Roadside emergencies (Flat tire)

In June of 2014, Moby developed a flat front tire on the driver side while en route to to Maryland.  The cause, as it turned out, was a faulty valve stem that cracked where it passed through the tire rim.  Then last summer, on the way home from Assateague, MD, the front passenger tire lost its air less than 15 miles from home on our return journey.  The cause?  Again, a faulty valve stem that broke in the same place as the first.  I never encountered valve stem failure before, not even heard of it in fact, but I certainly understand that all parts fail sometimes, even those that seem to encounter so little stress.  The first flat I chalked up to this type of failure; just a possible defect in the part, perhaps something struck the valve, or I was a little overzealous in cleaning around it when washing the bus.  But to have two fail on the same vehicle?  That seemed a bit odd.

The guy at the tire shop informed me that in many cases, when new tires are installed, the stems never get changed and eventually succumb to dry rot.  It is possible that this Continue reading

Old VW ads

Like a lot of VW enthusiasts, and some folks outside the VW community, I always enjoyed the advertisements VW produced during the 1960’s and `70’s.  The library at the college I attended had an extensive Life magazine collection and I spent a fair amount of time perusing through them in search of old Volkswagen ads.  I also picked up a few ads over the years at shows, not only single page advertisements but some of the booklets VW published as well.

A few weeks ago, I stumbled across this article on Adweek.com that highlights a brief Continue reading

Steely Van

We traveled north to visit Monica and her family in Philadelphia, Pa last month.  While there, we decided to tour Eastern State Penitentiary, an old prison built ca. 1820 that housed some very well-known criminals in its day (I fully recommend checking it out if you find yourself in Philly – great tour, great stories, great architecture).  On the drive over, my son yells out “Papa, do you see the bus?”  Turns out he was the only one who managed to identify the top corner of a bus peaking out from behind a parked truck.  Unfortunately, we were not able to stop and investigate why there was a bus parked up on the sidewalk at the time, but, as luck would have it, Monica’s brother ended up walking his commute that week.  He graciously agreed to stop and check out why the bus was parked up on the sidewalk in front of the National Museum of American Jewish History. Continue reading

1971 Tin-top Camper

While bus hunting last spring, Tom got a line from a friend about a bus sitting at a local VW dealership.  His investigation turned up a ’71 tin-top Westy in mid-restoration and was kind enough to share his photos.  While I never found the tin-top camper quite as comfortable as the pop-top version (it’s always nice to be able to stand when putting on your pants), the tin-top holds a special place in my memory – my family’s first VW camper was a white tin-top.

Photo Credit:  All photos by Tom (Thanks!!)

71-tin-top-24-copy

Beautiful exterior paint.

71-tin-top-19-copy

Bumper guards are very popular these days. I encountered them on one of my past buses and found that, while I don’t mind them aesthetically, if the bumper collides with an object, the guards bend backwards and dent the body (think poor drivers in a parking lot!).

Continue reading