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!

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

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