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 ๐Ÿ™‚ I love finding friends and a good place to take our bus to for some repairs.

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Caught in Connecticut

September 21, 2009

Okay, ย so it’s been a while since this event actually took place now but I figured it was high time that I told the tale.

It begins with a last minute trip down to Ocean City, New Jersey to visit Ann (Brian’s Mom) one last time before she flew southwest for winter, back to AZ. So we decided to take a quick weekend road trip and of course that meant taking the BUS. This would be the longest trip we had taken it on yet. It was exciting and a little unnerving that anything could happen but we were prepared for adventure… However, we didn’t expect what would happen to happen. We new from the last time we took it camping that there may be a trouble starting it here and there along the way but it had seemed to be working fine all week for Brian going to work with it.

Brian showed up at my office on Friday afternoon, where everyone came out to see our bus before it’s voyage. Our first stop we made along the way, was off just before CT on Rt. 90. at a rest area to use the loo. This was our first encounter with the bus not starting. So just as we were trying to start it this car of kids pulled up next to us so we asked for a jump and that got it going fine. The next stop was for dinner and gas and we were worried about it starting again but, nothing to fear, it started up fine. ๐Ÿ™‚

Later that night we pulled off somewhere in NY, just before NJ. ย There was a sign on the highway for gas. HOWEVER, it was one of those that you get off the exit and travel for like 5 miles first and they don’t tell you that on the highway sign. So, we are in some town, it had been raining for the past few hours of our drive and still was sprinkling, it was about 10-11pm. we get gas and then the bus won’t start. So we get it out of the way of the pump and park over to the side. We look around for someone to help jump us.

This was an uneasy idea this time. Not too many friendly looking people around. We sat and waited and tried to pick our helper carefully. So Brian asked one guy and he was nice and pulled up behind us and we tried to charge the car and jump it but it didn’t seem to work. Brian thought that he wasn’t able to get a good connection to the battery terminals on his car so maybe the next person we will get it. I hoped so, I really didn’t want to camp there for the night. The ironic thing was, sitting in front of us is a VW shop, if we did have to. So… the next guy Bri chose to ask didn’t speak any english at all. And thought we were asking him for drugs or something but we seemed to get through and he pulled up and we were able to get the Bus going!! ๐Ÿ™‚

On the road again and still far from making it we kept driving. Afraid to turn off the engine at the next gas stop. Which there would inevitably have to be one more before we made it there. So, I took a nap in the back for a while and then we finally pull in to an off the highway station down in NJ about 30 minutes away from our destination. It’s 1:15 am.

As we feared, after getting gas the Bus wouldn’t start again. This time there was no one around but us and the gas attendant. Until out of no where some young guy in a dumpy pick-up truck pulls up behind us to get gas. ๐Ÿ™‚ We tell him our dilemma and ask for a jump, he says, ย “sure man”, while chewing on a pretzel stick and as we are letting the car charge with his we chat and find out he is from near where Brian was living in SC and he drives a lot up and down the coast. We try to start it, it doesn’t work. We let it charge longer. Nothing. So… It looks like we try our hand at push starting it!! YIKES! This means Brian, The Truck Guy and The Gas Attendant start pushing it while I, (half asleep still and never have attempted to drive the bus before) am supposed to pop the clutch into second gear and get it started. (no pressure though) ย They start pushing me and the bus is pretty light and easy to push so I get going fast! Then Brian suddenly realizes that he didn’t give me the key… so he runs up along side of me and tosses it in the window I grab the key put it in, pop the clutch and it starts right up! PHEW! That was scary/so much fun! We thank our helpers and are on our merry way again. ๐Ÿ™‚

We make it to NJ. Brian spends the bulk of saturday reading up in the manual of the bus and trying to figure out what our problem is. By the time we try to go home. It is starting right up again. No problem. So strange… so we head for home after a good weekend visit, a little afraid of what might lay ahead.

On the way home we went for longer stretches without stopping the bus. When I had to go to the bathroom we kept it running. For lunch we did stop and it started up fine. Then went we filled her up at the gas station we kept it running as well. We were going through all the rolling hills of Rt. 84 in CT when it happened…

All of a sudden going up one hill we lost all of our UMPFH… I didn’t think we would make it to the top of the hill. We pulled off an exit and coasted slowly into a truck stop area we opened up the back and the engine was really hot. We thought maybe it just needed a long rest and to cool off. As we waited a bit we noticed it was leaking some fluid from under by where the clutch and transmission was. Not sure if it was motor oil or transmission fluid. Either way. Not good. It was getting to be evening time and we needed to make it home for work on Monday. We waited a while and brian tried to clean up the under neath as it cooled and sat the leaking seemed to slow. But when we tried to drive it around the parking lot we still didn’t really have the power we should to get back going on the highway. We decided maybe it was just the lower gears and it was hard to tell so we gave it a whirl and tried to get back on the road. We didn’t make it far. So then there we were on the side of 84 in somewhere CT calling AAA. Bummer.

Since my AAA only covered a few miles towing… (needed to upgrade) we towed it to a garage in mansfield CT. Where we were stuck for the night until the garage opened in the morning to fix us and get us hopefully back on the road. We went to this pizza restaurant down the road and ate and called work and our parents etc and then camped out in the bus in the garage parking lot for the night. First thing in the morning we crawled out and got it looked at. The first thing the guy said was, ” I feel like I am in a time warp.” He really didn’t want to work on the bus, but told us that what was going to be needed, was a new clutch and that there was a VW Specialist garage further into town so we called AAA again and got towed to the next place. Spending our day riding our long boards to the gas station up the street where there was a Dunkin Donuts and a rack of trashy magazines for entertainment. And praying for the mechanic to fix us and that it wouldn’t be too costly and we could get home. However you need to order parts etc. So it looked like they couldn’t work on it until Wed. We would have to abandon the bus in CT for a couple of days.

We thought of renting a car or having someone pick us up. Thank goodness for my dad and the sad fact that he is out of work with not much to do right now so he came to our rescue and we waited for his arrival to bring us home. Meaning we would have to come back down again and make another 5 hour trip to pick up the bus. But at least it was in the right hands. We were lucky to have a VW Specialist looking at it and the fact that there was one there in this small town was great. It was among other VW friends there.

We went back down after work, on what ended up being Thursday because they had to also order seals for it. And when we arrived around 8pm we are told that we would have to wait. Because he was still working on it trying to get it started. Seems that on our way down, he had tried to get it started up and it would only fire up for a few seconds then shut off. UGGGHH… We sat and waited in the tiny garage while he worked on it until 10pm listening to him trying to start it up and getting hopeful every time but it wasn’t looking good. I felt bad he was staying so late to help us and I am sure he felt bad it didn’t work. He finally got it! It was something to do with the fuel injection thingy… haha i’m so mechanical. But regardless. With a new clutch and my pockets empty we finally took her home.

It had been a long week. But we still love her. ๐Ÿ™‚