Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Blue Tube!

In case you haven't noticed the link at the top, I am happy to announce BlueTube - Big Blue's channel on YouTube. It will be the resting place for 3 types of films:

1. Films about Big Blue's travels
2. Other films that are VW or camping related on YouTube (in the Favorite sections)
3. Any other vintage VW films I can get my hands on

Some of these videos now up on the channel have been posted before, but it seems that some record companies (looking at you here, Warner Brothers) don't dig people using their songs on YouTube. If they find it, (and they will find it) they will remove the soundtrack completely - including any voiceover that may have been on the audio track. The result is Big Blue's films will feature songs that aren't so well known so I can get away with it. Or lots of live Grateful Dead, since that seems to be impossible to track (forgive me, if I overuse the Dead, but at least they don't pull the audio).

At any rate, you can access BlueTube from the link bar at the top of the page. Here's a BlueTube classic which had been missing the soundtrack (pulled since I used "End of the Line" by the Traveling Wilburys) for a while now. The first bus we ever traveled in which inspired us to buy Big Blue. Our adventures in Rell, which we rented from VWSurfari in the spring of 2006:

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Vintage Tuesday! - Julius Kroninger VW shop - 1954

It's a bit of a departure from my regular Vintage Tuesday type of post. I bought this on ebay and thought it was interesting. It appears to be an early NSU and VW shop. I don't know much about NSU other than what I learned on Wikipedia, which is that they were bought by VW and blended into the Audi group. This happened years later though, so when this picture was taken, they would have been separate companies. In fact, NSU would have been making their own cars at the time this photo was taken. Also interesting, it appears they are still around in some fashion today.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sign up early!! 5th Annual Deschutes River RendezVW in June 2010

Looks like this year they are asking that you sign up early for the 5th Annual Deschutes River RendezVW. The camp out is now limited to 75 buses. 75 BUSES! That's crazy. An awesome sort-of crazy!

I know a bunch of you who read this go to it every year so I wanted to spread the word that you need to get in early. We are sending a reservation in. And this year, we are making it!

Sign up form below. Click on it and print it out and get it in!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

holga picture of Big Blue

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

March 1968 Road & Track - VW 1500 Automatic review

Pretty cool review of the new VW "automatic" from 1968...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Vintage Tuesday! - Early morning at the rally.

Early morning at the rally.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Big Blue's Labor Day video

Note: For all of you fans of Big Blue on Facebook, this is the same video you got a sneak peek of yesterday morning.

Big Blue's Labor Day video:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bodes Well - A new VW family adventure...

For those of you who caught Ludwig's Driver's post, you may be familiar with Bodes Well - a family headed out into the great wide open in a VW bus. They are, you see, taking off on an bus adventure until they run out of money. Going across country checking out the lay of the land.
You can read an article in the Alameda (where they started from) paper here.

It occurred to me that they could probably use some help, so emails were sent, negotiations were made, and for some cold, hard cash (actually, 1 swift paypal movement) I bought some space for a couple of "Big Blue is a Friend of Mine" bumper stickers on his bumpers. I'll send some pictures when they get them and put them on.

Recently, they have hit a bit of a snag outside Portland. Seems they are down for a while waiting for a new engine. Know someone who can help them? Or, just want to follow their adventure? Check them out here:

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Big Blue's Drivers

Ah, the old “About Us” conundrum. To do or not to do?

I could tell you that EP is the girl, Brett (AKA Big Blue’s Driver AKA me) is the boy and Big Blue is the bus that is the reason for this site. I could tell you that EP loves wine and wine country (and writes about it here), and I follow the path of music (old vinyl) and books where it leads me. I could tell you that between the tent and the bus we spend at least 35 nights a year in campsites. Sometimes fighting raccoons, sometimes not. I could tell you all that but it’s pretty boring and maybe self-serving.

I originally started this site to:

1. Note Big Blue’s history in a spot that would be easy and fun to access.
2. Document our adventures in camping and VW repair

In doing so, the site has managed to take over my life somewhat. I now try to photograph every VW I see (which is a TON in California). I have considered vacations to certain places based on the amount of VWs I think I may see (Texas? Precious little VW-ness). My closet has been taken over by VW t-shirts, my garage with VW-related junk and most of my email correspondence is in some way vw-camping-related.

Now, there is a new element to this site - the VW camping community. From Big Blue's annual Bus City campout, to various weekend shows, the Northern California VW community is growing, and we are staying in touch. A giant team!

Before moving Big Blue from the storage spot after we bought him, I had read John Muir’s, How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive. I thought, "crap, this should be easy." For a back-to-nature-self-reliant-grow-it-yourself-type like I consider myself to be, it seemed the perfect car. I could work on it in my spare time! It will be fun!

So 1 VW became 2.

But we entered the world through the camping door. And, while we wouldn't consider any other way of camping than Big Blue, we are by no means VW experts. Sometimes I sit there and scratch my head at the bus and think, "Man, I just want to be camping". I look forward to having a good 15 years experience in Big Blue, then, perhaps I'll know some tricks.

So we camp, learn, camp, sleep and camp some more. And have fun all along the journey. As my friend Crazy Al used to say, "it's all part of the expedition".

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Vintage Tuesday! - Porsche 356 waits for the start.

Porsche 356 waits for the start.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Big Blue's Labor Day weekend in NorCal Adventure - Day 4

The fourth and final day of our Labor day weekend adventure found us waking up at campground X in Humboldt County. We enjoyed the downtime immensely, but needed to get under way and head back home. We swapped phone #s with a couple we had hung out with a little at the site, gave a different couple a jump when they awoke to find their BMW's battery dead and headed on our way.

Just north of Campground X there is a spot where the road follows the beach. EP and I consider it one of our favorite roads to drive on. Below is Big Blue pulled off to the side of that road:

Then the road fights its way back over the hills, headed inland toward the town of Ferndale. For any car, this is quite a haul and for Big Blue, it was a 2nd gear, high rpm hill climb. Blue did fine, and we found ourselves down the other side and in Ferndale, an interesting Victorian-style town. Everything was closed for the holiday, but we did take a little time to walk around and see the place.

The road over the mountain into Ferndale.

The cows in California always have the best views.

After Ferndale, we turned Big Blue south on the 101. It's pretty smooth sailing once back on the 101, and it started to feel like the adventure was over. And, the further south we got, the more familiar the area became and then we knew we were home. Back to email, cell phones, our cat, chores, dishes, mail, bills, online banking, paychecks, gifts to buy, and blog posts to write. It was good to shut it all down for a few days.

This trip was good practice for our 9 day bus trip in October. I made a list when I got home of some things to do: re-seal all the windows, reupholster both front seats (the passenger side has a spring that pokes in a bad spot) and add under the dash parcel trays. This last one is something I was on the fence about, but I think it will be a nice addition to keep the bus a little more organized when traveling. I hope to have all this in place by the October trip.

We did make 2 cool stops on our way down. Places we have been a few times but not in Big Blue. The first stop was the Avenue of the Giants. This place is always fun to drive through, but driving Blue through there gave me the feeling of going back 40 years, to when Big Blue might have been seeing these roads for the first time.

Big Blue on the Avenue of the Giants.

And the last major stop of the adventure was the Drive-thru Tree in Leggett. We drove through this in our MINI a few years back, but had never had the bus there. It costs $5 to get in and, while paying, the lady warned me that the bus wouldn't fit.

"How tall is it?" I asked.

"Six feet eight inches," she answered. "You won't make it."

"Naw, I'll make it."

"Okay, I'm just telling you."

So I did some quick math. I'm 6'2". And Big Blue is taller than me but not by much. EP was pretty sure we were too tall, but I decided to try. EP got out and got into a place to take a pic should I make it through.

With a line of cars behind me, I lined up Big Blue, pulled up to the entrance, and, about 3 inches shy of the tree, I decided that Big Blue and I were not getting through. I backed up and went and parked. The tallest car I saw go through was a mini van, and that thing barely cleared it.

Here is a picture of the failed attempt:

Big Blue not making it through the Drive-thru Tree in Leggett.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Big Blue's Labor Day weekend in NorCal Adventure - Day 3

I'll spare you a long post for Day 3. The first 2 posts about this trip were long enough.

And that's kinda easy to do, because we spent Sunday doing a whole lot of nothing. With the exception of a run into town for ice, beer and water, we didn't venture far from Big Blue and the beach.

If you look closely at a picture below, you can get a hint as to where campground X is...

Checking each other out.

At some point during the day, we turned around to see a hang glider coming down toward us on the beach. He came closer, and closer, and closer and finally landed right behind our campsite. It was like a scene out of Jesus' Son.

Later, on the advice of our camping cookbook from the 70s, we attempted to "bake" an egg on the fire. The directions said, put the egg "near" the fire. "Near" seems relative and I'm wondering how that slipped by the editors. We put it about 4 inches away from some coals and let it cook for a good 15 minutes, rotating it with a spoon. We even did the ol' spin trick to see if it was done. Apparently, we didn't cook it long enough. It wasn't even soft boiled. EP says she is going to amend the recipe to "bake" the egg in "water" above the fire.

Our attempt to "bake" an egg.

We did cook up a feast later, which included ribs. We have decided that we always start dinner too late while camping. It is much easier to cook in daylight...

The corn came out perfectly.

But other than that, it was hanging out at the beach, napping, reading (me: Eldridge Cleaver's Soul on Ice; for EP: Hemingway's A Moveable Feast) and napping some more. We did meet and hang out with our neighbors a little.

Guy (pictured below) was a avid birder. Birders always scare me a little, but Guy was pretty cool (his thick, French accent made him seem rather professor-like). He is currently on a mission to visit every county in California, and is actually almost done. He also has a philosophy that he should see something new every day. He was very excited when he found a toad in our campsite and kept checking on it and taking pictures. I failed to take a single one of the toad, though I wish I had one now to share...


So Sunday was exactly what it was meant to be. Nothing at all...

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Big Blue's Labor Day weekend in NorCal Adventure - Day 2

Day 2 route.

We woke naturally on Saturday but had a mission. It's a long story, but without going into too many details, I'll tell some of it here. We were in Fort Bragg last weekend, after a Saturday night camping in the Camry. We had stopped into a thrift store on the south end of town and a book had caught my eye. Here's where I'll speed things up. I later looked up the book online and found out it is worth money. Enough money that we planned on swinging in on our way back through to grab it. So we were now 15 minutes away from the thrift store with about an hour and a half to kill.

Big Blue in Mendocino.

The Ultimate VW Camper for sale in Mendocino.

Our first stop up the road was Mendocino. The town often gets a bad rap for it’s tourism. It’s almost like the town is too cute for it’s own good. But I must say that Mendocino waking up is a pretty cool site. The coffee shop was the most alive, with folks getting their morning caffeine. Folks – most of them looking like they were on the lamb - were chilling out with worn-looking dogs. EP got some tea and we drove down to a “no parking” area, parked, and enjoyed to view. We didn’t waste much time, as we needed to move on to Fort Bragg. And the idea that Derrick – our hitchhiker from the night before, may be lurking around any corner, was on my mind. So we pushed on.

Fort Bragg waking up (note the 2 VW buses in this picture).

It’s not often we find ourselves both 1) fully awake and 2) with time to kill. It seems to me when I was a little kid, I had ample supplies of both. In Fort Bragg, we had both, arriving a good hour before the thrift store we needed to stop at was open. So we trolled the back streets of this working-class town, enjoying the ‘hood. We even stopped at a garage sale and came this close to purchasing an old pack of Polaroid film for $2.

Shortly after, we came upon a soccer game involving adults, so we decided to stop and watch. We spent a good hour watching people we didn’t know play soccer. I rooted for white, since the goalie seemed to be a little unstable.

When the time came, we went back to the thrift store, waited for the door to open, moseyed in like we weren’t looking for something specific, walked to the bookshelves and... It was there! I poked around a little more, afraid my play would be found out, then purchased the book. It will soon be on ebay to hopefully pay for some upgrades to the camper (I will let you know the results).

Not much north of Fort Bragg, we saw a sign that said, "EVENT TODAY". So we couldn't really pass it up. It turned out to be a horseshoe throwing contest. I was pretty good at this beer-drinking game back in college since we had some pits at our rented house, but these guys were beyond good. The contest hadn't started yet, but by the warm-ups I got the feeling that this was a Labor Day tradition that the participants looked forward to. Not only that - these guys were already doing some serious drinking (it was probably 9:45 in the morning?) Note the guy 2 pictures down, that's a beer he's draining!

Serious 'shoes north of Fort Bragg.

Just up the road from the horseshoe throwing contest, we pulled over at a book sale and found Jerry Kamstra's book, Weed: Adventures of a Dope Smuggler. We bought it for $1 and EP started reading from it back in the bus as we rolled along. The book has turned out to be excellent - a smuggler's tale set in 1960s Mexico. (Here's a pic of Jerry and a bus, but I don't know if it's his.) It became the "audio book" of our trip, and I look forward to hearing the end of it on our future camping adventures. We also picked up an old game, "Boggle", for $1, which we would try later that night.

The musty, worn copy of Weed we picked up for a dollar.

After that, we headed north on the 1, now on the move to our campsite. We had tunes – Regina Spektor, Paul Simon’s “Graceland” and even some Eagles - for the trip in between EP reading our new book.

Highway 1 turns away from the ocean to meet back up with the 101, and we climbed the hills that keep the coast moist and foggy. Soon after, we hit some light rain and we decided to pull and make lunch. This also gave me a chance to check the tape below Blue's windshield. We pulled off in the mountains and chilled out for a bit.

We made campground X long before sundown (I have no idea of time at this point). I'll refer to it as campground X here, since we were surprised to find people there and must fight to keep it secret. I will be happy to share with VW campers who want it (email at bigbluevw -at- Anyway, this would be our home for the next 48 hours. We hung out on the beach. The weather was amazing for Northern California on the coast - warm, sunny. Per-fect.

Below is a collection of some scary 80s love song-style beach scenes.

What it looks like when you shut off after 65 hour work weeks...

EP flying kite.

Random beach shot.

Here was Big Blue's camping zone. Nevermind the stick in the top. I'm not sure why we put that there..

We played a little Boggle before crawling into bed to the sound of the ocean...

  © Blogger template por Emporium Digital 2008

Voltar para o TOPO