September 7, 2014

Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh

After all these years of camping together--13 all told, 10 in Ludwig--we finally had the it-rained-the-whole-time experience a few weekends ago at Lewis & Clark Caverns State Park, where we'd agreed to meet some friends.

The fuzzy pictures below were taken with E's camera because, while it does take lo-res pictures, being a kiddie camera and all, it does at least take them reliably, which can't be said for our broken-battery-door camera.

Once Melissa figured how to set up that tent so water didn't just dump inside, it was a lifesaver.

It's not clear what E was demonstrating to K and J here, but apparently it was captivating.

E took this one. I think that bright thing is a hand.

Antics with E, I, J, and E.

None in our party took a cavern tour this time, but we did go to the upper visitors center for fireside renditions of John Denver songs. I'm surprised at how many lyrics I knew. Thanks, Mom.

Just like a cliché, the rain cleared during the morning we were leaving. It was good times anyway, by our estimation. Thanks for meeting us, K, N, J, and E!

August 18, 2014

A Moved Metric Motors Makes it through Maelstrom

My first Volkswagen was a 1973 Type 3 Fastback purchased in Valley Nebraska, in April of 1991. The dealer, who knew nothing about VWs --he didn't know how to open the gas flap when we ran out of gas on the test drive, nor did he know how to open the rear hood to get at the engine--somehow knew to tell me about one John Osborne of Metric Motors in Winside "in case you need to get it worked on" (there's a pessimistic though wholly accurate sales pitch for you). So when that time inevitably came, I did.

Over time my air-cooled VW driving buddies and I developed something of a relationship with Osborne (outside of his presence we either referred to him by his first and last names or just his last name; never 'John'). Sometimes we got along well, other times, some of us not so well (anyone who knows him will have no trouble believing this). Probably because I was (and am) by far the least mechanically proficient and therefore least likely to question his sage wisdom--which, in retrospect, was pretty sage--of us three I think he always liked me best. Plus I had him build an engine for me once.

Anyway, for reasons unknown to me some years ago he up and moved a good number of the VWs sitting on his tiny property in downtown Winside to Pilger Nebraska, maybe a half hour away.

(That Squareback is, I'm certain, the same one I used to see tooling around Norfolk 20+ years ago, driven by some old guy. Mine and this one were the only ones around.)

You might recognize that name, 'Pilger', as belonging to a little Nebraska town that got pummeled by a tornado this Summer. His place seems to've escaped the more severe damage. I got the photos from a facebook friend.

So, yeah. There's a little of my ACVW history and currentish events (and a really, really stupid post title) rolled up into one.

August 13, 2014

Looking Montana, and Feeling Minnesota

The morning started off with an extended discussion among the adults in the house about hospital birth (our first daughter) vs. home birth (our second daughter). Details were shared, eggs were eaten, coffee was dranken. Drank. Drinked. Then we got to work.

Ludwig's old fuel pump, one of those boxy CLACKITY CLACK CLACKITY CLICK CLACK types, fell off its perch toward the end of our last trip. Luckily I had a spare whirrrrzwhirrrrywhirrwhirrz pump, which after some contemplation we mounted high up in the crook where the rear seatbelts mount, except, you know, on the outside of the car. Someone (unclear who) mounted one of the fuel filters backward, which provided necessary comic relief especially since we'd just been over that.

We had to use two fuel filters, actually, because the nipples on the pump are too big for the hose that runs from the tank, and to the carbs. So it goes 5mm out of the tank to filter A, big 'Mrcn hose from filter A to pump, big 'Mrcn hose from pump to filter B, 5mm out of filter B to carbs. Okay. Love that new pump sound. That is, lack of sound.

Along with the new pump, we installed a relay such that the pump only runs when the engine runs, and not merely when the key is on as it had been before. Being morbid, I like the idea that after I roll the damn thing, as I lose consciousness my thought will be "at least the pump isn't still pumping gas all over the hot engine while the kids are strapped helplessly in their seats". Yeah, that's how my mind works.

An unresolved mystery is why the heater tube on the passenger side was half melted but there was no evidence of fire. Scary stuff. (Sorry, no picture.)

We moved on to some minor carb tuning, mostly to accommodate the lack of a working brake booster (I still have one Satchmo graciously gave me and which I ungraciously have yet to install). We also green loctited all three solenoids to the carbs, as they were having backing out issues.

Ludwig's front tires, the overly vaunted (formerly by me as well) Hankook RA08s, have worn in a way that indicated (now watch me get this wrong) too much negative camber; wear on the insides. They also had (now watch me get this wrong) too much toe in, which we also adjusted. I had no idea these adjustments were so relatively simple. Colin also explained in much-needed detail how I will install a new center pin (for better steering).

Lastly we did a cursory investigation of the brake lights' anomalous behavior. Headlights off, everything's copacetic. Headlights on, and on the pass. side the parking light and reverse lights light up, dimly, when you hit the brakes. Time was short and I have to do things myself anyway, so I got Colin's best diagnosis. And then a little after 7, I think, he made his way toward Minnesota--with us, he's always coming from or going to Minnesota.

August 12, 2014

Vanagon in the Park

An '82, I think, in Washoe Park, just before the Montana Shakespeare in the Parks presentation of Romeo & Juliet.

August 5, 2014

Window Dressing

A while ago we did an Air-cooled Pig-inspired rundown of Ludwig's stickers. Nothing lasts forever, especially little pieces of plastic that live in the sun and rain, and there've been some changes.

We replaced the Apple apple. Maybe this is an acknowledgement that we're bigger Montana evangelists than we are Apple evangelists. Which is true, by far.

New to this window are three pieces marking the bigger camping trips we've gone on this Summer so far: Craters, L&C Caverns, and Yellowstone. The big Big Dipper sticker is fairly new as well; unfortunately it kind of obstructs E's view (though she denies this). Obviously, it should've gone above the Radiohead crying minotaur.