Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The reason why you buy your mechanic beer...

Today, on my way to work, the front wheels started vibrating and making a horrible noise. So I got on the cell and called Paul at Valley Wagonworks, who said to bring it in. When I arrived, the noise had become much worse. Paul (now sporting a beard for the first time in his life) immediately brought it into the shop, jacked up the front end of Blue and spun the wheels by hand. The front right had no trouble, the front left could barely move. He pulled out the spindle nut (of which, the threads are the wrong way, Ludwig's drivers were correct in the comment on this post), pulled the wheel off and the wheel bearing was shot (outer bearing, the inner bearing was fine). Water had gotten inside and rusted the bearing. I'm thinking this may have been a result of the January 3rd flood we had in our marina, when water came up over Blue's wheels.

At any rate, Paul had the bearing, stamped it in some grease, put it all back together, let the jack down and Big Blue was fine. Best part was catching up with Paul and hearing some of his early VW experiences. Second best part was the, "no need to pay me, I'll catch you next time" when I tried to pay him. I've said it before and I'll say it again, the man is awesome. A half hour in and out and I was back on my way.

Blue jacked up in Paul's shop.

The offending wheel.

Rusty crap instead of nice axle grease.

The man at work, one-handed, while talking business on the phone.

One more sticker on Big Blue...

I ordered this sticker from Hondo's in Texas. I bought one there a few years ago and stuck it on the back of the '72 Chevy Blazer I had in Chicago. I ordered 5, keeping a couple around for future cars.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Bikes, Buses and Bunkum!

Our route.

Picture 50 or so motorcycles, followed at a much slower pace by 4 VW buses heading from the San Francisco to the foothills of the Sierra Mountains. At a mountain town, you turn north on a county road, turn east on another county road, follow the road down a valley, across a river, up the other side of the valley to a campground on a lake. The BMW motorcycles circle around each other, the buses take the flat land, and one bus - the local host's bus, slides its side door open to reveal a keg of beer labeled simply, "blonde". At a nearby cafe, normally closed this time of year, the locals have teamed up to make some food to serve to the band of travelers. The weather is warm and wonderful, the people are fun and talkative, dogs, kids, bikes, buses - all of this makes the Bikes, Buses and Bunkum camp out a great time.

Last weekend we took Big Blue through the flat hot lands east of the Bay Area to the Bunkum event. It's the same group of guys we camped with in Rio Vista back in February, but this time the nice weather brought out many more people. Static and his dog Maggie, Peter on a BMW bike this time (read about his adventure here), Chris and his wife and kids in their massive truck, Keith, Rob and his girlfriend (and their bad-ass van) were all there. The event was hosted by a guy named Gene, who lived in the area (he had the '71 with the keg). Also, a new guy named Carl showed up with a cool high-top Vanagon.

Of course, any time spent traveling in Big Blue is always fun, but this time, the great warm weather, the stories Keith and Rob and Dan the Canadian postman told around the fire were pretty great. Below are some pictures of the grand adventure...

Our original spot (that's Chris's truck, the thing is huge!)

EP taking a load off.

Gene's '71 complete with tapped keg.

Not sure who brought this nice Westy in.

Dinner is served.

The next morning. EP playing with the camera settings.

The spot we ended up in after moving for some privacy.

The road out on Sunday - tight curves and a long way to fall.

The foothills of the Sierras.

Keep on truckin'.

A stop in the town of Folsum. We didn't see the prison, but stopped in some antique shops.

Ending the adventure at Ernie's Tin Bar - where else?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

VW buses spotlighted in Intersection

The thing that has amazed me about the VW bus community is the community itself. The collectors are so into the scene, that it is only a matter of time that the scene becomes subject to some profiles. In the latest edition of Intersection Magazine, a slick, fashion/car magazine, they spotlight a few of the collectors and their VW obsessions. Our friend Bill Staggs, who owns RELL, is among the featured...

Below is the article.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

$4000 for this work of art...??

This is a '71 for sale in here in Sausalito. It's about the highest high-top bus I've ever seen. For a mere $4000, it can be yours. Not sure how much it would cost to throw in the matching car...

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Stickers of Big Blue

We have added a few stickers to Big Blue, and he came with his own. Here they are...

Big Blue makes a political statement.

"Seguro Tegxxxx" - not sure what this is for...

The original candidate for peace, 40 years ago. Eugene McCarthy. We taped this on. It gets comments as much as the bus.

The "Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association". I think this is a reference to Monty's RC airplane adventures. I don't think he owned a plane. The color is coming off of this which is too bad, as it's a cool sticker.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

EP's first drive...

EP took Blue out for the first time ever this afternoon. The biggest problem was adjusting the seat for her -- the driving part was easy. EP handled Blue well and, I must say, it was fun to ride in the passenger seat.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

One more picture...

We always carry a disposable camera in the glove box of Big Blue. It takes us a while to get through it. Here's one last picture from our wine country trip to Dry Creek a few weeks ago. Pretty much sums up why we love Big Blue...

Big Blue at Lake Sonoma.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Wednesday Night Beach Run

EP's mom was in town this week, so last night we took Blue on a beach run. Sorry the pics are so bad - our digital camera is in the shop.

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