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Northward on the Left Coast

Day #12

Wednesday 26 July

Start time:   11:00am   Mileage:  83,267          Place:   Port Hueneme, CA, Navy Base, Fairway Campground  

Stop time:   9:50pm     Mileage:  83,590          Place:   Monterey County Fairgrounds, Monterey, CA 

Today’s Mileage:  323  Total:   3,981

Average mpg:  17 – 21 Added 3rd Qt oil at 83,335


After a “cool” night, we wake to – “I don’t know but I’ve told, A Seabee’s worth his weight in gold, Sound off, 1-2, Sound off, 2-3, Bring it on down, 1-2-3-4.”  Ahhh, the morning run.  We watch as several platoons run by and we cheer with “Go Seabees!”

Heading off to the Exchange, we find they are out of ice, but we get the CD ROM to save pictures – we have taken about 600 pictures. And yes, we are trying to get some of the best to Bill – “Home Base” – to post on the website. 

 We head up to the University of California – Santa Barbara for a “look-see.”

Katherine is interested in marine biology and archaeology. We find take a driving tour of the campus (HUGE, but beautiful) and then park for a walking tour to get information. We park under one of three trees in the parking lot and next to a newer VW Westfalia.  The Whale is soooooo much cooler.  Upon our return we find that parking under the tree, while shady, left us with “tree-doo.”  So we spent a few minutes and some contortions to get the nut-berry-leaf mixture off our feet.

 A stop at a gas station and a guy pops out of a BMW (the new sporty two seater) and asks “71?”  “Refrigerator inside?”  The conversation continues with his recalling fond memories of trips across the US.  We share the Whale’s history starting with John’s purchase, his European touring, and our adventure.  Katherine checked the oil and is adding a quart, so the guy looks in and says, “Wow, how many cylinders?”  He is in awe!

Sadly, we have sighted only ONE Corvair our entire trip. Ok, we did see one “early” at a junk yard in Oklahoma.  More on this later.

Now we meander up the coast via California Route 1 and 101. We stop at a Vista Point just south of San Simeon and climb down the mini-cliff to the ocean to actually put our toes in.  It’s official!  We are on the left coast.  We dilly-dally on the oceanfront and enjoy the break from driving.  The Whale watches from above, keeping the two of us in sight.



As we wind further up the coast, the mist starts rolling in and the chill sets in.  We find our jackets and roll up the windows.  Marianne is thinking about a cup of hot tea.  The drive is taking much longer than expected between the low visibility and the “twisties.”  We stop for some real neat shots of the sun semi-setting over the ocean.

We never really see the sunset for the dense mist.  A stop at the Ragged Point Inn finds us gas, postcards, and a conversation with a VW Westfalia guy who notes that he has to continually fix the engine – must be a VW.  ;-)   



We pass each other several Verdana on the way into Big Sur.  Though lovely, Big Sur was bereft of VWs – sighted only two. SUVs abound.

Big Sur Coast


It is now dark, mist is like pea-soup, and we are still many miles out of Monterey.  We contemplate just pulling over on the roadside for the night. Katherine informs me she is NOT using the portable potty. So, we persevere.  We finally roll into Monterey and locate the Fairgrounds after finding NPS (Naval Post Graduate School) which was full when we called.

 We cannot find the secret gate to which we have the code, so we stop and ask (yes, we do ask for directions unlike those with the Y chromosome).  The guys were just getting into their van, but took time to guide us to the gate after playing some old time music from an old Victrola sitting in their van.  We did not bother to inquire any further about this unusual occurrence.


Once inside, the Camp Host was most gracious in getting us settled and finding the restroom.  It is still chilly and we are bone-tired so we crawl into bed without even popping the top up.

Day #13


Thursday 27 July


Start time:   11:30am  Mileage:  83,590          Place:  Monterey County Fairgrounds, Monterey, CA 


Stop time:   2:30pm    Mileage:  83,705          Place:   Pleasanton, CA - Courtyard Marriott


Today's Mileage:  115  Total:   4,096


Average mpg:  17-18   



One of us slept in while the other of us didn't. Guess which one was which! 


After getting yesterday's journal and pictures off to Bill, making a couple phone calls we headed out for a planned short day.  Destination was Pleasanton, CA where John, our son, is now living and will attend college in the fall.  It is a short jaunt up Route 101 and 1. 


The gas stop proved amusing. I complained to Bill earlier that the darn rubber emissions hosing around the nozzles are difficult to manage with the angle of the VW gas tank port.  The pump shuts off before the tank is full. To combat this I have been filling the tank manually and watching for the fluid level. This worked fine until today when I could not get the pump to start and then it shut off after 2 cents!


Do you have any idea how much gas that is? A smidgen?  A wiff? Katherine brought the attendant out to help. Explaining was a lost cause - a communication barrier; he shoved the nozzle in, started the pump, it filled,

it shut off, and it was not full.  Better luck next time.



I dropped Katherine off to visit with John where he is staying with his half-sister, Rebecca, and her family, and proceeded to the hotel to do laundry (it never ends!), write the journal, call Bill (who informs me that he is waiting for me to come home to do the laundry; but then he admits he did a couple loads himself!), and have a few moments of solitude.



Luckily the heat wave that hit this area late last week and earlier this week - and broke all records - has passed and

it is the usual east-bay weather.


Day #14

Friday 28 July

Start time:         NA                  Mileage:  83,705          Place: Pleasanton, CA – Courtyard Marriott

Stop time:   NA                        Mileage:  83,729          Place: Pleasanton, CA – Courtyard Marriott

Today’s Mileage:  24                Total:   4,120

Average mpg:  NA      


After a morning of journal writing, emailing lots of pictures (it takes a loooonnnnnggggg time) (Bill-especially when you try to send 8MB of pictures in a single file with only "cell card" quality "broadband"), and setting up the next few days routes, Katherine, John, and I spent the day together. Lunch (garlic fries – quite yummy), “mall mongering,” and changes in routes and plans consumed the day.  We at dinner at an Italian restaurant, sitting outdoors, and, as they say here, we had a “pleasant time in Pleasanton.”


Day #15

Saturday 29 July

Start time:  9:14am                    Mileage:  83,729          Place: Pleasanton, CA – Courtyard Marriott

Stop time:   9:40pm                  Mileage:  84,144          Place:  Eureka, CA

Today’s Mileage:  415  Total:   4,535

Average mpg:  14 (lowest so far)


We picked up a new passenger – or third wheel as Katherine notes!  John is joining us for part of the trip before he starts college in late August.  He took over as “navigator,” a position Katherine was glad to turnover.

Heading north on Route 101 seemed simple enough, however, the map reader (John), the map, and the roads were not quite in sync and we “could not get there from here.” John came up with another route that brought us over a bridge with a $3.00 toll and a major traffic backup. This was the first toll after the 30 cent toll in Oklahoma.  Then we ended up the road to Mare Island (Navy Shipyard) where the bridge past it – the Bridge of Doom as we called it -  was backed up for miles with no end in sight.  We pulled a U-turn – a legitimate one – and went further inland to catch the interstate.   Along the interstates we noticed a new blue sign, like the usual blue service signs that show gas, lodging, or food, that noted: “Electric car charging station.”  Made me wonder – how long does it take to get charged? How much does it cost – “pay per volt?”   ;-)  Only on the left coast.


Just after we gassed up and washed the windscreen, we traveled through the town of Esparta, CA where hundreds of thousands of yellow butterflies on the plants and in the air looked like a yellow dust storm.   You can just imagine how many yellow butterflies now adorn the windscreen and front panel. UGH.


We take the scenic routes like CA 16 and 20. The landscape is breathtaking and the changes in the type of vegetation and color, along with the ups and downs, keep the drive interesting and challenging. 


Heading up the coast we discover a beautiful lake – Clear Lake –

nestled in the mountains. It was am awesome deep blue-green and extended for miles.  It is now past lunch time so we think we will find a nice little place to eat or find a grocery store.  Neither is available for miles and miles through many “no stop” towns that consists of a bait-tackle shop or a RVpark. We finally find Mary Lou’s sandwich shoppe in Lucerne, CA. “Hello, Mary Lou!” as Ricky Nelson would sing.     Have a great avocado/veggie sandwich; the “kids” have a hot dog and ice cream.


My brother suggested we travel the “lost coast” –it is  way off the beaten path.  So at Leggett, CA we gas up for the adventure.  The gas station guy is friendly and helpful and we talk about the Whale. He is amazed at the engine –got a peek as we were checking the oil.  Still ok, but will need to add soon.  He signs our quilt and thanks us for stopping by. 

At this point, I check the brakes as they started to sound like a creaking door hinge when being depressed.  Looking under the front, with Katherine depressing the pedal, I see nothing wrong (would I really know?). The pushing rod is moving, nothing is obviously broken, the rubber thingy around the rod looks like it may have a small crack (?), and the Whale still stops without a problem.  After calling Bill and double-checking the brake fluid, we decide they perhaps it needs a bit of lubrication but that it is not critical. (Bill- at this point we're thinking the mechanical linkage from the pedal to the master cylinder pushrod has simply developed a creak... since it makes the same noise when stopped.)


We then start on the journey for the “lost coast.” It is about 6pm and I recall my brother saying that we would see the coast about sunset based on the projected timetable.  After consulting some  “locals” at Weott, CA where we turned off, but did not go far enough to catch the road,  Route 211, we are off with their “Enjoy” lingering in my mind. 


Route 211 starts as NARROW, winding road through the Redwood National Forest. We stop to take pictures.  The redwoods are massive giants.


It then becomes the most awesome, difficult, challenging drive ever.  Was similar to driving from Kingman to Oatman, AZ except it was many more MILES and HOURS long.  The Whale and I say a quiet prayer.  We are once again negotiating hair-pin turns, switch backs, inclines that are straight up, and ROUGH roads.  The few towns listed on the map – Honeydew, Petrolia, Capetown – do not really exist. 

Honeydew, CA

No “main street” other than the road we are on; no stop sign; no stop light; no gas station; no grocery store. We wonder how folks live out here based on the distance to “services” – one must be completely self-sufficient.   


We finally descend to the “lost coast” – so hard to describe how beautiful it is. And, it is truly “lost.”  There is nothing here except the cows that wonder into the road and one house.  We drive along the road and the sun is setting over the ocean – awesome.


Then we discover that we have to climb “straight up” to the top and we are not even half-way trough the “scenic route.” An added factor is the glare from the sun is intense and the road seems to disappear.  The ups and downs, switchbacks, and rough narrow roads continue.  At one 10mph right hairpin turn, the sun glaring, I misread the curve and end up on the edge,  pulling  into what one might call a “runaway truck” lane.  Luckily, there is no traffic – heck we have not seen a car for miles – I back up and we are on our way. My Guardian Angel was right there.  The kids name this road “Death Road 2000.”


The dense redwood forest already obliterates what little sunshine is left and it occurs to me that I will be driving in darkness again.  We still have many miles to go.


After a steep downhill we literally  “dropped” into the quaint town of Ferndale, CA, which  - like Toledo, Ohio – had rolled up its carpets precisely at 9 (10).  There were no lonely truckers from Great Falls, Montana  and no salesmen from place unknown.  All was dark and quiet – but beautiful.


We head for Route 101, a real road, and scurry to Eureka to our hotel.  We arrive to see  “no vacancy” sign on the door and I wonder, but we had reservations so we are safe. Luckily, Bill had measured the height of the Whale with the top-load as there was an arch way in the hotel parking lot with a 7’ height limit.  We stand tall at 7” 6” so I had to backtrack to find a parking place.  Needless to say, we got to our room and crashed -  only after the kids had pizza delivered to the room!


 Day #16

Sunday 30 July

Start time:  9:45am                    Mileage:  84,144          Place: Eureka, CA

Stop time:   10:45pm                Mileage:  84,679          Place:  Astoria, OR

Today’s Mileage:  535  Total:   5,070

Average mpg:  19                     Added 4th Qt oil at 84,320


After yesterday’s long day of driving on the coast and based on the projected miles to Astoria,  we change our plans of driving the entire coast line on Route 101 or 1.  We head out of Eureka on Route 101 enjoying  the coastal scenery and then head inland via Route 199 through Grants Pass to Interstate 5.  Driving through the national forests and along the river is great. The Oregon inland also is beautiful – plains surrounded by mountains all around.   Noted a few odd things – Albany, OR is known as “The grass seed capital of the world,” and that farmers water their pastures and gazing cows.  Seemed odd at first seeing huge sprinklers shooting water out over the cows, but made sense to water the grass for the cows to eat and keep the cows cool and watered at the same time.


On 199 a huge caravan of vintage VWs – all kinds – head past us waving and giving us signs – the peace sign, the victory sign, the V, or the VW sign.  Who knows. We smile and wave back. What a treat!


At out first gas stop in Oregon we find that, by law, an attendant must pump the gas.  If the vehicle is over 30 years old, you decide whether they pump or you do. I opted for “them” doing the pumping. Meanwhile I checked the oil and added a quart. We also find 92 octane gas – the first since California where the highest is 91.  The Whale is happier.

We sight numerous VW busses and campers – one pea soup green, one bright blue, one milk-chocolate, one yellow, and one red. On “the 5,” as my son. John,  calls it, we  pull up behind a tan VW bus.  After following for a bit to take a picture, we pass it going about 65mph.  Katherine takes the driver’s picture as we pass – he smiles!  

 (See "car corral" for car pictures)

A few miles  up the road, we are driving along on fairly flat stretch with a slight decline when, despite pressing the accelerator, the speed and rpms are decreasing and we are slowing down.  The road starts an slight upward incline and pressing the accelerator makes no difference in speedometer or rpms.  I put it in neutral and we coast to the shoulder. Nothing in neutral. I set the brake, we chock the back tires, and get out to look at things – like the accelerator cable.  Nothing wrong there.  The guy in the VW we passed stops and asks if we need help and if we have what we need to make repairs. We assure him we do and he heads on.  John goes over the scenario with me and seems to have an reasonable explanation.  I decide to show him. There is no problem restarting the engine and when I try to repeat the problem – there is no problem.  I test in neutral and then along the shoulder for several hundred yards.  All seems ok. We head onward Soooooo, what happened?  (Since she says that the tach was at zero for most of this, I suspect a potential loose electrical connector feeding it power. Though the ingition runs on 12V, I left all the connectors there should they need to revert to a points ignition... lots of places for a potential loose wire. But I also had them check to make sure the fuel solenoid power wire was tight and that the solenoid was still properly grounded... still a possibility that the fuel pump is dying, but that's unlikely given that all seems well now.)


This is reminiscent of me and computers! Things happen, I cannot explain how they happened, I cannot repeat what happened  because I have no idea what I did, it either fixes itself or does not happen again, and then I wonder, and Bill, who is trying to help, wonders.


Near Salem we head back to the Oregon coast via Route 22 and take Route 101 into Astoria. At Beaver, OR we find a VW bus/camper “graveyard.”  Of course, we turn around to take pictures. We go through numerous small towns – populations of 92, 135, ad 252 -  with no stop lights and joke about the towns not having any thing worth stopping for. Then it occurred to me that, perhaps, the town folks don’t want any out-of-town folks stopping!  I can understand that!


We finally get to the Oregon coast and it is worth the drive – absolutely beautiful. And, again, we see the sunset! Awesome, But again, we face the windy, twisty roads at twilight and then darkness. 


About  10pm and 14 miles from the hotel, the Whale loses its brakes.  The brake pedal went straight to the floor – flat as a pancake.  I quickly pump the brakes, slow down, while turning off onto the side of the road, and pull on the emergency brake.  I try the pedal again. Down to the floor it goes; pumping again the brakes are “back up” for the moment. The brake fluid level is  fine. We all trundle out, flashlight in hand, look under every square inch of the Whale’s belly and the wheels/brakes for any signs. Nothing leaking, nothing hanging, nothing obvious.  I don’t have ANY handwritten “notes for Marianne” in my spiral notebook. The last time I did a brake job was in about  1995 when Bill and I did my TR6 brakes together. In the years since I have watched, been a “go-for,” and passed the tools.  Although I have all the material for a brake job, this is not what I want to do. Pondering all this, I decide to call Bill – it is now 1am EST.  Bill answers the phone – lucky me, there is no caller ID on the phone next to the bed!  I explain the problem noting that it is just like when I help him bleed the brakes. He suggests that the brakes may be overheated from all the use and may need to be bleed.  I don’t know how to do that; but he assures me he can ”talk” me through this “roadside repair.”  He notes rebuilding the brakes is not a “roadside repair,” but we could do that tomorrow in the hotel parking lot. Because the hotel is only a few miles away and there is braking ability, we decide I should continue to the hotel and deal with the problem in the morning. 




I drive the shoulder and test the brake-pumping a few times before venturing back onto the highway. Going no more than 40 mph, hitting mostly green lights; and having to deal with only a few downhill curves, we make it to the hotel.  We tuck the Whale into a well-lighted parking space with empty spaces on both sides and head in. It is now 10:45pm; the kids crash and I write the daily journal.  MTF (more to follow).

Bill- the fact the wheels weren't hot meant that boiling the brake fluid was unlikely... but they had been really using the brakes... front wheels covered with a deep layer of residue. I was also thinking it possible that they had worn down the shoes to the point they needed adjusting, but that was unlikely as well. Most probably culprit is a dying master cylinder... with a second possibility of a failed brake booster... though that usually gives you a low hard pedal, not "no" pedal. The fact she could pump them up makes me suspect the master even more. Though they are carrying the necessary parts to rebuild the master, it's not a nice job. Before I would walk them through that, I'd still have them adjust and bleed the brakes first.  I research their location and come up with a couple of repair shops within a mile or so... and recommend that she take it in for them to take a look at. She reports the brake pedal was still low today, but that the brakes were much better. If they were going to break (brake?) down, better to do it with a mile or so of a shop and while staying in a hotel room vice camping... awaiting an update)

She also threw her first fan belt this morning in starting it up to take to the shop. While the Corvair Underground spring-loaded idler is very sweet...keeping tension just right and allowing belt changes without tools, I also have been able to throw a belt cold with it... but never hot and at speed (where the belts usually throw)

UPDATE: The first shop "didn't do" VW's but the second shop... still within walking distance, actually had their own "VW guy" on staff.  He reports that the master, booster, and front brakes are all fine, but that the back brakes overheated and boiled the fluid in both rear wheel cylinders, damaging the seal in the cylinders as well. Given the low load the rear brakes have, I am absolutely stunned by this finding. He's buttoning it back up now and they will soon be on their way to Seattle and still on schedule since today was already slated to be a short driving day!


 Update: email from a Corvair buddy who is local to the area:

After looking at their  Journal.....WHOA!!  the ladies are Ballsy!  gggg  The 
inclines aren't the's the switchbacks!

The way they went is a killer road....took a friend 4 days in a  long 
vehicle....I've only done THAT stretch on a Motorcycle [ XT350 Yamaha]....

"Normally"  tourists  go thru Humboldt State park to Petrolia and up to 
Capetown and over to Ferndale....done it in my Supra.....just a few miles of 



Day #17
Monday 31 July
Start time:  3:45am                    Mileage:  84,679          Place:  Astoria, OR
Stop time:   8:30pm                  Mileage:                       Place:  Renton, WA - Vinny's Place
Today's Mileage:  195  Total:   5,265
Average mpg:  17 - 19              
I get up to check email, check the wheel wells for any signs of leaking, call Bill, and figure out 
the next steps - finding a place to get the brakes repaired - when Bill calls and informs me that 
there are a two places near the hotel I can call. They open at 8am - it is a little before eight.  
I call the first shop and they "do not do VWs - hasn't been a VW dealer here in 25 years!"  I call 
the next place that is about 1 ½ miles down the street. Yes, they can try to fit me in today; just 
bring it on down.   
The Whale starts up on the second try - guess she (?) is not happy this morning - however, the 
"idiot buzzer" started to buzz after I release it (have to hold it down during starting otherwise it 
is "more than annoying."  Ahhhh, must have thrown the belt. But parked? And on starting?  I was 
expected this more while running along or switching gears. Get back there and yup, thrown belt - 
all is one piece.  So, I grab the handy fan belt fixing tool stowed in easy reach under the back seat - 
a big, long screwdriver - and put the belt back on. For you non-Corvair folks, the screwdriver is to 
hold the right pulley-wheel  without tension so you can thread the belt around it. Yippee! Done!
Now to get to the shop. The brakes seem better - did not go right to the floor (dual circuit brakes 
are a GREAT idea!). The North Coast Auto Service folks in Astoria take the Whale and will try to get 
to it today.  Seeing VWs - a transporter and an Vanagon  -  in the lot is reassuring that the Whale 
is in good hands.  
Whale relaxing in shop while getting brakes refreshed!
I walk back to the hotel on the walkway along the Columbia river. It is a beautiful cool morning and 
the scenery is awesome so I "stop to smell the roses" and read signs, take some pictures, and linger 
to enjoy the view.
Then is it logistics time - do we spent another might in Astoria - we would need to change rooms - 
or hope we can make it to my brother's later today.  We get cleaned up and I put on my "van go" t-shirt 
- very cute - for good luck.  Must have worked. We get a call that they have found the problem and it 
will take 2 -3 hours to fix. The brake cylinders exploded and the rubber is  burned - "vulcanized" - and 
need replacement and the shoes are worn (no replacement available). I explain that a have a set of 
shoes in the VW, so we grab our bags and march to the shop - we catch the trolley part of the way.  
The mechanic, Mike,  shows us the vulcanized rubber on the brake cylinder and the loss of cylinder function.  
Yikes!  He is most knowledge and helpful - and amazed at the 'Vair-VW Whale! Turns out that I only 
have one pair of brake shoes. Odd, I have two-sies, three-sies, and even four-sies of some things and 
these do not match the current ones (bonded vs riveted). We decide to clean up the current ones -  
and get a full set at our next stop to carry along.  Later we find that the current shoes are mismatched 
which may explain why I only have one shoe as a spare.
Bill- mismatched and worn to the same thickness... which I had not noticed when adjusting the brakes. 
This means that it's likely this wheel had a slightly (possibly intermittently)  dragging brake all along and 
the previous owner (not John) treated the symptom and not the underlying cause. So it's likely that the 
damage was not use to brake overuse at all, but to heavy use combined with the dragging. In any case, the
brakes should be fine now and I've decided not to have them replace the shoes now... replacing the shoes 
and adjusting them carries with it a higher likelihood of getting something wrong than of having problems 
with the old mismatched (but properly installed and adjusted) pads. 
I'm just glad that they were able to safely get to a hotel, easily get the repair complete without getting 
their hands dirty, and stay on schedule. The shop owner called me by mistake when the Whale was ready...
and just couldn't stop marveling at what a neat vehicle it was, what a great conversion (which he had heard 
but never seen) and what great shape I kept it in (with the obvious exception of the mismatched rear brakes!)
We head out to amuse ourselves while the Whale is repaired, so we go to the Columbia River Maritime Museum. 
We  also tour the USS Columbia; a retired lighthouse boat and talk with a crew member of the USS Alert that 
is in dock.  It is great.  Hats off to the US Coast Guard!
Just as we ordering lunch at a local restaurant - Alexander and Steve's - we get a call that the Whale is ready.  
We walk back and pick her up, gas up, and head north!
Well, we think we are heading north but we are actually heading east!  Neither the navigator or I see any signs 
to let us know. No problem - we had planned to go east to Interstate 5 further north, so we will just catch it 
earlier.  We sight more VWs here than other places. Mostly, transporters, but at least one Westy.  Colors range 
from blue, tan, yellow, green, and white/rust.
We travel on some nice byways - Route 30, 512, 7, and 167 ending up in Renton, WA. The scenery is beautiful 
and Mount Rainer just pops into view as we turn a curve. Awesome!  We arrive at my brother Vinny's place for a 
and overnight and a day. Tomorrow is "Whale" day!

 Day #18

Tuesday 1 August

Start time:  NA             Mileage:  84,874          Place:  Renton, WA – Vinny’s Place

Stop time:   NA                        Mileage:           Place:  Renton, WA – Vinny’s Place

Today’s Mileage:  0                  Total:   5,265

Average mpg:  NA

Rats!  Trying to get started this morning and there is no internet connection.  Hmmm, maybe  a blessing in disguise?

Today we focus on the Whale and some relaxation.  Before the kids are even up,Vinny is out there Whale-washing.  She looks goooodddd!

We head out for a road tour and to meet Vinny’s longtime friend, Maggie, for brunch/lunch. Maggie is a flight attendant for United Airlines and just a hoot!

We arrive at the Roanoke Inn, an historic inn on the state register, built in 1914 and located on Mercer Island, only to find that it is a "21 only" establishment.

Some (Vinny adds: dumb-ass) Washington state law restriction due to the fact that the one has to walk through the bar to get to the bathrooms. We are "denied" because Katherine is only 17. Retreating from Mercer Island across the 520 "floating bridge," we eat at The Slip in Kirkland and take nice long walk along the shores of Lake Washington.

Snoqualmie Falls

Now to get the work done.  We pick up the brake shoes and oil (5-50W, Castrol) from the local auto place and get into our “work duds.”  Vinny and John change the oil while I supervise with a running commentary and numerous questions. Katherine and I check the axle bolts – all ok.  “Adjustments” are needed for the oil filter to seat itself; addition of “tranny fluid,” tightened fuel pump, transmission pan, and loose electrical wire for the driver side back-up light; checked tire air pressure and added a few to the front; checked the accelerator cable; and verified the “load” on top is still ok; and changed out the fan belt when John noticed a small slash on current one.  We cleaned the interior and repacked to accommodate the newly-acquired tent and sleeping bag, and the “grub.”

Off to dinner at Grazie - a favorite - with Vinny's friends - Eric, Christie, Shirley, Steve, Gordon, and Barbara. They are regulars at Grazie's . Eric has the distinction of being the only one 86'd from the place by the bartender, Cindy, who makes custom drinks for Vinny. We have a great time and great food. We talks about cars, Harleys (they all "ride"), places to see as we cross the country, and the trip thus far. Shirley wanted to know if she would be included in the journal... here you are Shirley! Vinny's friends are just like family. Great folks!

Back at Vinny’s we plan an interesting route for our upcoming journey. 

Many thanks to Vinny - in addition to being a great brother and all round good guy, he is superb mechanic. His 1989 Jeep with 267,000 miles looks and runs like new. His Harley Sportster could be on the cover of the Harley magazine. He tackled the Corvair engine carefully and methodically. Even though he easily found his way around the Corvair, I am not sure he would want one. Lastly, his garage is neat, clean, and organized. Something I will never see at our garages! I know there are worse out there somewhere! But, Bill keeps all my cars running, so who's to complain too much?  ;-)

Here are the service notes from Vince (who is an impressive mechanic that once rode his Harley Sportster (an older solid engine mount bike) from Seattle to Sturgis... then continued on to Chicago to visit us... serviced the bike and then went back.)

Vince- The fuel pump seemed to be moist and seeping a bit so I turned the (6)
screws that hold the two halves together about 1/4 turn with a
screwdriver.  Fixed that problem.
Tightened the transmission pan bolts.  Some were loser than others,
worse about 1/2 turn.  Thought oil was seeping out the transaxle seals
but I'm not convinced.  Might just have been oil blowing back.  Either
way, only minor leaking, nothing serious.  We added 1 Pt before they
left. (Bill- the PG gasket was fresh when they left; I should have had them
retighten as a matter of course, but am glad Vince thought to check. The diff 
always seeps a little bit (not worth resealing as I've never had to top it off)
and the o-ring at the filler tube into the PG pan leaks a bit (even after replacement,
so I suspect a warped pan)... again, not enough to worry about.) 
Oil filter sender bolt still leaked even after tightening it down to the
point where I was uncomfortable tightening it any further.  (Guess I lucked out 
on initial install... these are prone to leaking and 
some folks use a modern rubber/metal oil pan gasket in place of the copper
washer... I'll go to that long-term but will just keep an eye on the setup for now.)
The casting/copper washer interface, not the sender/washer interface.
So I put the fiber washer under the copper washer, between it and the
casting.  Problem solved.  Told John to take a look at it each time you
fill up.
Changed fan belt.  (Underground spring-loaded) Tensioner locked in the forward 
(loose) position one time after starting.  It seemed to be binding on the 
bronze pin that has a hole drilled in it and an Allen head cap screw sticking 
out of it. There were also bronze filings on the mechanism indicating some
excessive friction.  I applied one drop of oil to that screw/bronze
tensioner guide and it seemed to make things move more free and
predictable. (I had noticed a bit of binding when I first installed this bit... I had 
also lubricated it. Either this is going to require regular lubrication, I have it installed/
adjusted incorrectly, or it's a design flaw. More research will be required...)




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