mounted the heater switches, after having them just dangling from the table hook via zip ties for 5 years. Ha!

Even though the originals were probably black, I may try painting them brown at some point, as I think it would work better with the rest of the brown interior.

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While I was working in the area, I swapped out the old ignition switch. It required me to push the wiring harness plug forward a little bit every time to start, and that was super annoying. The new one ("German made") still required me to shove a little piece of plastic in the plunger part so that the "key in" buzzer circuit would work--I use that to turn on the radio. It is so much nicer to have a properly working switch, though sometimes I still reach down to the plug by muscle memory!

I also made some insulation panels from Reflectix for inside the pop up. Was a pretty simple process of making a few measurements with the top up and drawing it out on the material, with a little installing and tracing for more final cuts. (Such as the front panel and the curve of the roof.)

It is three panels, one on each side and the front panel. They are simply held in place by pressure fit, the pop up legs, and tucking in along the bed mattress. The side panels curve in and meet at the very rear of the Bus. The front panel's sides overlap the side panels a bit to help keep them in place.

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We didn't need or use them every single night, but on the colder nights we did install them, it sure seemed to help keep things a little warmer in the Bus. It also served well to keep out some sunlight when we were trying to sleep in. I may make panels for the lower windows with some of the leftover material. They simply fold up and get flat enough to fit on the top bunk with the roof lowered.

Finally for this intro/prep post, I thought I was very clever with my way of stowing some leveling blocks for very easy access when arriving at camp. Previously I was keeping them under the back seat and that was inconvenient to dig through upon first arrival at a spot.

I simply fished a nylon strap under the cabinet, allowing it's buckle to keep it in place (a knot would certainly do, too). A bungee cord hooks to a loop I tied in the strap. (Pic was taken at some point along the trip.) I can fit four on the bottom and three on top, plus the oil can. Or it might be three and two... I don't remember for sure. Either way, with a little creative parking, it was enough.

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Dave Cook
Stuartzickefoose wrote:
I'm gonna punch vwwestyman then shake his hand when I meet him.

notchboy wrote:
Ill just punch you in the face. Wink

1978 Champagne Edition Westy, repowered to '97 Jetta TDI
1973 Wild Westerner
My Thing
www.thefosterdads.com


Last edited by vwwestyman on Thu Jun 20, 2019 7:20 am; edited 3 times in total
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vwwestyman
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 6:04 am    Post subject: Re: Dave's Honeymoon Road Trip Reply with quote

Day 1:

We left town shortly after Katherine got off work on May 15 and headed West. We would have left a little earlier, but were probably too nice to one of my (graduated) foster sons by allowing him to come and mow the yard to earn a little money, even though he took his time getting here and getting started. Oh well.

We drove that day heading towards Castle Rock, Colorado with the idea that we'd keep going until one of us couldn't handle it any more. In the end, we made it to within about 45 minutes of Castle Rock. As as turned off the interstate onto a small two-lane highway, we determined to find a spot along one of the lonely county roads to boondock. After a couple attempts, we parked where the county road made a turn and into a private road and crashed for the night.

I tried to get a pic of the Bus each morning. Here's what we woke up to that first morning. Actually ended up being nice and peaceful, though I was slightly disappointed later to find that if we'd driven a few more miles we could have woken up to view Pikes Peak. Oh well, this was still pleasant.

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I credit the magnetic sticker for keeping the ranchers who drove by from bothering us. Very Happy It was a few days before Katherine noticed it and made me remove it. Very Happy Very Happy

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Dave Cook
Stuartzickefoose wrote:
I'm gonna punch vwwestyman then shake his hand when I meet him.

notchboy wrote:
Ill just punch you in the face. Wink

1978 Champagne Edition Westy, repowered to '97 Jetta TDI
1973 Wild Westerner
My Thing
www.thefosterdads.com
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notchboy
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 6:57 am    Post subject: Re: Dave's Honeymoon Road Trip (Trip Report Thread) Reply with quote

Looking good Dave!

It takes a special kind of woman not to beat your ass for a sticker like that Wink Laughing
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alman72
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2019 10:49 am    Post subject: Re: Dave's Honeymoon Road Trip (Trip Report Thread) Reply with quote

she made him remove it by kicking his ass
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Hikelite
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 21, 2019 9:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Dave's Honeymoon Road Trip Reply with quote

vwwestyman wrote:

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I credit the magnetic sticker for keeping the ranchers who drove by from bothering us. Very Happy It was a few days before Katherine noticed it and made me remove it. Very Happy Very Happy

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I'm confused. Did she want someone to disturb you? Shocked



Looking forward to seeing the rest of the trip. Popcorn
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vwwestyman
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 5:59 am    Post subject: Re: Dave's Honeymoon Road Trip (Trip Report Thread) Reply with quote

Sorry folks. My mornings and many evenings have been consumed with homework the last week or so! Got one month-long class all finished up a couple nights ago, so the load is a little less. At least, that's what I'm telling myself. In reality, it got done just in time for papers to begin being due in other classes! Either way, I'm taking a break from it for this morning.

Anyway, on the second day, we rode into Castle Rock to go to Castle Rock Adventure Park. Think like a giant, 3-story adult jungle gym. All sorts of things like balance beams and rope ladders and stuff like that way up high. It was a lot of fun, but wore us out.

I wasted some time at the outlet stores and a couple sporting stores looking for some of those goofy toe shoes, because I like to hike barefoot on occasion, but sometimes the rocks are a little too rocky. Didn't find anything unfortunately.

After that, we headed up into the mountains. I had remembered Dillon Reservoir from driving past it a time or two the summer I spent in Colorado in the bus (2002) and always thought it was a pretty area, and also wanted to eat at the Dillon Dam Brewery because I liked their slogan for years, "Get your own Dam beer!" I'd seen that there was national park camping around the reservoir and mis-assumed that meant it was free and open all the time...

Unfortunately, they didn't actually open for the season until 8:00 the next morning! After a brief argument about why I didn't do further research on the park ahead of time, I hiked down and found the camp host. After a nice visit, she said it would be OK for us to boondock in the parking spot just outside the gate. Just no fires. But it saved us $21, so that was fine.

While picking up a variety of local Colorado brews at a liquor store before heading to the brewery, we were waved at by a couple in a nice, tricked out looking Vanagon across the large parking lot. I drove over to say hi, and we met a nice couple with two little kids and a dog who were traveling from Arizona to the Kansas City area (I was initially surprised to see him wearing Chiefs gear). They gave us a helpful tip that would prove useful in Moab.

I thought this sign in the bathroom of the brewery was pretty funny.

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Morning pic before taking off from Dillon. Can't even tell we were boondocking just outside a park!

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Dave Cook
Stuartzickefoose wrote:
I'm gonna punch vwwestyman then shake his hand when I meet him.

notchboy wrote:
Ill just punch you in the face. Wink

1978 Champagne Edition Westy, repowered to '97 Jetta TDI
1973 Wild Westerner
My Thing
www.thefosterdads.com
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vwwestyman
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 6:24 am    Post subject: Re: Dave's Honeymoon Road Trip (Trip Report Thread) Reply with quote

On Day 3, we headed further west, toward a campground Robbie told me about. Robbie passed on the request from the person who told him about it, to not publicly post the exact location, though I can send it privately if requested.

asiab3 wrote:
Hey Dave!
I was told about the place by a fellow I met at a gypsy music festival, and he made me promise to promote Digital Leave No Trace. It makes sense to me.

https://lnt.org/blog/new-social-media-guidance


Anyway, reaching the camp spot required driving about 5 miles basically off-road through ditches, gullies, and washouts and over terrain that I thought was supremely amusing but Katherine thought nerve-wracking as the Bus tipped from side to side. I think she was about to have a nervous breakdown before we finally settled on a spot.

The area is basically along an edge of a cliff that is a couple hundred feet above the Colorado River. Pretty sweet.

After settling on a camp site, we had arrived early enough to go for a hike, so I got some barefooting in.

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We'd decided to cook a fancy dinner that night, so we bought some steak and shrimp and fresh veggies before leaving town in the morning. There was a guy camped a few spots over who was spending a few days out there on his own, sorta to find himself. We realized we'd brought way too much food for ourselves and invited him over for dinner, so we hung out in the Bus talking and drinking beer while enjoying this view.

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Dinner was OK, but it was pretty windy and the soil is very sandy, so our steak ended up just a bit gritty. Oh well.

The next morning, we woke up and realized we barely had enough time to get into Moab to make our rafting reservatoin! So we were up and off pretty quick, but not before I got a couple pics of the Bus.

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Dave Cook
Stuartzickefoose wrote:
I'm gonna punch vwwestyman then shake his hand when I meet him.

notchboy wrote:
Ill just punch you in the face. Wink

1978 Champagne Edition Westy, repowered to '97 Jetta TDI
1973 Wild Westerner
My Thing
www.thefosterdads.com
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McintoshType2
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 6:43 am    Post subject: Re: Dave's Honeymoon Road Trip (Trip Report Thread) Reply with quote

That campground looks nice, where is it located at?
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advCo
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 28, 2019 7:30 am    Post subject: Re: Dave's Honeymoon Road Trip (Trip Report Thread) Reply with quote

Looks like an awesome trip! Threads like these make me want to ditch my day job and go work on the bus Twisted Evil
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 6:50 am    Post subject: Re: Dave's Honeymoon Road Trip (Trip Report Thread) Reply with quote

Thanks for posting the experience! You guys look quite happy in the pictures. Obviously the great company, along with the bus and that spectacular natural beauty can pull some amazing feelings and what a great way to solidify a relationship. Keep banking as many of those as you can!

I’ve always loved the Dillon area myself. Great vibe around there.
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vwwestyman
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 29, 2019 9:29 am    Post subject: Re: Dave's Honeymoon Road Trip (Trip Report Thread) Reply with quote

As I said, on Day 4 we woke up a little late and had to hurry to make it to our planned rafting trip in Moab.

Had to rush a bit to get out of the off-road area, but it was ok. I didn't have time to air the tires back up, but thankfully I'd not gone too crazy with the off-road air-down.

As much as I like driving the back, 2-lane highways, I also appreciate the TDI motor when I'm in a bit of a hurry!

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As a side note, overall we did just fine with water temps. There were a couple times climbing up mountain passes that I started to get a little nervous, but even then it never got up over 212ish, maybe hit 220 once or twice but that is still well within the range of OK for a little while and we never were there very long.

The temps that did cause me to slow down from time to time was the Exhaust Gas Temp. I've read that for the TDI motors, you can go at anything under 1259 all day long with no worry, so when pushing it I primarily drove by the EGTs. Some folks say higher temps (I've seen 1450 mentioned) are OK, but the highest number I've seen agreed upon is the 1250. So I watch that and when I'm getting close I'll back off a bit, but I also don't freak out if it gets up to 1350ish before I notice. So far that practice seems to be working. I'm confident that if I'd have had the time/money I spent on the new transmission this spring to instead rework my intercooler setup I'd have had more wiggle room. Oh well.

Back to the trip...

We rolled into Moab just in time to check in for the rafting trip and go from the VW Bus to their old school bus. If you ever want to do something like that, we'd both recommend the Moab Adventure Center. Rather than cold sandwiches, our lunch stop was at a dude-ranch type place where they grilled burgers and hot dogs for us.

The water was pretty cold and not super rapid-y due to high water, but it was still a fun trip and a neat way to see and appreciate the rock formations in the canyon.

After the rafting, we ventured up into Arches National Park for a little bit.

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The campgrounds were listed as full, but we were hopeful that perhaps there'd have been a site where the people didn't show, or maybe we'd find a Bus or Van there only occupying half a slot (since they're RV-sized) and would be willing to split the fee. (I was forunate enough to have this happen on a 2004 trip toward Alaska while we were in Yellowstone.)

As it turned out, we did find a couple ladies in a Winnebago-converted Eurovan, but they weren't keen on my proposal to split a spot. Oh well. We headed back to Moab.

I mentioned the tip that the family in the Vanagon gave us, and how it turned out to be handy.

I don't recall how they heard of her, but they told us about the lady who owns and runs the Moab Kitchen Food Truck. Turns out, she's got a non-electric TDI converted Vanagon Westy, and has a soft-spot for Westys in general.

And she owns the land the truck is parked on, as well as the large grassy field behind it! It is back at the edge of town, accessible via two or three turns on side streets, but in a quiet area. It is technically illegal to camp anywhere within the city limits of Moab, so she didn't technically give us permission to do it... But did show us how the gate to the field wasn't actually locked. We took the hint and promised to say that we were just told by the folks we met in Colorado that it was ok to stay there if questioned.

Of course, nobody ever said anything.

I have to admit I was pretty nervous about the idea of eating Vegan food, but we agreed that it would be a good way to reciprocate her hospitality and the use of a real bathroom. I'll have to admit, even vegan food can taste OK if it's fried! lol

After dinner and getting the Bus set up, we went back up to the building by the restaurant where they were having live music. As may be expected, the songs were a little hippy-dippy, but it was fun and I thought the Hang instrument he played was really neat. It is very similar to a steel drum, but is UFO-shaped and played with the hands rather than mallets. (No idea if the attached link is the same musician, but explains what it is pretty well.)

Here's the shots from the next morning.

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Dave Cook
Stuartzickefoose wrote:
I'm gonna punch vwwestyman then shake his hand when I meet him.

notchboy wrote:
Ill just punch you in the face. Wink

1978 Champagne Edition Westy, repowered to '97 Jetta TDI
1973 Wild Westerner
My Thing
www.thefosterdads.com
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vwwestyman
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:06 am    Post subject: Re: Dave's Honeymoon Road Trip (Trip Report Thread) Reply with quote

Sitting here in the shop waiting for a tire to be repaired (picked up a nail) in the Golf affords me a few minutes to write about Day 5.

Se spent the majority of the day at Arches National Park again. Didn't see enough of it the day before.

First thing we did was head to the local NAPA store. For some reason, despite my cleaning under real well and lubing it a bit, the acdelerator pedal developed an annoying squeak so I wanted to get some kind of spray lube.

This NAPA has a memory attached to it for me. Back in 2004, my friend and I drove my Bus toward Alaska. I say toward because the Pertronix I had in there (this was long before the TDI conversion) crapped out as we were going through Yellowstone. We had made it to Lucky Lil's Truck Stop and Casino at Three Forks Montana when the engine finally quit.

During the couple days we spent there, a family in a Eurovan stopped to get gas and I ran over to say hi and see if they happened to be familiar with old VWs. They weren't but were sympathetic to our situation.

Eventually my friend and I abandoned the Alaska idea (we were worried about what we'd do if we broke down again 100 miles from ANYWHERE) and headed back south toward Utah.

We had blown through Yellowstone, so one of our first stops was going back there and spending a little more time. At a full campground, we saw that same Eurovan and ended up sharing a spot and couple beers with them, which is what had given me the idea on this current trip.

Anyway, later on while in Utah, the starter crapped out in the Bus. We made it to Moab to this NAPA, where we camped out in the driveway in this exact spot while we waited for the new starter to arrive.

So I had to get a pic to send to the friend.

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Back to present day, we had a nice time hiking around at Arches. I was happy to get to see the Delecate Arch, which is the one everyone is familiar with. It was a cool hike, and the trail was situated such that when you finally arrived at the arch, it was a somewhat dramatic first view.

Well worth the Moderate/Easy (Dave) Very Long (Katherine) hike to get to see in person.

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I didn't take a lot of pics, but this arch was also pretty impressive. It's just hanging on by a thread a this point.

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That night we stayed at the field behind Moab Kitchen again. I had gotten tired of feeling so grimy so I boiled some water to be able to take a warm bus shower, and shave. Selfie mode on the phone makes a workable "mirror" in a pinch, though I noted there was an ever so slight delay so I had to be careful.

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Next morning's pics in the field:

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_________________
Dave Cook
Stuartzickefoose wrote:
I'm gonna punch vwwestyman then shake his hand when I meet him.

notchboy wrote:
Ill just punch you in the face. Wink

1978 Champagne Edition Westy, repowered to '97 Jetta TDI
1973 Wild Westerner
My Thing
www.thefosterdads.com
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