Caught in Connecticut

September 21, 2009

Okay, Β 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. πŸ™‚

Later that night we pulled off somewhere in NY, just before NJ. Β 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!! πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚ We tell him our dilemma and ask for a jump, he says, Β “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) Β 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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

Findings and Things

August 27, 2009

Hey guys!

So last night, we took the bus on a ride up the coast to go to dinner and a movie and we spotted another bus parked by the ocean and so we stopped and got to chat for a while with an owner of a ’71 that looked much like ours. It was fun to compare restoration, history and stories with them. I love that this vehicle is going to allow for us to meet some pretty cool people along our travels with it. πŸ™‚

Today, Brian found some fun old advertisements and a brochure for our particular Westy. I thought I would share here. Also this evening he will attempt his first oil change in the bus and we will see how that goes. It needs a good change for sure and we will be taking it on yet another road trip this weekend. We are bound for the Jersey shore to say goodbye to Brian’s mom before she heads back to AZ. It will be an interesting trip. I am crossing my fingers that we make it ok with no troubles but that is the thing with the bus… it is always an adventure, you never know what will happen. πŸ™‚

We had the kids last weekend and went camping in it and we stopped at a store real quick, came back out and the thing wouldn’t start up… but we didn’t think it was the battery. Thankfully someone walked by and asked about what year it was and we asked him to help give us a jump start and thankfully it worked… and continued to ever since…. so we will see πŸ™‚ I will let you know how the road trip goes. ’till next time… Peace and Luv

Click on the images for larger viewing!

The FaceLift

August 17, 2009

Ok, So here is the scoop on the bus restoration.

We had been impatiently waiting for it’s return from getting it’s body work done. Brian really wanted it so he would have a car to drive to work and we kept getting pushed back as far as when we could go pick it up. Because the mechanic, Ron, kept finding more and more things and trouble like the fact that it had parts on it that were made up only of bondo and he sanded right through and had to create more metal body for it. This bus had about 15 coats of different paint and primer on it’s body… it has definitely been around a while πŸ™‚ But when all was said and done… we got the call… you can come pick it up tonight but not until like 10pm

So we occupied ourselves and went to dinner and had yummy lobster.

lobster

lobster2

Then we drove to barrington and got to see some of the final process on the bus getting spray painted and we got filled in on all the stuff that was done to it. The undercoating looked amazing and the paint job…. well… we liked the color a lot and it certainly isn’t perfect with some drippy’s and uneveness but you get what you pay for and we wouldn’t have it any other way. It shouldn’t be perfect anyways. So we loved it. And drove it home still glistening and wet with paint.

Bus in GarageBus 2Bus 3

In the morning Brian was sooo excited he woke up at the crack of dawn to go look at it. We had to get going on cleaning up the inside as we planned to take it on a trip that day and it was quite a mess inside with dust from his body work and just the gross state it was in when we bought it. So I pulled on my yellow rubber gloves and Brian grabbed the rags and bucket and we went to town on the inside… We took it to the car wash to give it a powerful vacuuming and dawned it with some air fresheners (new car scent of course) as well as sprayed it down with Febreze. It was looking pretty good. It only needed one more thing before it was road ready… OUR STICKERS!! We had a few stickers for it and we are sure to get more.

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PLAIDNew Car

So after it was clean, we packed up some things and headed north to the mountains with our new bus. It was running like a dream. Up hills, down hills, hitting about 65 on the highway πŸ™‚ We got many honks and waves, smiles and peace signs driving it all over NH and Southern Maine this weekend. We also got to test out how it is to sleep in and it was mighty comfy actually. πŸ™‚ It still needs work and we will continue to have a project on our hands. The inside will be hopefully getting re-done before next summer. But for now it is fun fun fun. We will keep you updated. Peace and Love to you all.

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A Poem Tribute…

July 31, 2009

Brian wrote up this quick poem in dedication of the bus today and I had to share it. πŸ™‚

She’s old and white
Rusty and loud
Quite a sight
Sitting high and proud


We found her neglected
After a long respite
Now she has been selected
To return to the light


Some new brakes and shocks
Sand down the rust
A new gas cap that locks
A muffler to control the gust

Some new tires that shine
Will make her look so fine
NH is the state
With PCE&LUV on her Plate
This ’77 bus is Great!

Body Works

July 31, 2009

So Brian and I drove the Bus over to Barrington to see a guy about some body work last night. It looks so cute out on the roads and gets lots of good reactions and attention even in it’s current rusty condition. I can’t wait till it is looking sharp! πŸ™‚

So this kid and I mean kid, is going to be working on getting all the rust out for us and fixing up the holes as well as re-doing all the undercoating on the bottom of the bus and then he will prime and spray paint it white for now until we can get a nicer paint job. But at least the rust will be out and prevented from getting worse! He will be doing all this for the low low price of 800 bucks parts and labor! Which granted that is only 100 dollars shy of what we paid for the bus itself but it is a good deal for the work that it is getting. So once we get it back in a week or two we will need tires and the reverse lights to be fixed up and then we will be inspect-able πŸ™‚

You really have to have a lot of faith in people when you need to get things done cheaply like this. The place we dropped it off was very sketchy and the kid doing the work wasn’t even there so we left it with the key it and hope for the best. No contracts, no nothing of course. Just cash transactions and trust that it will get done. Brian met the kid though and had a good feeling about it all. I am putting my trust in Brian and that is pretty easy. πŸ™‚

Bri is so excited to get this thing road ready because driving it is so much fun and then he will have a car again to take to work and I can’t wait too. We saw a green one drive by us on our walk last night and of course had to wave and give peace signs… they just make you happy! I miss ours already. The parking lot looks so empty and sad without it.

Once we are all inspected and it is driving around then we can work on cleaning up the insides. We are hoping that by next summer we will have it in pretty great condition and able to take it on longer camping and road trips πŸ™‚ I am so excited.

So I will let you know how it is looking after we get it back from the Body guy.

Till then… Peace and Love y’all

Progress

July 8, 2009

Hey Everyone!

So we got the Bus back from “Brian The Mechanic” and we have made some progress so I figured I would inform you of that and let you know what is next on the agenda for the Bus. Brian was able to put in new brakes and shocks and filled the tires with air, which they still will need replacing I think before inspection time… But she is sitting up tall, pretty and proud now with her new legs. Not looking as sad as she did before. She also has a new wiper arm so her brow is even now and a new gas cap to cover up her…uh,well you know. πŸ™‚ Brian also got his hands on a manual for the old gal and now we will have everything we need to know to continue to tinker and restore this great car! πŸ™‚

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So all that we need now for it to be inspection ready is:

β€’ Reverse lights fixed

β€’ Some new sneakers (tires)

β€’ Body work to get the rust and holes out

We have someone who may be willing to do the body work for us for $15/hr which would be really great because it will be some hours to do it I think. So we will let you know when we hear about that.

Ok, that’s it for now. Keep on Truckin’… I Mean Bussin’

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Big Week Ahead

June 29, 2009

So the mechanic has the bus and has given us the low down on what it is going to immediately need. We are looking at getting

  • 4 new brakes
  • shocks
  • muffler
  • wiper arm and blade
  • gas cap
  • gasket set for transmission

it will probably need a new clutch too but that may be able to wait. This is just the mechanics so far we will also need to get the body done. That is being looked at by someone this weekend as well for estimation on getting the rust patched and sanded out. So far, for the parts and labor we are looking at another $750 for the mechanics to get done. Not too bad. πŸ™‚ If everything goes smoothly we may get the bus back by next weekend in working order for inspection!! We shall see.

Plates

June 12, 2009

Plates

Our new plates came in yesterday! Be sure to Honk if you see us!

Quick Update

June 10, 2009

Hey all!

So just a quickie here I wanted to let everyone know it was official that we have our PCE&LUV plates ordered and it took all of $78 to register the VW and we had no problem doing it even though we had: NO TITLE and the last registration was done in 2004 and was in a different name than the bill of sale was because it was the father of the kid who sold it to us. I was holding my breathe but they registered it no problem πŸ™‚

Second good news! We found ourselves a mechanic. In keeping with true Craigslist fashion we found a guy who has been a mechanic for many years and does work for people on evenings and weekends. We contacted him and he came out to look at the LUV BUS and he fell in love just like we did. I was nervously watching body language from inside as they looked at the thing but the verdict was that he is really excited to take our project on and work with us on it and thinks it shouldn’t be too bad getting it road ready.

So Brian the mechanic is coming to pick up our little bus and drive it off to the garage tomorrow. I will be sad to not see it in the driveway every morning and evening but I know when we get it back there it will be in much better shape. He also has a friend who does body work who will give us his estimate about getting the body in good rust free shape and ready for a paint job of a still undetermined color.

Ok that is all for now. I will let you know the estimated work once it gets really looked over.

Peace πŸ™‚

Me and the bus

The Weekend

May 26, 2009

Hello all.

So all weekend I have been in disbelief that I have this junky but cute VW Bus parked outside. The neighbors have also been a little curious… haha I think we were “the gossip” on the block this weekend. But a few were daring enough to ask and I think they were happy with what they heard as far as the fact that we will be A. fixing it up. and B. not doing it in the parking lot of the condos next to their porches and mercedes haha. (no joke)

They will love it when it’s done. We will too. It looks great by the ocean. Brian’s kids also got introduced to the Bus this weekend and loved it and the idea of having many adventures in there. My Mom and Dad also stopped in to check out the new addition this weekend on their way through from moving my brother Tim in to NYC for his internship for the summer and it put smiles on their faces as well…. πŸ™‚ How can it not.

We found out that with the new battery it indeed STARTS RIGHT UP!!! πŸ™‚ Good sign.

However it stinks. (needs exhaust)

Also, we found out we need some break lights to go with our new breaks. And I am pretty sure the gas gauge doesn’t work. So that will be interesting.

So much to do, so little time.

Good news. We looked into vanity license plates as I am going to try to get it registered this week and our number one choice is indeed available: PCE&LUV

Good things ahead. I will keep you posted.