Not all roads are straight and true, eventually you hit some rough ones. At its current state the van lies in a bunch of pieces as the time has come to put some much needed work into her. I have decided to do much of this work on my own using the almighty power of the internet to guide me to success. If all goes well she should be back on the road in a month or two. There are many plans in the works that go in all sorts of directions, but I never was one to really plan ahead so the future is bright with possibility. I’m gonna try and update this with the rebuild as I make progress.
The warmth of summer has slowly slipped away, leaving brisk mornings and cool breezy afternoons in its wake. The trees waste no time in there celebration of color, for one by one they explode with reds, oranges, yellows, and greens. Let the apple cider flow and leaf piles grow, cause Fall is here. Now grab a sweater and get outside...
We broke thru the morning fog and were greeted with the gray slanted streets of San Francisco, as the plane wheels touched the runway the sun creeped up from the east and filled the cabin in gold. A rush to luggage pickup dodging wheeled carts and frantic tourists with a much needed stop for some coffee, and we were off to pickup our rental and head out of the city. Several credit card swipes later we were in a fueled up rental SUV heading north to the ocean, passing over the Golden Gate bridge with every window open.
We pulled into Point Reyes National Seashore in a cloud of caffeinated jet-lagged excitement, eager to see anything other then TSA lines, and concrete. We made camp, unloaded our luggage and headed out to see this ocean we only previously seen in books and tv screens. The sound of the rising tide and chattering gulls greeted us as we rounded endless curves of highway 1 before before the white tipped blue green waters of the pacific filled our windshield...
Well the last month flew by in a blur of traveling to California and getting the van ready for the move back to West Virginia for the summer. I barely had time to unpack the bags and upload all the memory cards from California before it was time to fuel up the adventure mobile and head south. I'm currently writing this from my campsite a stones throw away from the New River just south of Fayetteville.
With over 200 images from my roadtrip in California sitting in a hard drive ready to be cleaned up and posted, there is alot of work to do. With no power other then what my solar system can generate I'm hoping to have the first set up on the site by the end of this week. I have a bunch of stories to share as well so keep checking the site for updates and bear with me as I pump out as much work as the sun allows.
Here is to another great summer down by the river...
As the icy grip of winter takes hold and the slow days of January creep around the corner, its that time of the year when things like to break and old cars really show there age. There Is nothing like running out to start the old girl and instead of that thunderous carburEted growl of a cold start you get a couple cranks and then silence. That dreaded feeling that can only be described in two words, O Shit.
Luckily for me I was already at home and already in a parking spot so I didn't need to worry about a tow. Also did not have TO start hunkering down for the night with fingers crossed the van would magically repair itself over night, which might I add is now a standard procedure on roadtrips. So the tool bag got pulled out along with the mighty and powerful Haynes Shop Manual, and the investigation began.
For four days it was nothing but a back and forth of tracing old wires and removing old tape that hid many of past repairs. Every wire I could find was checked for breaks or shorts, then properly taped back up and tucked out of the way of anything that could disturb it. Finally after replacing a couple parts as hopeful guesses and digging even further into the wiring harness I found the problem. Well three problems to be exact, first was a live wire that broke off its connector and was energizing my entire firewall, second was terribly corroded major ground wire connection, and third was a tear in of the wires going to my distributor. A bunch of fresh wires connectors, a good wire brushing, and some tape, and it was time to see if she would fire up.
With fingers and toes crossed I put the key into the ignition and within two cranks she roared to life, after a couple billows of black smoke from all the leftover fuel she idled like a new car. Not only was the problem solved but by repairing that ground and replacing a couple parts like plugs and wires, she know ran better then she ever has, and gained a throttle response I never guessed the big girl had in her.
If there is one thing more important to the road weary traveler then fuel, its coffee. This dark liquid is the fire that fuels the dreaded unzipping of a warm sleeping bag, or the shivering wait of a cold engine to warm up. It may seem pretty simple to make a batch of this brew but the connoisseur knows the art and difference between a lazy gas station fill and go and the perfectly brewed and balanced mug of roadside coffee. Now there is almost a endless supply of gadgets that Grind, boil, bubble, and brew the good stuff, but i have my core setup and can whip out a steamy mug in almost any situation.
The list is as follows:
- GSI Java press
- GSI Outdoors Ultralight Java Drip
- gsi stainless mini expresso
- gsi backpacker mug
- sea to summit x-cup
- primus kettle
- jetboil flash
- propane rv stove
- assorted grinders from backpacking models to antique models
- Local Coffee
Support local coffee roasters wherever you find may yourself !
With training over and all the daily camp chores becoming routine, it's time to officially start the summer. I can now begin to finally get some cash flowing and enjoy days off exploring all this area has to offer. The base camp is finally dialed down to perfection, widow maker branches have caused me to move a few times but it looks like the spot the van sits on now is free and clear. A few more tiki torches (you always need more tiki torches) and tarps and we'll be set for the summer. The weather has lightened up a whole lot compared to May, less endless days of rain and more sun and quick moving showers. Dry clothes and sunburn are a million times better then damp underwear and moldy socks.
Base Camp West Virginia acquired, working as adventure guides for the summer and all set to settle in to these dense rich forests. Besides a supposed normal spring here which consists of daily rain and more mud then one can imagine, all things are going great. The small piece of land that's my home for the summer is slowly starting to feel like home. From scrounging up old wood boards in the woods for drying racks and water drainage to tying up tarps and lines to stay dry and keep clothes comfortably dry, there's always something that needs to be built and the forest here contains everything you need.Besides a ten minute walk to the well for water or bathrooms, everything is just how I like it, simple. My morning commute is a 1.3 mile hike through dense oak and rhododendron groves, how can one complain about that. Only a couple more days of training and I can check out and start working, with barely any use for money here saving shouldn't be a issue. Hopefully if the quest for good wifi is successful I will be uploading some videos of my job and the basecamp soon!
After a somewhat eventful last two days we have arrived in West Virginia. The first leg from NJ down to Charlottesville we had perfect weather, not a drop of rain and got a good bunch of miles behind us. The van starting running rough halfway into the trip and that feeling of impending doom starting filling my soul. Luckily on one big hill I smashed the gas down to make the incline and POP, the van was back to her old self. It looked like I was running on only 7 cylinders for most of the way thanks to a piece of carbon or something, and that heavy push of the gas pedal expelled it and she lit right back up. We spent the night outside of Shenandoah NP and deciding to stay holed up there another day and let some of the heavy rain pass that was moving thru the area. After a day bottled up in the van watching rain drops fall we were off to the west, the van chugged like the little engine that could up those rolling WV hills, up and up we rolled at a astounding 45mph. Now we sit in a small town for the rest of the day drinking coffee, tomorrow its a couple more miles to our destination, the banks of the New River.
The bags are almost packed, sprawled across the floor. A few days remaining at home before its time to fire up the engine and set course South.