Check this out – we’re in the latest issue of Volkswagen Magasin!
Nickname: The Centennial State
State bird: Lark bunting
State flower: Aquilegia caerulea
Motto: Nil sine numine
State tree: Blue spruce
Population: 5.268 million (2013)
“I’ve been from Tucson to Tucumcari
Tehachapi to Tonapah…”
I had sprayed some WD40 down the accelerator tube to try to force the water out the other end. It didn’t really work, but I had hoped it would at least drop the freezing point of whatever was in there. It might have accomplished something, but it still froze again this morning. Everything in the bus froze. Shaving cream freezes – shake it and it sounds like there’s a brick in the can. I intentionally parked in a wide open space for full morning sun and we are at lower altitude, so we let it thaw out on it’s own this time. No flat iron needed.
By late afternoon, we were in Colorado and stopped in a MegaMart parking lot – a.k.a. the BodesWell workshop. Plenty of open space, paved, clean, restrooms nearby and a potential overnight camp if anything goes wrong.
My new plan was to remove the cable and use my little air compressor to blow out the tube. Initially, it didn’t work. Eventually I figured out that the tube needs to be completely full and if I kept adding WD40 and continued blowing it out, I could get a decent amount of stuff coming out the other end. I called it good and then spent an hour trying get the cable back in the tube. I’ve struggled with this before and remembered that one the of the spot welds on the tube seems to be a hangup point. Once I finally succeed, I realized I managed to tangle the cable up and started all over again. Dumb mistake. I also confirmed the speedometer problem – the speedo cable was shredded to bits and just a nub sticking out of the spindle. Blame it on Baja.
There’s a first time for everything.
This morning was cold. Just about everything was frozen. When I went to start the bus, the gas pedal was as hard as a rock. I’ve never had this happen before. So, what freezes on a gas pedal? Nothing. After a little poking around and crawling under the bus, it became apparent that the accelerator cable was frozen inside the cable tube. There isn’t supposed to be anything inside this tube besides air, so this didn’t really make sense either. Why would there be water in my accelerator cable tube? Oh, right.
Even though the sun came out, I didn’t expect anything to thaw out too soon. We’re ready to get going, so what to do? Find a heater.
I had a soldering iron, but that wouldn’t work too well. There might be a hair dryer in there somewhere, but it would need too much power. Angela had the solution – she had packed (and probably never used*) a flat iron. 80 Watts. And, it can be clenched right on the tube.
We fired up the engine and manually worked the carb until it idled well, plugged in the iron and flipped the switch on the inverter. After about 20 minutes under the bus and working my way up and down the length of tube with the iron, the pedal started to move. Problem solved… for now.
I think there’s some sort of 75% rule (or there should be). Once you’re more than 3/4 done with something, you may as well be finished. You mentally check out and are ready for the next thing. That’s where we’re at on this drive. We’re over it. The only thing left now is to put the miles behind us and get to Colorado.
We pointed north on some smaller roads that would take us to I-70, but didn’t get very far. Evidently, all that poking around with the stiff gas pedal bent a few linkage pieces and the circlips that held them together came off and disappeared. Exactly in the middle of nowhere the pedal fell to the floor. Back under the bus, I found a few parts and was missing a few others. I rigged it up with bailing wire and a random spring I had in my parts bag and was back on the road in about an hour. Yet another bus project for another time.
Totally over it.
*Moral of the story – don’t argue if your wife packs a bunch of stuff. You just may find a use for it later.
Just outside of Zion on the way to Bryce Canyon is a tunnel. A long tunnel. A long unlit tunnel. A long unlit tunnel where we discovered our headlights didn’t work. Surprise! I thought I ‘fixed’ the headlights only a few months ago!
There was a bit of panic as that little bit of daylight faded the further we went into the tunnel. Pulling the switch in and out didn’t do anything. I pulled back the brights switch and it worked… for a few seconds. Then I fumbled in the dark for the fog light switch while braking and hoping there were no turns. Fog lights to the rescue again.
Later, I discovered the problem was with the ignition switch. You know how after you start the car and let go of the key and it springs back to the ‘on’ position? Mine didn’t, which meant that there was no power to the headlight switch. Now I know that wiggling the key and turning it perfectly vertical fixes it. I actually have a replacement ignition switch somewhere, but it’s a pain to replace so it will just be another bus personality trait for now.
It’s definitely getting cold and there’s snow on the ground. Oddly, we arrived at Bryce to find out that it was one of the few days of the year the park is ‘closed.’ The park gates are open, but there are no rangers or visitor’s center or entrance booth info (or fees). So, we just drove right in and wandered and camped. But, the park seemed to be taken over the by local police who were apparently having a field day pulling people over inside the park and writing tickets. I guess it’s their domain for a few days a year and they’re going to take advantage of it. Not very inviting.
Bryce and Zion aren’t located very far apart, so the landscape doesn’t change too much. The difference is that in Zion you are at the bottom of a canyon and in Bryce you are at the top. There’s probably more to it, but that’s my take.
Time to take a break from driving and check out Zion National Park.