An afternoon out in the sun after a wet, wet winter

Beautiful scenery around Clear Lake, and quiet roads make for wonderful VW touring country, though to get here you will probably encounter a few challenging gradients and tight hairpin bends 🙂

As you can see the result is well worth the effort!

 

Dexter and Mt Konocti, Lake County, Northern California, May 2017

Camping in the Redwoods – Part 2 – enjoying Bus City 2014

Remember that start mileage from Part 1 of this story?

Here’s the arrival reading, showing we drove only 112 miles to Schoolhouse Canyon Campground. A tiny trip for The YesWeCan CamperVan

Why then did it seem longer? Probably all those stops (Petaluma for Tillamook buses, Sebastopol for Citibank, Bodega & Bodega Bay to see where Hitchcock filmed his thriller “The Birds”, the Russian River view and Guerneville, peaking at the women’s festival, Community Church and Radio station, stopping at ATM Bank of America for camping fees, and shopping at Safeway for beer and early morning coffee).

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We knew we were in for a treat in Guerneville, when we met the Safeway store security guard at 5.30am Saturday and she told us if we needed any help at the checkout, we just had to oink the pig. “It’s the best way to get attention from the people filling the shelves”, she said. Okay!!!!  Oink, Oink!!

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Gotta say, this reminded us of the other pig in a store way back in 2009, some 25,000 miles ago, at the very start of our travels in The YesWeCan CamperVan (read that story here – photo caption ‘Pigs do fly in California’).

Anyhow, back to Guerneville ….. after a short drive out of town, past Korbel, we eventually arrive at the Schoolhouse Canyon Campground.  The VW Camper Family’s 6th Annual “Bus City” is in full swing. VW’s camped all over under huge redwood trees. Which spot to choose, we wonder?

And then a friendly wave beckons, and we move into this welcoming space, with two beautiful vanagons and a Toyota Forerunner (just like the one Carole drove in 2000 on her first ever coast to coast drive across America).

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Three very nice women, Ginny, Connie and Barbara, welcome us.

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And then we notice other members of their VW family … these little chihuahuas…..

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with a VW bus all of their own, which they happily share with a couple of bigger dogs, too …

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The next door neighbour, Thom, is from the same area as us. His recently acquired canoe made his bay window look quite the adventure wagon 🙂

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Thom’s wife, Amy, created a banner for “Bus City 2014” which she asked us all to sign …. I think many forgot!

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Carole left me to chill out and rest in the shade of the redwood trees ….

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while she went over to the picnic table ….

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to see if she could help with breakfast preparation.

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She brought strong cheddar cheese, a great addition to eggs.

 

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Had not quite imagined frozen eggs though.
Dang, those vanagon fridges must be powerful!
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Nothing beats VW camping gals! After a little thaw, the scramble is looking pretty good and the end result is yummy!

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After this proteinaceous breakfast and warm company, Carole toddled off to look for the creator of this event (now in it’s 6th year). She’d met Big Blue online in 2010 and couldn’t wait to meet him in person.

“Big Blue” was easy to spot

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What a great plate !!!

Also love that riviera pop top ….

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Quite a few more pop-tops around in the Redwoods ….

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and other ways to keep cool inside one’s VW camper …..

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Our favourite one, though, is the dormobile roof from GB (sorry for the bias). Look at that little vent – isn’t it sweet?

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Lots of bay window buses and vanagons, here, yet only two split windows – a little different to the events in southern california where splitties often prevail.

This split window has a hippy paint job ….

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and this green and white one ….

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had been newly painted the owner told us.

Well, after all that bus spotting and photo taking, it’s off  to the river for a dip …

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A welcome space to enjoy the redwoods, birds, butterflies, and river … and time to play

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a welcome chance to cool down

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and enjoy one’s VW family the old fashioned way 🙂

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After that adventure, tea back at camp … (happy sigh….)

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… more time to visit ….

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and play

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and swap tips on better ways to camp.

A battery operated fan – great for a bay window with no fan of its own 🙂

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a mini portable grill/BBQ

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and ingenious methods for attaching awnings to VWs; it’s all in the spirit of the wonderful VW family 🙂

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Time also for Carole to hand out our VW4Causes sticker ….

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One here on the Toyota. Thank you Connie 🙂 (don’t you just love that reflection of our campervan in your rear window too!)

Then Barbara with the lovely vanagon …

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let us put one of our stickers on her colourful rear window (thank you :)) ..

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… just before she got packed up and ready to go (you see, the doggie house has gone)

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Going around to say bye bye is never easy  – campouts always seem too too short …

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All gone!

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Nothing left to do now except move The YesWeCan CamperVan to a shady spot ….

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get out the tea tray ….

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put on the kettle …..

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make some tea and think about England 🙂 🙂 (just joking)

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Here’s to Bus City number 7 !!!!!!!

To get more info on this event, simply join VW Camper Family by clicking the link on this website. Go back to top of this article, scroll down left column, look for VW blogs header and you’ll find VW Camper Family listed there.

If you enjoyed reading this story, please would you help us with our cause by helping us reach 2000 page likes on facebook. We’re up to 1,796 at the present time. Just click here and once on our VW’s page, click like or join. THANKS 🙂 

 

VW stories from way back when …

After this photo appeared on VW Bus Junkies – Classic VW Bus Owners and Fans … it had received almost 90 likes by the time I saw it today a week or so later …

VW vintage with 60s band

I apologize for not being able to give credit to the photographer of this great picture; source was not shown on VW Bus Junkies facebook page.

John Kleckner commented ……

“My brother used a ’57 and hauled the whole band out to Eastern Long Island in ’65 to open for Mitch Ryder. I used my ’58 to haul a Hammond B3 and 2 Leslie speakers [yes they fit] with other stuff. [’57-8] Both were 36 HP, and made it to many gigs!”

If you have any colourful stories to share from the 60s, please add them in the box below …. thank you!

MERRY CHRISTMAS from the VW world

MERRY CHRISTMAS from the VW world 

from VW christmas tree decorations ….

VW bauble for Xmas tree

Dr Pepper VW BEETLE Tree Gift

Pepsi Cola VW BEETLE Tree Gift

…. to VW Christmas cakes …

VW Bus Cake + Peeps

…. who knows what you might wish for ?

VW Bus Santas

…. after all, in VW world, anything is possible 🙂

VW with Reindeer - Xmas Wish

MERRY CHRISTMAS from me

and from my VW bus

The YesWeCan CamperVan !

If you’d like to send us a special Christmas gift,                                 we’d love you to  click here on our highlighted                                    The YesWeCan CamperVan 

This link will take you to our VW Facebook page, and                  when you get there, please like our Page …….. then share            this request with your friends, too.

   We are trying to reach 2000 ‘Page Likes’ by year end, and we’ve a long way to go. If you could help us reach this target, it  would be a wonderful gift from you to us and many others, because you’ll be helping us reach more people with our educational messages through our work at VW4CAUSES 

Thank you!

P.S.
Even Jesus agrees – see below 🙂

(thanks to VW enthusiast Ryan Bautista for this photo) 

VW Jesus Xmas Tree decoration

A maiden voyage

With the focus on making posters for my bus exhibition for MG Awareness, I completely forgot that it was to be the VW bus maiden voyage in Great Britain.

getting ready for maiden voyage; Paul said the bird poop was lucky, but I wanted to wash the bus for its first trip

Which meant it was also my first time driving it !!!! How could I have overlooked that minor detail? And it was over 100 miles from the Bedford area to Grill-n-Chill at The Hop Farm in Kent …

Carole’s ist time driving the Brazilian bus

On that drive down the M1, M25, M20 and a little country road (of which I do not know the number because every time I slowed for a traffic light or roundabout, the engine cut out!!) I  discovered this VW is nothing like my smooth 1971 VW Westfalia. This Brazilian built split window has a different everything: engine, brakes, gear positions, pedal positions and angle, steering, seats, steering wheel position, noise insulation, windows, mirrors; and it has NO rear view mirror and NO heat.

What does all that mean in practice?????

It means:

  • it loves to go into reverse gear instead of 2nd!!!
  • you have to REALLY step on the brakes because they are drum brakes and neither are they power assisted as in my 71 Westfalia
  • the braking distance is twice as far!
  • the clutch pedal is so steep my arthritic left knee no longer feels the pain because it’s dead!
  • the steering is baggy, baggy, baggy (where did you say the white line was?)
  • the driver’s seat is so low that the steering wheel becomes a boob carrier 🙂
  • the steering wheel is so high it almost hits yer chin!
  • the lack of insulation anywhere in the van, means the engine noise is amplified in the cargo space and is deafeningly loud
  • the lack of ventilation up to the front windscreen means I need to open windows
  • the windows slide so it’s a new manoeuvre instead of turning a handle (just one more thing to learn as I’m driving as fast as I can to get to the show in Kent)
  • the mirrors are small circular things that show almost nothing behind
  • the lack of a rear view mirror is positively dangerous as I have to turn around each time I need to change lanes (but at least I have no blind spots in a 15 window bus)
  • without heat it is so cold to drive in the English weather!!!!

BUT … despite all of the above ….

  • I did make it to the Grill-n-Chill VW Show at The Hop Farm in Kent

meeting my gracious host, Anton; notice the signs in the back of the bus!!!

  • it’s amazing, as with all VWs, there is just something about them that captures your heart !!!!

P.S. This story also published on sister site VW4causes (Vehicles Working for Causes) at http://vw4causes.org/2012/09/25/a-3rd-to-celebrate-driving-a-vw-bus-on-its-maiden-voyage/ … with more photos and chatter on using the 15 window bus to tell an important story

 

I am so thankful

I was just thinking back to a few days before the end of my drive in California. Shown here is my trusty 1971 Volkswagen Westfalia in Carpinteria, just south of Santa Barbara. The night before taking this photograph, I’d stayed with VW friend, Judith, whom I’d met two years before in March 2010 on my first VW road trip.

The YesWeCan CamperVan in Carpinteria, California, towards the end of phase 2 of the MG Awareness drive; start date 20 October 2011 from Provincetown, MA, end date 15 May 2012 in Corona, CA, total distance 7853 miles

On that first trip I soon realized that my VW was my new friend who would introduce me to many more new friends. I also realized that my precious VW gave me the opportunity to start conversations with strangers, and the question quickly became what was it that I wanted to start a conversation about? Was there something important that I could talk about and that would be of interest or benefit to others, I wondered.

At the end of 2010, one year after the start of that first road trip, I was sure I’d found the topic, and another year on as I set off on my second cross country drive, I was pleased I’d chosen MG (Myasthenia Gravis). It would be the focus of my communications on auto-immune diseases and neuro-muscular ones in particular.

Seven months and over 7,500 miles later, at the end of my day in Carpinteria pictured above, I’d felt very fortunate that my VW had transported me safely on another momentous journey. On this trip, unlike the first, we’d had three major repairs before finally a new engine was built and fitted in Los Angeles. However every single time, help was on hand. It was miraculous how I was supported and helped along the way.

In the first instance, when the clutch started slipping and it was apparent it needed replacing, the Full Moon Bus Club’s South Carolina Coastal Group offered to fit a new clutch at their Thanksgivin’ Misgivin’ weekend campout just north of Charleston. Not only did they work on this repair all weekend for free, but Wolfsburg West stepped up and sent a new clutch free of charge and by overnight courier all the way from California to the VW campout’s organiser before we even arrived.

Two weeks later in Alabaster, Alabama, the accelerator cable broke in the middle of a busy traffic intersection as I was driving behind Staci (an MG patient who had been my wonderful host and helper) to accompany her in a Christmas Parade. On that occasion, Bill and Carol from Sylacauga had answered the distress message sent out on the VW network by my ‘support man’ Ken (back in Massachusetts) and they then drove one hour from home to meet me and fix my VW (after which they insisted I have my motor checked and hosted me for a few days while it was).

Two and a half weeks after that, as I was driving one early morning in a remote part of Texas, the fan belt shredded!!!! No sooner had I stopped on the side of the highway, we were joined by the nicest state trooper I’ve ever met. It was a very cold morning and I already had a sore throat and temperature, so he had me keep warm in his car, offered me his phone to call Hagerty for my breakdown service (my mobile had no signal) and stayed with me until my VW was on the tow truck an hour later.

It occurred to me at times such as those mentioned above that my VW bus is a perfect metaphor for a person with a chronic disease like MG. For example, all of us classic VW owners know (and mostly have come to accept) that our vehicles do not move as fast as high performance models, that they lose their balance around sharp bends, and that they often fight to get up hills. We also know that on a good day or when there’s far less resistance, the engine can run much stronger and livelier … and that during those times we can let out a loud sigh of relief or maybe we smile gently to ourselves, knowing that our faith has been restored and the struggle to keep going was definitely worth it.

We also know that during those ups, we might go a little crazy and do too many miles, and that, while it’s good while it lasts, chances are we’ll be pretty tired and plain old worn out later on.

As time goes by, we also learn that life in the slow lane can have its merits, like being far more appreciative of the good times and the fleeting moments of running free without bounds. Most of all we learn that living in the present moment is all there is, and with that, comes a joy all of its own.

So driving an old VW with it’s foibles and surprises, can really be a pretty good metaphor for what it’s like to have a chronic disease and to be steering one’s body through all the challenges that get thrown up along the way.  And the thing is, VWs just keep going and going if they are looked after and treated gently. Also one good example seen out and about on the road can be an inspiration to another, and waves and toots indicate that we share a common language.

For me, my VW has also been the friend who helped me find the very best of friends: those with whom I have a special understanding and with whom I can laugh and cry; those who have similar values and who give without expecting anything in return; and those who realize that trust and loyalty are the most precious of gems.

Boy oh boy … when I look at my old VW campervan, I really do have a great deal to be thankful for, don’t I?  🙂

HOW many VWs?

This is AMAZING …

…. if you agree, say so below!