Thursday, August 13, 2009

Ideas on summer camping ... Little Blue getting hit! ... Carpet failure and new wood getting close to done ...

Bus City 1967.

I have talked very little here about Little Blue and Big Blue lately. The truth is, we seem to have gotten into the pattern over the last 2 summers, of NOT camping very often.

First of all, reservations are harder than they in the off-season, which is hard enough.

Second thing is that it's hot - like melt vinyl records on your back seat hot - everywhere except the coast, which is exactly where everyone with children head. Don't get me wrong (Regis), I love kids. And when we have them, we will head to the coast during the summer camping season like everyone else. But for now, EP and I use camping to kick back, relax, and enjoy some wine among the quiet - oh so delightfully quiet - outdoors. The exception of course, is camping with the VWs in the area. Then, we appreciate the chaos. But, I digress...

Third thing is I have been crazy - out-of-my-mind-get-home-at-11-at-night crazy at work. We have actually cancelled a few camping trips this summer (and a WILCO concert) due to work. So there's that...

Not to say we haven't been camping here and there. We have been making the journey to some of the more remote places in the '08 Camry and a tent.

So I used some of the downtime for 2 things.

The first was to take Little Blue to Paul at Valley Wagonworks for a check-in / tune-up. Little Blue had gone nearly 11,000 miles since purchase and any real attention other than oil changes and valve adjustment that I did. It turned out there there wasn't anything wrong with Little Blue - new brake pads on the rear, new spark plugs and Paul even took it upon himself to fix the horn - which now works above 30 mph, but not below (???).

We tried to get it aligned because, if I really crank the wheel when parallel parking, there is a slight rub of the tire hitting the inside of the frame. As it turns out, Little Blue was hit! It's almost impossible to tell how or when, but that is what the alignment guy said. At some point Little Blue was hit in the front passenger side. He was able to align it pretty close, but not completely. This may explain the slight crookedness of Little Blue's front bumper...

Little Blue's alignment chart.

While Little Blue was at Paul's, I decided to pay some attention to Big Blue. You may remember that in January (which seems like yesterday), I pulled out the old floor and put a new floor down. Cool carpet, we thought, but it didn't last very long. By Bus City in May, it was coming apart and by mid-summer, the gaps in the carpet squares were way too much:

Carpet failure.


My idea was to get similar carpet from a carpet store - just one big piece instead of the tiles. I tried a place right down the street and it turns out what we want - sisal - is damn expensive. The guy quoted me $600. For 25 square feet. I told him that was 1/3 of what I paid for the bus.

Soooo. We won't be doing that. Not sure what we are going to do. I'm really out of ideas for the moment. But, to keep it going, I decided to keep going on some of the wood replacement.

First up was the panel on the sliding door. Old and rotted, some mildew on the edges...


The old one makes a fine template for...


the new one!

I also wanted to replace the old seat that faces backward behind the driver's seat. The wood was crappy wood and was starting to lose its tight box-like quality. So I made a replica using the old pieces...


And it went in perfectly...


Once I made sure it went it, I took it back out to put the birch "veneer" on...


The Baltic Birch "veneer".

I don't have a picture of the birch done yet, but it is and I must say, it looks good. Really, all I have is the door panels left and all the wood will be replaced (at that point, I'll take everything back out to stain and seal).

Another thing I did - and this is a response to Ludwig's post about keeping the bus clean, and Peter's post about his steering wheel - is I removed the old, leather steering wheel cover. Believe me, it hurt me to do so. Not to sound too odd here, but that piece gave Big Blue a connection to his past, and I wanted to keep it in, but honestly, it was so tired and tattered that it was the shabbiest thing in the cab of the bus. So, with as much fanfare as one can muster while one is alone working on one's auto, I gracefully removed the cover and apologized to Blue...

Steering wheel wrap was looking shabby...

The old steering wrap. Ah, if old pieces of leather could talk...

Wheel uncovered. (You can peek at the wood kick panels as well).

So that's where we are at on the VWs. Little Blue is back and running great. Big Blue is at Paul's getting a new tie-rod (more on that to come). We are a few hours of cutting wood (the doors) from putting in speakers. And speakers mean music. And music, will open up a whole new chapter in Big Blue travel fun!

4 comments:

The Frog

Glad to hear Big Blue is getting some speakers! As for the flooring....I would recommend something soft, perhaps with some padding. :)

Ludwig's Drivers

Ludwig's carpet is leftover scrap from when my parents put new carpeting in their house. I wonder if you could get some leftovers from freecycle or craigslist or something like that. Granted, the carpet wasn't our first choice for Ludwig, but it's a whole lot better than what it used to be. And the price was right.
-Melissa

Big Blue's Driver

Melissa - I am on the CL hunt, hoping someone has a "remnant" they want to move cheap. There are other projects to do in the meantime, but soon I'll have to come up with something.

The Frog - I know you know this, but those floors were never really meant to be slept on. You may be the first ever to avoid the top bunk and sleep on the floor instead...

Monty

Hey, that leather steering wheel cover was due for a change. I'm sure Blu feels ok about it.

thanks for all the poop!

  © Blogger template por Emporium Digital 2008

Voltar para o TOPO