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Orlando -> Blowing Rock, NC
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sethpat
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 7:45 pm    Post subject: Orlando -> Blowing Rock, NC Reply with quote

These are some of my favorite threads to read here on TS, so I figured I'd make one for my first big trip in the bus.

A friend of mine has been working at App Ski mountain all winter and I'd been wanting to visit and do some snowboarding, but more than anything I wanted my dog to see some snow. I've been watching the forecast for the last few weeks and saw that Tuesday night they were expecting snow. I work over the weekends but thankfully I had some time to get the bus ready and run around to pick up some spare parts to bring along (accelerator cable, clutch cable, spark plugs) as well as some other odds and ends. I was busy all day Monday but ended up getting on the road that night around 11:30 P.M. My plan was to make it to the South Carolina welcome center and sleep there. Naturally I had a bit of a headwind all night but ended up making it to SC at around 5 A.M. with no issues besides being pretty tired.

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It was in the 40's so I was glad I brought my sleeping bag along as well as having the dog with me since I couldn't plug in to run my little heater. Woke up around 11 the next day; it was pretty loud all morning with the tractor trailers coming and going but I still had some decent sleep. It was my first time sleeping at a rest stop, and to be honest was much better than I would've thought. Had breakfast and coffee, went for a long walk, and hit the road.

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After leaving the rest stop I had about 80 miles to get to I26 which takes you west to 77. About 20 miles in I hit gridlock traffic and was stuck for about an hour. Once I got through I had to make a pit stop to drain out the coffee Shocked and after topping up with gas I went to fire up the bus and noticed my idiot light for the oil pressure was flickering. I installed a temperature monitoring dipstick that ties into the idiot light and after a quick check I found the bolt that keeps the wire in place missing. Luckily the wire didn't get caught in my fan belt and get ripped apart. Spent the next 30 minutes or so looking through my hardware for the correct bolt and thankfully found a locknut to throw on there so I wouldn't have to worry about it happening again.

Back on the road again, made it to 26 with no issues and kept on trucking to 77. After being on 77 for awhile, passing through Columbia I stopped for gas again, checked my oil, walked the dog, and snapped a quick photo. On this leg I was averaging about 20 MPG and cruising between 60 and 65. It ended up being my best average for the whole trip since after this I was battling mountain roads and the way back had a really nasty headwind.

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On the road again, passed through Charlotte very slowly due to rush hour traffic and stopped for gas for the last time before climbing into Blowing Rock. I had several people ask me about the bus, and naturally each of them had a bus story to tell. It definitely seems that people in the Carolinas are much more friendly than in Florida. Sun was getting low so I was anxious to get into town

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I made it up into the town of Blowing Rock an hour or so after sunset and it had just started to snow! I was beyond ecstatic, I hadn't seen snow since I was a kid.

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Met up with my buddy shortly after this to grab a beer with him and his pups at a local brewery in the town of Boone and then he showed me up to the Ski mountain where he had reserved an RV parking spot for me. By this time it had really started snowing and I was really cold, so it was nice to be able to plug in and crank my heater. I turned the fridge on too... not that I really needed it! All it really did was keep my stuff from freezing. Stood out in the snow for awhile with my buddy drinking the beers we grabbed to go and letting the dog run around, he was loving it ! We had the whole place to ourselves since the mountain closed at 10. I was starving at this point and my buddy had to go home since he worked early the next morning so we turned in for the night to make some dinner and crash.

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The milk jug is just ice to keep everything cold for when I can't plug in to run the fridge (don't have an auxiliary battery yet).

We woke up the next morning around 8:00 to find this!

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Notice my makeshift sliding door seal/ curtain in the third photo... the wind was whipping snow in before I jammed that in.

Spent the whole day snowboarding and playing in the snow with my dog. It was the most fun I've had in a really long time. Everyone said these were the best conditions they had on the mountain all winter... there was about 8 inches of fresh powder. I didn't move the bus all day, and I don't think I would've been able to get down the mountain even if I wanted to (I didn't).

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By the next day (Thursday) the parking lot was plowed and they had the roads all clear. It worked out because I had to be back for work by Friday night. The dog and I went for some coffee, a little hike, and then got back on the road.

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Everything went pretty well on the drive back. I played with my mixture a bit when I got up in the mountains and then a little bit through the drive since the weather was changing. I didn't have a plan, so after driving for awhile I stopped to get dinner and thought about crashing for the night but I was feeling a bit weird after drinking coffee all day and couldn't sleep. I gave the bus about a 2 hour long break and then got back on the road for the push home to FL.

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Here we are in Jacksonville at around 2am. The whole trip I made tons of stops for gas, to walk the dog, and give the bus and myself a break from driving.

The only real issue I had was as soon as I started heading south my luggage rack started vibrating. I'm not sure if it was the headwind or what, but at first it was very worrisome. I stopped to make sure all of the bolts were tight and got back on the road but it continued. I eventually ended up shoving pieces of cardboard in the gaps between the body and the rack. This stopped the unbearable noise, but I'm still looking for a long term solution.

Some of the most important things I learned on the trip are that tractor trailers, crosswinds and hills truely are your enemy while driving a bus.

Friday afternoon after catching up on some sleep I rinsed the bus really really well to get any salt off. Thankfully I wasn't really driving while the roads were wet and salty but I wanted to be sure.

If you're not bored yet, thanks for reading! I just wanted to share my experience, it's awesome to be a part of The Samba and have a bus to travel in.

-Seth
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wcfvw69 Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 8:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Orlando -> Blowing Rock, NC Reply with quote

Nice first trip post! They are my favorite threads as well. Colin does a great job with his travels all over the US. His website is http://www.itinerant-air-cooled.com and is always a good read.

It must be very satisfying building memories with that bus you have so much sweet equity in it.

Looks like your Dog loved the trip as well!
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Xevin Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 8:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Orlando -> Blowing Rock, NC Reply with quote

Awesome sethpat. Sounds like you had a great road trip. Do you have to push your snowboard like a skateboard down the hills on N.C. Slopes Wink Laughing
Cool little wing man you got there. Looks like a real panty dropper Cool
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MorkC68
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:00 am    Post subject: Re: Orlando -> Blowing Rock, NC Reply with quote

Awesome write up, happy adventuring Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:09 am    Post subject: Re: Orlando -> Blowing Rock, NC Reply with quote

Awesome road trip! I'm hoping to get in a good 2+hr trip in my bus sometime soon. Glad yours went well!
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 11:04 am    Post subject: Re: Orlando -> Blowing Rock, NC Reply with quote

Great trip! And great look'n pup!
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ultralite
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Orlando -> Blowing Rock, NC Reply with quote

Dude! That is a good long drive! I finally took my Bus down to Bug Jam from Atlanta last year and that's not near as long.

Get back up here and spend some time in those beautiful WNC mountains. It's just the best in a Bus.

Thanks for sharing, glad to see that happy dog too....
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sethpat
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:36 pm    Post subject: Re: Orlando -> Blowing Rock, NC Reply with quote

ultralite wrote:
Dude! That is a good long drive! I finally took my Bus down to Bug Jam from Atlanta last year and that's not near as long.

Get back up here and spend some time in those beautiful WNC mountains. It's just the best in a Bus.

Thanks for sharing, glad to see that happy dog too....


Heck yeah, I was sore as shit from all that sitting; it was well worth it though.
I actually plan on doing another trip next week since my old lady has some time off, and we're probably going back! Hopefully this time the Blue Ridge parkway is back open, that's some nice driving.

Let me know if you make it back down to FL! I've got a driveway you can camp in anytime
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https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=674133&highlight=

1975 Westfalia
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93mm pistons
Weber 34 ICT's
Cam 264* .402 lift


Last edited by sethpat on Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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sethpat
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Orlando -> Blowing Rock, NC Reply with quote

wcfvw69 wrote:
Nice first trip post! They are my favorite threads as well. Colin does a great job with his travels all over the US. His website is http://www.itinerant-air-cooled.com and is always a good read.

It must be very satisfying building memories with that bus you have so much sweet equity in it.

Looks like your Dog loved the trip as well!


Thanks for the feedback and for sharing the site, I just checked it out today and loved it. Its definitely awesome to be able to travel in the bus, especially with how the project started a year ago. It may not look the greatest but I've learned a lot.

Kingsley, my dog was beyond ecstatic to see snow. He just kept eating it and hopping around.

Xevin,
The slopes (hills) were tiny ! if you caught a strong wind towards the end of the run you were unstrapping and walking back to the lift. Still a ton of fun though with all of that fresh powder.
He's a great wingman... I'm convinced he's the majority reason I still have a girlfriend; it's definitely not the bus!

Everyone else, thanks for reading and the feedback! I hope to make another one soon. The write up was almost as fun as the trip, it's fun to recall the adventure with photos and have something to look back on in the years to come.
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Unnamed 1986 Syncro

Frankenbus (sold)

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=674133&highlight=

1975 Westfalia
914 IV 1.7
93mm pistons
Weber 34 ICT's
Cam 264* .402 lift
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ultralite
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 8:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Orlando -> Blowing Rock, NC Reply with quote

[quote="sethpat"]
ultralite wrote:

I actually plan on doing another trip next week since my old lady has some time off, and we're probably going back! Hopefully this time the Blue Ridge parkway is back open, that's some nice driving.


Are y'all seriously heading back to the mountains? If so, let me know if I can help with any info. Are you heading back to the ski resort or just want to hit the mountains? The reason I ask is one route to the mountains from Orlando takes you thru Atlanta. If you came thru ATL I'd like to offer a pit stop and hospitality if the timing is right.

I'll PM you....
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