The Golden Gate

The other day we went for a short cruise up into the Marin Headlands.  The idea was to give the bus a road-test with some more aggressive climbing and twisting descents.  Little did we know that the real eye-opener would be crossing the bridge in some nasty weather with heavy winds.

The bus is a sail.  Bridle the thing properly and you could fly it like a kite.  Complicating things even more was having a major amount of slop in the steering box.  This one moved up to the top of the list and was easy enough to fix.  Grab a 19mm socket and flat headed screwdriver, crawl under the front wheel, adjust the set screw on the box – done.  Now when i turn the steering wheel something happens!  DSC_2823DSC_2851

We pulled over in front of the Golden Gate to take some beauty shots (in typical S.F. summer weather) and that’s when I noticed the drips coming from one of the valve covers. Oops. I just adjusted those suckers the previous night and didn’t quite get the gasket lined up right.  Another easy one to fix.  It also gave us a reason to coast down the hill to Sausalito to fill up and grab some oil.  Us and a thousand freezing tourists walking around in shorts and recently-acquired “S.F.” sweatshirts  – shivering.  If you’re visiting from Nebraska (and please do), bring a jacket… even in the summer.

Anyway, the only major issue still on the list after this drive is the frequent stalling whenever we come to a stop or when i put it in neutral.  It doesn’t always happen, but when it does its a real pain.  The front disc brakes have a booster that is tied into the engine vacuum line.   When the engine cuts out, quite a bit of braking power disappears.  It can be a good work-out for the right leg.  Not exactly a barrel of monkeys descending some of the steeps around here.

In addition to bus projects, we’re already getting behind on the blog posts.  Who knew this was so much work?  Now i know why people Tweet.  Anyway, we’ll get caught up soon…

8 thoughts on “The Golden Gate

  • August 20, 2009 at 11:11 AM

    Hi guys,

    I admire this journey you’re on! Cam told me about your adventure after I mentioned my wife and I’s desire to travel in a VW. Enjoy your travels, the ups and downs!


  • August 20, 2009 at 11:14 AM

    In re: Red Beard acting like a sail.
    You should outfit him with light truck tires that have a D load rating. It might be tough to find these on the road, but you have a lot of stuff in there (including a kid!). It’ll handle better and be safer to boot.

  • August 20, 2009 at 12:00 PM

    As a fellow Alamedan & generational contemporary, I find your story very inspirational. You’re to be commended for your determination, conviction and courage, engaging your ‘mid-life crisis’ (my father calls it a ‘2nd childhood’ but I frequently correct this misnomer since we men never grow up, we just get bigger and better toys!) in such adventurous fashion. I myself long to hop on an old BMW R75 and set off into the sunrise (would need an amphibious motorcycle to head into the sunset), so I know where the yearning to traverse the continent(s) comes from.

    Enjoy witnessing and experiencing the world on a scale few of us ever will, especially through the eyes of a child. I look forward to reading about your adventures to come – mechanical or otherwise.


    Jeff Kennedy

  • August 20, 2009 at 4:25 PM

    Well, the good news is that when you get past the Big Horns, there should be a nice Western wind to push you guys our direction nice and fast. You might not even need to run the engine while traversing S. Dakota. Safe travels and hope to see you guys sometime this fall…. Eric in Vermillion

  • August 20, 2009 at 6:05 PM

    That’s all I know…I thought Jason (super fixer/maker/inventor) would have had Red Beard in better-than-new condition before she ever rolled down the street on The Great Journey. This is like “learn while you earn”. I had an Opel with 200k+ miles and I had to take the valve cover off every 50 miles or so and put a slipped-ff rocker arm back on for another ? miles, so my empathy is right with you. The same car had the driver’s door rusted shut and a cracked windshield. I knew a mechanic; that’s was the only way it ever passed NY “inspection”.

    What an adventure-you guys are really interesting writers, too.


  • August 20, 2009 at 8:23 PM

    Jason if you should by chance get to he Lodi area before Red Beard desides to really let you know who is boss Call my dear friend Gary at G and S Service Center here in Lodi. Their phone number is 209 334 5300. He is by far the BEST VW Tech in the Western Hemosphire. Daisy belonged to Gary and she still gets excited when we go visit him. When this man works on your vehicle it as if it was his vehicle which is something you do not find anymore. I trust my Life in something he has restored or worked on. Thirty Six years of doing what Gary Loves to Do!

  • August 21, 2009 at 4:55 PM

    We’ve got brand new Yokahama 356’s. Proper load and side-wall rating and everything. So far so good.

  • August 22, 2009 at 2:28 PM

    slop in the steering box? and i thought you were just happy to see me.

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