Rear brake rebuild: Part 3 (final)

The third and final installment of the rear brake rebuild project – putting it all back together.  Once I got everything installed, I bled the system using the old-fashioned method.  Martha manned the brake fluid reservoir and brake pedal, while I operated the bleeder valves, starting with rear-right, left-rear, front-right, and finally front-left.  I did not use my homemade pressure bleeder because I feared cracking the old plastic fluid reservoir. I think I get a better result from the old-fashioned method, and it gives the Continue reading

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Flag Ponds, Maryland

Long on our list of places to visit, Flag Ponds Nature Park is situated at the Maryland coastline of the Chesapeake Bay.  Like the other estuarial environments along the U.S. east coast, the Bay formed as rising sea levels, caused by the melting of vast ice sheets formed during the last ice age, inundated the valley of the Susquehanna River and its tributaries.

Technically known as a ria or drowned river valley, the Chesapeake is the largest of these eastern seaboard features at roughly 4500 square miles.  However, the size of the Susquehanna River Valley (in which the Bay now sits) is not solely due to river Continue reading

Rear brake rebuild: Part 2

As mentioned in the first post in this series, brake fluid attracts moisture which in turn makes rust inevitable.  Since I took the time to scrub the loose paint and mild rust off the backing plate and then followed that up with a thorough washing of the plate and other brake parts with brake cleaner to remove brake fluid residue, I figured it was worth the effort and time to treat the surface rust.

There are a lot of rust transforming paints out there (POR-15 being one of the more popular) and I am not up-to-date on all the current data for each.  However, years ago (yikes, decades!) I started using Rustoleum Rust Reformer (non-aerosol version), a paint that reacts with rust and transforms it into a black-colored durable layer, for small rust repair jobs.   I like the product not only because of the good results over the years, Continue reading

Even the short trips count

In June, my son and I managed to steal away for a night of relaxation in the woods.  We had a great time hanging together playing cards, going for a couple long walks, and even hitting the rifle and archery ranges for a bit.  Why didn’t the other family half come with us?  My daughter had four friends come to celebrate her 13th birthday and Martha stayed home as referee.  Perfect time for the boys to skedaddle  🙂

We stayed at the local chapter grounds of the Izaack Walton League of America. The IWLA is an longstanding conservation organization involved in the cleanup and preservation of wildlife habitats.

He is discovering the joy of archery with an old school recurve bow (no real animals were hurt in the making of this blog post. However, circumstances were not kind to foam-based critters).

Pick a direction and go.

Last month our family lost our beloved family pet, a German Shorthaired Pointer named Kila.  Although I grew up with dogs, Kila was Martha’s and, of course, the children’s first dog.  She was a bit of a PITA to camp with, so she never showed up much here, but she was a huge and important part of our family.  Her loss was not a surprise, we knew she was ill about a month prior, but nevertheless it was tougher than any of us would would have guessed.  The following weekend we found ourselves with an open schedule and not a single one of us wanted to hang around the house.  However, we struggled to pick a destination to which we could travel and distract ourselves.  Therefore, instead of a predetermined objective, we decided to just jump in the bus (such a good treatment for the melancholy!) and go – somewhere.

We set our direction east, down the Northern Neck of Virginia, along the southern banks of the Rappahannock River, past Fredericksburg, Port Royal, and Tappahannock.  Out to eastern Virginia we headed; a region we always intended to visit more often but one Continue reading

Rear brake rebuild: Part 1

Like clock-work, Moby normally is on the road, after hiding from the winter’s salty roads, by April each spring.  March is always a time for wrapping up the winter to-do list, going through some regular maintenance items, and verifying all is well.  However this year, the sliding door project and some some work on the CHT sensor (future post) pushed emerging from hibernation back into mid-April.  After an oil change, valve and carb check, and some attention to a loose fan belt, she was ready to see the sun once again, albeit a few weeks later than normal.  Still, with our first camping trip a few weeks out yet, we had time to spare.

The first drive of bus season is always wonderful. To have the road out in front, the engine purring behind, and no urgency remotely close, one can just sit back, relax and enjoy – it is almost like going on a mini-vacation.  Though gratifying as this drive may be, it is Continue reading

The trip that almost wasn’t (Camping at French Creek State Park, PA)

The June Bug Classic VW show is held annually at Maple Grove Raceway in Mohnton, Pennsylvania.  The last time I attended this show, I was a high schooler fresh into the VW world and as I remember, it was a great show.  Unfortunately, it was also a show that fell by the wayside as I focused on other shows and life distractions.  Now that the Bug Out VW show seems to have moved to a permanent home in North Carolina, I began searching last April for a replacement closer to home and rediscovered the June Bug Classic.  The Maple Grove based show is one of a small handful of regional events that hosts VW drag racing, a sport I really want introduced to the kids.

As luck would have it, both Monica and Tom were available that weekend and interested in making the journey.  In the weeks leading up to the show, we put together Continue reading