Saturday, August 13, 2016


We left home at 6:30. First stop?   Discovery Park for one last rabbit chase for the girls.   Then on to BC.
The drive was uneventful.  We followed the Fraser River valley for most of the day.   Quite pretty, sort of a mini version of the Columbia River gorge.  We saw only 1 air cooled vw bus and 1 vanagon westfalia all day. We passed them both! 
We camped at Ten Mile Lake provincial park, just north of Quesnal, 540 miles from Seattle.   The girls waded in the lake at the campground while John swam. The water was surprisingly warm. 
We had no issues at all with Vanessa, which was a great relief.   Even the AC worked!   So far we haven't had to break into the box of spare parts.  (Thank you Eion!)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Vanessa is home!

Thanks to the amazing automotive skills of Eion, Vanessa is ready to hit the road again.  She now has a second brand new Subaru engine, and at no expense to me.  The threads on one of the bolts holding the head to the block were stripped so she had developed a leak around the head gasket.  Eion found it and replaced the entire engine under warranty.  He also found a leak in the gas tank, and that was replaced as well. What an honest gentleman!  So she is as good as new.
Our plan is to drive her down the Washington, Oregon,  California coast at the end of May.  Then we will drive her to Alaska in September.  But first I have to drive her around town to break in the new engine.  It's good to have her home.

Thanks to Kristin and Eion for all they have done for us. They are the absolute best.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

And the winner is...

After a month in Virginia, Vanessa was finally shipped back to Seattle to complete her makeover.   So I tallied the total cost of work done to her and I can now announce the winner of the contest.

The winner is Cecilia Nallas, who guessed $40,000.  (She had the highest guess).  So now a dashboard hula doll is on its way to her. 

Congrats, Cecilia!  

p.s. that's not her real hair.   She's just a fun girl! 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Throwing in the towel

Last blog entry.  First the thermostat failed, and then the starter failed at the dealer while they were installing the thermostat!  We are shipping the van back to Seattle and renting a car to finish the trip.  Maybe we should rent something reliable.  Perhaps a Kia?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Almost Heaven (?)

5:30 wake up so we could say good bye to my sister before she left for work, and we were in the road at 6:30 just before sunrise.   We drove east on famous Paris Pike thru beautiful horse farm country just as the sun came up.   The town of Paris,  Kentucky is as cute as it can be.   Here is the Bourbon County Courthouse in Paris:

Then on to West Virginia.   If John Denver is right and West Virginia is "almost heaven" then I fear there will be a lot of people who will be sorely disappointed when they show up at the pearly gates and heaven looks an awful lot like a run-down trailer park.
The western part of West Virginia on US 60 was as impoverished an area as we've seen.
After a quick stop for lunch we noticed Vanessa is still incontinent,  although less so.  We figured we were now carrying a big bottle of extra coolant in the van so we would just top her off periodically.  Fingers crossed again.

On to Lewisburg, W.Va., by far the nicest town we have seen in this state.

From there we drove to White Sulphur Springs and The Greenbrier Resort.  Absolutely first class.

We are spending the night in Staunton,  Va. at the farm of good friend Joe Surratt who has three championship hunter horses (one is a grandson of Secretariat), two dogs, one cat, and lots of chickens.  It's peaceful and gorgeous.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Vanessa lives!

Jimmie called this afternoon to tell me Vanessa was finished.  I couldn't believe it since he had told me Thursday he didn't expect her to be done until Monday (many thanks to Eion for overnighting the parts Jimmie needed. Once again Eion was there for us when we needed him.)

Vanessa's rear bearings were shot and that's what was causing the noise,  so those have been replaced.  Jimmie also replaced the rear transaxles, fixed the last coolant leak,  replaced all four wheel adapters (they were, in the words of Jimmie, "wallered out"), cleaned the headlights, and reattached bumper trim.  And he washed the van. 

So I took her out for a test drive and she runs better than ever.   Quiet and smooth.   No more ker-klunk coming from her backside. Yippee!
So now we can depart as soon as John gets back from Chicago, likely Tuesday morning.
Many many many thanks to Jimmie and his wonderful wife Ruthie.  I don't think there is another mechanic within 500 miles of Lexington who could have done what he did, and he's a terrific guy too.  But my vanagon insanity is infectious.   Now Jimmie wants one too!  And I'm going to help him find one.