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Van Diego -Just Scored a Van 2300 Miles From Home- Rd Trip!
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landkholdings
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 11:49 am    Post subject: Van Diego -Just Scored a Van 2300 Miles From Home- Rd Trip! Reply with quote

First of all, I'll introduce myself. My name is Kevin, and as of yesterday, I became the proud new owner of a really nice 84 Vanagon with a 2.2 Subaru engine! My wife and I flew to San Diego, which is apparently where all the Vanagons are stashed. No kidding, they're everywhere. One bay, no splitties, two or three beetles, and a Vanagon on every corner. Why?

Anyhow, we live north of Atlanta, and are heading east bright and early tomorrow morning. We're going to be really ambitious and try to make the 725 mile drive to El Paso the first day, which will be New Year's Eve, so if anyone has any advice on where to go in El Paso, please chime in.

The second day, we plan to get a little past Houston and camp in the van. If anyone has any suggestions on camp grounds in the Columbus/east of Houston area, please chime in as well.

Nights three and four are to be spent in New Orleans. I'm sure we can occupy ourselves, but neither of us have been, so any local advice is always appreciated. We lucked out with the roll-the-dice express deals thing that Priceline does where they don't tell you where you're staying until after you pay and got some swanky digs in the French Quarter called Hotel Monteleone.

After that, it will be time to go home and go back to work. Thanks in advance for any local advice, encouraging words, warnings, or otherwise. We're no strangers to VW's or the side of the road, and we mailed a tool kit and a shop manual out in advance, so please don't spend much time worrying. Van Diego, as we're calling it, runs as good as it looks. Plenty of pics from the trip to follow.

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Summers420us
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

NICE! Keep us posted on your adventure!
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benandmj
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats!! Can't wait to see it in person!
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:28 pm    Post subject: Re: Van Diego -Just Scored a Van 2300 Miles From Home- Rd Tr Reply with quote

Congrats! Very Happy

landkholdings wrote:
We're going to be really ambitious and try to make the 725 mile drive to El Paso the first day, which will be New Year's Eve, so if anyone has any advice on where to go in El Paso, please chime in.


No clue, but I can certainly tell you where not to be in Beaumont on New Year's Eve Laughing ... long story.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congrats on the new Vanagon!

The Hotel Monteleone is a really nice place and has a cool old rotating bar in the lobby. It's right in the heart of the Quarter so you have easy access to all of the touristy stuff (Jackson Square, French Market, Cafe Du Monde, Pat O's, Acme Oyster Bar, etc.) I think they also have secured valet parking so you don't have to worry about your sweet new Vanagon getting broken into (good) but you do have to worry about a valet driving your sweet new Vanagon (not as good.) The concierges there are excellent as well and can point you in the right direction depending upon what you're looking to do.

New Orleans drivers are idiots. There, I said it. Please keep that in mind when driving around the city.

Have fun, be safe, and take lots of Vanagon-related pictures then post them here! Travel pictures are especially appreciated this time of year, when many of us are marooned in endless wintertime...
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Ahwahnee
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 1:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Van Diego -Just Scored a Van 2300 Miles From Home- Rd Tr Reply with quote

Congratulations on your purchase and best of luck on the roadtrip.

landkholdings wrote:
...We're going to be really ambitious and try to make the 725 mile drive to El Paso the first day, which will be New Year's Eve, so if anyone has any advice on where to go in El Paso, please chime in...


That really is ambitious.

I almost never stay 'in' a city (or even near one) so I cannot advise on where to stay in El Paso. I avoid the main part of the city by taking the incredible Woodrow Bean Transmountain Drive -- Loop 375 on your maps. There is some construction on there but shouldn't slow you down much and is much quicker than going into town.

I have stayed at Balmorhea State Park in TX - but that is another 193 miles east of El Paso. You might keep it in mind if you end up with a shorter first day for some reason.

Having given it some more thought... you might consider stopping in Las Cruces NM (just 45 miles north of El Paso). Lots of motels right off the interstate and you could enjoy a fine evening meal at La Posta in Mesilla (very close to the motel area). You would then be driving through El Paso early on New Year's Day rather than late on New Years Eve.
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tarandusVDub
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 1:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, really nice score! We have an Ivory '84 with suby and love it. Safe travels and post lots of pics!
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morymob
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't know your driving habits but i would tone it down a bit until some mi's (1st leg) pass. U have more hp's with this eng and definately forget the speed shifting up/dn racer style and spinning tires. Not knowing cond of trans etc, but with intelligent driving they will go 300K+, i know from experience, have a fun trip & dodge the snow if possible, westy looks good. 84's my favorite, owned 3.
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levi
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That shot of the engine bay is..... interesting. Wink

But, that's a beautiful looking van.
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rc3
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steven f. Austin state park near Sealy would be a good place to camp near Houston. Have a great trip
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dr. no
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting Westy itinerary...
I think most of us avoid staying in or near cities (especially those Shocked ). There are so many much better areas for a Westy on those routes... except maybe in Louisiana.
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supersooner
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 5:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

X2 on la posta in Mesilla, NM and Cafe du Monde in N.O. If you are flush with cash and its a Sunday, I recommend the brunch at Commander's Palace be sure to have the dessert souffle. Memorable
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

benandmj wrote:
Congrats!! Can't wait to see it in person!

Same here..in Woodstock. safe travels...easy does it on your way home.
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spacecadet
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 7:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm in Roswell, NM tonight and Phoenix tomorrow maybe we cross paths!
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CessnaJon
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome, Kevin!
Join us for the monthly Atlanta Vanagon meet, lots of great folks.
I would advise passing New Orleans by.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Van Diego -Just Scored a Van 2300 Miles From Home- Rd Tr Reply with quote

landkholdings wrote:
if anyone has any advice on where to go in El Paso, please chime in.


East, as soon as possible. Do not stop, do not collect $200, keep going.

ElPaso is the crappiest city.

[/quote]"Nights three and four are to be spent in New Orleans. " [/quote]

Now you are talking!

Check out the "Spotted Kat" for REAL jazz and Coop's Place for fantastic food. I would get the jambalaya pasta and fried chicken (with homemade tasso), don't miss the jukebox. Great selections on there...

These are both local favorites so, if you go, please keep that in mind…


Cafe Envie is THE place for breakfast with fresh Croissants, espresso and omelets… and of course everyone has to see Cafe Du Monde, but The Beignets (and service) are actually ten times better at Cafe Beignet,
(don't miss their courtyard, it is hidden)

Take a bicycle tour, it's fun. Make sure you see the garden district, Best souvenirs are at the Hard Rock.

Have Fun and enjoy your new van! Congrats

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ledogboy
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 30, 2013 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CessnaJon wrote:

I would advise passing New Orleans by.


Sacrilege! (Though I would pass up Bourbon St for sure).

El Paso is one of my less favorite spots, but there is charm almost everywhere if you dig hard enough...
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dagriztx
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2013 6:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Found mine in San Diego, I loved the drive back. Slow down & enjoy the experience.
I'm in San Antonio if ya need help along the way...Big Easy, oh yeah.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2013 6:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice looking Van!

I love blind confidence in unfamiliar machinery! I'm probably too versed in autos and the potential problems, I probably fret too much and worry about things that are better left unsaid............ What's that noise? did you hear a grinding noise? that tick? WHAT'S THAT TICK???!!! Aargh!

Enjoy the trip, I'd slow down and enjoy the journey but then again, I avoid large cities and larger towns like I avoid the plague! Give me a deserted mountain or a babbling stream rather than a night club or fancy restaurant.

Keep us posted, check your oils and fluids frequently and I'd suggest to start out slow and gradually add distance. Get the feel for the unit, how it brakes, corners, accelerates, any idiosyncrasies, etc. but again..... That's just me fretting about things! Smile

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landkholdings
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all of the comments! We're getting ready to head east now. We drove around yesterday quite a bit, and the van appears to be sound. I don't have a tach, and we're in no hurry whatsoever, so 65 looks like cruising speed. It has a stock Vanagon tranny, so what am I turning at 65-70mph? Is that pushing it? My splitty would be turning 3500-4000 at those speeds, but she's more of a 55-60mph kinda gal.


levi wrote:
That shot of the engine bay is..... interesting. Wink


I agree, but that fuel line doesn't go anywhere, and all of those hose clamps are on an a/c line, so I don't have to worry about them for a few months. But it runs, drives, and stops like a new car. My other bus is a 58, so the Vanagon with a 2.2L really is like a new car.


dr. no wrote:
I think most of us avoid staying in or near cities


I'm with you, but I consider myself lucky that she's willing to do this at all, and that she's willing to camp one night. My buddy's girl is using our trip and Melissa's report as a barometer because he's itching to do the same thing.

Wish us luck and stay tuned!


Here's us tooling around San Diego and a pelican.

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