Mothership - 1967 Walkthrough Westfalia Camper
"The Mothership" is a 1967 Westfalia camper that I got in trade with a list member
for my 1965 Single Cab. Actually, the Single Cab had come from him in the first place;
Driven up from Florida, so it was only fitting that I drove it back down there to him,
and fix up this camper to drive back to North Carolina. Actually, I mainly wanted the
camper as a way of getting a freshly rebuilt engine back up here. The engine wasn't quite
what was promised, but I did have a heck of an adventure. The listmember was super-friendly
and hospitable, and put me up at his house for a couple days while we performed surgery
on the Westy. I had some slight mis-adventures getting the camper back here, though, and
ended up selling her to yet another listmember, who came in from Illinois to take her
home, where she is hopefully happily resting.
Here are the e-mails, resulting from me offering up my single cab for sale, or trade for
a new engine..... The first part deals with me getting the camper, and then the second
part deals with me finding her a happy new home.
Note that most of these letters have quotes from my letters in them. My quoted portions
have a > in front of each line...
First, though, here's my trip report of the whole event. At least read it, and if you want
to, continue into the steamy details...
The event occurred over the Period of March 8-12, 1996...
Wednesday, March 13, 1996
Howdy all. After a day of recouperation, I must relate to you the story of my
bus exchange, made possible by this wonderful list.
As a bit of background, fellow listmember Kevin Murray and I swapped busses
last summer, trading his single cab for a sunroof deluxe I had. (BTW, he has
begun painting the Deluxe, and it looks amazing!)
So, having enjoyed the truck for a bit, and selling my camper, and buying
another '67 walkthrough pop-top, and a long chain of woeful events, It came to
pass that I needed a new engine. Not just a new engine, but a completely new
engine, as in case, crankshaft, and the works. Almost jokingly I posted an
offer of the single cab in my search for the engine. Kevin meanwhile missed
dear old Lemonhead (the happy yellow truck), and was eager to bring it home to
sunny Florida. We began to discuss the possibilities of such a deal, and the
issue of getting the engine back here to North Carolina came up. Not a problem,
though, as Kevin is working on a new project, Bus Bones, a service of Split
Window re-vitalization and restoration. He had another split window pop-top,
and it was decided that for a bit o' cash, that was how the engine would return
So, the plans were made for this 600 mile trip, and Last Friday I awoke to go
to work; I would leave at lunchtime. Curious, there was this white, powdery
stuff on the ground. Snow! Argh! In March, even. Nothing like packing heavy
winter clothes for a Florida vacation, but I did. I hit the road around noon,
and made good time down I-95. I was averaging 60 mph on a 1300 SP engine, and
getting pretty good milage (a bit above 20mpg). My only complaint about the
trip down is that it was freezing! It was rather long, but luckily uneventful.
I made a few stops for gas, and to warm up, but made the trip in about 12
Awaking the next day bright and early, Kevin and I set out to bring the bus
back to life. She was missing windshields and 3 side windows, and the brakes
were bad, and the wiring was a horrible mess, as the PO had removed the fuse
box, ignition and light switches, and headlight and turn signal relay. (He was
beginning to restore it, but never did)
So, over the next couple days, we fixed her up, and got things back in good
working order. I'll spare all the gory details, except to say that I spent far
too long messing with the &^%$#@$$% wiring system. If anyone has a color wiring
diagram for a 67 bus, PLEASE get in touch with me!
Sunday we stopped by a local VW show, looking for bargains, but there were
almost exclusively bugs. (there were some nice ones, though)
Anyway, Monday morning arrived, and after some final tweakings, I hit the
road. Things were going smoothly, until dusk began to fall. I turned on the
headlights, only to soon notice that dreaded glow of the alternator warning
light. I cut the lights back to running lights, which stopped the light.
However, as it inevitably does, night soon fell, and I had to turn on the
headlights. Soon the alternator light returned, and then to my horror, the bus
cut off. I was in the middle of Nowhere, South Carolina, and my bus had no
intention of starting. I wiggled every wire I could think of at least 3 times,
but to no avail. I began to freak out, as I had no idea what to do, when a kind
fellow in a big ol' American van pulled up and offered a tow. As I had no
money, this seemed like my only choice. (Kids, don't try this at home) That got
me up into North Carolina, until the lock on the tow chain finally broke.
Miraculously, the bus didn't swing out into traffic, and we were able to get
her off the road. At this point, we were in range of AAA 100 miles free towing,
so I thanked the fellow, and called them. They arrived with a rollback at about
4 am, and I got home finally at 6.
At the moment, I haven't been able to figure out the problem, but I'm sure
it's something so simple I'll hate myself.
Anyway, All things considered, it worked out well, and I certainly had my
share of miracles to help out. I must thank Kevin for being a super-excellent
host, and if anyone in Florida needs air-cooled help, he is the man for you.
I must also thank the list, without which this would not have been possible.
So anyway, I now have an extra '67 camper for sale, if anyone is interested.
So, now everyone go out and thank your bus for being so nice to you, and not
stranding you in the middle of nowhere....
All this led up to it:
Thursday. Feb. 22, 1996, I wrote:
>Howdy there. Well, my resurrection of the 67 camper is not going so well. We
>pulled the engine last night, and were tearing it down, and discovered much to
>my dismay that while the heads were in good shape, there was over 1/8" of
>endplay in the crankshaft, and the case had already been bored out to .0060 (or
>whatever the third bore numbers are)
> So, I suddenly need at least a shortblock, or really even a longblock, as i
>can sell my heads if need be. I would really like to go ahead and get a new
>case and all, but the cost is rather prohibitive. So, anyone know of the best
>place to get new cases and such from? I have seen prices ranging from
>$300-$400, with my local shop having (naturally) the highest of the prices.
>I would also happily trade my '65 single cab for a suitable engine...
>I just want a single port 1600, and I don't even really need a bus case, just a
The response was:
Drive the Single down.... I have a fresh 010/std AS41/Mahle motor with
10 miles on it since new build-up. Built it as a shop spare, but is good
for anything you can put your hands on.
Good AS41 case, German seal and gasket kits,push-rod tubes, etc.,etc.
German 010 under crank (Milled locally)
New rods (VW) weighed and balanced
New German bearings
Mahle/Cima 85.5 pistons,rings,cylinders
375a heads (single-port) 35.5 x 33.5 w/new seats,guides and exhaust valves
Rebuilt Bosch generator w/new voltage reg
rebuilt Pict 34/3 carb
New Sachs Pressure plate and clutch disk
I miss Lemonhead!
On Thursday, Feb. 22, 1996, Kevin wrote:
>> Drive the Single down.... I have a fresh 010/std AS41/Mahle motor with
>> 10 miles on it since new build-up. Built it as a shop spare, but is good
>> for anything you can put your hands on.
>Hmmm, tempting indeed. How much machining is on that case? I really want a new
>case, but I could probably deal with one 20 over, ore possibly 40. I am
>planning to take this bus cross country this summer, and possibly up to Alaska,
>so I definately don't want to take any chances on breaking down in the middle
> What's the condition of that Walkthrough Westy? Pop-top? Just trying to think
>of how I would get the engine, and myself, back home!
>Do let me know, perhaps we can work something out...
The case is standard 0.00, the crank was cut 0.10 so the mains are 0.00/0.10.
The walk through-westie is probably too rough for a quick turn-around and
drive back (Hmmm...Does this sound familiar?) but it is probably do-able.
sound familiar? I've got a shade tree we can slap it in shape under!
It DOES have a full Westfalia interior... and a pop--top, but is missing
bunches of little parts.
Feb. 23, I inquired about the Florida Westy, and received this answer:
Looking at getting 800/850 with a core motor (noot running but rebuildable) but
for you, and cause you don't need the motor, figure 600/650.
I can get the running gear in deliverable shape (I think!, if not I can, and
will help you get the parts neccessary to get it ready to drive back)
I have a set of windshields (actually, I think they are the same ones that
you gave me with Claire ;-))
Bring tires, spare wheels if possible
Steering will be fixed by the time you get here. It needs a drag link and
have the front end aligned...I'll do this
I have a parts shop here that gets me basically whatever I need VDub. And
usually overnite (If not in stock) so's if you are gonna do this, let me know
asap and I'll start doin my little 36 item check and figure out what you'll
need to get you home...
On Tuesday, Feb. 27-
>Whew! as the price is certainly within my reach, I might actually be crazy
>enough to do it! I could definately bring extra wheels with good tires, and
>like I said, I have new brake stuff. Any idea as to the condition of the
>transmission? Has it been running lately, or sitting?
I drove it around the block (2-2.5 miles) and other than the zero brakes
factor it went into all gears (and stayed in all gears) fine! `Course, that's
been close to a year ago . Geez, come to think of it it was right AFTER I got
Claire from you...
>I guess if this all comes together, what I would do would be leave some Friday
>after work, stay overnight (hopefully) at a friend's in Georgia, and then head
>on down Saturday Morning. How long did it take you to make it up here?
Figure an 11 hour drive in a real car, Lemonhead should make it down in a two-
day hop. `Prolly do the same back up barring major malfunctions....
>I will take a look at my finances this evening, and see how they look. Say, you
>wouldn't want 100 stickers, as partial payment, would you??? If I sell a few
>more stickers, and if a couple people that owe me money can pay me, then we
>might be in BUSiness!
Pencil me in for a few stickers (say, 10 or 20 max) As fast as we go through
these buses I'd run out of stickers within a month....
Wed, Feb 28
>Anyway, how's the rust on the camper? Any major floor holes that would need
>patching before driving? What I will probably do if this all works out is sell
>whichever of the campers I don't end up liking. I will be getting paid
>Thursday, so after all the bills are paid, I will know how the money sits. I
>will also try to get in touc h with a friend of mine in Georgia who I haven't
>seen in a long time, and see if we can work out something to perhaps ride along
Rust is mostly on the body..Floorboards in the front have been patched (not by
me) and the rear cargo area looks ok. No Windows will make it breezy, but i'll
round up some glass for the windsheilds...;-)
BTW: I made another inspection yesterday and notice now there is some decay
starting on the front dogleg(s)...some minor bubbles on the doors... I'll take
a closer look today at the mechanics and post you...
>Anyway, I think this could possibly work out. If things do work, how would next
>weekend be, as in the weekend of the 8th? Let me know...
Looks fine with me. You'll miss the finished Claire by a few days, but I'll
have photos for you to drool over....
Sat. March 2
>Howdy there. Well, as I said, I got paid yesterday. After paying rent, bills,
>etc, I do believe I can just barely swing $600 (who needs to eat, right???)
>So, then, I will plan on leaving here Friday afternoon, and getting down there
>SAturday morning sometime, if that's ok. I guess I need directions. I'll
>probably be coming 95 and then 301...
Friday means the 8th right?
>Hopefully we can slap the engine in, change the transmission oil, and replace
>whatever needs replacing on the brakes, up to and including flex lines,
>cylinders, and MC. I don't want to take any chances with this. I have all the
>brake stuff, all I would need to get when I get down to you would be large
>quantities of Trans. Gear oil, and DOT4 brake fluid.
I'll have copious amounts of vital fluids on hand for you
Can you think of anything
>else? Did you get a chance to llok at the front end? Also, how is that rust?
>You had mentioned the front floors were already patched, but how about the
>cargo floor, and especially the rockers under the cargo doors?
Cargo floor and cargo door area is fine (as in not rotted out)
Also, are all
>the lights and such there and working? Are all the windows (except windshields)
>there and ok?
I haven't checked..It has no battery, but I will put one in and test things
for you. I can't say I have a spare battery, but will help you get one if need
be... I've sold thee vehicles in the last week and each one nailed me for a
battery (I have none left ;-))
If you have 2 good windshields, could I buy them ? I have new
>seals...But then, how are the metal frames where the windshields go>
I have new tinted windows for 75 a pair, dark tinted windows for 125.00 a pair
and a used pair of windows that I could probably rround up for you (I think
I still ahve the cracked ones you gave me)
>that need patching? or at least sanding and grinding? IF I do put in new
>windshields, I want them done right...
No, I think the windsheild frames are OK
>Other little things- how is the pop-top canvas? the hold-downs? screens?
>IS the structurally fine? I know you mentioned bits missing, what particularly
>is gone? IS the upholstery nasty, or torn?
There is no canvas, and the frames "X" frames are missing. The fiberglass top
is there, as well as the hold downs, rubberr opening corners and the rest of
the hardware... I know where there is a top framework available for 50.00 if
you wnat it...
>Does it have bumpers?
The front bumper is missing, but I believe I have a rear...bent up tho...
Yeah, right...and a funny little turbo thing hanging off the carburator!
Mon, March 4
>> Yeah, well in town (15/20 miles) but doAble... Windsheilds are Dark tinted up
>> top (y'know, like the new cars) the other tinted are light green (like the
>> windows in the 21 windows)
>That might not be so bad. I had thought that Sean had an extra set, but he does
>not, so quite possibly I might get those as well. Do you use rubber cement in
>your window seals, or silicone, or nothing? I have a new set of seals, so I may
Nope, I do have a few sets of new West Coast Metric seals... `Course if you'd
rather do the twig/silicone deal, we'll work up a batch.... ;-)
Bring new seals if you have them, if not...no biggie
>Yep, I'll bring everything. Let me know how the lights check out when you get a
>chance to test them out...
Seriously Richard, bring more than everything. Spare fuel filters, spare tires,
spare anything... I've faith in Lemonhead, and the new motor, but the rest is
gonna be a gamble....Will make a great story for the netfolk, but I'd prefer it
to have a happy ending..... I'll check over the wiring manana...See what we kin
see...so to speak!
Tue, Mar. 12
Got your message this morning... Actually got to the phone as the last
ring, rang....and the service picked it up. Anywho...glad you arrived safe
and sound (?) and in one piece (?).
The weather began to change not twenty minutes after you left, and within
an hour was sunny and considerably warmer. Hope it followed you upstate.
I thought all day long about what we could have forgotten/missed/overlooked
and am now in a state of confusion...Did I wire in the Voltage Regulator to the
positive side of the battery? Did I lock down the distributer locking clamp?
Exactly what year IS that transmission? Well, gee I got dozens more questions
but most importantly.... How was the trip?
Detox and recuperate, but draft me a good long adventure when you have
Now here's the part about sending her to her happy New home...
Fri, Mar. 15, -
Didn't you also post about a '67 Westy for sale? I wasn't
sure about driving to the Carolinas, but my wife would like
to travel and said she didn't mind towing another splittie
as long as she can get on the road. I assumed that NCSU.EDU
is North Carolina State University--I'm at Northern Illinois
University, so it would be a drive/tow! Let me know if it's
still on the block for sale.
Sat. Mar 16
> I indeed do have one, although it will be a project. (BTW, I
> am indeed at NC State) It's a walkthrough pop-top, but it
> has a different interior. If you are interested in perfectly
> restoring it, it might not be a good one. But, if you just
> want a solid camper to fix up, and not have to worry about
> scratching it from use, then it is a good candidate. The cab
I already have a '67 Deluxe, a '67 Double Cab and a '67
Westy (non-walk-thru)...in addition to a '66 Deluxe parts
bus. I'm not sure "restoration" would be a high priority
since the Double Cab and Westy I have are next on the
restoration list. If you're in NEATO, you may have already
been following my story of restoration of the Deluxe, since
I write "Typing 2 Ink" in the "Old Bus Review." I don't
really need another restoration project, but a fixer-upper
to sell might not be a bad middle ground project.
> early bus rear end, and the front end is really tight,
> including steering box and tie rods. It has new windshields
> and 3 side windows (not jalousies) Anyway, let me know if
> you want more info.
What do you mean by "early" rear end--earlier than '67?
My '66 part Deluxe has (of all things) 5 jalousy windows
in it. Most important would be if it ROLLS. I don't
have a trailer, but have towed behind my Vanagon without
I suspect my wife is more intersted in the adventure
of driving there and back than me getting another bus.
The Westy and Double Cab cost $750 each and the '66 parts
bus was $200, but I had to tow it 4 hours @ 55MPH. The
drive to you and back may be an adventure in itself.
Do you have clear title...and what are you asking for it?
Mon, Mar 18
> It was a single stage MC. it is a really early '67. VIN
> 237001930. It was made I think July 7, which doesn't
> completely make sense, but it is really early.
That's earlier than my '67 Double Cab (serial #008082), but
I don't recall the mfg. date on that. It, too, has the
single stage cylinder.
> Time isn't an issue for me, as much as the need for money.
> If you wanted to wait until April, that would be fine, if
> you did the half/half thing with payment. I have had several
> other folks inquiring about it, but I don't know if anyone
> is serious or not. I've only heard more than once from one
> fellow in Virginia. I haven't put it in the paper yet, so
> there aren't people beating on the door. If I can sell it to
> someone on the list I'd rather, just because I know it will
> be going to a good home and all.
I'm only talking about April because I figure I will need
four days (1 there, 1 just in case and 2 back) in a row to
do this. Since my wife wants to do the trip too, I may have
to add some more time in there for "excursions". I can get
vacation time with no problem, but coordinating with her can
require additional notice for her job.
How about this? I get a $400 check in the mail tomorrow or
Wednesday. You cash the check and hold the bus for me. If
someone comes along with a better deal before I get there,
go for it (oh, and return my money, BTW). Otherwise I'll be
there with another $400 in April.
I was going to say the first weekend in April, but I see
that is Easter weekend. That's no problem for me (though
wife is superstitious about traveling on holidays). Is
there a spring break or something on your end I need to work
around? My plan would be to arrive at your place on a
Saturday, hook up the tow bar and be out of your hair. Last
time I did this, it took about two hours for hookup (tow bar
& lights), then I was on the road.
Thu, Mar 21
> Sounds good. I will have the bumper off, although it
> definately looks better with it on. She should be ready to
> go then. I'll let you be the judge on the tires, so if you
> want to we can change them. Indeed, then, I'll just wait to
> hear from you as to the specifics of the plans,
After my last post I began wondering whether it would be
possible for me to just bring an engine, install it there
and *drive* the thing home rather than tow it. A previous
post from you indicated that there are some electrical
problems (which don't scare me). Some minor problems could
be fixed. Can you be more specific? Since I have three
running '67s here (and extra parts) I could bring just about
anything needed with me. You've already indicated that the
brakes have been redone (still missing front brake shoe
springs?). If I put an engine in it, what would keep me
from driving it?
Fri Mar 22
> Ok, to drive the bus home, you would need:
> -4 springs for the front brake shoes (which I just found out
> the Dealer can order for $3.00 each, if you need them) Some
> re-plumbing of the front brakes, as they were looped out of
> the system, since the shoes weren't in place. I drove with
> only rear brakes, but it's pretty sketchy, and I didn't
> really like it.
I can bring springs. Are there shoes? By "looped out" do
you mean I need the brake line between the master cylinder
and the "T" which branches to the two front wheels?
> That's about it. The windshield wiper arms had been removed,
> but there's one inside the bus. We coated the windshields
> with rain-x, so it should be ok.
> The wiring problem I suspect is some main wire having come
> loose. With a new battery in, NOTHING works. I need to get
> another bus as a guide. Unfortunately, that other bus had a
> few loose wires as well, so that's why some things aren't
One might wonder if *I* have a few loose wires. I'm
thinking I can bring this and bring that--just bring a spare
everything and see what is bad. I am assuming that as a '67
(tho early) this *is* a stock 12 volt system.
> -Tires. I would not trust those tires for driving all the
> way. Towing would be fine, but driving would be a bit much.
> So, basically figure in the extra time to re-plumb the
> brakes, slap in the engine and battery, and then time to
> sift through the $#%&*&$^# wiring system (my least favorite
> system in the bus)
I have a spare voltage regulator too. Hearing the symptoms,
I'm tempted to ask if you checked the fuses...but that's
too obvious, right?
I hope the wiring diagram arrives soon. Perhaps with a
good diagram in front of you, the $%&*&$# will begin to
make sense. You learn a little from me, I learn a little
>from you and we keep another old bus from the crusher.
I think that's the point.
> ... so I hope you are a lot more capable than I am. However,
> the bus is at the shop of a friend of mine, who takes care
> of me and my bus, so he would probably be around to help out
> if necessary.
I'm no expert, but I play one at work. Actually, the items
which need attention I have done at one time or another and
it always helps to have the manual(s).
> Oh, I just remembered, there are no emergency brake cables.
Emergency brake cables? I don't need no steenkin' emergency
brake cables...til that first emergency!
> Other than that, shouldn't be too much of a problem.
As you may have already gathered, I have a lot of spares.
I'm not sure I want to camp out in the driveway trying to
solve all the problems, but with the right tools and
materials it may be a couple of hours, appropriate
diagnostics, and installation of a spare this or spare that
to get it going. If it doesn't want to travel under its own
power then, I just go to Plan B--the tow bar.
I hope your "friend" is an understanding person and that
Raleigh doesn't see a freak mid-April blizard! I have no
problem spending some time under a bus. Having company who
are already interested in buses is a plus. It sure beats
the ex-wife of the former-owner who just wants "the
bastard's eyesore" out of the driveway, if you know what I
Mon Mar 25
> the master cylinder has 3 ports in it for lines to come out
> showed me the loop.
Sounds kinda strange to me. I will bring what I know to be
bus-specific and if necessary try a FLAPS if I need another
> indeedy it is 12 volt. Anyway, thanks, I did get the wiring
> diagram in the mail Saturday. It looks very nice indeed. I
> can send you your stickers now, or just wait and hand
> deliver them if you wish!
Glad you're happy with the diagaram. Maybe it will take
some of the mystery out of it for you. No hurry on the
stickers. I can wait til I get there. BTW, check should
arrive shortly, now that the diagram made it there.
> friend and I drove up one Friday, test drove it, and bought
> it; this was around midnight. There were no brakes, so I
> recall standing in the 7-11 parking lot, talking
> long-distance to a friend who explained how to bleed brakes!
Certainly a test drive with no brakes fits the definition of
adventure. I did plan to bring the necessities for brake
bleeding, too. I think I will be removing the center seat
of my Vanagon. So far I'll be bringing an engine, battery,
tires on wheels, floor jack, jack stands, electrical stuff,
brake stuff, and the tools necessary to do any of the above.
> Anyway, I will help you all I can, and probably have a
> good time as well, getting her back on the road and on the
> way to a good home.
Having had a bus in my life (one way or another) since about
1972, I can attest to the realization that driving a bus can
be a good time and *not* driving a bus (but doing it with
bus people) can be a good time.
> On a side note, we just got my bus on the road Saturday
> night, so that's a good thing. Now I can start on the
> paneling and building a bed!
Ahh, the satisfaction of moving under anemic bus-power!
Wed, Apr 10
> Howdy there. AS the time rolls around, it occurs to me that
> you probably need directions... Will you be coming in on
> I-40? Just let me know, and I can guide you in. Also, about
> what time are you planning to get here? Friday night? or
> SAturday morning? Just let me know, so I can plan when to be
Directions? I don't need no steenking directions! An
address, a phone number and some general directions would
help. I usually make a stop for a street map when I get to
a new city. I'm finding I have a good collection of maps
now--but none for Raleigh yet.
Yes, I will be coming in on I-40 from one direction or
another. Wife Nancy's itinerary calls for a trip to
Chattanooga on the way there. We plan to leave tomorrow
morning, drive to Chattanooga and spend tomorrow night
there. Friday morning we will head northeast toward
Raleigh, so I expect to be there Friday evening. If you
have plans, don't worry about us, I can still show up
Saturday morning with no skin off my nose.
As it turns out, Plan A is scrapped. I found out over the
weekend that the engine I planned to bring has a cracked
intake manifold, so I will be bringing only what I need for
the Plan B: the tow home. This after I pulled the engine,
rebuilt the heads, installed the thermostat rod (my
original reason for pulling the engine) and generally
cleaned the engine up for the drive home. Oh well.
> I am finally pretty much finished with the interior of my
> bus. I had to rebuild the bed unit completely, saving only
> the metal frame. that was quite a task, but I think it will
> be worth it.
> Anyway, just let me know what's up...
Having bought my first camper last summer I'm still new to
all the ins-and-outs of the Westy setups. I am very
familiar with friend's campers and buses in general. Glad
to hear the work on yours is at or near completion. I find
it never really ends (particularly when I keep buying
another project). But I figure I'm keeping them from the
crusher and even the parts buses have parts living on in
other buses. How'd we get involved in this anyway? Must
have been a moment of weakness--or several moments of
Will wait for more information from you.
And here's Jim's trip report on the exchange:
Mon, Apr 15
QUESTION: What is slower than a splittie?
ANSWER: A Vanagon towing a splittie.
I must apologize to anyone who had the poor luck to be
behind me Saturday and Sunday on:
I40 from Raleigh, NC to Winston-Salem, NC
I421 from Winston-Salem, NC to I77
I77 from I421 to Cambridge, OH
I70 from Cambridge, OH to Indianapolis, IN
I74 from Indianapolis, IN to Bloomington, IL
I39 from Bloomington, IL to I88
I88 from I39 to DeKalb
It was about 30 hours of driving between 45 and 50 MPH.
Most of the drive was in 3rd gear, except for the 7 mile
climb in West Virginia that I took at 35 MPH in second gear
behind a big rig also straining to climb the 6% incline.
"Poor Richard" Palmer is now one bus lighter and I have
another '67 to add to the backlog of projects here. I
enjoyed meeting him, seeing his Westy and the various other
buses in various states of repair at the shop where he
stored the bus I bought. I wish I had had more time to
spend in Raleigh, but I was anxious to get on the road.
My wife Nancy was interested in the '69 bug there, but I'm
sure we can find something CLOSER! She was much help during
the trip, including the seven hours of drive from Marietta,
OH to Indy during the tow. Her preference is something
closer to 85 MPH than to 45 MPH, but she carried the middle
leg of the return trip quite well.
For you Vanagon people, I have passed 100,000 miles
(odometer broken at 66K several years ago) on the '84. I
don't know how many miles I logged on the trip from DeKalb
to Chattanooga to Raleigh to DeKalb, but I added one quart
(half at a time) of oil for the entire trip.
It may take two days for me to unwind or get the caffeine,
nicotine, sugar and adrenalin out of my system. Forty miles
into the trip I had stopped at a McDonald's and the tight
turns in the parking lot made it obvious that the tow bar
connections to the bus' bumper brackets were failing and
about to go. Two hours later the bus was on a U-Haul
car-dolly. After a rainy late-night drive through the
mountains of West Virginia, I woke up yesterday morning to
find that one of the nylon over-the-tire tie-downs had
slipped off somewhere along the way. Just into Illinois the
clacking noise that didn't seem right turned out to be a
loose bolt which holds the trailer hitch to the Vanagon.
Before anyone bashes on me for unsafe towing, keep in mind
that I checked everything at every stop, had my own trailer
lights attached (the U-Haul's were broken and/or missing),
fretted about metal fatigue all the way home, kept my speed
down (began to "wag" above 50 MPH), made sure back-up safety
chains were in place, and in the end CAUGHT the problems
BEFORE any disaster. I could have cranked up the music,
forgotten about what was behind me, and maybe lived to tell
you about how a '67 looks after it goes over the side of a
Well, that's about it, for this complex chapter in my bus history.
Back to my personal bus history