Volume Five (Colorado)
Howdy there. After we left New Mexico, we crossed over into Colorado.
I really dig the design of the New Mexico state flag, and I'd been looking for
a sticker of it while we were there ( I loooooooooooooove stickers!)
Interestingly enough, I found my NM sticker *after* we got into Colorado...
Anyway, as we were getting gas at the station where I found my sticker, I
noticed oil under the engine. Not just drips, but about a 10 inch puddle, and
this under an engine whose seals had under 500 miles on them. This caused a
quick discussion, and the oil cooler was called into question, as it looked
like the oil was running down from where it sits. So, the helpful gentleman
wearing a really cool, yet highly offensive shirt (ok, I'll tell you. It said
"P.E.T.A. - People for the Eating of Tasty Animals" Shudder, cringe, yet kinda
funny as well...) told us that there was a Wal-Mart 2 miles up the road, where
we could get more oil. After topping off the oil, we headed to Wally World.
We pulled into the parking lot, and headed in to get a case of Castrol
20w-50. As it was 7:00 pm, we decided there was plenty of daylight to do the
job, so we yanked the engine in the parking lot. After removing the fan shroud,
we discovered to our dismay that it was not the oil cooler, rather it was the
front main seal. It had been leaking so badly, that oil was blowing everywhere,
which had confused us. So, we began to put the engine back in, as we had
already used our extra seal. Meanwhile, a fine, upstanding gentleman, early
30's, pulled up in a Sport Utility Vehicle. As we talked, we learned that he
had done the Alaska Highway in a '66 bus years ago. We all felt a sense of
hope, as this former hippie was now a fully productive member of adult society.
He was, actually, a lawyer, and gave us his card, in case we ran into any
problems. A nice fellow indeed...
Anyway, we decided we could limp the last hundred or so miles to Boulder,
checking the oil regularly, and then replace the seal there. We were headed
into Boulder since Nicole lived there for a year, and her sister was still
there. Upon our arrival, we saw that indeed, it is a haven for late models and
Vanagons. I have never seen so many busses driving around town. We parked the
busses across from her sister's apartment, and decided to get parts the next
Recycle Auto is a big VW parts place there, and Nicole knew one of the guys
that works there. We picked up new *German* official VW front main seals and
O-rings for really cheap, and set about finding a parking lot to work in. Once
we did, Neil and I proceeded to pull the engine and replace everything with no
problems. It took us about an hour and a half, as by then we had gotten
*really* good ad pulling the engine. I was quite pleased as we headed back to
Pearl Street Mall is in central Boulder, and it is definately the hip place
to be. Pearl Street is closed off to traffic for about 4 blocks, and instead
has grass and trees and such. There were musicians, magicians, and street
performers everywhere. We set up shop and sold several t-shirts that I had
printed for the trip, as well as some hand made jewelry and dresses. We met
some really nice folks there, and made some spending money as well, which was
really nice. I even drug out the ol' banjo and played a bit.
The more people we met, the more I realized how clueless some people are
about their busses. I talked to several people that had just bought a bus, and
driven a thousand or so miles to Boulder, and wondered why they weren't running
right. As there was plenty of street parking where we were, I told folks to
drive by for some help and instruction. Well, after a couple days, as word got
around, there were soon 6 busses lined up. I changed folks' oil, bled brakes,
and in general ran a clinic for clueless bus owners.
Some people wanted to learn, while others were disappointed to find they would
actually have to put something into their busses. The most frightening bus I
saw was a '74 with NO engine tin. None. The girl had had it for several months,
and had no idea if the oil had ever been changed. Her brakes were horrible (I
had to hook up the vacuum booster) and when I did her valves, they were all
super tight. I hope she has since taken better care of the bus, or I'm sure
it's not with us any more...
Some others, though, were thrilled to learn about their trusty steeds. I
helped a girl from Massachusetts change oil, bleed brakes, do valves, and the
like, and she was eager to learn. I have a lot of hope for her '71, which was
in really good shape.
The only incident we had with the police also happened then. As I mentioned,
there were 6 busses all lined up on the street, and we were all living in them.
One morning, after cooking breakfast on the trusty Coleman, an officer drove
up, drove along the sidewalk to where we were, and got out. This was about 10
am, and she said she had a report about some sort of left handed cigarettes.
Well, of course we hadn't, so we all began laughing, and she left rather
quickly. Boulder does seem to be pretty laid back about not hassling people for
just hanging around. Just don't try to skateboard anywhere...
Well, after a week, we knew it was time to head out to Indiana, where we had
tickets for the Furthur Festial at Deer Creek. We said our goodbyes, reminded
folks to change their oil regularly with 20w-50, and always use premium gas,
and headed out to cross that vast ocean called Kansas. We turned mile 3000
outside Boulder, which is about our halfway point for the trip. Suffice it to
say that the trip across Kansas was rather uneventful. Likewise Missouri and
Illinois. We were staying happily at rest areas, and cooking along the way. We
made good time getting to Indiana, which is where I shall leave off until next
week, when we meet fellow Listmember "Captain" Jim Kirk...
Anyway, If you live around North Carolina, please join us this Saturday at
Lake Jordan State Park...