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Category: Volkswagen

The View Outside Your Bedroom

2016-08-12 05.19.30 1

Slept under a few stars last night. 10/10 would recommend.

J-Tree

2016-07-09 04.54.12 1

Mid week escape to Joshua Tree. The milky way was out, and I brought out some new gear to test but... I forgot the camera. :(

Outside Zabriskie Point

2016-03-10 09.53.23 1

Thank your lucky stars. What stories will you tell your children?

There was another beautiful Bay Window bus in the parking lot of Zabriskie Point, with what sounded like a guy and two girls giggling inside. I was debating whether or not to share some photos of our buses together, but eventually opted to leave them alone lest I happen to disrupt any fun activities unfolding behind their closed curtains. :)

Exploring Together

2016-03-07 12.04.30 1

Happiness is a Volkswagen far from home. Exploring the new and the old, together with those who matter to you the most. Constantly reminded of the beauty in all things, in the most unexpected places.

Superbloom in Death Valley

2016-03-04 09.00.24 1

What is normally a barren expanse of rocky washes has turned into an explosion of color. If life can survive in these places, what sort of color is waiting to bloom in the barren expanse of our own humanity?

Escape the Noise

2016-03-02 07.23.51 1

Last night. Death Valley. Horizon to horizon, an enormous wall of glistening diamonds. Escape the city, escape the noise. Home is where you park it, even if it's only for a few hours. Keep building memories that last forever.

Fall Camping Season is Here

Taking our boys to their first camping trip of the season. The start of many adventures to come!

Taking our boys to their first camping trip of the season. The start of many adventures to come!

Let's Get Dirty, Love You Long Time

Reinstalling engine and transmission took me the better of ten months as the replacement of a $2 pilot bearing escalated into a full blown detail and r&r.  Took her out for a shakedown trip - 300 miles up the coast to SF.  Can you spot the @heynickel? Camping season has finally begun!

Reinstalling engine and transmission took me the better of ten months as the replacement of a $2 pilot bearing escalated into a full blown detail and r&r. Took her out for a shakedown trip - 300 miles up the coast to SF. Can you spot the @heynickel? Camping season has finally begun!

Keepin' the Dream Alive

But first, I need to wake up and get back to work.

DSCF3591

Regrets are for Losers

At the Border

Two years ago today, we crossed the Canadian border into the 49th US state. Even though we barely rolled in as the border agent literally pushed us back into America, driving to Alaska (roughly similar distance from LA-NY) via an air-cooled VW is one of the greatest adventures of a lifetime.

Take your chances, and most especially the time to do the things in life that you dream of. Because while dreams are made when you close your eyes, they only come true when you wake up and make them happen. #vw #volkswagen #bus #alaska #goforgold #roadtrip #homeiswhereyouparkit

The End of a Starter

IMG_0536

Bit the bullet and paid a pricey sum for a new GoWesty gear reduction high-torque starter. We are kinda hoping that the days of having to crawl under the passenger rear wheel to whack the solenoid with a mallet to turn the bus would be behind us.

Looking back, we've been (temporarily) stranded in many interesting places because of this no-start issue. At freezing campgrounds beside foul amounts of horse shit. In the cold mornings of Utah, Quebec, Montreal. Perhaps the most iconic was when the border agent had to help us push Vanessa back into the USA from Canada.

Did the swap earlier today, and everything came together nicely, which is always a definite cause of worry as Murphy tends to remind us. Upon test fire, Kat and I looked at each other as it buzzed into life in a much higher tone than what we are used to. It kinda sounds like a spaceship taking off, and will take some getting used to. In the meantime, I will go write a song about The End of a Starter is the Start of Another.

Northern Lights

Aurora Borealis

A year ago today, we were living in our VW, making our way to Alaska during our honeymoon.
A year ago today, we slept under a glowing night sky of the Aurora Borealis.

When was the last time you experienced what it means to be truly alive?

Let's Lubricate

Not gonna lie - LOVE the smell of hot motor oil. Smells like goddamn adventure to me. Meanwhile, canine copilot don't give a damn.

Miles and Miles

Felt like thousands of miles driving through Canada. Partly because it's true, we have driven more than a "few" thousand miles by this point. This sequence is from the very beautiful Glenn highway corridor, coming into Alaska.

How a Border Agent Pushed our Bus Back into America

Having driven more than 2800 miles since leaving our garage, there have been ZERO technical difficulties as far as Vanessa came. I watched the CHT (cylinder head temperature) gauge like a madman, and religiously checked the oil level at each gas up. She was running like a top, and at idle was purring like a tiger.

Alas, on a normal gas up routine in Watson Lake in BC, I turned the key in the ignition, and heard the oddly familiar sound of the *click* of a dead starter. Familiar, because Kat and I have gotten tired of crawling under the bus, and had already installed a 'hot-start relay' a few years ago to address this very problem. Everything else checked out - the battery had lots of juice, but the starter wasn't turning.


Hey man, nice rug.

A quick inspection revealed a blown out 15 amp fuse. The massive amounts of driving and stop-starts we were doing must've done a number. No worries. I had no spare 15A fuse, so I popped in a 10A and she fired up.

Things were going fine, until we hit the last stretch of highway in BC before hitting Alaska, when I managed to blow 2 more 10A fuses in succession. We knew we had a problem, and we'd keep blowing the 10's. The plan was to not shut off the engine, until we bought the proper 15A fuse. I held one last 10A spare to get us by, and sneak us back into America. Or so we thought.


I was kinda hoping this RV would crash into the ceiling.

Upon crossing into the US border, we lined up to the single customs/immigration lane that was open. A line of vehicles waiting behind us was starting to grow. As we pulled up, the officer asked me to shut off the engine.

Shit.

Well, that's fine. I had a spare fuse in my pocket, and could pop it back in to start again after our interrogation was over. We answered the typical questions. No officer, we don't have weapons. Yes, the plates are really HEY 1979. No, we don't have any "plants". We're on our honeymoon, and driving into Alaska for a few weeks. And when he says "Okay, thanks, you can drive through" while handing us our paperwork, I cross my fingers and turn the ignition.

*Click*

...

Shit.

I look at the officer and shyly explain that we've been having start issues, and that I'll need 30 seconds to pop in a new fuse under the bus. By the time I finish my sentence, I was already on the ground replacing the one that bombed when I tried to start it. I ran back into the bus, and turned the ignition.

*Click*

...

Shit. That was the sound of my last fuse that just exploded.

Quickly assessing the situation. I was holding up a sizable line, and we were the only lane open. I looked at the officer in the eye, and said "Well, looks like we'll need to push her out of the way". Guys, you should've seen the look on his face. He gets out of his stall.

My last memory is having him push the bus with Kat, and hearing him shout to pull it over the edge and try to push-start the engine. I kick the clutch, gear into second, release, and BOOM the engine turns over into a happy idle. Kat squeals and jumps triumphantly from the back, and runs up into her seat. High fives all around, while Nickel gives us a dirty look.

Hello, Alaska

And that, is the story of how the Border/Immigration agent, pushed our little VW bus back into America.

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