Motoette -in forward motion

Day 12 – What a difference a State Makes

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It was a great two days in Las Vegas, mainly because it played a huge important role in my future with Matt. But, I’m not a gambler, I have an aversion to large crowds of people making fashion faux pas’ and paying way too much for, well, EVERYTHING! We were both ready to move on and deal with Dorothy’s “moods” once again.

Under clouded skies, we departed Las Vegas heading south on I-15, one-hundred and fifty-two miles from our next target point in Barstow, California. As I had mentioned on several occasions, we had been blessed with exceptional weather, waking up to glorious sunny skies accompanied by mild autumn temperatures. We were seriously spoiled!

The good luck with the weather, was more important for safety in transporting Dorothy, than for us. Bad weather could mean impending danger for both Matt and I.

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Less than fifty miles on the road and we crossed the California state line and into the Mojave Desert National Park region. Beautiful beige desert land scattered with a variety of indigenous cactus plants with a backdrop of the Nopah and Providence mountain ranges, encircling the arid foreground.

With each mile we drove, the merciless desert winds grew with intensity. We passed a sign flashing a “high wind” warning sign enforcing what we already knew.

I always thought of a Volkswagen bus as kind of a big vehicle, but parking next to trucks and mini vans, I could see by comparison, that the VW bus is quite petite. The tall, blunt, square shape of Dorothy just made any type of aerodynamics null and void and with the combination of wind, the vague steering control and four narrow tires, we were continually fighting to keep her in our lane.

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Semi trucks and big rigs became our enemy soon into our journey, especially when gusty winds were present. Dorothy just did not have the capacity to keep up with the monstrous trucks and so that meant we were always being passed by them. I would see them coming up in the rear view and would prepare myself for the violent shift in wind as they would pass. The worst part was when they would pull back into the slow lane, which would create a vortex of air that would make Dorothy shiver, shimmy and shake. This was an on going occurrence throughout our day trips, which meant more intense concentration in controlling her. It was a very unnerving and an exhausting process!

We did find entertainment driving the mundane straight road by listening to music and having an intermittent laugh by the honks and waves of passing motorists responding to our “just married” sign hanging in the back window of the bus!

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The topography continued to morph into flat volcanic desert sands with the most interesting array of Joshua trees, It seemed the further we went the bigger they got and then with a blink of an eye, they were gone!

We pulled into a gas station in Baker, CA to take a much-needed break and refuel Dorothy. The minute I pulled into the Chevron station this middle-aged man pulled up in a Cal Trans truck with a grin from ear to ear. It was also starting to rain, so Matt was at the front of the bus applying RainX to compensate for Dorothy’s slow and incompetent windscreen wipers. The Cal Trans guy, laughing as he spoke started to tell Matt and I about his 1968 automatic VW bus, repeating the words “ I loved that ole girl!” several times in our dialog. He explained that he had her for 12 years and finally gave her up to a neighbor’s daughter for $500 after it had been sitting in his drive with a blown engine. I said to Matt later, that I actually thought the guy was going to cry after seeing us with Dorothy.

Again, reconfirming how much deep untapped emotion a VW bus can bring out in the lives of people they touch. I can’t tell you how incredible it feels to be able to bring out those fond emotions.

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Once we reached Barstow, we decided to keep going despite the increasing bad weather. It had now gone from wind, to wind and rain and you know how much Dorothy loves the wet!

She carried us on and at one point in Mojave we could see ahead we were heading for the biggest black cloud we had seen in a long time! Our goal to make it another 60 miles to Bakersfield was probably not going to happen. We babied Dorothy up another hill and down into a small town in Tehachapi, CA. It was wet, it was getting dark and it was unbelievably cold! We could actually see snow on the hill tops!

Dorothy got us there and she was done!

We pulled into a La Quinta motel and got a room. The young girl at the front desk could see Matt adjusting the idle again just outside the front glass doors. She asked me what he was doing? When I explained the differences from a modern-day car to a 43-year-old car, she was amazed at what I told her. That with a seventies car, especially a VW, you don’t just jump in and drive it!

I think Dorothy, in her moment of sheer exhaustion, still managed to entertain yet another onlooker!

October 10, 2013 Posted by | 1970 Vintage Westfalia VW Bus | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 10 & 11 – Viva Las Vegas!

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I hope you don’t mind, but I decided to combine days 10 & 11 together for….well, obvious reasons! Matt and I got hitched!

We broke camp and left the picturesque town of Virgin early Monday morning, opting to skip breakfast and power on through for about an hour. We wanted to arrive in Vegas no later than 3:00 PM so we could check-in at the Mandalay Bay hotel and relax by the pool of a while before attending the Cirque du Soleil show called Love later that evening.

Frustrated and hungry, we pulled off I-15 at St George, Arizona to find a quick place to eat and deal with Dorothy and why she insisted on stalling every time we came to a stop. Pulling into a random parking lot after having no luck finding food, we noticed a pick-up truck come up beside us. We watched as this 40 something guy got our of his truck and with smile on his face came up to Dorothy’s driver side, where Matt was standing.

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The first words out of his mouth was “I have four of these!” Matt explained to the fellow stranger about Dorothy’s idling problem and proceeded to the rear engine compartment. The friendly stranger was somewhat helpful, but of course had to tell us his VW bus stories accompanied by pictures. This was definitely becoming a daily routine on our journey and we loved it!

We carried on south, down I-15 after finally finding some much-needed nourishment. We passed up and over another dramatic mountain range coming out of Arizona and into the desert sands of Nevada.

It was strange coming into Vegas, because we had spent the last week and half driving on one or two lane highways connected by relatively small towns. It was more intimidating than I expected and people were surprisingly rude and impatient to Dorothy’s slow speeds and even slower starts from a full stop. We got attention, but not in the positive way we had been used to. I suddenly couldn’t wait to get out of Vegas and we had just arrived!

The other side of the coin was we needed a break from Dorothy. On a daily basis, she is a lot of work to drive. She can’t take high-speed, high winds, and tight corners, or even a slight bend for that matter! She is very sensitive, she doesn’t like cold, she doesn’t like hot, she doesn’t like wet, she’s hungry all the time and she goes (and stops) when SHE wants to! She is easy to hot wire, easy to steal and therefore, we have to babysit her all the time! Who needs kids (or grand kids) when you have Dorothy! We were looking forward to having her sit in the hotel garage for two days while we rested from her demanding personality!

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We checked-in to our beautiful suite on the 14th floor with an amazing view of the strip. We spent our first day just wandering around the casino and showing Matt a little bit of Tinsel Town on his maiden visit. During the two-day visit and no Dorothy, we found ourselves going to a Beatles Show (Dorothy’s favorite group) playing the slots on a “Wizard of Oz” gambling machine and bringing her name up every hour on the hour! I think the bright lights finally got to us…or was it Dorothy?

On October 8 at 6 PM Matt and I had an intimate ceremony at the Little Church of the West and exchanged our eternal vows of love to each other. It was crazy, it was spontaneous and it was perfect! We hired a Town car to pick us up a the hotel and escort us to the historic church and back in time for a very romantic dinner to celebrate. We both couldn’t be happier and we thank our friends and family for their love and support in our decision. We love you all!

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October 10, 2013 Posted by | 1970 Vintage Westfalia VW Bus | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments