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/

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

Day 13 & 14 – There’s No Place Like Home, There’s No Place Like Home

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We left Tehachapi at around 11:00 AM, our next target point was Monterey, CA to have a quick over night visit with my 99 year-old grandmother. She still lives alone (I know, scary thought!) and is always up for some last-minute company.

Descending down the 4,000 ft drop from Tehachapi, we drove through hills that looked strangely like a huddled sleeping litter of tan sharpei puppies. Soon after, we leveled out into Bakersfield, a large farming town with (to my surprise) wineries popping up here and there along the long and arduous hwy 58. I had always heard Bakersfield was not the prettiest of towns and I have to agree. It had an industrial influence with clusters of unattractive suburbs surrounded by a lot of dry, dead, brown weeds!

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We pushed on traveling hwy 99 for a short distance and then redirected Dorothy west, onto interstate 46, which would connect us to hwy 101 eighty miles later. If you have never had the pleasure of visiting the southeast portion of the golden state of California, I can tell you as a native of northern California, you will know you have crossed the state-line by the bad, beat-up roads, high gas prices, ugly inland terrain and aggressive rude drivers! It was seriously the most uninviting state we had been through until we reached Monterey.

We arrived at my grandmother’s at just after 5 PM and had a short visit before going out for dinner. We had to get my grandmother’s petite, five-foot-nothing frame in the front seat of the bus, which was quite a picture! She couldn’t get over why we bought such an old vehicle and kept asking the question “why is it squeaking so much?” Matt and I just laughed not knowing exactly how to answer such an obvious question.

DSC00787 (Mobile)We had a nice visit, Matt fixed a few items for her, we spent the night and we’re gone by 9 AM the next morning, our fourteenth and final day.

We took off under typical coastal overcast skies heading north on hwy 1 before connecting back onto hwy 101 for the crowning 160 miles to San Francisco. It was no doubt a rewarding feeling for both Matt and I, but at the same time, a very sad moment knowing the next few miles was to be the conclusion to an epic and life changing journey.

We crossed the Golden Gate Bridge at lunch time and decided we needed to have a picture of Dorothy with the famous landmark, so we drove her down to Fort Baker a the base on the Marin side of the bridge. We posed Dorothy just right with the massive brick-red spanning arch behind. Before we could take our long-awaited photo’s we had a group of Chinese tourists come up to ask if they could have their picture taken with Dorothy. Matt politely obliged and accepted their camera for the unique photo opportunity.

DSC00798 (Mobile)Matt no sooner finished and a group from Holland approached us asking all about Dorothy. He explained happily one more time knowing it would probably be our last while still on our trip.

Twenty minutes later, after we managed to get our own pictures of Dorothy, we jump back in and made the short decline down into the picturesque town of Sausalito. Sausalito is perched right on the bay and the first town just after crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, a place I know very well from growing in Mill Valley, which resides just next door. It’s an area that is very foreign to me now because of wealthy people moving in and an over abundance of tourists visiting all year-long. Remarkably, both towns used to be total hippy hangouts, so driving through with a 1970 VW bus was apropos. It’s just too bad no body would get it!

We stopped at a little Italian place for a quick bite just outside of the harbor town that Matt and I frequently go to when passing through. A mile down the road we voted to make a surprise visit to my sister, Barbra while she was at work to show her and her co-worker Eva the famous Dorothy.

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They both couldn’t stop giggling over her and what we had just accomplished over the past two-weeks. For my sister, seeing the bus really took her back in time to our dad’s VW bus growing up. She kept repeating the words “ It’s so small inside, I remember it being so much bigger!” Clearly reenforcing that everything looks bigger when you’re a child!

We talked her into taking Dorothy for a spin around the yacht harbor she works at. She excitedly hopped in and started Dorothy up. Putting some muscle into it, Barbi turned the 18 inch steering wheel navigating her slowly around the parking lot and harbor, waving and honking that distinct Volkswagen honk as she passed everyone she recognized. She couldn’t get over how difficult Dorothy was to drive, which (I think) gave her a more real understanding of what we went through in transporting the bus such a long way.

Soon after our little cruise through the parking lot, we said our good-byes to make the last 5 miles to San Rafael. Pulling in the drive, Matt and I both looked at each other and without a word we both embraced, silently comprehending and appreciating our great accomplishments over the past fortnight.

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Two weeks, 8 states, 130 gallons of fuel. 4 fuel additives, 1 litre of oil, 1 litre of brake fluid, 1 fuel filter, 1 set of points, two visits to the garage, 2,468 miles, a wedding and an incomprehensible amount of messing with her backside and we made it!

We know that Dorothy couldn’t have made it without the love and support of family and friends to encourage her along the long path back to California.

Matt and I would like to personally thank Dave, the previous owner for being a wonderful guide and mentor throughout our trip by text and/or email to help us pilot Dorothy to her destination. His last text to us upon arriving in San Francisco, “I am frigin’ crying! I love it and so proud of both you crazy people! Drive on!!”

Also to Pete and India in Albuquerque, NM for treating us to a delicious dinner, a cozy and beautiful place to crash out and Pete’s help to get the ailing Dorothy back on the road! Love you both! Everyone on Facebook, family on Viber and comments on the blog, your words of positive encouragement were overwhelming and so amazing in helping us to keep the faith to make our goal. Thank you from the bottom of our (and Dorothy’s) hearts!

Love.

Matt, Cindi and of course, Dorothy!

October 13, 2013 Posted by | 1970 Vintage Westfalia VW Bus, Vintage Volkswagen Bus Travel Story | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day 2 – Dorothy Takes to the Open Road

Dave, Sherrill, me, Matt with Dorothy

Dave, Sherrill, me, Matt with Dorothy

Matt and I were to meet Dave outside our hotel at 10:15 AM sharp. The original plan was for him to drive Dorothy over from his house, 20 minutes away and we would travel back with him while he demonstrated how the bus worked….and didn’t work! But, that changed with a text message from Dave saying he was at the back of the hotel parking lot waiting for us.

I scanned the parking lot until I finally saw Dave standing next to Dorothy. I can’t tell you what a strange feeling it was seeing her for the first time in person. She actually looked better and even brighter, if that was possible!

Matt and I immediately poked our heads into her innards, taking in all her details. She looked great for an old girl, but her age gave her away by that distinctive “old car” smell. It took me back to my grandmother’s gold Buick Skylark. It was the car I first took my drivers test in when I was sixteen.

Dorothy at the Land of Oz

Dorothy at the Land of Oz

We spent the next hour or so going over how things worked on the bus while we waited for Sherrill to arrive to pick Dave up. Matt was growing more enthusiastic about taking Dorothy out, while I was getting more nervous.

Matt finally could not hold back any longer and blurted out “can I start her up?” Dave tossed him the keys and Matt hurriedly ran around to the driver’s side and jumped in. I found myself cringing subconsciously as Matt turned the key, anticipating Dorothy to do one of her little “idiosyncrasies”. Matt turned the key and she started right up without a hiccup and we all let out a simultaneous sigh of relief!

It was tough saying good-bye to Dave and Sherrill after we were just getting to know them. I was also struggling because I was feeling very bad about taking Dorothy away from Dave. He had shared with us that he and Dorothy had a “little talk” on the way over to meet us about the parting of ways after 5 wonderful years. My heart sank for Dave and his silent, but obvious struggle in giving Dorothy up for good.

Dorothy on the Yellow Brick Road

Dorothy on the Yellow Brick Road

It was decided that Matt would take the wheel first, so with waving arms of good-bye out the window, we were off, heading west down Hwy 54, but not without circling the parking lot once to get the hang of “her” before the challenge of the Hwy.

There are several things that we noticed about Dorothy right away, first was the brakes. You practically have to put your foot through the floor to actually get them to work. It’s the original drum braking system that Volkswagen installed back in the day with all their models. I said to Matt, if I hit the brakes this hard on my Audi, we would go right through the windscreen! Second, was the gear shift. There are only 4 gears and you have to shift with a light hand, but deliberately. Meaning, you need to get the gear stick in exactly the right place or she will throw a fit!

We drove about fifty miles out of Wichita to Kingman to stop for fuel and something to eat. We no more pulled into the station and we noticed the attendant coming towards us. I rolled down the window to see what he wanted and the first words out of his mouth was “ What year is she?” Matt and I both laughed, thinking we had done something wrong and was being reprimanded for it. We chit chatted with him for a few minutes and told him all about our plight with Dorothy. He loved the story, telling us about his long relationship with Dorothy’s sibling, the Beetle. This was the first of many smiling eyes that followed on our 209 miles to Liberal. At one point, we had a Jeep full of teenagers waving the peace sign at us going the opposite direction. It was clear, Dorothy was turning heads!

"There's no place like home!"

“There’s no place like home!”

After we filled her tank, we pulled over to White’s food store, just a hundred yards off. We were all set to go in and was making sure to lock her up to secure all our valuables inside. In a panic, we were discovering all, but one lock did not work! You could lock it from the inside, but you couldn’t unlock it from the outside. Ah, this was going to be a bit of a problem, so I text messaged Dave to see if there was another key he forgot to give us. The answer came back a few minutes later as a no and we were left to come up with a plan “B” in how to secure Dorothy.

Prior to leaving California, I had bought online The Club and a dummy set of security alarm lights to help ward off any potential intruders. I had them sent to Dave’s and was feeling a bit better about the times when we would have to leave Dorothy unattended. But, now with the new-found knowledge in her locking system, we had to figure something out and fast.

The fact that we could lock the back tailgate and lock the other doors from the inside gave us an advantage. Matt came up with the idea to find a store that sells bicycle locks and lock the sliding door to the passenger door by wrapping the locking cable around both door handles. It was a brilliant idea and we soon found a local Alco store to solve our pending dilemma.

Motoring down the primarily two-lane hwy 54 we were passing a growing number of big-rigs. This was becoming quite challenging with Dorothy’s lack of steering capabilities. The large amount of play in the steering combined with the big gusting cross winds from the trucks was proving to be a potential hazard. The drivers concentration was essential in keeping the bus on the right side of the road! This was also a problem because every time another big gust of wind hit Dorothy upside the left side-panel, it also knocked the wing mirrors out of alignment, which totally left us blind to the rear of the bus.

Matt's high tech security solution!

Matt’s high tech security solution!

Another stop in Pratt temporarily fixed the wing mirror problem with a tightening of the nut that held the mirrors in place, but a few gusts later and we were right back to sticking our hand out the window to readjust. We need to work on this!

The concentration that it took to navigate Dorothy was surprising to me, but very reminiscent in riding a motorcycle. You have to constantly keep your eyes on the road and stay alert, no matter what! I also had to laugh at how many times Matt and I would pull over to check on Dorothy, like two doting parents, to see how she was doing on her first real road trip in many years.

The stick straight hwy carried us on and into more flat and barren farmlands with maybe a few sparse towns in between. At 6:30 PM we arrived at our destination, Liberal Kansas. Apparently its claim to fame is being the “home” to Dorothy from the Wizard of OZ. We found the little Wizard of Oz museum and pulled Dorothy over and posed her so we could take several photo’s of her in front of the various signs posted. Matt and I found this to be really fun, but Dorothy was getting tired and she was telling us she needed to rest with her hesitation in wanting to start. We took the hint and rounded the corner to the Southwind Hotel. We chose the hotel mainly because we could park Dorothy outside our room to keep a close eye on her. If we could we would have parked her in the room with us!

Matt and I walked down the road a bit to a local steak cafe on the suggestion of our hotel receptionist. I have to say, its strange being in Kansas. The people in Kansas are very nice and friendly, but the atmosphere is nothing like where I’m from in California. But, you know, variety is the spice of life!

Tomorrow, we need to sort out our navigation system with an electrical system that looks like a map of the Tube stations in London!

Onward and upward!

September 30, 2013 Posted by | 1970 Vintage Westfalia VW Bus, Volkswagen bus | , , , , , , | Leave a comment