Motoette -in forward motion

Dorothy’s blog in chronological order:

Dorothy’s blog in chronological order:
The plight of a little 1970 Volkswagen bus known as Dorothy – Page 1
https://motoette.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/the-plight-of-a-little-1970-volkswagen-bus-known-as-dorothy/

The plight of a little 1970 Volkswagen bus known as Dorothy–Page 2
https://motoette.wordpress.com/2013/09/20/the-plight-of-a-little-1970-volkswagen-bus-known-as-dorothy-page-2/

The Plight of a Little Volkswagen Bus Known as Dorothy — Page 3
https://motoette.wordpress.com/2013/09/27/the-plight-of-a-little-volkswagen-bus-known-as-dorothy-page-3/

Day 1 – Dorothy’s Blog – A One Way Ticket to Wichita.
https://motoette.wordpress.com/2013/09/29/day-1-dorothys-blog-a-one-way-ticket-to-wichita/

Day 2 – Dorothy Takes to the Open Road
https://motoette.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/day-2-dorothy-takes-to-the-open-road/

Day 3 – Is This The Way To Amarillo?
https://motoette.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/day-3-is-this-the-way-to-amarillo/

Day 4 – Albuquerque and the Watermelon Mountains
https://motoette.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/day-4-albuquerque-and-the-watermelon-mountains/

Day 5 – Dorothy Has a Drinking Problem

https://motoette.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/day-5-dorothy-has-a-drinking-problem/

Day 6 – Four Corners and Almost 7 Days Ago
https://motoette.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/day-6-four-corners-and-almost-7-days-ago/

Day 7 – Dorothy Has a Thing for the Beatles
https://motoette.wordpress.com/2013/10/06/day-7-dorothy-has-a-thing-for-the-beatles/

Day 8 – Turning Another Page
https://motoette.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/day-8-turning-another-page/

Day 9 – Look, But Don’t Touch!
https://motoette.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/day-9-look-but-dont-touch/

Day 10 & 11 – Viva Las Vegas!
https://motoette.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/day-10-11-viva-las-vegas/

Day 12 – What a difference a State Makes
https://motoette.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/day-12-what-a-difference-a-state-makes/

Day 13 & 14 – There’s No Place Like Home, There’s No Place Like Home
https://motoette.wordpress.com/2013/10/13/day-13-14-theres-no-place-like-home-theres-no-place-like-home/

Dorothy – As Days Go By

https://motoette.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/dorothy-as-days-go-by/

Bon Voyage Dorothy

https://motoette.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/bon-voyage-dorothy/

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March 10, 2014 Posted by | 1970 Vintage Westfalia VW Bus, Vintage Volkswagen Bus Travel Story, Volkswagen bus | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s a Family Affair – Dorothy’s New Home in California

A picture paints a thousand words!

A picture paints a thousand words!

It’s been an interesting 2 weeks since our triumphant trip, traveling almost 2,500 miles from Wichita Kansas to San Francisco California in a 1970 Volkswagen bus named Dorothy.

Just two days after we arrived, we took Dorothy to a small VW gathering called the Deutschland Dubs 2nd Annual Air-Cooled Roundup Picnic at the Presidio just over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. The picnic was to be held at Crissy Field, but again, being tormented by the National Park closures, the organizers had to relocate the small group.

We were very excited to be able to attend and hang out with other dedicated Volkswagen owners just weeks after purchasing her. We were also a little hesitant to go because Dorothy had not been running well. she was stalling anytime we would apply the brakes to stop in the last few hundred miles of our trip.

Bus gathering overlooking the SF bay

Bus gathering overlooking the SF bay

In the end, it was taking both of us to drive her. One person to keep their foot on the brake and one person to keep their foot on the gas so she wouldn’t die. It was really becoming tiring and concerning. She also didn’t sound good, her idling point would constantly vary, so anytime Matt tried to adjust the idle it would soon change. Clearly, it was time to give Mike (my mechanic) a call.

Regardless, we went ahead and took Dorothy to the meet up. It was a rare clear, glorious sunny day in the famous foggy city. We pulled into the parking area at the Main Post where twenty to twenty-five other Volkswagens were parked. We saw a bunch of bugs and several bay buses with three splittys. Two of the bays looked just like Dorothy. Almost immediately Kim and Bob came over to Matt and I to say hi and ask about Dorothy. We explained to the nice couple from Sacramento about how we acquired Dorothy and our recent epic adventures driving half way across the country. They loved the story and then digressed into their personal “bus “ story when we asked about the history of what looked to be the brother to Dorothy.

Kim's bus as she found it at the wrecking yard.

Kim’s bus as she found it at the wrecking yard.

Kim literally rescued “Wes” within hours of being dismantled for parts in a wrecking yard two years ago. Kim knew she had been given a rare opportunity and spent these last few years rebuilding the engine, replacing parts and injecting some good ole elbow grease to clean him up! Matt and I were very impressed and happy to say Kim is now a fellow VW compatriot on earlybay.com and a Facebook friend.

Kim, Bob and Wes

Kim, Bob and Wes

We parked Dorothy next to an early sixties single cab splitty owned by Lloyd and Diana from San Jose. Not long into a friendly conversation, Lloyd told us he found his prized rustic relic from a convicted ax murder, who apparently liked to collect vintage Volkswagen’s when he wasn’t hacking people up! Obviously we thought Lloyd was joking, but unfortunately (for his victims) he wasn’t!

Lloyd and Diana from San Jose

Lloyd and Diana from San Jose

I loved what Lloyd did with the single cab, by giving it a “rat” look, which is the new term used to describe retaining the original rustic patina that is becoming so popular with vintage bus owners. The unique feature to this single cab, was he had retro fitted utility bars on the flat-bed that included a retractable awning, a removable table off the tailgate complete with a mini Weber and a Tepui tent folded neatly in its own case on top next to the sun deck. I was thoroughly impressed with his creativity!

Matt and I really enjoyed talking with the cute couple and was sorry when they finally had to leave after having a full weekend of camping. Hopefully, our VW’s will bring us together again sometime in the near future!

Lloyd and Diana's cool single cab creation!

Lloyd and Diana’s cool single cab creation!

As the morning progressed into the afternoon, we met more interesting Volkswagen owners like Jason who owns a 1973 convertible bug. He had done quite a bit of work to the engine, which was very impressive considering our current situation with Dorothy. I noticed a Hawaii license plate attached to the bumper, something owners do to indicate where the vehicle originated from. So, of course I asked the obvious question thinking I would get the obvious answer “oh, so you brought this bug all the way back from Hawaii?” His reply (to my surprise) “no, I’ve just been there 23 times!” Another new Facebook friend!

Kyle, another bug owner (and Facebook friend) apparently had one of the original “Herbie” cars from the famous 1960’s Disney movie. This bug was immaculate and amazing in its preservation. The glossy cream bug with the off-centered red, white and blue stripe was definitely in its element with a backdrop of San Francisco and parked in the same vicinity as the Disney Museum, founded by Walt Disney’s daughter exactly four years ago this month.

Kyle's "Herbie"

Kyle’s “Herbie”

One of the last bus owners we talked with that had another interesting story was a guy who had purchased a 21 window splitty sight unseen from Colorado about nine months ago. He told us he found this bus on eBay. The seller was a widow trying to sell her husbands bus which mainly sat in a garage for most of the years he owned it. Looking at it, I could see it was in really good shape, but that there were little things that needed doing.

He went on to tell the story about how he bought it. How he sat there for what seemed like hours, holding his finger over the “ buy it now” sign, contemplating whether or not to pay the thirty thousand plus sales price. He said he kept asking his girlfriend if he should do it? Her boisterous reply was “just do it!” So he finally did….seconds later, to his disappointment the screen displayed “ bidding closed for this item”. He was crushed!

Splitty bought on Ebay from Colorado

Splitty bought on Ebay from Colorado

He continued on, explaining to us how a light bulb went off in his head several minutes later to send the seller an email in his new-found overwhelming desire to buy the vintage bus, just in case the bus came up on auction again. Within a few hours he heard back from the seller, informing him that indeed the original bidder couldn’t come up with the money and the bus was up for sale again. Needless to say, the rest is history!

Matt and I enjoyed the rest of the afternoon sitting next to Dorothy in our red folding chairs basking in the autumn sun talking to people who passed by us. Our good friend Jan rode up on his BMW motorcycle to check out the action and to visit some of his VW friends. Jan has been an avid VW collector and fan, owning two rare models. A late fifties split window barn door bus and a split window bug, along with a small fleet of other Volkswagens in his drive. It was great to see him – Jan gave us a lot of information about Dorothy’s engine while all three of us sat at her back side, taking inventory of all her parts!

Matt, Jan and me

Matt, Jan and me

At three-o’clock we pulled out and headed home, extremely pleased with the events of our day. We met some great VW friends that will continue on with the aid of Facebook and gained valuable input from seasoned owners with our moonstruck goal to revitalize and maintain these delicate metal creatures.

I guess a person could be wooed by worse…like a Studebaker or an Edsel!

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October 24, 2013 Posted by | 1970 Vintage Westfalia VW Bus, Vintage Volkswagen Bus Travel Story, Volkswagen bus | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 9 – Look, But Don’t Touch!

DSC00718 (Mobile)We woke up to another brilliant sunny day, the temperatures were noticeably back on the rise, which meant we could put our shorts on! Still feeling a little disappointed from the day before in our choice to drive all the way out to Page, Matt and I decided to take advantage of the complementary breakfast at the hotel, in order to make our quick exit out-of-town.

The confining eating area was filled with lodgers, who most likely had the same plan as us, because it was standing room only at the Corn Flakes counter! This actually gave Matt an opportunity to start chit chatting with two couples from Kent, England, who had also been left to rethink their travel plans due to the government shut-down. They enlightened us on a few scenic viewing points we could go to in order to not make our trip a total loss.

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On our way to the recommended viewing sites, we passed a do-it-yourself car wash and decided Dorothy needed a bath. Matt lathered her with bubble gum pink suds in an effort to remove the accumulated road debris from her pug face and wide girth (don’t tell her I said that!). It was a two-person job to clean her up, but twenty minutes later she was a sparkling beauty! Matt went to start her up and she wasn’t turning over. We both looked at each other with the same expression of “uh oh”. Four or five clicks of the ignition and were now really getting concerned. It was clear, Dorothy did not like having a bath.

Finally, Matt was able to turn over the engine, I kept my foot on the accelerator while he went back to her hind quarters to douse her contacts with WD-40, which we think got wet from the intensity from the sprayer.

Wiping another bead of sweat off our brow we putt, putted down to the viewing area to find a car park full of tourists. The minute we pulled up we were accosted by at least 10-12 people all wanting to know about Dorothy. There was a couple in particular from Michigan who asked if they could have their picture taken in front of the bus. Matt offered the option of sitting in the bus, but they were happy to stand by Dorothy, explaining that the picture was for an ongoing family joke.

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Another woman we talked to from Australia reminisced about how she rode Route 66 back in the 70”s in a VW bus with a group of stoned hippies. Seeing the glow on her face as she relived the story, I could tell she was enjoying the fond memory. It was very cool!

Several minutes after we came back to see what we came for, the dramatic Glen Canyon with the Colorado River below, being held at bay with the enormous Glen Canyon Dam. The small canyon was surrounded by these really interesting layered rock designs in a lush red tone, which made it even more authentic .

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Back on hwy 89, retracing our tracks from the day before, we traveled the eighty miles back to Kanab and hung a right still on 89, heading north to hwy 9 to Mt Zion National Park. A few minutes of climbing, we reached the entrance to the park, where we were greeted by a ranger. He told us because it was a public road we could drive through, but under no circumstances could we stop. Along with his stern instructions came a white sheet of paper echoing the same words stamped in bold black ink. I proceeded to drive Dorothy as slow as I could in order to fully take in the incredible colossal terra-cotta mountain range. There is just no decent way to describe the stunning views we encountered. The famous park gave the feeling of intimate closeness within the tight peaks and valleys, but with the most immense mountain ranges I had ever seen.

Twisting and turning slowly descending downward, we were immersed in the most exquisite deep rich cayenne red forest of towering rocks for the next 5 miles, even the road was a beautiful red clay color. By not being able to stop was like giving a child candy and then forbidding him to eat it! It was seriously difficult not to do. Matt took as many photographs as he could out the window. When we exited the park we were able to stop and take a few more.

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We continued on for a few more miles to the town of Virgin, where we (and I use the term loosely!) decided to camp with Dorothy for the first time. I actually resisted and was a little relieved when we were finding it difficult to go forward with the original plans to camp because of the parks being closed. I thought this would actually benefit my reluctance to want to camp. But, I was sweet talked into it or maybe it was more like being quilted into it from making Matt wear the tie-dyed shirt I made him! Either way, I consented!

We got a nice spot nestled in the Zion palisades and made a fire and then cozied up for the night in the van. It was actually pretty fun and I would definitely do it again, especially with Matt!

October 8, 2013 Posted by | 1970 Vintage Westfalia VW Bus | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 7 – Dorothy Has a Thing for the Beatles

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This morning we were up and ready by 5:00 AM, but this time was purposefully in order to be prepared for the magnificent sunrise that would soon come to light behind the massive statuesque crags.

Matt and I sat in the lobby waiting for a few minutes until we started to see the sun begin to peek its head up. We ran out to the overlook where we were the night before, shooting the same scene in the setting sun. I was surprised to find several other people out as well. But then thinking about it, why wouldn’t they?

It was absolutely freezing out to the point where I started to lose the feel in my finger tips. It was an unexpected temperature change from the past week wearing shorts and t-shirt. It must have dropped 30 degrees from the day before! We hung on for as long as we could, enduring the unfamiliar frigid atmosphere until we were satisfied with our photographs.

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We fired up Dorothy around lunch time with no issue other than her stalling a few times before she was completely warmed up. Matt and I are convinced she is an attention seeker, always wanting to be dotted on first thing every morning. We gladly accepted the minimal demand and made our way back to Kayenta and west on hwy 160 hoping to get into the Grand Canyon, a hundred or so miles away.

Driving a vintage VW bus is not like driving a modern car. We found ourselves envying other drivers with advanced technology cars…like power steering, power brakes, and air conditioning! If one of us was only able to drive the long trek, it would have been a major problem, because of the concentration and strength to maneuver her around. She is exhausting!

DSC00617 (Mobile) It was my turn to drive and we decided to play the 60’s & 70’s play list on my iPod I had downloaded for the trip. I made a compilation of the Young Bloods, The Guess Who, Beatles, Santana and others. There were approximately 72 songs on the play list. On shuffle, the first song that came on was Get Back by The Beatles, second song, Strawberry Fields Forever, The Beatles. This went on for 4 or 5 songs. Matt and I both looked at each other and started to laugh, convinced Dorothy was controlling the music selection on the stereo. Dorothy almost exclusively played every Beatles song on the list before any of the other songs played…..hmmm?

Later I was thinking about it, 1970 was the year Dorothy was born and it was also the same year the Beatles broke up…..Coincidence? I don’t know, you be the judge!

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Twenty miles into our journey, the scenery slowly morphed from a beautiful silhouette of mountain ranges into more of a desert landscape. At a steady 5,000 ft, we started to climb another 1000 ft before reaching the Desert View entrance to the Grand Canyon. Earlier, we had been informed by several different people that the Northwest entrance was run by the Indian Nation and that it might be possible to enter the park.

We arrived to find a park closure sign. Disappointed, we retraced our tracks back up 89A , passing our original turn from 160 and up into Echo Canyon. What an incredible massive display of sienna stained cliffs that seems to go on forever. It made little Dorothy seem infinity small in comparison. With some of the most gorgeous backdrops this country has to offer, both Matt and I found it interesting that the towns and scattered dwellings appeared to be owned by communities with little to no revenue. The small run-down town of Tuba, AZ was filled with beat-up mobile homes perched on dirt lots. It was difficult to imagine what life would be like living there.

Passing the scattered small rectangular shaped fabricated homes, we noticed spare tires as a commonality on the roofs. We could only surmise that it was a local economical technique in preserving their shelter from the harsh seasons from the desert.

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Unexpectedly, we had to travel another 13 miles off course because of a road closure at the gap on 89, due to a landslide last winter. Twenty minutes later we pulled into a Chevron station at Marble Canyon. A dot of a little town, if you want to call it that. There was a hotel there, so we both thought it best to stay for the night. I had to go into the gas station in order to book a room, very strange..

We were literally in the middle of nowhere, engulfed by the most spectacular cayenne colored cliffs I had ever seen! This also was where Lee Ferry & Glen Canyon National Park entrance, which was directly beside the Navajo Bridges. Two magnificent bridges (pedestrians and motor vehicles) that overlooks a gigantic gorge to the Colorado River below.

After checking in and unloading our gear into the hotel room, we took a walk down to Marble Canyon to take pictures of the awesome views. We noticed a large gravel parking lot full of what looked to be a make-shift campsite. We thought it strange but carried on walking until the penny dropped after seeing the big red sign that read “ Glen Canyon closed after a lack of appropriations”.

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We learned early the next morning after hearing some of the campers talking with other travelers in the local cafe how there was a combination of rafting and hiking groups that were stranded because of the government closure of the National Parks. We heard a young guy telling this couple about how he knew of people in his group that had been planning their trip for over a year. He also went on to explain, because the group organizers had planned out meals based on the daily stops while on the trip, the guests were having to ration out their own food supplies as a result of being stuck in a parking lot.

We had talked to a few people from the hiking group that had planned to stay a few days in Marble Canyon and then head into the Grand Canyon, but those plans were obviously squashed because of the National Park closures as well.

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In the beginning, the closures had only inconvenienced us with our plans to visit the Grand Canyon, but now we were starting to get worried hearing all the sad tales of other people’s disappointing experiences. We were excited about visiting Zion National Park, but we now had to start rethinking that idea and the rest of our trip…..

October 6, 2013 Posted by | 1970 Vintage Westfalia VW Bus | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment