After a month on the road, it felt good to stay in one place for a while! We slept in my mom’s 1969 HiLo trailer in her yard in Clarkdale. This allowed us to the leave the van parked across the yard at the shop. BB’s Project VW is the shop my father operated for many years. It still looks much as it did on the day he died. That means that we have all the hand tools, power tools and air tools to do nearly any project. It also gives me the opportunity to stand in my father’s shoes and reminisce a bit. We really enjoy hanging out with Mom while we’re there. She is a sparky, young 70 year old that we both enjoy being around. And she has a crazy dog that entertains our dogs for hours on end! We all have fun at the shop in Clarkdale.
It was a productive and enjoyable visit. Mike flew back East for a class reunion. Geneva connected with area friends. And somehow through all that, Alta got some tasks completed:
Alta got new flooring installed.
It is just a basic peel and stick over the stock floor. But it should make the sand and spills easier to manage.
She also got the shift lever greased, brakes rebuilt, oil change, CVs torqued and new tires!
We also filled some holes that were letting in dust on dirt roads. The holes where the AC hoses previously ran and the area around the drain hole for the water tank were filled with that puffy stuff in a can. The hole that was formerly a vent for the propane refrigerator was filled with puffy stuff and capped with a gasket and a late VW hubcap. Looks pretty spiffy!
We also replaced the sliding door panel. The old record book of visitors had shown its years and needed to be retired!
From most hassles, comes something good. One day we were leaving Discount Tire, super-discouraged. We had purchased nearly $700.00 in tires a few days earlier and we were back to have them re-balanced. The salesperson informed us that they would NOT take our wheels off the van because they had spacers in them. (Required when you put oversized Mercedes wheels on a Vanagon) I became a little agitated, mentioning that they had no problem taking our wheels off a few days ago when we were spending money- and that they never informed us that the “free lifetime balancing” came with this condition. Nonetheless, they refused to service the tires while on the van, so we would have to bring them back dismounted. I was fuming.
As we drove away I heard a faint Vanagon “beep-beep” and turned to wave. It was a white, pop-top in the Auto Zone parking lot under a tree. I turned to Mike and said, “we have to go back, they are stuck and need help”. He knew I was right, so we U-turned and pulled in to check on them. Sure enough, self-diagnosed starter issues and no starter available from Auto Zone. So we hatched a plan to get them to our shop and get their part ordered from elsewhere. They spent a couple of days camped in the yard near our shop. Mike looked over the basic mechanicals with them and pointed out a torn CV boot needing attention. Interestingly their van would start intermittently during this time. We looked into “Vanagon Syndrome” and they decided that they would tackle it elsewhere. So off they went, chasing their next adventure! It was great to meet them and I hope that our paths cross again on the road.
PS- In case you were wondering… we did take off our wheels and tires and transport them back to Discount Tire for balancing, using a borrowed truck. And then put them back on ourselves (including the spacers) and they are running fine now. Good tires, bad communication.