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Aircooled Tour of Oregon - Trip Report
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a2d2
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Joined: March 28, 2013
Posts: 362
Location: EastVanagon, BC
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 2:08 pm    Post subject: Aircooled Tour of Oregon - Trip Report Reply with quote

Over the past winter I did a top end rebuild on my 2.0L Type IV, installed a CHT gauge, rebuilt the front suspension, got fresh tires, found good deals on a bike rack, awning, and roof box... and did a bunch of other stuff... so the time had come to see if I could finally trust this 34 year old machine on a longer trip.

Some smart ad agency came up with these ads for the "7 Wonders of Oregon" and they looked pretty cool so we tried to fit most of them in while still trying to sneak in some surf.

Here is the route we took:
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First day we did the Waterfalls along the Columbia River and did an awesome bike ride from Hood River to Mosier. Then we took the scenic route through Fossil to the Painted Hills:
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We had well over half a tank when we saw the sign for "last gas" leaving The Dalles so we figured we would stop further down the road. Condon is a very small town with one pump serving 87 octane only. We gave it a pass and decided to try Fossil. Same scenario there only their gas station was closed when we arrived at 6pm. We'd been on "E" for a while when we arrived in Mitchell just after 7pm. Their one pump was closed as well so we decided to press our luck and go see the Painted Hills at sunset instead of sleeping on the side of the road waiting for the gas station to open. We used the last fumes to pull onto a forest service road in the Ochoco mountains:
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Beautiful place to camp but a bit stressful when you're imagining that you'll be spending a good part of the next day on the side of the road begging for gas. We rolled the van back down the hill to the highway in the morning and as luck would have it the second vehicle to pass was a wonderful woman from Mitchell who was wise enough to have a jerry can of gas in her truck. We couldn't believe our luck, she definitely has some good karma coming her way. With that near disaster out of the way we continued on to Smith Rock:
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Hottest day of the year so far so of course we do a 2.5 hour hike. Some parts of trail were so steep that I got a crazy bout of vertigo and couldn't do anything but concentrate intensely on staring at my feet. Things they don't tell you in the brochure. Jumping in to Crater Lake a couple hours later was a great reward:
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Of course, in another "what they don't tell you" moment, the mosquitos coming back up the trail were amongst the worst I have ever encountered.
Gratuitous shot of a sweet sunset:
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From there we drove all the way into California (we wanted to do the entire coast of Oregon) and found another place to camp in the Siskiyou National Forest:
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The next day we drove the coast from Crescent City to Honeyman State Park, stopping along the way to surf and rent Quads at Spinreel. Took the opportunity to set up the Fiamma F35. This thing was severely bent when I got it and was not usable at all (hence the great deal) but through various amounts of blood, sweat, and tears, I was able to bring it back to life. It's not pretty but it beats a tarp:
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Next morning we went for a surf before hiking Cape Lookout and then eating a pizza on the beach at Cape Kiwanda. Siuslaw National Forest luxury accommodations:
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Went back to Cape Kiwanda early the next morning hoping to surf but the weather had taken a turn for the worse. I was too chicken to drive my van onto the beach but it's super easy to get a good parking spot here when it's starting to rain at 7:30am:
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Went to the Cape Meares Lighthouse and hiked Cape Falcon then finally found some surf later in the day:
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The last day was a hell of a lot of driving but we broke it up by taking detours into Westport, Aberdeen, and Snoqualmie Falls.

The Van made it home alive but one lesson I learned is to not change your points right before a big trip. I had to re-gap them almost daily as the dwell kept drifting out of spec, I assume the rubbing block was wearing down. They were Bosch points and I should have known better after reading all the horror stories on the Bay forums. Off to look for a different brand now. Luckily, I had over prepared and packed my Tach/Dwell meter and Timing Gun (I even brought a spare head! Shocked ).

I posted a question about steep grades before I left (http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=630233&highlight=hood+river ) but for those that are interested I will say that I was barking up the wrong tree. There are definitely several grades to watch out for on that route (driving up to Crater Lake in a headwind was a doozy) but basically there are steep grades everywhere along the way. The coast was actually more troublesome than inland for some reason. Driving with a CHT gauge made me drive a lot mellower than normal, I did a lot of hills in 2nd. I managed to keep it in the low 3's but a couple of times it crept up to 360* when I wasn't paying attention.

The surf conditions could have been better for us but you can't control the weather... my imagination could see that there are a lot of nice setups down there. Overall, Oregon is a pretty rad place - and to the other vans we encountered along the way, thanks for the waves (and fist pumps!).
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Merian
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

what part of the coast was actually more troublesome than inland ?? Humbug mtn. area?
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a2d2
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 3:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it was the north part of the coast more than the south - We went back and forth between Nehalem Bay and Seaside a couple times and Tillamook Head might have been the worst of it. Could have been due to the wind.

I think it was probably incorrect to say that the grades were worse on the coast but for one reason or another I had a tougher time keeping the head temps down there even though the ambient temp was lower.
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desertrefugee
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice trip, good narrative, great pictures.
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Jake de Villiers
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great pix, Chris! Looks like a really nice trip over all. Smile
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vegpedlr
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 05, 2015 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a great trip!

I'm headed up to OR for the first time in years, but I'll be only in the Cascades. Good on ya for doing it all in an air cooled!
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