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It has been a small eternity since the last post…well over a year at least. Well a lot has happened and life interferes in all things. My owner Joshua, has been busy at school and he and his wife Carmen have recently given me a new companion to haul around, little Hazel. She is currently 3 months old and we have already went camping once.

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We went to a Belegarth Medieval Combat Society weekend event. This is a crazy foam fighting combat recreation that my owner partakes in had over 500 people in attendance. It was at a campground about 3 hours away. I, of course, preformed like a champion. But all of this is getting a head of some earlier developments.

Before little Hazel came along I need a place to put her in. The makeshift plywood bed would not due to fasten a car seat into. One of Josh’s online friends, a great guy named Brett, gave me a backseat. It came out of a Riviera camper and is super cool in that it reclines in two sections (see pic). The only catch was that I had to hump my bottom down to Kansas to get it. I made this epic journey (12 hours one way) over spring break 08 with an 8 foot long couch and two dogs in the back on the way down (a gift to Josh’s parents, the couch not the dogs). The trip went down without a hitch and I picked up the seat at Brett’s house.

The couch and one of the Dogs…I think her name is Madeline, she is always shedding making me smell like a hound.
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At Brett’s little spot of Heaven
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You can see my groovy new curtains
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Here’s Josh at Brett’s cleaning the mud dobber nest off my new toy.
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The seat isn’t much to look at but it fits and works great and my companions tell me it’s oh so comfy.
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While in the area we stopped at Josh’s hometown to visit family and friends.
Here’s a pic from a VW friends place.

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If I’m being honest with you, we attempted this trip over Thanksgiving 07. But I didn’t make it very far. My windshield wiper arm stripped out and then both shafts broke. Of course this was during the first big storm of the season.

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So not all trips turn out great, but hey I’m not a spring chicken and things go wrong.

Well that pretty much brings us up to date. It’s been a pretty bland summer, with the baby Josh and Carmen have been pretty tied up. But I do have a new friend, her name is Dashwood and was born in 73.

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Josh has been spending a lot of time on her lately, but I don’t mind so much. She is the winter car, which allows me to keep that nasty salt off of my lovely body. She also fits into parking garages without a drastic haircut, allowing Josh to pick up Hazel from daycare.

Hopefully next year life will be more exiting, with a new interior and plenty of toddler camping fun.

Yours truly,
Willoughby

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long time no post

Well it’s been a while since I last updated this blog and a lot has happened. First, I was gone for three weeks to an archaeological field school in Montana. During this time poor ol’ Willoughby had to sit all by his lonesome in his parking space. But, when I returned he roared right back to life happy as a clam.

The first weekend that I was back Willoughby decided that he needed to stretch his legs, so off to Dubs in the Valley we went. We tagged along with some fellow Madison dubbers and made the 2.5 hour trip without any hassles. At the show we saw some sweet vws and Carmen went to her first drag race!

At about 2:30ish we decided to head out towards Door County. We ended up just a little bit south of Door but in a very nice campground near Lake Michigan.
camground in Algoma WI.

After spending a lovely night camping under the trees, we headed all places Lake Michigan and the beach in particular.

Willoughby by the beach

After wading a short bit in Lake Michigan and having breakfast Carmen, Willoughby, and I traveled along the shoreline until we came to Two Rivers where we started heading back west toward Lake Winnebago.

stopped at a wayside park, you can see Lake Winnebago in the background

We made the rest of the trip with only one minor happenstance. We ended up taking the wrong road and added an extra hour to our time. Ooppss. hehehe. All and all, the trip home took almost 6 hours, as we moved by back roads and were not in a rush. The entire trip put about 400+ miles on Willoughby; I would say it’s was a successful first outing.

I have been working the last few weeks, but unfortunately for my bank account we have just ran out of work causing me to have the last few days off. I believe I have spent them wisely, getting Willoughby’s paint back into shape. Willy and I have spent many hours buffing, and waxing and are not done yet. Plus, you may notice the new paint on Willy’s shoes and the spare tire mount has been fixed. All thanks to yours truly.



Well, that about sums it up. Of course, we are planning another mad adventure in dear ol’ Willoughby. I only wish that I had more money to put him fully right before we head out. Oh well, whats an adventure without a little risk?

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Update

Well it has been a whirlwind week, I found the problem with the charging system. It was a simple disconnected plug on the voltage regulator. Then I adjusted the valves, boy-o-boy was that ever a chore. I still am not a hundred percent sure that they are perfect but at least Willy is off and running again, this time without all the backfiring.

Then I finally bronco’d up and tried out he awning. And wouldn’t you know it works great and looks super cool. Can’t wait to get some bleach and clean the mildew off of it.

On Tuesday Willoughby and I went to work for the first time. Since it is finals week I volunteered to do some consolation work at my old job. Unfortunately it was raining, good news is that there is only two leaks, one small one coming from the windshield area and one coming from this mystery hole in the passenger side rear wheel well.

Afterwards, I got bored so I cannabilized my 1987 cabby and removed the custom shift knob. I think it looks pretty cool on ol’ Willoughby.

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Friday was an interesting day for ol’ Willy and I.

It all started out with a short ride with the girls (our dogs) to the neighborhood post office to send out a mother’s day card. It really was a beautiful day for a drive and Willy was running fine. I had a short stop at the post office and when I got back out he wouldn’t start. At first he acted like the battery was run down, then like there was a dead spot in the flywheel, then back to a dead battery. I figured that the post office was at that magical distance to heat the engine up just enough that it vapor locked and the starter got too hot, all at the same time. Waited about 10 minutes and he finally caught and took off.

Upon arrival at home I shut Willoughby down and tried to start him up again, nada. Figuring this proved my early hypothesis, I let him be for a while. Then at around 8:30pm Willoughby and I took off for a short drive to the nearest autoparts store. I notice some funny things going on, turn-signals stopped working, headlights dimmed, and then the unthinkable…Willoughby died right as I turned into the store’s parking lot.

Well since my early hypothesis seemed to work out, I figured what the heck I’ll go ahead and get the stuff I need and then he will be ready to go on down the road. Of course in the back of my mind I knew better than this, but I continued to fool myself and went inside the store. First on my list a proper torque wrench, which they did not have. Second a cheap timing light, which they did not have. Third, well by this time I was getting a little feed up with this store and figured I would just get the other items from another place.

Having scored my bounty of Oil and a feeler gauge to set Willoughby’s valve lash, I head out to the bus full of dread but still hopeful. I checked the oil level, attempting to give it that extra few seconds that he would need to full cool off. I hoped in, turned the key, and nothing. Again still going on my earlier hypothesis, I figured that if I could get a jump then there would be enough juice to turn the overheated starter over. Now I have worked at several autoparts stores over the years and have done a great many of things to help people get on their way, so I figured these guys would be the same way. Wrong!!! I asked if they had a jumper box, they did but it was dead. No other offers of help, nothing. I asked if I could at least call use the phone to call my wife, to which they hesitated and finally agreed. Of course the wifey forgot the phone in the car so I was on my own for a while.

Back outside, I got the bright idea that push starting the bus was the way to go. Hey I had done it in my cabriolet when the starter acted up, in fact I had done it in that very parking lot before. So, I set out to push start a 3,500+ pound bus by myself. It took me five times to get up enough speed to pop the clutch and get him going. All the while one of the employee’s stood outside smoking a cigarette and watching.

Off Willoughby and I went again out into the night and just down the street. The ride ended as it had began, with me pushing poor old Willoughby down the road and into a parking lot. Luckily, I got some help from a good Samaritan, who stopped to help push the Willy the last few feet up the hill. And there he sat until the wife checked the voice mail. I waited, got a little sleepy and set forth to test out the upper bunk. let me tell you it is a bit cramped and very hard to get out of, but it was very comfortable and about the time I was dozing off the calvary arrived.

Finally Willy and I were rescued. I rode back grabbed the spare battery and went back to Willy. He fired right up and we made it home ok. As for the cause, well that’s another story.

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Yesterday I skipped out on working on my homework and studying for my exams to do some work on Ol’ Willoughby.

Willy has had some problems with dash lights. You see, he can’t keep ’em lit up if the ignition is on. To make matters even stranger, when you did turn on the lights the gas gauge went to full. Well, I figured that the only two things the lights and gauge share is a ground and the gauges themselves.

For a test I reached up and checked the wires to the gas gauge, they were really loose so I wiggled them, low and behold the lights came on. Yeah, problem fixed, now to just do some out-patient surgery and Willy will be as good as new. Well, at least as good as a 35 year old German, underpowered air-cooled vehicle can get.

The shop I bought him from threw in a spare instrument cluster, so I had everything I needed. Then it was just a matter of figuring out how to get it out and install the new one. It turns out the difficulty lies in the removal of the heater control levers located in the instrument fascia.

First, I tried just yanking on the levers, nada. Then I looked at the repair manual, hahahaha, nothing. Then I consulted Willoughby but he holds his inner workings to himself and refused to help. I check a couple of websites out but nothing explicit, so I was on my own. I tried prying, pulling, pushing, wrenching, then finally I decided that those little nylon clips that hold the levers on have to be removed. Success!!!

The rest of it was straight forward enough. Just remove wires and install on the other gauge.

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Before I put everything back together, I figured I better do a quick test. And just as I suspected, nothing. Crap! Now what.

Well that left my other initial thought, a bad ground. So, to test the theory real quick I touched a ground for another electrical devise (fancy way of saying I don’t know what it went to) and Blamo! I have lights.

Finished installing the new gauges and the old levers, after trying to find the darn nylon clips they like to hide. Took it for a test drive only to find out that the speedometer does not read the same as the old one. D’oh!!! Well, may be next time. This weekend I plan on changing the oil and doing my first of many valve adjustments. Plus, I need to fix an oil leak. For now Willoughby is sleeping and I am off to finish the homework I should have been doing yesterday.

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Road Trip

Boy oh boy, Willoughby and I went on our first road trip yesterday. It was quite the adventure. I can honestly say that I have never driven anything like the ol’ bus.

It was a cool and cloudy morning here in the capital city and there was a car show up north a bit, figured it would be a good excuse to get him out and stretch his legs. First things first, I had to make a small detour of about 20 miles to the west to pick up my brother. Willy wanted to take the back roads and see the country side. Now how could I say no to that.

It was fantastic, cruising the switchbacks, coasting down hills, and struggling to get up the other sides. Yeah, this is what weekends are all about, wind blowing in the face and an air-cooled bus puttin along without a care in the world. Of course all good things come to an end and this ride almost did about halfway through. I was coming around a curve when the bus sank on the driver side and started riding really rough. Yep, the dry rotted rear tire kissed the road good bye one last time and committed suicide.
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But all is well, because while I did not come prepared with a jack and tire iron, good ol’ Willoughby did. Boy I tell you that guy thinks of everything, he really knows what road trippin is all about. In a short time Willy and I had him up on a jack and the new tire on.
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Soon enough we were back in business, picked my bro up and off we went to the car show. Which turned out to be a big disappointment with only 7 or 8 cars left by the time we got there.
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But Willy still wanted to flaunt that new power plant of his, I tell you he is always willing to show off in front of people. I think he may be a bit of an exhibitionist.
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Since the show was a bust, Willy, my bro, and myself decided to head back. Along the way we stopped by Dr. Evermore’s, which boasts the largest scrap-metal sculpture in the world.
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Willoughby hangin out in front of the sculpture.
If you look in the background you can see another bus.
I tried to talk the owner out of the interior but she would not sell.
This rig was cherry.
everybody likes clown cars.
Dr. Evermore's is littered with working sculptures like these guys.
This guy reminds me of the movie Batteries not included
while walking around here you must always be cautious of spiders
finally a full metal sculpture orchestra

That place was wicked cool, but I think that Willy started to get a wee bit nervous that he was going to end up as one of the works of art. So we called it a day and headed home in earnest.

Upon reaching the house, I fixed Mr. Willoughby’s front door handles and finally got around to installing the front license plate. Now if I could just get his darn dash lights working we would really be in business.

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