Eclipse Vacation 2017

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drober23
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Eclipse Vacation 2017

Post by drober23 » Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:24 am

The plan is to leave Michigan on the afternoon of August 18th, and head West. We will have three adults and a teenager riding and camping in the '75 Westfalia, as we are bringing my wife's sister along for the trip. We will also be carrying a 14" diameter telescope, which takes up a good chunk of the bus's cargo allotment.

The itinerary is to stay near the Quad Cities (Davenport, IA) the first night. Hit Maquoketa Caves State Park the next day, then drive on to a campground near Omaha. The next day we will drive straight to Tryon, Nebraska where we will mingle with the hordes of eclipse nerds.

https://www.eventbrite.com/e/eclipse-in ... 1454550407

Then we head to Rocky Mountain National Park (Fort Collins, CO) for a few days of camping and hiking before returning home.

I thought I had things in pretty good shape after Colin's visit. I have been daily driving the bus for over a month now, and took it on a small trip in July. The bus has around 2,000 miles on it since then. Last week though, the bus did not want to shift into gear. Inspection revealed that the clutch cable was frayed. Got that replaced.

While down there replacing the clutch cable, I noticed a CV boot seemed to have completely exploded. There was about 1/2" of rubber left around the flange, and the little ring of rubber that holds the boot close to the shaft remaining. The rest was gone! The new boots arrive tomorrow (Monday, August 12). That will give me enough time to install them and drive a bit before the trip.

Pics as it happens. Does anyone else have eclipse plans other than trying to avoid the eclipse manics?
DJ

'75 Westfalia, '79 Deluxe
(plus more busses than sense)

In a time of chimpanzees I was a monkey

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lilpig88
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Re: Eclipse Vacation 2017

Post by lilpig88 » Sun Aug 13, 2017 7:08 pm

Sounds like a great trip!
I'm not far (relatively speaking) north of Omaha in NW Iowa and always looking for an excuse for a road trip. If you need any help (let's hope not) with the bus along the way just holler.

Andrew-headingsomewhereinNEfortheeclipse

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drober23
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Re: Eclipse Vacation 2017

Post by drober23 » Sat Aug 19, 2017 6:39 am

We're off!

Gabriel is very excited at the prospect:

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My wife (Lynda, on the left) and her sister Kim can't match Gabriel's enthusiasm.

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The bus is stuffed like 10 pounds of crap in a 5 pound bag!

The first leg of the journey went well. The bus drove great from Carleton, MI to Rock Island, IL. Today we will go explore Maquoteka Caves State Park in Eastern Iowa before driving to somewhere near Omaha to camp. Tomorrow will take us to Tryon, Nebraska to get ready for Monday's eclipse.

There was a lot of wind when we left home. But even loaded to the top with people and stuff, the bus cut through the wind with reasonable oil and cylinder head temps. My first tank of gas was about 15.5 mpg due to the wind mostly. Once we got west of Kalamazoo the wind dropped and we had a pleasant drive (minus the trafficy part of getting around Chicago). Got 17 mpg on the second tank.
DJ

'75 Westfalia, '79 Deluxe
(plus more busses than sense)

In a time of chimpanzees I was a monkey

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Re: Eclipse Vacation 2017

Post by drober23 » Sun Aug 20, 2017 7:29 am

Had a pretty good storm outside of Omaha last night. Got some water inside the bus through the pop top and driver's door seal.

Lynda and Kim are not so sure about this whole camping thing.

Bus ran great in the 90 degree weather though.
DJ

'75 Westfalia, '79 Deluxe
(plus more busses than sense)

In a time of chimpanzees I was a monkey

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Re: Eclipse Vacation 2017

Post by vistacruzer » Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:20 am

Thanks for the logbook keep up with the pics and have a great time
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Re: Eclipse Vacation 2017

Post by Jivermo » Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:30 am

Yes, I'm also enjoying this. Mostly, I want to see how Lynda and Kim handle this adventure. Things may get considerably more interesting. Keep us in the loop, please.

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Re: Eclipse Vacation 2017

Post by drober23 » Fri Aug 25, 2017 6:57 pm

Eclipse Day!

Wow! What an experience. We arrived at Blake Ranch in Tryon, Nebraska around nightfall on the 20th. Set up the telescope that took up a third of our storage space and had a good night looking at the stars. Kim had not seen the Milky Way in over 40 years, so she was particularly thrilled about this. During the telescope session, I realized I had forgotten the solar filter for said scope. This meant that we would not be able to use the telescope during the eclipse. Doh!

After the first night of rough weather, the next two nights were very pleasant. This was the view on Monday morning.

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Here we are, ready to view the eclipse.

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It was profoundly foggy in the morning. Many campers bailed, hoping for better weather elsewhere. We decided to stick it out.

We were rewarded! The clouds broke up about 10 minutes before the eclipse started. It was clear through totality and until only about 20% of the sun remained covered. Then we got intermittent views of the rest of the event.

Luckily, Kim remembered the solar filter for her camera. She got some very nice photos:

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Here, totality is almost over:

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Then the sun slowly returns:

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Pictures don't do this justice. If you get the chance to see the 2024 eclipse, do it! My son was so excited, he was literally bouncing. Before, during, and after the eclipse. Here he is, ready for some eclipse action:

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By the end, we were spent. We were so intensely in the moment, that when the moment was over we had nothing left. What a great experience!

But, our camping spot for Monday night was in Estes Park, Colorado. This did not leave us much time to wallow in our emptiness. We loaded up the bus and started the 300 mile drive from Tryon, Nebraska to Estes Park.

Lynda loves driving in the bus, and loves mountains. But, she does not love driving in the bus in the mountains. I don't get it! She says that sitting so far up front makes her feel like I am going to hit everything in front of me, and drive off the edge of things. This feeling does not go well with winding mountain roads with sheer cliffs on one side, and dropoffs into boulder-strewn gorges on the other. She spent a good chunk of the last 30 minutes of the drive into Estes Park trying not to look.

We rolled into our campsite at about 10:00 PM. I did not mention the "bus shuffling" ritual that has to be performed each camping night. It goes like this:
1) Everyone has to get out of the bus, and the top is popped ('75 Westy, so me and Gabriel slept up top leaving Lynda and Kim below)
2) The side tent (that we never used) and the lawn chairs (that we did use) must be set aside temporarily
3) The mount (45 pounds) and tripod for the telescope must get move into the footwell of the passenger seat up front
4) The telescope tube (14" in diameter, and about 3' long) gets moved onto the passenger seat
5) The side tent gets placed on the dashboard (the steering wheel keeps it from falling) and the lawn chairs get set in the front aisle-way
6) The three paper grocery bags of dry food get moved from behind the back seat to the floor in front of the back seat
7) The two bins of sundry items (shower/wash supplies, plates, utensils, cups, etc..) get moved to the floor of the drivers side front seat
8 ) Kim's "airplane carry on" bag gets placed on the driver's front seat
9) The rear seat gets unfolded
10) Beds get made

We have actually traveled with giant telescopes enough times that this is done quite quickly. We slept well that night.
DJ

'75 Westfalia, '79 Deluxe
(plus more busses than sense)

In a time of chimpanzees I was a monkey

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Re: Eclipse Vacation 2017

Post by drober23 » Tue Aug 29, 2017 5:03 pm

Time to back up the bus a bit.

Before the eclipse, as we were driving through NE Iowa to Maquoteka Caves State Park, I started to notice a lack of pep from the bus at low rpm. I told myself that this was due to the hills, and the extra weight of camping gear and people. I did not really believe this though. By the time we got to Colorado, the bus could barely get out of its own way.

So, after our first night in the campground at Colorado, we headed to Rocky Mountain National Park. The bus had trouble with lots of the hills, and I almost had to back down the very steep road in the campground. The steep road in the campground was not a hit with Lynda or Kim either. Even though the restrooms were only about 100 yards away, it was quite the chore to slog back up that hill. Anyway, the near complete failure on the hill convinced me that I had to lean out my fuel injection for the bus to be driveable at this altitude (the campground is at about 8500 ft).

It was a beautiful day! We entered Rocky Mountain National Park, found a nice picnic area and picnicked. This was where I unloaded the back of the bus and re-adjusted my fuel injection.

I had richened it up before leaving to keep cylinder head temps in check, and it worked for that. The trade off appeared to be partly in higher oil temps. Anyway, I needed to lean the mixture out, so I put it back almost exactly where Colin had put it during his visit in June.

This made an instant difference in how the bus ran at altitude. I could hold 3rd gear on the hills I remember as having been "3rd gear hills" that last time I had been to the park in 2013. I decided I would keep it that way for the start of the way home and monitor things.
DJ

'75 Westfalia, '79 Deluxe
(plus more busses than sense)

In a time of chimpanzees I was a monkey

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Amskeptic
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Re: Eclipse Vacation 2017

Post by Amskeptic » Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:43 pm

drober23 wrote:
Fri Aug 25, 2017 6:57 pm
Eclipse Day!

Image

Are those sunspots? Lint on the lens? Rogue reindeer and Santa?
Colin
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drober23
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Re: Eclipse Vacation 2017

Post by drober23 » Fri Sep 08, 2017 4:09 pm

Yes, yes, and yes! Well, they are sunspots.
DJ

'75 Westfalia, '79 Deluxe
(plus more busses than sense)

In a time of chimpanzees I was a monkey

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