Ugggg! Will it ever stop raining? I am thankful that we aren’t experiencing the ice like our neighbors to the north… Today I went outside to check on our stuff, our last load of stuff is sitting out on a trailer, it’s covered with builders plastic, it’s basically super heavy plastic, that’s the only thing protecting our belongings. It was still raining a little when I went outside, I noticed that water had pooled in places on the plastic, gallons of cold water threatened to soak everything underneath it. I was able to pull the plastic taught and let the water drain out onto the ground. Ohhhh, it was cold as it flowed over my arms, refreshing!!! It appears so far that everything is OK under the plastic, we will find out when we unload it.
Now on to a more pleasant subject, I have had lots of fun driving my new/old bug! I drove it over to my Dad’s house to show it off, he lives about 30 minutes away, that gave me a chance to try out driving in it, one thing I learned, I’m glad I’m not driving it to west Texas, I will be towing it, just driving to my Dad’s house and back was fun but rough, I don’t think I’d like being rattled for 12 hours. It does need some work, the dash has gaping holes, in case you aren’t familiar with old bugs, the engine is in the rear, the front has the gas tank, wires, the spare tire and the rest is open space, it’s the trunk. There used to be a radio and speakers in the dash, these are missing, and the glove box is missing too, you can look right through from the front seat into the “trunk” area, that means that all the cold air comes right in through all the holes in the dash to the inside of the cab. My husband did have pity on me though, he took a can of spray foam and plastic bags and filled up all the holes in the dash, at least no more air leaks in. Once we get settled in at our new home, he will work on a better solution. When I got to my Dad’s house, he came out and looked it over, just like most dad’s, he wanted to pop the hood, so I showed him the trunk, the first thing he noticed was all the foam, not standard issue on most bugs, I explained that it was temporary. Next I showed him the motor, I don’t think he is very familiar with bug engines, he is a real do it yourself kind of man though, and has changed out his fair share of motors on many other vehicles, so he was able to appreciate the simplicity and durability of the elegant engine that was staring back at him. He also appreciates why we traded my perfectly good truck for that bug, since he had been out to our property and ridden on the rough roads out there, he knows what my truck would look like and sound like a year from now.
Let’s see, what else, oh yeah, getting used to shifting, now I have driven a stick shift for years, but in much newer cars, shifting in a bug is a whole ‘nother animal. The main difference is where they put reverse, in the complete opposite place, you have to push the stick straight down (toward the ground) then pull left and back, it annoyingly near second gear, for the first few times I stopped and started moving again, when I would try to shift from first to second, I would grind toward reverse, it didn’t actually go into reverse, it just made that awful grinding sound as I tried to shift, my husband suggested I try holding the stick in the middle instead of holding the knob, it worked like a charm, when I held on to the knob, I would invariably push down and that allowed it to try to go into reverse with the resulting grinding sound. It does shift pretty smoothly as long as you aren’t trying to shove it in reverse while driving down the street (grin). The clutch pedal is small and close to the brake, just a few inches apart, just another thing to get used to, by the time I was headed home from my Dad’s house, I had it down pretty well.
I can’t wait to drive my bug around my new home, we have miles of up, down, in and around, it’s six miles from the edge of my property to my mail box, the roads are pretty well kept up, but they are still dirt roads and tend to be pretty bouncy and rough, everyone else’s’ cars out there are beat to death, body panels coming loose, rattling and squeaking, the old bugs were designed in Germany at a time when most roads were unimproved, pot holes and ruts, they were designed to last, it’s a testament to designer that you can still see them running around in great shape, how many other cars from the 50’s, 60’s & 70’s do you see driving around in good shape? The motors are great, simple, easy to work on, air cooled, and run forever, the whole thing was really ahead of it’s time. The bug should ride like a dream on the rough roads, and all the dust will not bother the engine or any other moving parts. The two times I had my Ranger pickup out there, I noticed the windows making noise when I rolled them up and down, it was because of all the dust kicked up from the roads. I can just imagine what else was getting damaged from the dust, it’s pretty abrasive and gets into everything.
That’s all for now, hopefully we will be able to leave in a day or so, we are getting pretty itchy to get out of here, it’s supposed to clear up for a day, as soon as it does, we’ll be gone!
Buy our book - OFF THE GRID - a tour of American off-grid places and people written by Nick Rosen, editor of the off-grid.net web site
Leave a Reply