This weekend’s adventure turned out so fun. We headed up to Brunswick, ME at Thomas Point Beach Campground to the Vacationland VAG Fair. ¬†The campground was a beautiful spot. The kids had fun digging up clams in the sand. It happened to be mating season for horseshoe crabs and we saw some in the water too. It was Arlo’s first time camping and sleeping in a tent and he loved it. The full moon was amazing.

The VW’s that we saw on Sunday were awesome and the people we met were so great and welcoming and friendly. We look forward to doing some more of these events soon. And getting the interior of our bus spruced up to match the exterior now. ūüôā

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It’s been quite a while since any updates, but the good news is She is back on the road. ¬†Five and a half years ago, Alina and I purchased our house. ¬†The bus was driving for the first couple months and then the inevitable….. I don’t think it was a serious problem, but the bus wouldn’t start. ¬†Other projects and expenses continued to take precedence and She sat, and sat and sat. ¬†It was five years in our driveway. ¬†Snow covered the bus every winter, the sun washed her out each summer. ¬†The tires drooped, the rust grew sealing¬†the slider shut. ¬†Things weren’t looking good, but the dream persisted. ¬†We discussed getting rid of the lawn ornament, but that would be too painful. ¬†When there is a will there is a way.

Not having time, money, or a clue what was  needed to get her back on the road, I had an idea back in June.  Craigslist is an amazing thing.  I posted some pictures and offered a trade in the barter section. I was looking for someone who could do the mechanical work and clean up the rust.  I received several responses, and had a good feeling about one.  Andrew Atwood from Atwood and Sons garage in Waterbury, VT was interested.  He checked out the bus, agreed to give it a tune up, cut out the bondo, grind out the rust and give here a new paint job.  We shook hands and the bus drove off on his trailer.

Now the waiting…..

He estimated 45 days …..

after a week, I received a text showing that the bus was running.

waiting…

waiting …

Several discussions take place at home on the paint color.  Indecision.  Do we keep it the same, do we change?

Decision Made, committed….

We decided to take a trip to the garage and check things out. ¬†Most of the body work was done and rust cleaned up. ¬†The fuel pump went out, and was replaced. ¬†It was a great trip to Waterbury with the family. ¬†We hit Ben and Jerry’s and visited the garage. ¬†We stayed at a little resort in Stowe and had a nice get away.

Here are some pictures from our visit.

After the visit, it was really hard to wait….

But after only a couple of weeks until we got the call and the bus was ready

She is running great, looks great and back on the road.  Still a work in progress, but I am in love.  The rear window seal was on back order at bus depot so we needed a temporary solution.  More to come on issues and improvements.  It is great to have another project.

 

 

Updates

May 22, 2012

I realized today that it has been literally YEARS since writing in here. I can’t believe how time flies by. Unfortunately the main reason for not writing is that our beloved Bus hasn’t been flying around anywhere in a long while.

Brian and I were married at the end of September of 2010 and the bus was running great! It even made it’s grand appearance as our wedding weekend vehicle.

But since then a lot has changed. Brian and I bought a house back in February 2011. In the spring we were using the bus still and it came in real handy for trips to Lowes to get our gardening supplies.

However one hot early summer day when we came out of our local Walmart after a brief shopping trip with the kids, she just didn’t want to start back up for us. ūüė¶

And so from then on it has been not much more than a pretty lawn ornament. ūüė¶ ¬†We miss her dearly. But haven’t been able to find the extra cash to spend on getting her fixed up again since we have a house with lots of projects and things to pay for these days. But mark my words she will be on the road again someday, sooner than later we hope.


Ahhh, good old rusty.

She is back from the mechanic, and I think we are lucky to still have her this time.

So remember when we broke down on the 4th of July? ¬†That was the alternator. ¬†My back is still not real good, so I had a kid from craigslist come out to the house and put in a new alternator. ¬†I assumed, and I guess I still believe he did a good job, but some problems started after that. ¬†I didn’t think it was a big deal, but pretty much every time I started the car I would get a couple of hic – ups while accelerating. ¬†It wasn’t all the time, and I couldn’t figure out why it was happening so I ignored it. ¬†Finally the bus bucked and died one time. ¬†I pulled into Hanoford and smelled a burnt rubber smell. ¬†The bus started up about 5 minutes later, but the battery light was back on. ¬†I drove home and parked the bus.

Fortunately I was picking up my winter car that night. ¬†I bought a ’98 jetta glx. ¬†After last winter and moving so my commute is longer, I decided a car with heat would be nice. ¬†The jetta isn’t perfect, but it is a lot of fun to drive.

Back to the bus.  It sat for a couple of weeks while I looked for a new mechanic.  I finally found one that I could trust and dropped the bus off.  I explained the problems and he started looking at it.  Apparently there were some major electrical issues.  The main load carrying wires from the batter, alternator and starter were totally fried.  Electric arcs were jumping off the bare wires and shorting to the frame randomly and causing the bus to hic-up and finally die.  It would have been real easy for the something to catch on fire with that kind of uncontrolled electricity.

Mike, the new mechanic replaced all the wires and got the electrical system back up to snuff. ¬†He looked the bus over and gave us a couple more things that need to be looked at, future posts I’m sure. ¬†The bus is back on the road and driving in time for the wedding.

After seeing the burnt up wires, it’s time to mount the fire extinguisher in the bus. ¬†It would be a shame to watch this old girl burn on the side of the road. ¬†We plan on having her around a long time.

Fourth of July Breakdown

August 5, 2010

I know, I know, here it is the 5th of August and I am just now getting around to filling you in on our latest breakdown story. We had a fun filled Fourth of July this year staying closer to home as Brian is still recovering from his back injury. We took the kids to see the fireworks show put on at UNH in Durham which is right near where we live now.¬† So, there we are all sitting on a blanket together patiently waiting and entertaining ourselves before the show when Brian exclaims…

“OH NO! I think I left the lights on in the Bus!” We were parked pretty far away and decided that it would be ok and we had our jump charger thing and maybe some nice passer by would shut them off for us. So we tried not to think about it… well that, and the fact that the battery light had been coming on lately as well, hmmm Anyways…

When we get back to the bus after the show and the lights were off, someone must have shut them off or the battery died because Brian was sure he left them on. So, of course we need to jump it. It starts! Phew.

Then as we are sitting there waiting for the line of traffic to move from the parking lot Brian turns on the lights and uh-oh… It dies.

We jump it again. It starts, we start driving around. It dies. So we decided that it must be the alternator not charging up the battery so maybe if we just get it going and then drive in circles around the parking lot it will charge up. WRONG. We only managed to get the police over asking us questions about why we were driving in circles in a VW bus with kids in the back. Hmm… we aren’t suspicious or anything.

So I bounce out and talk to them about the situation. No problems. A guy who seemed to be watching and waiting in his car for someone since we were the last ones in the parking lot seeing as how it was getting to be about 11pm and the event was now long over.. he offered to help us jump it one more time. Meanwhile I start calling AAA and Isabelle is crying her eyes out saying, ” I knew this would happen, we should have taken the car, now we will never get home”. Poor thing was scared sick while Colin was loving the idea of getting a tow truck to take us home.

So with two over tired kids at 11:30 pm in a parking lot we tried to pass the time waiting for the tow truck to come which took 45 minutes so we were doing things like singing and cartwheels in the grass, duck, duck goose etc etc to keep Isabelle’s mind off the fact we were temporarily “stranded”.

The tow truck driver arrived and we could not be more happy to head home. He was quite the talker and wouldn’t stop all the way there which quieted the kids down, only because I think they were afraid of him. Ha. (I was a little too.) Anyways, we made it home safe and sound. The kids got to stay up till midnight and thought that was the coolest thing EVER! In fact so much as to ask us if we can breakdown again the next time we have them with us. Ha… now they think it’s fun.

We didn’t think it was so fun and neither did our wallets as we had to order an alternator and get that put in which took about a week to do all in all and Brian had to rent a car to get to work all week as we don’t conveniently drive the same direction to work as each other anymore.

But alas, the bus is now fixed again and running great… for now…

Bus Owners

February 25, 2010

Now, I have always assumed and it has proven to be true thus far. That as a bus owner you have a certain happy-go-lucky way about you. You are friendly to others, especially other BUS owners. Most of those who we have found amongst our travels will go out of their way to stop and chat about busses with you. Share stories and advice and reminisce if they used to own one. Well, that wasn’t the case with the owner of this ’72 beauty we stopped to check out on our way to Hillsborough the other day.

It was located at a little book barn and we thought we would go in and poke around since it looked neat and we figured that the owner was the owner of the bus. And he was. However, when we tried to talk to him about it, he seemed kind of annoyed. I mean there was no one else in the store and yet he was very reluctant to make conversation with us. Then he went as far as to go off and pretty much hide out back somewhere until Brian and I left. Do we stink? What if we wanted to buy a book?

As soon as we went out I saw that he came back up to the front desk. Weird. I have never experienced this before. I hope this is a rare occurrence.

On another note, we made some necessary purchases recently for our bus. We have traded up from the ceramic heater to a bigger more powerful propane heater that seems to work much better for Brian. I just hope he doesn’t blow himself up. We also acquired a battery jump starter thing that comes with a air compressor for filling tires too. Should come in handy when there is no one around to help us jump start. And last but not least. We upgraded our AAA today so that we can get towed up to 100 miles!! ¬†I guess we will be all set when May comes to take the Bus down to Virginia for Tim’s Graduation! ūüôā

Winter-ized

January 22, 2010

So here it is, middle of winter and the bus is still running strong. Brian drives it everyday except for the days when it is really really iced up, which have only been few this winter. See, the bus has no heat. The connections to hook up the heat are missing and we just didn’t have the money to get it all hooked up before winter this year. So if we have a snow storm with ice or anything it is really hard to clear off the bus without help from it warming up on the inside. It’s more or less like an ice box on wheels at that point.

Other than those days Brian bundles himself up and with a smile and hat and gloves and all he hops in the bus every chilly morning. He loves it. He says it handles great in the snow too. He even rigged up a ceramic heater thing that hooks up to the battery to run, which provides a small amount of heat for him. Brrrr. He’s crazy. That’s why I love him though. And everyone loves the bus. ūüôā

Beeeeeeeep

November 9, 2009

Two Saturday’s ago we decided to take the bus to go pick up our veggies at the farm. We were riding along on 95 south, the 3 or so exits we had to go when all of a sudden… We lost our gas pedal action… aaahhh it was not getting any gas… so I tell Brian to try to pull over when he can as we are slowing to a snails pace in the middle lane and people are whizzing around us Honking and Beeping and actually Flipping Us Off!!! I couldn’t believe it… I mean who flips off a VW Bus with Peace and Love on the plate… Come On! So we pull over right at one of the exit ramps and try to figure out the issue. After trying a few things we still couldn’t get it to start back up again. So inevitably we had to call a tow truck. (really not in the budget these days)

I took the opportunity to take some photos of a close up of a highway exit sign… I mean how many times in your life will you get the chance to be that close… right?

2009-10-31 17.12.50

2009-10-31 17.12.55

We shrugged our shoulders and went on our way. Brian thought it might be either the cable that attaches to the gas pedal or the distributer cap or something easy like that. Come to find out he was right… mostly. It took a week of her sitting for us to get one of our trusty mechanics to make a house call. And on Saturday Ron came by and with him and Brian looking at it, they figured out it was the distributer cap and the rotor inside that needed replacing. A mere 12 dollar purchase, however for the time of our mechanic the whole ordeal would cost another 100 dollars for his time.

Oh brother.

But the bus is up and running once again. Little by little it feels like we will end up replacing everything and then she will be essentially brand new. haha

Then Sunday we took her out to an art show of a favorite artist of mine Janis Sanders, I work with his wife Vizma and they are both just the loveliest people. When we came out from the show an older woman and her daughter were caught in action taking pictures and gushing over the bus and so we got to chat to them about it and show it off a bit. It always feels so good to have admirers. I remember how treasured my photos of the Busses I have come across are to me and now I just can’t believe that my bus will be in other peoples photographs! I still can’t believe I have a bus sometimes.

It’s just the best thing ever.

A Brand New Start… er

October 7, 2009

So where did we leave off…¬† Ever since the trip to NJ or even a bit before that the bus didn’t really like to start all the time… Well, we did discover that if you bang on the starter a bit with say… a hammer that it would then start up. I guess the starters getting stuck were a common problem on these buses. So at least we didn’t have to push start the bus anymore. The banging seemed to work every time. However, it was still unpleasant for brian to slide under the bus ever time it wouldn’t start up, especially when the ground was wet or something. So, he read and read about changing out a starter. He found that it was pretty easy to do and thought he might give it a try himself ! So we ordered a new starter and solenoid for the bus. He got under there and tried to un-do the three bolts that hold the old starter in and one of them was rusted on super nice so that he couldn’t get it off.

So we had put off changing it for a bit until we could get someone to help us. Well… The other night we were going to the local natural food market and I met brian there on my way home and he was on the phone. He was talking to Brian the mechanic we had first work on the bus about possibly getting the starter changed out soon. Brian the mechanic said he was at his shop now just down the street and we could bring it by after if we wanted. So we did. And he had to break off the old rusted bolt for us and changed the starter for 30 dollars labor. ūüôā Not bad. He also told us that he has some VW Bus stickers for us that his friend who works for VW gave to him to give us! ūüôā Everyone loves the bus.

Oh yea and also for Brian’s birthday I bought him this handy book so he can continue to try to learn about working on the bus! It is very humorous too and helpful so far.

VW-John Muir

Also, Bri is excited that he just ordered a stereo and speakers to get rigged up in the bus so that he will finally be able to listen to some tunes in there!

And, that is the latest and greatest!

Some Pics

September 21, 2009

Here are some shots of the bus on one of our pretty coastal drives near us one evening. Also we found a place near by us that seems to work on lots of VW’s ūüôā I love finding friends and a good place to take our bus to for some repairs.