Honeymoon Bus

Thanks to Jason and Allie Hopper for allowing me to repost this journey from their honeymoon adventure.

This, like the last post, is a repost from thesamba.com recounting LadyFriend®’s and my honeymoon this past summer. It was written while on the road and will be posted here in it’s entirety sans comments:

We’re leaving tomorrow morning bright and early. Dallas to Boston, down through NYC, DC, and whatever looks interesting in between. It’s a good 1,800 miles from here to the furthest destination if you ignore any detours (there will be plenty of detours). We’re keeping it loose; any particularly scenic roads, enormous balls of string, or museums of interest will get priority over getting to a certain point at a certain time. We have one reservation along the way, and that’s because it is the only camp ground within many many miles of the one destination AND it is Labor Day weekend.

For those of you familiar with the situation, we were planning to ship the bus to Europe and tour around in a similar vein. That fell through when half of the funding for the wedding fell through. As such, the Europe trip will mark some anniversary or another.

Meanwhile, in preparation for our wedding in April, Andy (our bus) got a new paint job. He was yellow with original ruby red showing through, and now he’s a shade of Krylon blue. I replaced door hinges (so they close more easily and more quietly), ended up getting a new engine (long story, but between the wedding and the honeymoon, it was needed), and hammered out a few dents.

In preparation for the wedding, I bought and installed a Retrosound radio, a cigarette lighter (hidden up under the dash), installed an Aircooled.net SVDA distributor with electronic points, changed gear oil in the tranny, steering box (which is in the process of leaking it all back out anyway), and RGBs, changed oil, adjusted valves, adjusted brakes, lubed suspension, and aired up tires (they were a little low). The day before the scheduled lube job, I noticed a pretty nasty oil leak had sprung from the drivers side cylinder head, and I figured it had sucked the valve cover gasket a little. It wasn’t pouring oil, so I figured it would get through to the next day. It did just fine, and I replaced the gaskets, sealed them with good ol’ black Permatex, and went about my way. It turns out that wasn’t the issue… One of the pushrod tube gaskets was hosed. It was a pretty spontaneous hosing, and not entirely consistent, but the engine builder said he’s had a few of those fail in the past few months (Elring for those of you in the need to know category). Best gasket kits available, but that’s the state of the hobby (quit buying cheap crap everyone!). By the time I figured out what the source of the leak was, it was Saturday night, and I needed the bus to get to work on Monday. My dad (who just bought a ’57 Ghia) is just getting into the hobby, so I figured it would be a great learning experience (and I needed some help). We dropped the engine, broke it down, replaced the gaskets, threw it all back together, and stabbed it back in. Leak mitigated.

Meanwhile, my wife (still not used to that moniker) and my father-in-law (even less used to that one) undertook the interior projects. She made up some window covers that are pretty excellent. They fit the windows exactly, and stick up with magnets. Together, they took a Bay era Z-bed box and mechanism that is made to go on the drivers side and rebuilt the box and converted the mechanism to go on the passenger side (to fit the interior we plan to make later on down the road). She got some new foam for the bed cushions, and reupholstered it all. She also got a seat cover to keep the original vinyl from being so uncomfortable (hot vinyl sucks). We finished installing the seat part of the bed last night, and tonight she’ll cut and upholster the rearmost cushion. In addition to that, tonight’s 11th hour plans include cutting and laying some cardboard down to protect the yet unfinished floor (furniture grade plywood), get the cushion finished, get the carpet in (just a rug that she had in her college apartment that happens to match the paint and fit the floor), clean the bird cage and wash the dog (we’re dropping them off with my parents on the way out of town), and pack and load. She also put in some insulation stuff (it’s like foil bubble wrap) that was supposed to keep noise out, but it doesn’t add any mass (F=MA), so it’s just thermal insulation… Oh well.

Having driven this bus across country before (http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=405754) and having not quite made it (Santa Rosa, NM) I’ve learned what is a good idea to bring and how to prepare. As such, Murphy is a dick, so I’m bringing pretty much everything else too. The long block is new and of new parts, so I’m not concerning myself with any parts contained therein (although a p/c kit would have saved our bacon on the last trip). I am bringing spares of pretty much everything else though: spare points, a spare distributor, spare fuel line, spare fuel pump, spare vacuum hose, vacuum plugs, spare starter, spare alternator, spare belt, spare coil, spare fuel filter, some wire, various and assorted connectors, and some things I’m forgetting. There’s a good sized box full of goodies. I’m bringing my standard road kit for tools including a full socket set, wrenches, screw drivers, timing light, tire pressure gauge, crescent wrench, knife, etc. and I’m bringing a big jack, torque wrench, a tow bar, and a few other suck-it-Murphy’s. Additionally, I’ll be printing the AIRS lists for every state on the route. Needless to say, there’s not much that can keep us down.

There will be PLENTY of photos to come, and hopefully some good stories, but before I get there, I would like to know if anyone has any shops between here and Boston that might be good for parts/assistance in a pinch. Additionally, if you’re on that route and you see a blue panel on the side of the road with the deck lid up any time in the next few weeks, HELP!  I doubt we’ll have any trouble, but just in case…